Known as the Epson Home Cinema 3200 in the US and as the EH-TW7000 elsewhere around the world, Epson's new mid-range projector is all about affordability.
Sold for around $1,500/£1,200, the 3200/EH-TW7000 is the slightly less expensive sibling of the 3800/EH-TW7100, and offers 4K HDR playback using a pixel-shifting workaround called E-Shift sees a 4K image split into two Full HD images, with each one projected side-by-side to create an ‘enhanced’ 4K image.
This feature allows it to claim the title of being a 4K-ready projector without the high-end price tag of 'true 4K' projectors, but the 3200/EH-TW7000 does lack a few niceties that its sister includes for relatively little additional spend.
Measuring 410x310x157 mm and weighing 6.6kg, the gloss white, soft curves of the 3200/EH-TW7000 make it acceptable on a coffee table, and it’s easy to set-up thanks to a couple of manual lens shift levers that allow it to be positioned way off-center. (Though, if you need it, there’s also some electronic keystone correction to get the geometry dead-on.)
Pointed at our 80-inch screen, the 3200/EH-TW7000’s 1.62 optical zoom meant positioning it about 3m away to get a good image. It’s capable of producing images from as small as 40-inches in diameter to as large as 500-inches, though we’d advise keeping it down to 100-inches or so if you really want to appreciate the 4K-like detail.
The supplied remote control has large and well labelled buttons, though it’s the touch-sensitive orange backlight we love most. There’s a button to switch between its colour modes; Dynamic, Bright Cinema, Natural and Cinema. It also includes access to a colour management system where you can make endless manual adjustments.
Built around Epson’s 3LCD light engine, the 3200/EH-TW7000 is designed to be used occasionally in living rooms – most likely for sporting events, movie nights and gaming at varying times of day (and, therefore, daylight) – and outputs in a bright 3,000 lumens. However, it’s less capable on contrast than the 3800/EH-TW7100, with just a 40,000:1 quoted contrast ratio. Still, the 3200/EH-TW7000 ought to be able to create likeable images picture quality daylight hours.
However, this is a projector that’s as much about convenience as core quality. Cue its built-in 10W speakers and, more impressively, Bluetooth audio connectivity, which sees the 3200/EH-TW7000 able to stream wireless audio to a soundbar or speaker - a handy feature if you want even better sound.
The 3200/EH-TW7000’s two HDMI inputs can accept streaming sticks such as Amazon’s Fire Stick and Google’s Chromecast, making 4K HDR material from the likes of Netflix and Amazon possible, and on the rear are all of its connections, including the aforementioned HDMI inputs, two USB ports, a 3.5mm stereo mini jack audio output, a 12V trigger and RS232C for attaching the 3200/EH-TW7000 to a home control system. Its lamp is rated at 5,000 hours in ‘economy’ mode.
The 3200/EH-TW7000 can handle HDR, being compatible with both HDR10 and Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) content, and it also claims 10-bit colour processing.
At the core of the 3200/EH-TW7000 is some excellent pixel shifting and a 12-element lens that together produce sharp-looking 4K footage. That’s quite an accomplishment given that the 3200/EH-TW7000 is technically capable of displaying only around 25% of the detail possible from - a horrifically expensive - native 4K projector.
There are some semi-useful picture presets; Dynamic Cinema (for watching sports in daylight), Bright Cinema (for watching movies in daylight), Cinema (for a blackout) and Natural. Like virtually all home projectors, the 3200/EH-TW7000 is not bright enough to squeeze-out everything from HDR content, but it gives it a really good go.
Fed a few episodes of Stranger Things in 4K HDR from Netflix, the 3200/EH-TW7000’s images contain plenty of dynamic colour and bright highlight details. However, during the many gloomy scenes the 3200/EH-TW7000 does demonstrate its lack of native contrast, with the result being some pretty average-looking black levels that see a greyish block where a pricier projector could tease-out detail.
The 3200/EH-TW7000 also includes a couple of settings that don’t work in ‘4K Enhancement’ mode: The first is 3D, which virtually no-one cares about. The second is Epson’s frame interpolation video processing, which compensates for motion by generating extra frames to insert into the existing content to bring more fluidity. It’s much disliked by home cinema aficionados, but not everyone.
When used selectively the glossy, video-like look that frame interpolation creates on the 3200/EH-TW7000 is often very watchable and gets rid of motion blur and judder during camera pans. It’s theoretically best used on sports, and it worked well during a blast of Six Nations rugby. It works best on grand-looking TV spectacles like Blue Planet II, when gorgeous panoramas are mostly ruined by judder, but we also tried it on sitcoms.
Speaking of sitcoms, during our test the 3200/EH-TW7000 breathed new life into an ageing episode of Frasier, simultaneously proving that it could handle soft standard definition material just as well as HD and 4K. Now that's hugely helpful.
Bluetooth streaming on a projector is an excellent idea. It means you can wirelessly hook-up the 3200/EH-TW7000 to most soundbars or, just as likely, a pair of Bluetooth headphones. What’s more, the 3200/EH-TW7000 includes aptX HD so supports 24-bit music quality over Bluetooth.
However, the 3200/EH-TW7000’s built-in speakers also impress for casual use. They’re not going to do justice to the immersive soundtrack of a sci-fi movie, but the two 10W speakers are absolutely fine for gaming and watching sports.
The brighter a projector is, the more noise its fan makes to cool it down. The 3200/EH-TW7000 is rated at 32 dB in ‘normal’ mode and 24 dB in ‘economy’, and at no time were we concerned about how loud it was.
The 3200/EH-TW7000 is a fine all-rounder for projector enthusiasts. It's a 4K-ready and HDR-capable projector that doesn’t break the bank, and we love that the 3200/EH-TW7000 adds wireless audio to a soundbar or headphones.
Capable of being used at all times of the day, it’s during a blackout that the 3200/EH-TW7000’s shortcomings with contrast are exposed, but that really shouldn’t put you off as 4K-capable projectors in this price range usually aren't all that contrast-rich.
Overall this is a good value and affordable projector that, for occasional users, will bring forth years of great quality home entertainment by day and by night.
- Expect to see this one on our list of the best projectors