How to create a cinema in your home for less than $2000
What if I told you it was possible to have a cinema in your home for less than $2000?
Enter Espon's EF-100B.
The $1699 portable laser projector promises to deliver a HD picture up to 150 inches, while also removing the added expenses and hassles found with older home theatre projection units.
Nine.com.au recently got hands-on with the unit to test these claims. This is what I found:
The EF-100 has been designed with portability in mind, weighing just 2.7kg and measuring 22.7cm on its longest side.
By using a laser light source and placing the air vents and the power inlet on the side of the projector, Espon has created the ability to use the product horizontally on a wall or screen, or for it to be flipped vertically with the image broadcast on the roof.
The projector comes in white or black. I tested the black unit and was very impressed with the simplicity and elegance of the design, which has a faux leather finish, copper edges and rounded corners.
For those seeking to use it for streaming, the projector supports devices such as the Amazon Fire TV Stick or Google Chromecast. By using one of these units, your projector essentially has the same capabilities as any smart TV on the market.
The downside is that those who want to switch between multiple gaming consoles or other devices might struggle, as there is only a single HDMI 2.0 port for the entire projector.
A full-size remote gives you access to navigate all the functions of the projector, with several buttons also located on the top of the device.
The laser light source features 3LCD technology, projects at 2,000lm in colour brightness with a dynamic contrast of 2,500,000:1.
What this means for the average punter is the projector can offer bright and vibrant images without the need to use the product in a darkened room like most projectors. But there are limits.
When using the product without any of my curtains closed I did struggle to see some of the brighter parts of the image. This may not be a deal breaker as similar conditions would also make television models suffer. Closing my curtains also fixed this issue.
If you were looking to get the most out of the of the product it would be worth setting it up in a room without too much ambient light.
The fixed WXGA resolution (1080 x 800) isn't going to offer the Full HD or 4K viewing experience other products on the market do, but it is something buyers will struggle to find on any product at this price point.
There's also the ability to tweak the image using presents – I found dynamic worked best across all conditions.
The laser technology used by the EF-100B means the projector has a long shelf-life, promising at least at least 20,000 hours of viewing.
The EF-100W/B has built-in speakers which provide decent audio, but they are going to be underwhelming for those wanting an authentic home theatre experience – especially given the lack of bass.
Thankfully, the device has Bluetooth connectivity for external speakers and headphone jack.
In my testing, the projector connected seamlessly to my Samsung sound bar using Bluetooth and even gave me the option to tweak the sound mode depending on the content I was watching.
The EF-100 worked to ensure the cooling fan doesn't distract too much from the content and while it's much better than other models I have used, you will still hear a mild buzzing sound.
SHOULD I BUY IT?
This product probably isn't going to replace your TV for everyday use anytime soon, but if you were looking to create a home theatre experience, it's an affordable solution.
The price point does come at the expense of a few features – mainly the ability to connect multiple devices at the same time.
Overall, the image quality is impressive, the product looks great and it's very easy to use.
If I were ever in the market for a projector to use occasionally, I would strongly consider this as a viable option.
However, if you were looking for something for more than part-time usage, it could be worth spending the extra money to grab a model with more premium features.
Continue the conversation with Matthew Dunn on Facebook or Twitter.
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2019