Epson EH-LS100 Ultra Short Throw laser projector review

Inside CI 5 Rating

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posted on Saturday, 19th May 2018 by Steve May

Laser  Projection Screen  AWE Europe  home cinema 

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The fast growing Ultra Short Throw projector sector continues to throw up some interesting models, both at the high-end, Sony’s LSPX-A1 4K laser outing being the most recent example, and sub-£1000 gaming models, like Optoma’s GT5000. Here, Epson offers a convincing UST home cinema proposition. The EH-LS100 may not be 4K, but it does use a laser light engine, which promises to become a game-changer for custom installers.

Epson EH-LS100 Ultra Short Throw laser projector: Build quality and features
You don’t need to spend long with the EH-LS100, before it becomes evident that this is actually a Pro AV Ultra Short Throw projector repurposed for consumer use. It looks suspiciously like one of the brand’s corporate EB series. This is no bad thing, because that means it’s delightfully over-engineered for residential use.

The EH-LS100 is a sizeable unit. It weighs 11kg and has a footprint of 494(w) x 188(h) x 437(d)mm, so a permanent install is mandatory.

Connectivity is good. There are three HDMI inputs (one with MHL), along with a VGA in/out, USB (for jpeg and AVI file playback) and composite AV. Beneath the lid, the EH-LS100 utilises a 0.67-inch 3LCD device with a 16:10 aspect ratio (WUXGA, 1920 x 1200 resolution); consequently, it projects a slight grey border top and bottom.

Lifestyle (2)

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Inputs (4)

Image size is, of course, governed by the projector’s distance from a wall. It works from just 6 cm, but to warrant the size and expense of this model, you probably need to place it between 40-50 cm, in order to cast a 100-inch plus image. The EH-LS100 can sit on any cabinetry, but lends itself to bespoke carpentry. One of the joys of Ultra Short Throw models is that that they largely disappear from view when not in use, which is why most buyers will opt to project onto a plain wall rather than screen, so it makes sense to disguise the projector inside furniture.

If required, there is horizontal and vertical adjustment, and correction for geometric tweaks. The focus lever is hidden away by the air filter.

One benefit of laser light over a conventional lamp is near instant on. Using it feels almost televisual. The projector also has an onboard sound system. Rated at 16W it certainly goes loud, but it’s not exactly tuneful. A partnering external sound system should be a given here.

System integration is outstanding, with support for AMX, Crestron, Control4 and Extron CI control.

There’s no support for 3D content.

Epson EH-LS100 Ultra Short Throw laser projector: Performance
If you think you’re compromising video performance because the EH-LS100 isn’t a UHD model, I suspect you’ll be pleasantly surprised by its performance. This may be a 1080p beamer, but there’s no obvious pixel structure when the image is viewed at a typical distance.

The most obvious attribute of the EH-LS100 is its brightness. Epson quotes a White and Colour Light Output of 4,000 lumens, which is allied to a 2,500,000:1 contrast ratio. It has no problem being used in a room with moderate ambient light. For sports parties or big screen gaming it’s good to go.

Colour vibrancy is high and depth of hue remarkable; reds are solid and deep, blues beautifully vivid. The opening battle in Transformers The Last Knight (Blu-ray) is a wonderful juxtaposition of vivid fireballs and gritty, smokey low light detail. This projector may not go truly black, but overall contrast is considerable.

Remote (4)

Menu (2)

Detail (1)

The EH-LS100 is consistently good with content that has a high average picture level, most notably animation. Pixar’s Moana (delivered via Sky Cinema) is a riot of well-defined colour.

Image modes comprise Dynamic, Bright Cinema, Cinema (our go-to) and Game, while picture adjustments include brightness, contrast, saturation and sharpness. There’s also variable Dynamic Contrast (we recommend High Speed). If necessary, you can make deeper RGBCMY and gamma tweaks.

Operating noise is relatively high at 39 dB, but this drops to a more acceptable 30 dB in Cinema mode. It should be noted that if you run the projector on Quiet in the Light Source menu, overall image brightness drops to 2,800 lumens, which warrants a full room blackout.

The use of a laser light source should prove a godsend for installers. With a lifespan conservatively rated at 20,000 hours, the projector is likely to be maintenance free, bar some air filter changes. Epson says that there should be no drop in brightness or colour intensity over a ten year period.

Kept on its most eco friendly lamp setting, this could even extend to 30,000 hours. Indeed, the EH-LS100’s Pro AV DNA actually implies that it could even run 24/7. Consequently, this can be considered an extremely robust and resilient model.

Epson EH-LS100 Ultra Short Throw laser projector: Verdict
If you’re designing a media room, or looking for an unobtrusive large screen display in a large open space, then the EH-LS100 is a great choice. Sure, you can get 4K projectors these days for less than the cost of the EH-LS100, but it offers something very unique in the home cinema space.

The EH-LS100 is a superbly built and dazzlingly bright projector. Its image performance is excellent, with 3LCD technology capable of an inherently cinematic presentation. Consequently, the EH-LS100 comes highly recommended.

The EH-LS100 is available now.
Retail price: £2,600
The Epson EH-LS100 is available through AWE. For more news about AWE’s product portfolio and services, visit our resource page here.

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology journalist, who also writes for T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice and ERT (amongst others).

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