Epson MovieMate 60 Projector Review
December 2009 - Art Feierman
This is an in-depth review of the Epson MovieMate 60, Epson's newest All-in-One projector system for home entertainment.
Epson MovieMate 60 All-In-One Projector - Overview
Less than $700 now buys you a rather versatile and pretty impressive all-in-one projector, these days. The MovieMate 60 is easy to use too. It takes about a minute to plug it in, turn it on and start watching a DVD on the built-in player, or any other source you might want to hook up. Picture quality is pretty good. A pair of 10 watt speakers puts out a very respectable quantity of sound, even if it can't get down into the deep bass ranges to shake the house.
It's been almost two years since we last reviewed an all-in-one projector. The last particularly notable one, was Epson's MovieMate 72, which they still make. The MovieMate 72 is still more expensive, and is higher resolution, with the 720p HDTV resolution as native. This MovieMate 60, although it can't quite match the resolution, is substantially brighter, and has better contrast and blacks. The older MovieMate 72 still commands a much higher price - typically selling for over $1000.
The all-in-one projector market never exploded, as some had hoped. It may be that they haven't hit the price point needed to create huge demand. I've always figured that sweet spot would be $499. Epson's not there yet, but we're getting close, and this MovieMate is a pretty cool entertainment device for the money being spent!
Attention Home Theater Enthusiasts!
If you aren't planning on a nice portable projector system to take on vacation or to drag out back for movie parties, if you aren't curious about these all-in-one projector systems like this MovieMate 60, even if you're not planning to buy one, then this review won't have much for you. On the other hand, it may be a perfect 2nd projector, for the kids, or for the backyard.
That is because this Epson MovieMate 60 is a relatively low cost, highly portable, all-in-one system. While it easily delivers a good value proposition, it is a long way from being an enthusiast's projector. It's not high enough resolution, nor is its image quality performance sufficiently stellar.
That said, for less than $700, you've got a fully functional system - just add a white wall or screen, a power outlet, and a movie on DVD, and you're ready to rumble.
The MovieMate 60 is veratile as well. Not only can you watch from the built in DVD player, but you can hook up a number of different devices. As I've been using the MovieMate 60, I've watched Blu-ray movies from my Sony PS3, watched standard DVD movies from the internal player, I've hooked up my satellite receiver to it as well, and finally, I've even viewed some photos on it, by simply removing the SD card from one of my digital cameras, and interfacing it via the USB port. It's all too easy!
Epson MovieMate 60 Projector Highlights
- Ease of use
- A complete, portable home entertainment, all-in-one projector with speakes and DVD player, and very portable
- Exceptionally bright - a relative "light canon"
- "Out of the box" image performance is very good - it's ready to go
- 1/4 Full HD resolution (WSVGA?) - 960x540 while still below 720p resolution, it's higher resolution than standard DVD. A few years back you could buy stand alone 1/4 HD resolution projectors from the likes of Sanyo, for more than $2000!
- Can double as a viable, portable presentation system, for multi-media, and traditional presentations (like Powerpoint)
- No optical zoom lens, but digital zoom provided
- Outstanding two year warranty - with overnight replacement
- Limited color controls - only three color temperature options
- Full set of inputs - you can hook up Blu-ray player, Satellite/Cable box, and more, plus USB port for viewing images, only one HDMI though, a second would have been nice
- A fun for the whole family product, be it bonus room, family room or back yard - have a blast
Specs for Epson MovieMate 60
MSRP: $799 MAP: $799
Native Resolution: 1/4 HD (960x540)
Brightness: 2000 lumens
Zoom Lens ratio: None, fixed lens but 1.35:1 digital zoom
Lens shift: None
Lamp life: 4000 hours low power (eco-mode), 3000 hours at full lamp power
Weight: 9.3 lbs. (4.2 Kg)
Warranty: 2 Years Parts and Labor, with replacement program both years
Click for more detailed specifications: Epson MovieMate 60
Epson MovieMate 60 Special Features
Projector Lamp Life
The Epson MovieMate 60 offers the single longest lamp life, I can ever remember seeing for a front projection unit. Of course the one or two high priced LED light source projectors will last longer, but 4000 hours with lamp at full power, and 5000 hours in low power, is sensational. The lamp cost is about the lowest around, as well - only $159! That's only something like $0.07 for a two hour movie. That's probably less cost for the lamp than for the cost of the electricity! In other words, the lamp cost is not of great consequence. And certainly not compared to any other projector product around.
Doubles as a Widescreen Business Projector
The MovieMate 60 probably isn't your first choice as a portable business projector. It weighs in at just over nine pounds. Remember though, it's got a built in DVD player if that helps with your presentation, and rather hefty sound capability compared to almost any lightweight portable business projector. Hey, it even has a carry handle, something a lot more biz projectors could use.
The only real downside as a business projector, is the resosolution which is a little below XGA, and a step down from WXGA. It's not going to be great projecting spreadsheets with lots of tiny text and numbers, but will do just fine with nice Powerpoint type presentations.
In other words, it will work in a pinch, and if that tax write-off as a business projector should happen to you some bucks, well, that works out well for you.
All-in-One with DVD Player, Sound
That's right, it's not a projector, it's a full system, let's call it a Home Theater Projector In a Box: HTPIB. Well, whatever you call it, the MovieMate 60 has built in DVD, and a USB connection for photo input, plus enough other inputs to hook up whatever you have to. Interestingly, though, it lacks an S-video. S-video is often an easy way to hook up a Nintendo, for example. That's OK, there are other ways. The MovieMate 60 also offers an audio out with a digital coax output. Perfect if you have a DVD playing and a surround sound system you would like to play it through.
The system rocks pretty well. In my office/testing room/theater 2, it can easily reach defening levels, with a warm sound and lots of mid-range. It's thin on bass, but what can you expect from a complete system smaller than almost any mini sub-woofer.
Use a typical low cost USB memory card adapter, and plug in an SD card or whatever your digital camera uses. The MovieMate 60 will allow you to view the images, using a basic folder navigation system, and a slideshow player. Not overly fancy, but definitely functional.