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

The bottom line on skin tones is that they should be just wonderful for normal folks, and for that matter enthusiasts might not find them to be a problem either (if everything else about the MovieMate was enthusiast quality). Enthusiasts with families may even love the MovieMate – (especially if it keeps the kids out of the “big theater”). Take for example, these rather respectable skin tones from Casino Royale, The Fifth Element, and Invincible.

Epson MovieMate 85HD Black Levels & Shadow Detail

Black level performance leaves much to be desired. On the other hand, shadow detail is definitely pretty good.

Let’s talk black level performance first. Although the MovieMate 85 claims 3000:1, it accomplishes its contrast with the help of a dynamic iris. That can lower blacks on really dark scenes, but over all, on brighter scenes, doesn’t really bring anything to the party. Blacks show as fairly medium dark gray. I’m of course used to looking for nearly fully black blacks (very, very, very, dark, dark, gray). The combination of being an LCD projector with its inherent lower native contrast, and a low cost projector, leaves much to be desired on dark scenes.

In fairness, this projector is also, in Movie mode, about 2x as bright as the average home theater projector’s “best” mode, and its “brightest” mode is well over 2x the average “bright” mode. That alone is enough to make for brighter blacks, even if they were far better.

Over all, even on average scenes, looking carefully, you definitely notice that blacks could be blacker. In a side by side with a good $2000 projector it would be no contest. Corolla vs. Porsche 911.

Yet for all of that, I watched much of the A-Team, and all of the Expendables on the MovieMate 85HD, and I survived without difficulty.

Black Levels & Shadow Detail

Epson MovieMate-85HD
Epson MovieMate-8700ub
Epson MovieMate-hc4000
Epson MovieMate-VPL-HW15
Epson MovieMate-85HD
+Epson MovieMate-8700ub

 

 

 

(That’s without difficulty, not completely without complaint – I am spoiled, after all.)

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