Epson EH-TW5910 projector review

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posted on Sunday, 14th July 2013 by Steve May

projectors  home cinema  Epson 

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Epson's EH-TW5910 is a Full HD, 3D ready projector that won't break the bank. Yet despite a remarkably low ticket price, it's decidedly upmarket in design and has a feature specification that's difficult to argue with. Integrators looking for a versatile projection solution that offers big bang for the buck will be drawn to it like a moth to an IMAX.

Epson EH-TW5910: Build quality and features
The EH-TW5910 embraces familiar Epson racing lines. A compact 6kg form factor, it has a glossy white finish and curved edges certain to draw admiring glances. Build quality is excellent. The centrally located lens is flanked by an air-intake to the right and exhaust vent to the left. There's on-body access to power, source selection, and menu controls, with 1.6 optical zoom, keystone correction, focal wheel adjustments on top. Rear placed connections comprise two HDMI inputs, plus component and phono AV, PC VGA and USB (for JPEG playback and slideshows). There is also an RS232C port but no 12v trigger. As befits its budget status, there's no automated lens cover, just a simple cap. Should it be needed, the supplied remote control is chunky, but easy to use and backlit.

Despite its budget ranking, there's a fair amount of calibration offered, including RGB offset and gamma adjustments, colour temperature tweaks and subtle skin tone enhancement. In truth, for the kind of installs this is likely to serve, the provided presets prove more than good enough. Color Mode options include Natural, Cinema, Living room, Dynamic and Auto. Predictably Living Room and Dynamic whack up overall brightness and are accompanied by a corresponding leap in operational noise. Within a controlled lighting environment, there's no reason to adopt either. Left in Eco power mode, the EH-TW5910 runs at a pleasingly low 24dB.

As is commonly found on cheaper projectors, the EH-TW5910 also offers a 10w monophonic sound system. This proves surprisingly crisp and is intended for causal coffee table users who may fancy an impromptu gaming session or social sporting event.

The EH-TW5910's throw distance is 1.5 - 7.6m, with a variable image size between 81 - 662cm. The optimum distance from the screen is between 4-5m; at 5m it'll throw an image around 120-inches across. While horizontal and vertical keystone correction is offered, there's no lens shift. Illumination is via a 230W E-TORL lamp. Epson rates the projector's lamp life at 4,000 hours, stretching to 5000 hours if you stick to the Eco mode. Of course, it'll begin to dim long before either though.

Epson EH-TW5910: Performance
Overall image performance can be considered extremely good, especially given the modest price tag. This model is more than suitable for smaller theatres and media rooms, and looks great with both movies and games. The clean 1080p image is (like all LCDs) extremely comfortable to watch.

Of course, given that the picture processor employed here is relatively simple, there's no high frame rate technology on offer. As a consequence, the projector's native motion resolution is rather low. A test pattern moving at 6.5ppf didn't deliver any fine motion detail above 650 lines. This isn't a significant issue with general TV or most movie content, indeed the projector is very cinematic in its presentation, but could be an issue if you're thinking of installing this in a sports den or similar. 

While images impress straight from the box, the EH-TW5910 doesn't deliver a particularly dark black; it's more a deep grey, but there is some detail retained in shadows. While rated at 2100 ANSI lumens, this model really isn't bright enough to effectively combat ambient light; try and watch with a modicum of daylight and images look a tad flat and bland. But in a blacked-out cinema room, the projector quickly regains its balance: images become pleasingly contrasty, with powerful peak whites and lush colour fidelity. Blacks regain their depth and the projector starts to look a whole lot more convincing. Epson rates contrast at 20,000:1.

It's worth noting that the auto iris is a little noisy in operation. Depending on where the projector is located in relation to seating, you might opt to switch this off.

3D capable, the EH-TW5010 can convert 2D to 3D, although there's no good reason to do this. Dimensional content from 3D Blu-ray is immersive and extremely bright. Epson uses a luminance enhancement technique to double the refresh rate from 240Hz to 480Hz, as a result crosstalk doesn't become distracting and there's a pleasing sense of depth. Two 3D modes are provided: 3D cinema and 3D Dynamic; while 3D Dynamic is the default, both automatically crank up brightness, causing the projector fan to hyperventilate.

No Active Shutter glasses are provided. Epson's own-brand optional eyeware is from comfortable (all hard edges) and they are next to impossible to comfortably wear over prescription spectacles. However as the projector complies with the new RF shuttering standard, you can use the other branded products which may be more accommodating. 

Epson EH-TW5910: Verdict
Custom installers looking for a low cost projector to server in average-sized cinema rooms or media-centric dens will find plenty to like about this 1080p Epson. It's well-built, looks great and is a doddle to set up. Although bright, it doesn't really shine in room with high levels of ambient light, but when the lights are dimmed it delivers a performance that belies its price point. 3D is also extremely good, with no overt double imaging. Overall, we rate this a solid, reliable residential performer that's difficult to quibble with given the price.

The Epson EH-TW5910 3D projector is available now.
Retail price: £900
For more on Epson's projection line up, visit our Epson partner page here.
Also read:
Epson EH-TW5910 projector review
Epson leads AV refresh at Liverpool John Moores university
Epson debuts pro projector range, supports HDBaseT

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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