The MovieMate 25 is a "brighter than most" home theater projector, which is very good, since, as an all-in-one, it needs to be versatile. The projector can handle a little bit of ambient light in its family room mode, which still has good color. Kick in the Dynamic preset, and it can handle more ambient light, but color accuracy diminishes - very typical for most projectors in their brightest mode.
I did find the Epson MovieMate 25 to be slightly brighter than Optoma's competing MovieTime DV10. Epson rates the MovieMate 25 at 1200 lumens, although it is typical in that we have never found any projector to come particularly close to their claimed lumens. None-the-less, as I just said, it is brighter than most.
In addition to the left and right speakers, the MovieMate comes with a 40 watt small subwoofer. All considered the MovieMate throughs a good deal of sound in a small to medium sized room. You don't have the 5 speakers + subwoofer that you would have in a separate surround sound system, but the MovieMate will do a respectable job of filling your room with sound, and the subwoofer, although it won't shake the house definitely lets you know it has some bass capabilities and adds that extra kick for both movie watching and playing of CDs and music DVDs.
If you are watching movies in best mode - Theater Black, the projector lamp is rated at an impressive 3000 hours life. In all other modes, it is rated at 2000 hours. What really helps though is that I believe Epson prices the lamp at $199 retail, while most projectors' lamps are $350 to $400. Another reason the Epson is excellent at price performance. The lamp is user replaceable, and should only take a few minutes (but the old lamp must fully cool before you mess with it.
Epson claims only 26 db noise level in Theater Black mode, and suffice to say that few home theater projectors are any quieter. In other modes its 33 db is very respectable, and certainly well below what most would demand for TV watching, and no one cares about fan noise levels for game playing.
Projector Screen Recommendations
Well, right now Epson provides a nice 80" diagonal pull up screen that must take close to 30 seconds to set up. You can definitely go larger if you desire. (Or, you could even shine it on your wall if white.) I would say that the MovieMate 25 can handle up to a 110" screen without difficulty if the room is darkened. Screen size really is determined by room lighting. If you opt for a different screen you'll probably select one with a gain of 1.0 to 1.8. The 1.8 gain screen will give you more brightness sitting near straight back, but if you sit well off to the sides it will roll off and not be as bright as a lower gain screen.
On the other hand, if you plan to watch movies in a fully darkened room, you might consider a gray screen. This will make those "blacks" blacker. Even people buying multi-thousand dollar LCD home theater projectors and some DLP projectors will go with the gray surface for the same reason.