Epson EH-TW4400 review / test
Epson EH-TW4400 Projector Test
The Epson EH-TW4400 is a member of the new Epson EH-TW line of projectors recently presented at the German IFA consumer electronics exhibition. Now commercially available, I was curious to know if these new full HD models, designed especially for film projections, were up to the expectations.
The new range of Epson projectors comprises four models: the EH-TW2900, EH-3500, EH-TW4400 and EH-TW5500. They are all Full HD and the company claims that they offer about 4,000 hours of viewing before having to replace the lamp.
Compared to previous models, the new Epson projectors come with straighter lines (indeed, if we compare it to the TW980 model that looked a little "chubby"). The control buttons are now on the side of the device (before they were on top).
They wear exactly the same design; the 3500 and 4400 are white and 5500 is black. Of course, like all Epson projectors, they feature the 3LCD technology, and the 4400 and 5500 models come with the C2 Fine chip for better contrast (130,000:1 and 200,000:1 respectively). The EH-TW4400 has 10-bits image processing, and the EH-TW5500 integrates a 12 bits HQV image processor.
Is it worth its price tag? Does it perform well?
I tested the EH-TW4400.
Setting Up the Epson EH-TW4400
Installation is always easy with Epson. Two rings around the lens let us adjust the level of zoom and focus. Two knobs helps to center the image on the screen: you can count on a very large vertical amplitude (96%) and a good horizontal amplitude (47%).
At a distance of 12 feet from the screen, the image was a little less than 8 feet wide.
Compared to the previous line, we get an additional HDMI input (for a total of two v1.3 HDMI inputs). The Epson EH-TW4400 has YUV RCA inputs, a S-Video input, a composite video input, and a D-Sub PC input. It comes with a RS232C port, a 12V Trigger port and a power switch that completely cuts the power when the device is not used, for the sake of saving energy. (In standby mode, it consumes about 7 watts.)
The appearance of menus for the EH-TW4400 is no different than from other models in the brand: the onscreen menu system is well-presented and logical to navigate. It is now possible to get a bit more involved with fine-tuning features. These include various absolute colour temperature settings (including the 6500K one best suited to video playback); a skin tone tweaker; various gamma presets (including the key 2.2 setting); plus offset and gain adjustments for the red, green and blue picture elements, and hue, saturation and brightness tweaks for the red, green, blue, cyan, magenta and yellow colour elements.
Image rendering and noise levels of the Epson EH-TW4400
With a brightness of 1600 lumens, it is recommended to use the Epson EH-TW4400 in total darkness. In SD mode, the Epson EH-TW4400 has some downsides. Indeed, I noticed the "staircase effect" on most TV channels. But in HD, the rendering is much better, blacks are really black and colors (both in SD and HD) are rendered really well. I found the colours (even skin tones) to be pretty believable using some of the out-of-the-box presets. Peak whites can look crisp and pure, while deep blacks appear with surprisingly little grey colouration.
Its LCD nature means it's immune to DLP’s rainbow effect - important if you’re one of those people particularly prone to seeing this DLP colour wheel phenomena.
I’m seriously impressed by how quietly the projector runs. In its eco mode, Epson quotes just 22dB of fan noise: I hardly noticed it, even when I sat close to it.
In standard mode, the Epson EH-TW4400 consumes about 220 watts. In standby mode, it consumes about 7 watts. A power switch enables you to completely cut the power when the projector is not in use.
The remotes from the preceding range of projectors had rounded corners; but the EH-TW4400 remote is pretty much rectangular. It is more ergonomic though than older models were: I like having all of the sources immediately available. And in the same vein, the main settings are immediately available (under the directional arrows) to avoid having to navigate the menus.
Overall, for that price, the depth of the blacks are really good for a LCD projector: the Epson EH-TW4400 is providing a more than satisfying alternative to DLP. The image rendering in SD was a bit deceiving, but if you feed the Epson EH-TW4400 only with High Definition, you'll be more than satisfied.
Projection technology: 3LCD Technology, C2Fine panels
Optical resolution: native 1080p (1920x1080)
Compatibility: 525i, 525p, 625i, 625p, 720p, 750p
Contrast ratio: 130,000:1
Brightness: 1600 Lumens ANSI
Throw ratio: Image size of 30 to 300 inches from 2 1/2 to 58 feet.
Lens Shift: Vertical ± 96% / Horizontal ± 47%
Advanced features: Epson’s cinema filter, frame interpolation, advanced sharpness adjustments, Epson super white, six axis colour adjustment, customized gamma adjustment, 2:2 pull down (1080p / 24fps capability), output scaling, test pattern
Image adjustments / Color modes: Dynamic, living room, natural, theatre, theatre black 1, theatre black 2, x.v.Colour
PC resolutions supported
VGA, SVGA, XGA, WXGA, SXGA
MAC 13in, MAC 16in, MAC 19in, MAC 21in
Video : 1 x composite, 1 x S-video, 1 x component / YUV (3 x RCA)
Multimedia: 2 x HDMI version 1.3a (Deepcolour, x.v.Colour)
Computer: 1 x RGB
Controls: 1 x RS 232 C, 1 x trigger out for motorized screen
Lamp type: 200W UHE (E-TORL) / 4000 hours
Noise level: 30 dB (22 dB in eco mode)
Weight: 16.5 lbs
Dimensions: 15in 1/4 x 17in 3/4 x 5in 3/4
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