It’s big, it’s heavy – but it’s beautiful. No, we’re not reciting the tagline from Shallow Hal – we’re talking about the Epson EH-TW5500 projector – one of the biggest, baddest, bestest home projectors. Oh, and it’s one of the costliest too – around £4,000 at release, although thankfully you can pick one up for much cheaper now. We’re going to have a hands on with Epson’s latest and greatest at IFA in about a month’s time and thought we’d stop to have a look back at one of their flagship classic models.
A lot of thought has gone in to making sure the projector doesn’t detract from the movie experience, which is why if the TW550’s design could speak, it would say “shhh, you’re ruining the movie.” The bulbous body comes in a non-reflective, matt black finish – minimising distraction by melding seamlessly into the dark.
The TW5500 is also aurally unobtrusive, with the Eco mode producing just 22dB – deathly quiet.
Picture-wise, it’s phenomenal. We could go on about the Full HD output, an almost perfect sharpness at Blu-Ray resolution and the wonderful colour palette. Instead, we’re going to talk about blacks.
Epson boast of an ambitious dynamic contrast ratio of 200,000:1 – an incredible number. Unfortunately for sceptics, the performance is exactly as promised. The blacks in films are extremely dark – far more so than any other LCD-based projector. Honestly, it’s like you’re at the cinema.
Other great features include the 2.1 optical zoom, along with extensive vertical and horizontal image-shifting options. You can perfectly position the projected image from even most off-centre positions.
The projector is relatively small on inputs – but all the essentials are there. It takes two x.v.Colour-compatible HDMIs, a component video input, and an RGB PC input. This does make it extremely simple to set-up – especially with the included remote for changing input sources and turning the projector off and on.
The performance is exceptional – even at the price-tag. No serious home-cinema fan should go without one of these. If you break down the quality of projection – as well as an included five-year warranty on the projector and the lamp – the price feels a lot more reasonable.
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