Epson MovieMate 85HD – A Review of An All-in-One Home Projector

Epson MovieMate 85HD Projector Overview

The Epson MovieMate 85HD is not only Epson’s latest all-in-one or combo projector, but, it seems that, at least here in the US, Epson is the only company offering these portable projectors with built in DVD players, and speakers…

Worth noting, there are now a couple of unusual new combo projectors – essentially portable audio sytems – that have built in pico projectors, but that’s a whole different animal. In fact we plan a little shoot-out between the MovieMate 85D, and the new Optoma Neo-i – basically sort of a iPhone type speaker system with base, like the iHome, JBL, etc. but with a projector.

 

The MovieMate 85HD, first of all, is true HD – the 85HD is officially 720p or standard HDTV resolution (1080p is the highest HDTV), and that’s still 2.25 times the resolution of a standard DVD player (like the one that’s built in). Of course it has a nice set of inputs, so you can hook up additional devices. The HDMI input, for example can be used for a satellite or cable box, or a Blu-ray player… Let’s make this clear right now. The MovieMate 85HD may look just fine with a standard DVD in its slot, but it sure will look significantly better if you feed it a Blu-ray player and good Blu-ray disc content.

The MovieMate also has audio – a fair amount – a pair of 10 watt speakers. An optional subwoofer can be added for those interested in shaking the walls a bit.

Mostly though, the MovieMate 85HD can be summarized as a cool, portable projection system that’s ready to go. All you need to add is some electricity, a screen or fairly white wall, and something to watch!

It should be great device for the whole family, starting with the kids – to use in their play room, a bonus room, or perhaps the whole family wants to watch a sporting event or a movie, or maybe the head geek in the family wants to play some video games – on the really big screen!

How big? Plenty of power for my 140+ inch inflatable screen out back at night, should I choose to. Remember, this MovieMate is brighter than tradtional home theater projectors (about twice the lumens of an average home projector), in part because it has to be able to tackle varied challenging rooms and situations.

In reality, the 2500 lumens should be enough to do a decent job in many family rooms that can’t be properly darkened. In the evening, of course just kill some lights, and enjoy. You definitely don’t need a super dark room, especially for sports, though movies are always best in the dark. For perspective, the average home theater projector only does about 500 lumens in its best mode, and not much beyond 1000 lumens at its very brightest.

The MovieMate 85HD comes with a soft padded neoprene (I think) “sleeve” that it fits into, and which wraps around the extendable handle when you are carrying the projector. It also has a remote control, with glow in the dark keys. The projector is reasonably portable – under 10 pounds. Not bad for something with a built in DVD player, and a couple of decent speakers, in addition to the projector itself.

Epson MovieMate 85HD Projector Highlights

  • An all-in-one projector – just add electricity, and a DVD, and you are in business
  • Good selection of inputs, including an HDMI for HD content, VGA input for a computer, component video and more
  • Reasonable sound for movies, sports, plus a coaxial audio out, you can use to drive a typical powered subwoofer, if you really want to rock the house
  • Audible noise on the high side, but not significantly noisier, than say the typical DLP home theater projector
  • It’s portable – room to room – take on vacation – use in the back yard for movie night
  • Excellent warranty for this class of product – 2 years parts/labor

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