The Epson Home Cinema 660 is one of three new projectors just announced by Epson. The three differ in a few small ways, with the Home Cinema 760HD and Home Cinema 1060 having higher resolution, and, of course, a higher price point. The three models make up Epson’s new value line of projectors and fall below $700.
At 3,300 lumens, the Home Cinema 660 is bright enough to shine through a considerable amount of ambient light. It has SVGA (800 x 600) resolution and decent connectivity, making this 3LCD projector one to consider if you’re looking for a projector that will fit your 4:3 aspect ratio screen.
In this First Look Review of the Epson Home Cinema 660, we will provide an overview of the product, as well as discuss the projector’s more exciting features and benefits, differences from the two other projectors in the line, and review the 660’s highlights.
Before we continue – what is a First Look Review? It’s something between our full-fledged reviews where we spend lots of time both watching projectors perform, and playing with the projector’s full feature set, and, the other extreme - putting up a manufacturer’s press release, as loaded with hype as they are, (as many sites do).
In some cases, our First Look Reviews are done after we have had a brief look at the projector – at our facility, typically for just a few days. Other times, such as this time, we haven’t had a chance to play with the projector. In such cases, our goal is to apply a mix of insight and common sense to describe how this projector might fit your needs.
This is something we like to do, especially when the projector is just announced, is expected to be very popular, and/or is a direct descendant (with limited differences) with a projector we’ve already reviewed. Enjoy!
Let’s talk about that resolution. As mentioned, it’s SVGA (800 x 600). Why would a person want an SVGA projector that produces a square image like their old TVs when they could have HD resolution? The answer: This is a projector for people who want high brightness for a low price. The truth is, Epson just hasn’t figured out a way to provide a high brightness, 3LCD projector with HD resolution for such a low cost.
The Home Cinema 660 is priced at $359.99, making it competitive with pico and pocket projectors for a space in your home. When you’re shopping for a projector in this price range, there tends to be a few trade-offs. You can have a projector with higher resolution, but it will have low brightness – probably somewhere around 200 lumens or so, and possibly even as low as 80 lumens. That just doesn’t cut it when you’ve got ambient light to deal with. If you want high brightness, you’re generally going to have to give up high resolution, or else go with a projector that costs a bit more.
That said, the Home Cinema 660 isn’t intended to compete with its siblings, the Home Cinema 760HD and 1060. I’ll go into the differences between each, of which there are few, in another section of this First Look Review.
The Epson Home Cinema 660 claims 3,300 lumens. That’s quite impressive for the price, considering what we just discussed in the paragraphs above. It has a 2-watt mono speaker, which isn’t incredibly loud but should be suitable for small rooms. What’s confusing to me is that this projector has such a small speaker, yet no input on the back for external speakers.
WHY NOT? That’s such a basic feature that I can’t even fathom why they’d make a projector without an audio out input. Not only that, but I can’t quite figure out how they can justify having no way to connect external speakers when the fan noise is so loud! 37db at full power. To be fair, the fan noise in ECO Mode is pretty quiet – 27db – and you’re not likely to lose too much brightness in ECO Mode. I suppose that’s the workaround. But really? It’s 2017, and the people need speakers!
What it does have is this: two USBs (Type A and Type B), an RCA audio/video input (this brings sound in from an external source, such as the old-school PlayStations from the 90s), a VGA computer input, and a single HDMI port. The USB Type A is for PC-free playback and the USB Type B is used for connecting a computer for easy plug-and-play projection.
HOME CINEMA 660 HIGHLIGHTS
- 3LCD Projection Technology
- SVGA (800 x 600) Resolution
- 3,300 Color and White Lumens – Bright enough to handle a good amount of ambient light
- 15,000:1 Contrast Ratio
- Great Lamp Life – 10,000 Hours at Full Power, 6,000 in ECO Mode
- Vertical and Horizontal Keystone Correction
- 35:1 Manual Zoom
- Built-in 2-Watt Mono Speaker
- Light-Weight/Portable at 5.3 Pounds
- Compatible with Streaming Devices like Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV
- Excellent Color Accuracy
- Good Warranty – two-year limited warranty and toll-free support
The Epson Home Cinema 660 has some special features worth noting, a few of which I was surprised about. In this section, I’ll briefly discuss what these special features are and why they’re useful to you.
The first of special feature is horizontal and vertical (+ 30) Keystone Correction, which comes in handy when placing the projector. It gives you a lot more placement flexibility, so that if you had to put the projector at an angle, you can correct the trapezoid-shaped image and make it rectangular again.
Quick Corner Correction
Relating to image shape, the Home Cinema 660 has Quick Corner Correction, which allows you to individually move each corner of the image to further perfect that rectangular shape. This was surprising to me, as the projector has such a low price point, and I did not expect it to have a feature like this.
This is a feature I’ve seen on more expensive business and education projectors, but not on something below $1,000. That’s just in my experience – there very well could be sub-$1000 projectors out there that have this feature.
Quick, Convenient Control
The final group of features the Home Cinema 660 has is this: Instant Off, Direct Power On/Off, and Sleep Mode (A/V mute). These features are for quick and convenient control of the projector.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE HOME CINEMA 660, 760HD AND 1060
I mentioned in the Overview section that the Home Cinema 660, 760HD and 1060 have very few differences. So here it is: all the specs are the same, except resolution. They’ve all got the same hardware, though Epson’s marketing speaks of streaming from devices such as Roku and Apple TV as a special feature on the 760HD and the 1060.
That means nothing, in terms of the 760HD. There’s no extra HDMI port on the middle-priced model for MHL. So, the HC660 can stream these devices just as well as the HC760HD. The Home Cinema 1060 does have an extra HDMI port for MHL, so that marketing can rightfully claim streaming as a special feature. It also has a slightly different look than the other two.
The Home Cinema 660 has a 1.35:1 zoom lens, while the others have a 1.2:1 zoom. The HC660 is priced at $359.99, while the Home Cinema 760HD (1280 x 720 resolution) is $549.99, and the Home Cinema 1060 (1920 x 1080 resolution) is $649.99. So, what you’re paying for is really just the higher resolution – which, I would