What is the Epson TW9200?
Epson flagship projector line-up hasn't changed much over the last three years but if the performance is good, why reinvent the wheel?
Design and Connections
The TW9200 is straightforward to set up, thanks to the centrally mounted lens, adjustable feet and shift, zoom and focus controls. Whilst these controls are all manual it won't make a difference if you use a 16:9 screen but obviously it precludes the inclusion of a lens memory feature. The quality of the lens is actually quite good, delivering a sharp and detailed image, as well as better convergence and blacks, thanks to fewer reflections in the light path. In addition, Epson has included a motorised lens cover that opens and closes when you turn the projector on and off. It's a bit noisy and clunky as it slides in and out but it's a nice touch that helps differentiate the TW9200 from its direct competitors.
The TW9200 also comes with two pairs of 3D glasses that use the RF standard, are lightweight, comfortable to wear and large enough to fit over regular glasses. There are wide sides which help with blocking out any ambient light and the lenses are suitably neutral in tint, although we would have liked them to be a bit larger to increase the field of view. The glasses can be recharged via an included USB adapter and the battery can last up to 40 hours when fully charged, although there is 3-minute quick charge option that will get you through a film in an emergency. At the top of the frame there is an on/off switch and the glasses will automatically switch off after a certain period with no 3D signal.
As we have discovered on previous Epson projectors, the best out-of-the-box choice is the Natural colour mode, which will deliver a performance that matches the industry standards as closely as possible for a factory setting. A list of suggested settings based on the measurements taken during the review can be found here.
After adjusting the two point white balance control, we were easily able to deliver a reference greyscale performance from the TW9200. As you can see on the graph, the RGB Balance is tracking at 100 for all three primary colours, with the overall errors all less than 3 and in most cases less than 1; whilst the gamma is still tracking at our target of 2.2. After calibrating the greyscale, the colour accuracy immediately improved, especially the hue error in cyan and we were left with very little to do. Using the CMS we were able to get the luminance (brightness) of all the colours spot on, which is important because this is the element of colour our eyes are most sensitive to. We were also able to improve the hue accuracy of all the colours but we struggled to correct the slight under-saturation in green and cyan. However the errors resulting from this minor under-saturation didn't have a noticeable effect on the image and the overall errors were all less than 2 and most less than 1, which is excellent. Perhaps more importantly, the TW9200 proved to be very accurate at lower saturation points, as shown in the graph below, with all the colours at - or very close to - their targets.
Epson's brightness claims have often proved to be true and so it was with the TW9200. The projector actually hit 2,400 lumens in Dynamic mode, although after calibration we measured the lumens at around 1,200 which, in fairness, is still very bright and can certainly light up a decent sized screen. If there's one area where LCD projectors have significantly improved recently, it's their perceived black levels. Whilst not at JVC levels, the blacks on the TW9200 were certainly very good and so was the shadow detail. The TW9200 is also capable of producing an excellent contrast ratio, measuring around 5,000:1 and thanks to the brightness it delivered an impressive dynamic range. The TW9200 includes an Auto Iris but you really don't need to engage it as the native blacks are more than good enough. You can use the Auto Iris to improve the perceived dynamic range but in reality, all you'll be doing is losing detail as you crush blacks and clip whites. In addition, the Auto Iris wasn't that quiet, so depending on where you were sat, you could actually hear it in action.
We have generally been impressed with video processing capabilities of Epson's projectors, so it should come as no surprise to discover that the TW9200 was equally as impressive. It was able to fully reproduced the SMPTE colour bar tests for both PAL and NTSC, correctly scaling the full 576i and 480i images without any loss of detail or unwanted ringing. It also sailed through the video deinterlacing and the motion adaptive deinterlacing tests. In the cadence tests the projector continued to perform flawlessly, correctly detecting the 3:2 (NTSC - USA/Japan) format as well as the 2:2 (PAL - European) format. The projector also had no problems displaying mixed film material with scrolling video text and was able to reproduce the text without any shredding or blurring.
