Rolling into the holiday season, Epson has launched several new and updated home theater projectors that span from $600 to $1,000. New, inexpensive HD projectors that throw a ton of light are always welcome.
Perhaps most interesting are some updates to projectors we’ve looked at before, notably the Home Cinema 2150 that we liked a lot. The prices have gone up too, but not by a lot. Here’s a look at what’s new.
1080p projectors under $1,000
Four of Epson’s sub-$1,000 PJs are getting upgrades. Let’s start with the cheaper two.
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The 880 is the successor to the 760HD. This formerly 800p projector is now 1080p now with an impressive 3,300 lumens. Low-end Epson projectors historically looked washed out. Hopefully this new chip will improve that issue. In that vein, the 880 gets a nice contrast ratio bump, claimed anyway, to bring it closer to the 2150’s specs. The price goes up by $50 to $600, but that’s a lot of light and resolution for that price. However, there’s no longer any optical zoom.
The 1060 becomes the 1080, which also moves up by $50 to $750. Brightness gets a slight bump to 3,400. It retains its predecessor’s 1080p resolution, but gains Miracast for wireless connectivity. We didn’t find the wireless aspect to be a big draw for the 2150, not when Roku and Amazon streaming sticks are so inexpensive and easy to use, and can be powered by the USB connection on most projectors.
Read more: Home theater projectors: 6 things to know before you buy
As mentioned we reviewed the 2150, which is very similar to its sibling, the 2100. Both are being replaced, but the replacements are more differentiated. Both now have a claimed brightness of 2,700 lumens, up 200. Both now have Android TV built in but lose an HDMI input. That’s where things split.
The 2200 loses the 2100’s lens shift and some of its zoom range, two of the main things we liked about the 2100/2150. The 2200 is up $50 to $900, the 2250 is up $100, to $1,000. That’s a disappointing increase, but still a reasonable price for a projector like this. Without lens shift and a weaker zoom, the 2200 on the other hand seems a bit of a non-contender, since like-priced DLP projectors will likely offer higher contrast while also lacking lens shift and having a mediocre zoom. The addition of Android TV is great, but again, streaming sticks are so cheap this isn’t a huge deal.
So it seems, on paper at least, the 2250 is a slight improvement over the 2150, for a bit more money. It’s not quite an even trade, additional features/additional money, but it’s in the ballpark. We expect to review the new model soon.
Semi-portable with lasers (and still under $1,000)
We reviewed the Epson EF-100, a small, bright projector that came with an Android dongle for streaming and used a laser light engine. It was cleverly designed, if a bit pricy. Epson has decided to triple down on the EF-100’s general idea with two new options.
The EF11 is very similar to the EF-100. The overall shape looks the same, but is actually a bit smaller and loses some of the EF-100’s good looks. The bare black box is $800, a full $100 less than the EF-100. It’s about half as bright, but has 1080p resolution compared to the EF-100’s 800p.
Looking like the Megamind version of the EF11, the EF12 goes vertical on the same footprint. Inside its cranium is a Yamaha-designed multidriver sound system. An entire home theater in, if you will, a box. There’s even Bluetooth so you can use it to play music when you’re not watching a movie. It too is 1080p, but adds HDR processing. Like the EF11, it’s rated at 1,000 lumens. Unlike the EF11, it has Android TV streaming built in and costs $1,000.
EpiqVision ultra-short throw (and more expensive)
A bit higher up in the market, Epson has also launched two new ultra-short throw projectors. The LS500, available now, is 4K HDR and features a laser light source with the ability to create a 100-inch or larger image from just a few inches away. It can create a 60-inch screen from just one inch away. It’s $5,000 paired with a 100-inch ambient light-rejecting screen or $6,000 for a 120-inch screen.
The LS300 is a 1080p HDR version, but adds an integrated Yamaha-designed 2.1 speaker system as well as Android TV.
Alone, the LS300 costs $2,000. Paired with an ambient light-reflecting 100-inch screen, it’s $3,000, or $4,000 paired with a 120-inch. It’s available starting in November.
As well as covering TV and other display tech, Geoff does photo tours of cool museums and locations around the world, including nuclear submarines, massive aircraft carriers, medieval castles, airplane graveyards and more.
You can follow his exploits on Instagram and YouTube, and on his travel blog, BaldNomad. He also wrote a bestselling sci-fi novel about city-sized submarines, along with a sequel.