Epson MovieMate 25 Review: Summary, Pros, Cons
To summarize the MovieMate 25 - Easy! Easy to place in your room, easy to hook up, and easy to use. Excellent price/performance. Fun! And if that's not enough, a great warranty, from a company already well known for building extremely reliable products.
It is my belief that if you are a purist looking for the highest posible image quality, in a low cost solution for watching movies, an all-in-one projector is probably not the solution for you. You would be better served by going with an entry level dedicated home theater projector, like the Optoma H27, or InFocus 4805 (and almost certainly InFocus's brand new IN72 that will replace their 4805). There are others too, like the Epson Home 20, which we haven't reviewed yet, as well as the BenQ PE5120...
But, the MovieMate does exactly what it is designed to do. Provide a good quality solution for movies, video game playing, TV watching, etc., on a really large screen - a size well beyond the largest big screen TVs and plasma displays. It will also show your photos if you put them on a CD, and it plays regular CDs and also MP3 music on CD. That makes it one versatile and impressive entertainment center.
On top of that, a MovieMate can project an 80" diagonal image, or 100", even larger, for around the $1000 mark. A 65" big screen TV is twice that cost, and a 65" plasma - well, you are looking at closer to $10,000.
So, a MovieMate will give you that theater level of immersion for far less than much smaller images using other technologies. All you have to do is keep in mind that it works best in a dark room, and really can't handle more than a very small amount of ambient light. The big screens can handle a lot more light, and plasmas, more still.
I only hooked the MovieMate up briefly to cable, but did watch about 15 minutes of some NBA basketball, and about five minutes of DiscoveryHD channel. I certainly would rather have the MovieMate for that game, than watch some tiny 50" big screen TV. And DiscoveryHD was also very impressive. Of course the MovieMate isn't true HD, but with the same resolution as DVD, it is still a magnitude better than conventional television viewing.
Getting back to the all-in-one concept, the MovieMate is so easy to use, that a regular TV with separate DVD player starts looking complicated. For movie watching you should be able to take the MovieMate 25 out of its box brand new, plug it in, focus it onto the screen or wall, and start watching a movie within a couple of minutes. You don't even have to figure out how to hook up a DVD player. Want to watch TV? Easy, run a single S-video or composite video, from your cable box or satellite dish, and you have video. For audio, you could run the audio through your existing stereo our surround sound, or run a second cable from the cable box or satellite, to the Moviemate.Hooking up a game machine like X-Box or Playstation, same process as cable or satellite. A single cable for the video.
It couldn't be easier. And it is small enough and light enough to move quickly from room to room, or take to a friends house, or even with you on vacation!
- Excellent color accuracy
- Bright image
- Multiple presets for different room environments and sources
- Good quality sound
- Extremely easy to use
- Easy to hook up
- Great price performance
- Horizontal and vertical lens shift, for easy placement
- Zoom lens with plenty of zoom range, for easy placement
- Designed with also playing music in mind (you can use the projector for music with the lamp turned off, so as not to waste lamp hours) Plays standard CD's, music DVD's and even MP3 files on CD.
- Excellent warranty
- One of the best manuals around
- Anticipated excellent reliability (based on Epson's superb track record for many years)
- Lacks component inputs or digital (DVI/HDMI)
- Remote is not backlit (glow in the dark keys just don't glow bright enough)
- Pixels are more visible than competing products using DLP technology - making screen door effect more likely if you sit close. This makes it not the best choice for a purist looking for a perfect movie machine
- Bass - while overall sound is good, the provided (and conveniently small) sub-woofer doesn't have as much kick as some competing products.
- If you like to tinker, the image controls are somewhat limited, but, again, not a projector for people who want to tweak the image
- Layout of the remote control is very good, but due to all the capabilities of an all-in-one, it seems like there are a million buttons to navigate
- Styling - it's a box! - almost a cube! Clean looking, but its not going to end up in the Museum of Modern Art
- Sound quality - I mentioned that a competitor provides a bigger, more powerful subwoofer, but the Epson sounds good, on both movies and CDs. I don't think anyone will complain at all!
If you have a thousand dollars or so, want a system for the kids, or for the whole family that can be set up in a minute, and watch movies, TV or play games and music, this Epson all-in-one home entertainment system is really hard to beat.
Too bad it's spring time. The Epson MovieMate 25 certainly will make a great holiday stocking stuffer for the whole family.
If you have that $1000 or so, you will be hard pressed to go wrong with the Epson MovieMate 25.