The TW9200 performed equally as well in the tests using high definition content and with the player set to 1080i, it correctly deinterlaced and displayed both the video and film resolution tests and showed excellent scaling and filtering performance as well as good resolution enhancement. With 1080i material the projector had no difficulties in showing video text overlaid on film based material and also handled 24p content without any problems. As long as EPSON Super White is on, the TW9200 reproduced all the video levels above reference white (235) up to peak white (255). It also showed detail down to 16 but not below it which means it's correctly reproducing black whilst maintaining appropriate shadow detail.
The motion handling on the TW9200 was reasonably good, although this being a LCD projector it will always remain a weakness. We got about 400 lines on the moving resolution test which is what we would expect, so with camera pans you get some smearing and loss of detail. The TW9200 includes Frame Interpolation software which attempts to address this inherent weakness by using interpolation to improve motion handling. The downside is that it results in artefacts that can be worse than the motion handling itself and these artefacts are more obvious on a large screen. Frame Interpolation, especially the Low setting, can be used with fast paced sports action shot on video but we would recommend turning it off when watching film based content.
Epson TW9200 Picture Quality 2D
Whilst the native blacks aren't as deep as the soon to be discontinued JVC X35 and the dynamic iris isn't as well implemented as it is on the Sony HW55, the Epson remains highly competitive. If you're room isn't ideal or you want to use a very large screen then the TW9200 has the edge over both the Sony and especially the JVC in terms of brightness. The only issue with projecting a very large image using the TW9200 is that the pixel structure will become more apparent. This is unavoidable due to the fill between each pixel on the LCD panels but it does mean that viewing distances are important. Whilst a projector this bright will obviously produce a lot of heat, the TW9200 was surprisingly quiet in operation and we had no problems with dust getting into the light path. Ultimately the TW9200 did exactly what it was designed to do, deliver bright, accurate and detailed big screen images and when watching The Wolf of Wall Street it, it perfectly replicated Martin Scorsese's over-the-top visuals.
Epson TW9200 Video Review
Epson TW9200 Picture Quality 3D
- Excellent blacks and dynamic range
- Good image brightness, even in 3D
- Very good greyscale and colour out-of-the-box
- Reference greyscale and colour after calibration
- Very good greyscale and gamma out-of-the-box
- Comprehensive calibration controls
- Excellent video processing
- Superb 3D performance
- High quality lens with motorised cover
- Lens shift included
- Quiet in operation
- Well designed remote control
- Comprehensive connectivity
- WiHD Transmitter is useful
- Attractive design and excellent build quality
- Motorised lens controls would be useful
- No lens memory feature
- Potential issue with dust blobs
Epson TW9200 3D LCD Projector Review
The out-of-the-box performance was reasonable but thanks to the inclusion of a decent set of calibration controls, the TW9200 could deliver a near reference greyscale and colour performance after calibration. It's also a genuinely bright projector, which is handy for big screens or less-than-ideal rooms, but it manages to deliver a decent black level at the same time. It might not be as black as a JVC and the dynamic iris isn't as well implemented as on a Sony but thanks to its impressive dynamic range the TW9200 more than holds its own. The level of detail is also impressive, largely due to good panel alignment and a decent lens, whilst the overall video processing is excellent.
As a result of Epson concentrating on the important elements of good image reproduction, the TW9200 is a great all-round performer that can deliver excellent pictures in all environments. In addition the 3D is probably the best we have seen from any projector in this price price point, making it an ideal choice if you're a fan. The main competitor to the TW9200 is Sony's HW55 but there really is nothing to differentiate the two, making it a difficult choice for anyone looking to buy a new projector at the moment. As always we would recommend demoing both projectors and then making your mind up but there's no doubt that the Epson EH-TW9200 comes highly recommended.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black levels
2D Picture Quality
3D Picture Quality
Ease Of Use
Value For Money
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