Epson EH-TW5300 budget Full HD projector review

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posted on Tuesday, 23rd February 2016 by Steve May

Epson  AWE Europe  home cinema 

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We’ve featured a fair number of high specification projectors here on Inside CI, from cinema-grade 4K in the imposing shape of Sony’s VPL-VW5000ES laser to Epson’s faux 4K laser light EH-LS10000. But for many budget projects, these beamers will simply be overkill. If the requirement is for a Full HD projector for media room use, something altogether more modest may be the smartest choice. Enter Epson’s EH-TW5300, a 1080p shooter that retails for just £530…

Epson EH-TW5300 projector: Build quality and features
Sitting in the sweet spot between the EH-TW5350 and EH-TW5210, the TW5300 is a good looking compact projector. The body is gloss white with on-body control of source selection and menu navigation. It’s small at 297 x 245 x 114 mm (w/d/h) and weighs a flouncy 2.9kg. Connections comprise two HDMI inputs, one of which is MHL-enabled for use with compatible mobile devices. There’s also phono AV and PC VGA plus an audio minijack output and USB port for JPEG playback. The projector also has an integrated 5w sound system. For commercial use, there’s a Kensington lock.

A 1.58 - 1.72 lens sits to the left, with hot air sucked in from the front and routed to the rear. Installation is a breeze. Manual zoom and focus ring are bolstered by vertical and horizontal keystone correction. The projection ratio is quoted at 1.22 - 1.47:1. You’ll have no problem casting a  generous 100-inch image from 3 metres. 

Lens Close Up

Rear Panel (5)

The projector employs Epson’s D9 LCD panel technology, illuminated by a bright UHE lamp. Run in Eco mode this should last for around 7500 hours, and runs at 1500 lumens. At full power, light and colour output jumps to 2,200lm, bright enough to use in moderate ambient light. However lamp life drops to around 3,900 hours if you opt for full power.

While this Epson is Active 3D able, no glasses are supplied. Epson is a signatory to the Active Shutter 3D standard, although if you do need to buy eyeware, I’d recommend sticking with Epson branded goggles, as RF compatibility is a bit flaky.   

Epson EH-TW5300 projector: Performance
Images are pleasingly cinematic, with high levels of detail and dramatic contrast. Black level performance is good enough, if not truly deep. There’s plenty of shadow detail available, and colours are vibrant, orangey reds not withstanding. 

Picture presets are flavoured Dynamic, Bright Cinema, Natural and Cinema. The Cinema mode is the most practical of settings. Dynamic predictably causes the image to ping, but with a hefty noise penalty. Bright Cinema looks particularly nice with TV material. There’s additional scope for image tweaking, including adjustment of RGBCMY.

Menu Square On

Image Presets

The EH-TW5300’s Auto Iris can be switched off, or run in Normal or High Speed modes. On full pelt it is rather noisy though, particularly on something as contrasty as Band of Brothers (Blu-ray). It’s arguably best left off. Contrast is rated at 35,000:1 with the dynamic iris engaged. In use, operational noise depends on the chosen lamp mode. In Eco, the projector runs at an accommodating 27dB. With Normal brightness, this jumps to a rather more intrusive 37dB.

While the projector offers three levels of frame interpolation (Low, Normal and High), it should be noted none actually improve motion detail. We found that in all cases motion resolution, at 6.5ppf (pixels per frame) was around 700 lines. However, they do smooth out panning judder on the Normal and High settings, but the penalty is motion artefacts as well as that rather slippery soap opera effect. I generally preferred the projector with Frame Interpolation switched Off.

Lamp Mode

EH-TW5300-Picture -1 Copy (1)

Epson EH-TW5300 projector: Verdict
The home projector market has had a realignment. The sub £1000 market used to be the preserve of 720p models, but now Full HD offerings are displacing them, allowing a level of image quality that would have seem unfeasible just a year or so back.

Retailing for just £530, the EH-TW5300 is nothing if not a big-screen bargain. While probably a tad too noisy for dedicated home cinema rooms, it’s bright enough for media room installs, even in Eco mode. Offering a consistently pleasing Full HD image with a variety of TV, movie and games content using just the supplied presets, it’s a compact and complication-free projector that’s certain to be crowd pleaser.  

The Epson EH-TW5300 is available now. Distribution is via AWE Europe.
Retail price: £530
For more stories about Epson projectors and technology products, visit our partner page here.

Steve May

Steve is a veteran of the UK consumer electronics industry, having covered it for
various media outlets for more than 20 years.

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