Top positive review
5 people found this helpful
Great if you can get a good price.
on 5 January 2015
Got this during a one-day special at £299 in November 2014.
I previously owned an Epson standard-def projector a few years ago which I liked a lot, hence my preference for the brand, but to be honest, it was a bit of an impulse buy. I liked having a projector for movies and a few games, still had a screen in the loft and wanted to get it running again.
Very pleased with the TW490, it has good build quality and doesn't feel cheap at all, very light weight, and easy to set up. I even think it's a reasonably attractive unit with a kind of 'carbon fibre' effect on the case. The built-in lens cover is a nice touch.
Out of the box picture is very good. Black levels are not amazing, but the auto-iris helps. I found the "dynamic" setting to be the best with the Colour Temp set to Low and Auto-iris set to Fast. The iris makes a bit of noise, but I didn't notice while watching a movie and it helps by dimming the lamp when the scene is dark.
We have a similarly priced and spec Benq DLP projector at work which I have borrowed before for a couple of days, and which seems to be pretty much typical for the price (about £400). While it has better black levels than the Epson, that is only really of benefit if you have a light controlled room with fairly dark walls because except for completely black scenes, the light from the screen bounces off our beige walls and lights up the screen. Therefore you will never see true black in a living room space from any projector. The lamp is bright enough that it's not necessary to black out the room (or even dim the room lights on full power!), so this works well as a 'lifestyle' device.
The issue with budget DLPs is the rainbow-coloured after images which are caused because a DLP projects each colour sequentially and relies on persistence of vision to merge colours together. They are not too bad if you are watching a Powerpoint with a static image, but when playing a game where you are scanning your eyes around the screen I can really see the coloured after images which are quite annoying to me. I am sure more expensive DLP units overcome this, but not at £300. This is not a problem for the LCD technology however, and the colours are great from the TW490 and it's comfortable to watch with no flicker or rainbows.
The fan is a bit noisy on standard power, but you would only need that for daylight viewing, the Eco mode is quiet and bright enough for evening viewing. It has a built in speaker but I don't use it, as I have an 'all-in-one' home cinema - it's only useful for presentations that might include a couple of videos, or maybe for a just a quick set-up with a games console. If you use it as a portable projector, a carry-bag is included, and the projector is very light to carry round. It has something called 'auto keystone' which is good for portable use as you can basically plonk it down anywhere and it will automatically square up the image, and it will save some set-up time before a meeting (with some loss of resolution however, so don't use this function it if using for a home cinema).
I have it wall mounted up behind the sofa with a 100-inch screen just under 3m away and even though it is not "Full-HD", it's not like you can count the individual pixels from the sofa. Mounting it higher up also helps with noise.
So recommended for a budget model if you can get the same price as me or better, but at the current list price I think it might be worth looking around at the competition.
Update after few weeks:
Seems the lamp has settled in now and I have played around with the settings more. I now like it even more than my first impressions. My wife is totally amazed and we have had some great movie nights. My only regret now is maybe holding out for the 3D version, the TW-550.