Epson MovieMate 85HD – A Review of An All-in-One Home Projector
This MovieMate 85HD, being an all-in-one projector system, is so much more of a family friendly in-home or portable device, than a dedicated home theater, that we do not show near as many images, nor go into as much detail as we do for pure home theater projector reviews.
Remember that the process of getting an image off the screen, and on to your computer screen, requires many steps, each taking its toll on image accuracy. Take the images with more than a “grain of salt”, there will be some color shifting, and it’s pretty safe to say, that the projector itself will put images up on the screen that look better than any of these images that you view on your computer.
Epson MovieMate 85HD Out of the Box Picture Quality
“Out of the box” picture quality is what you get with the MovieMate 85HD. There are only very limited controls. Even if we wanted to calibrate this Epson MovieMate, there are no controls for tuning color temp (just a choice of three presets). Yes, you can affect Brightness, Contrast, Tint and Saturation, and choose from the five color presets (Dynamic, Movie…) but that’s about it…
So, how good does the MovieMate do?
For what it is, rather well. Look, if you are an “enthusiast” demanding the maximum picture quality for your dollar, this MovieMate isn’t the ticket. You can buy 720p stand alone projectors (DLP models) from about $600 – $800, that is, for a bit less than the MovieMate (but without the all-in-one features). Those projectors mostly will have much better adjustment controls, and should, in the end, if calibrated, produce an image superior to the 85HD.
The thing is, your kids won’t care, whether younger ones, or teenagers. Actually, you probably won’t either. Let’s take my 18 year old daughter for example. She helps out with the site, knows projectors pretty well, and their features. (She can spot CFI – smooth motion, when it’s on, almost instantly. And she knows by looking, which projectors have what I call ultra high contrast blacks). My daughter’s reaction to the MovieMate 85HD, nonetheless, would probably be something like this:
“Hmm, that’s not a great picture – blacks aren’t good, although it looks pretty good. Wow, cool – it’s really bright…” And then she’d sit right down and watch a movie on it and not care at all, (or enough to complain) that it doesn’t look as good as a top performing $2000 or $5000 stand alone projector. In fact she could pick up a better projector and hook it right up, if she cared, but wouldn’t.
In other words, hard core, projector performance enthusiasts – this isn’t designed for us… Although, in fairness, it seems to be the highest performance all-in-one projector around. Still, it might be perfect for our families, or something to recommend to friends who have no tolerance for the level of “perfection” we enthusiasts seek, demand, etc.
Epson MovieMate 85HD Projector – Flesh Tones
In Theatre mode, the skin tones are pretty good, especially for a relatively affordable all-in-one projector, and no calibration. Without the calibration controls of a more serious stand alone projector, you can’t really do much of anything to affect the skin tones, but, as I mentioned above, most folks don’t care. Hey, my wife’s 40″ Sony LCDTV spends all of its life in some Vivid mode, that is definitely more “over the top” and at least as inaccurate at skin tones, than this MovieMate, and I can tell you that that particular tiny 40″ set cost more than the MovieMate 85HD.
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