Epson EH-TW7100 Projector Page 2

Cue Epson's HDR Setting feature. Shift this down a few points, to its five or, at a push, four setting, and although the range of light presented reduces, dark colours become much more natural while bright scenes get more dynamic punch. Black levels take a slight hit in the process, but the pros outweigh the cons. You'll be able to make out more subtle detailing in dark parts, while the increased brightness helps to distract you from the black level shortcomings.

Another downside to shifting the HDR Setting is it introduces slightly more clipping (loss of subtle shading in the brightest areas). The temptation to push the HDR Setting even higher is tempered, too, by the way it causes noise to creep into mid-dark shots.

All things considered, though, the EH-TW7100 provides a winningly flexible toolset for personalising the compromises you have to expect with any HDR projector.

Colour handling doesn't achieve the wide range and intensity of Epson's EH-TW9400, as this projector doesn't have the more expensive model's optional colour filter. Yet HDR content still feels vibrant, and there's some impressive tonal subtlety on show.

Motion is handled with conviction, and detail levels are good; not truly 4K, but higher than you'd see with a normal HD projector. (To clarify this point, while the EH-TW7100 can play 4K sources, it doesn't have native 4K optics. Instead, it uses pixel-shifting technology to pass '4K' images through slightly offset Full HD imaging chipsets).

Brightness levels are satisfying, and probably push things as far as they can without black levels fading out completely. And even with the lamp set to High for maximum HDR impact, this PJ runs surprisingly quietly.

This Epson is more at home with SDR content than HDR, though. Colour tones are more balanced and natural, and black levels dig deeper. With the lamp set to its Eco mode for SDR playback, running noise reduces even more. Pixel-shifted 1080p sources are presented cleanly and with detail, too.

The EH-TW7100 adapts well to the very different demands of HDR and SDR, and impresses with 3D. The natural dimming effect of active glasses (not supplied) aids subjective black level, while the stereoscopic image remains bright and flicker-free enough to hold your attention. The sense of depth produced is exemplary, and motion is crisp and avoids any 'shimmering' effects. Best of all, crosstalk ghosting noise is very rare, either in the distance of large-scale shots (such as those across Pacific Rim's vast Shatterdome), or over very near content such as subtitles or objects pushed 'out of the screen'. Note that Epson's pixel-shifting technology doesn't work with 3D, so you only get a native HD image.

The EH-TW7100 finishes on a high with its audio. The built-in speaker system provides plenty of volume and the necessary range to stop Pacific Rim's loudest mech vs monster battles from sounding harsh. The soundstage escapes from the projector's bodywork, too, helping it appear at least a bit less dislocated from the distant pictures it's supposed to be accompanying.

Strong Option
The Epson EH-TW7100's black levels aren't quite good enough to make it a fully satisfying dark-room projector. It's definitely a strong 'living room' option, though, offering impressive flexibility and setup options for what is, in the circumstances, a pretty aggressive price.

HCC Verdict

Epson EH-TW7100

Price: £1,500

We say: While black levels and colour handling aren't as satisfying as those of Epson's TW7400 or TW9400, this PJ's brightness and flexibility make it a good living room option.

Overall: 4/5


3D: Yes. Active shutter
4K: Yes. 3,840 x 2,160 via 4K Enhancement technology
HDR: Yes. HLG; HDR10
Connections: 2 x HDMI inputs; 2 x USB ports (one powered); RS-232C; 3.5mm audio output; 12V trigger
Brightness (claimed): 3,000 Lumens
Contrast ratio (claimed): 100,000:1
Zoom: 1.62x
Dimensions: 410(w) x 157(h) x 310(d)mm
Weight: 6.9kg

Features: LCD projector technology; built-in 2 x 10W audio system; 5,000-hour claimed lamp life using Eco mode; Bluetooth sound output; Cinema, Bright Cinema, Dynamic and Natural picture presets; 1.32-2.15:1 throw ratio; vertical (+/- 60%) and horizontal (+/- 24%) optical image shifting; full white balance and colour management; HDR Setting adjustment; backlit remote control; 40in-500in image size