Epson MovieMate 85HD Projector - Performance
2/10/2011 - Art Feierman
In this section we consider the brightness, sharpness, and image noise of the Epson MovieMate 85HD home theater projector. Also considered are the physical attributes of light leakage and audible noise.
Epson MovieMate 85HD Brightness
Since we don't calibrate all-in-one projectors, and don't do full measurements on them, Mike gets a break, and I get to break out my light meter. We measured all four pre-set modes:
Lumen Output and Color Temp at 100 IRE (mid zoom):
Dynamic= 2552 lumens
Living Room= 2543 lumens (no statistical difference from Dynamic)
Theatre= 1132 lumens
Game= 2536 (also no statistical difference compared to Dynamic or Livingroom)
Please note: All three bright modes are different, but interestingly they all measured within 2% of each other. The Game mode more green than the other two, less desireable for non-game viewing.
Modes - Below are the same image, same camera exposure, showing the differences in the primary viewing modes.
Low lamp will drop the MovieMate 85HD's brightness from 2552 lumens to 1857 lumens in Dynamic mode.
That works out to a 27.2% drop in brightness from Normal power.
That same 27% and change drop should hold true for Eco-mode, with any of the pre-set modes.
With a 1.2:1 zoom lens, there will be some small increase in lumens by going to full wide angle mode (largest image), from telephoto (which we used for measurements). Normally we measure mid-point, but due to the placement of the MovieMate, Telephoto had to do in this situation. Figure that zooming in to full wide angle will probably add another 50 to 150 lumens, not a serious difference in the grand scheme of things!
Epson MovieMate 85HD Sharpness
Over all, the sharpness is very good. Mind you, to our current knowledge, this is the only 720p all-in-one projector sold in the US at this time. Optoma who has made several all-in-ones over the years, has been quiet, and they never have had one with HD resolution.
The projector's convergence is off a fair amount - close to a pixel, which likely adds a touch of softness. Of course, on the high def content, a 1080p projector will normally look sharper, but, having worked with 720p projectors over a full generation, there's nothing wrong with this Epson's overall sharpness.
Yes, almost any comparably priced DLP home projector will look as sharp, or a touch sharper, but not enough to impact viewing enjoyment for the normal target market for the MovieMate.
For your consideration, our usual close up images, with all but the MovieMate, being stand alone projectors.
Left: MovieMate 85HD, Left Center - Optoma HD71 (720p), Center Right - Vivitek H1080FD (1080p), Right - Vivitek H1080FD (1080p)
Epson MovieMate 85HD: Bottom Line Sharpness
As 720p projectors go, this MovieMate 85HD is probably about typical in sharpness compared to stand alone 720p LCD home projectors, and a tiny bit less sharp, overall, than the those 720p DLP models. That said, differences are slight, and of little consequence. If you want a significant jump in sharpness for 1080p content, you'll need a 1080p projector.
There is minimal leakage from this Epson. That said, the minimal amount does come out of the air vent on the right side (looking from the back). It's only an issue if you are sitting there right to the side (but the hot air from the exhaust would be the bigger issue). There is enough light leaking out past the fan, that you will almost certainly see it covering a small area to the right, if your walls are light, and the scene being projected, fairly dark.
Now that I've said all that, don't worry about it. It's not significant, not unless you've got your head planted within 2 feet of that exhaust.
No problems here worth considering, for an all-in-one projector. That is, to say, no overt image noise issues, and certainly none that would bother someone not a hard core enthusiast.
With a 33db / 29 db full power/eco-mode claim, that makes this Epson MovieMate 85HD noisy compared to the average stand alone projector, but, in reality, it's fine for family room situations. The fan noise, though a bit loud, for example, isn't as noisy as my PS3 Blu-ray / game machine. Again, worrying about this level of audible noise normally requires someone really into performance, and that isn't a MovieMate all-in-one buyer. Consider that the just reviewed $1499 Viewsonic Pro8200, a 1080p projector only claims to be 2 db quieter at full power. (2db is just barely enough to notice). In reality, though, that Vivitek does drop more in audible noise going to Eco mode, than the MovieMate does, so in low power mode the difference in noise levels is that of slightly above average (Vivitek) to noisy (for a low power mode) for the MovieMate 85HD.