Home » Review : Epson EF-100B projector- Laser projector with Android TV
Reviews

Review : Epson EF-100B projector- Laser projector with Android TV

Review: Epson EF-100B projector is laser projector that also supported Android TV. It undeniably has many qualities but has as many flaws as well.
4.6/5 - (48 votes)

Review: Epson EF-100B : Will the dream of inexpensive laser projection finally come true? According to Epson, the answer is yes, thanks to its latest Tri-LCD projector, an ultra compact model. Such a tempting promise could only have one outcome: a test!

Can we propose the democratization of laser video projection without making unacceptable compromises on image quality? This is the challenge of this EF-100 from Epson which, of course, displays a contained price but which, in exchange, makes some questionable technological choices. In fact, even more than its intrinsic quality (brightness of the laser, longevity of its lamp and instantaneous ignition), the question that is asked is to know for whom and for what use this video projector is really intended.

Compact at all costs?

Epson proclaims it loud and clear: its EF-100 is the smallest laser projector Tri-LCD in the world (at least among the models that offer a minimum brightness of 500 lumens). In fact, its dimensions are surprising: 21 cm long by 23 cm wide and only 9 cm high, all for a weight of less than 3 kg (2.7 kg exactly). It exists in two colors, black or white, which also determine its exact reference EF-100B (for black), and EF-100W (for white). Given its size and weight, this projector can be taken everywhere, on vacation and even to friends’ homes for a group session. This is its main advantage. But the absolute quest for compactness is not without leading to a certain rigidity in the design. In fact, it is, for example, equipped with a fixed objective, without mechanical zoom (only electronic) which obliges to move it according to the desired image size.

The fact that it is compact is no stranger to a partially planed spec sheet. In fact, the Epson projector is equipped with three WXGA resolution LCD panels (1200 x 800 pixels) and a laser light source based on a phosphor wheel. If the choice of the source is happy since it allows, in theory, to reach 20,000 hours of projection (ie daily use for about 10 years), that of the resolution leaves you speechless. 1200 x 800 pixels. It’s HD Ready and in 2020 it’s just not allowed anymore. Epson can always argue about the price of its projector or the fact that it is still capable of reading content up to 4K (even if it only renders them in HD Ready), but in our opinion a minimum of serious would have been to propose a resolution in 1080P.

Getting started: a very general public product

This is the other point on which the EF-100 excels: it is exemplary ease of use. You just need to connect it to a source and turn it on so that the image is immediately projected on the wall or screen of your choice.

The basic settings are also a snap. The size of the diagonal depends on the distance of the projector from the wall. It is therefore enough to move it to obtain an image which can reach 150 inches… in theory. In practice, for an acceptable image quality we recommend that you limit yourself to around 100 inches. The keystone can be corrected by going back and forth in the product menus, which are very clear, and the sharpness is adjusted using the dial on the upper surface of the projector. In the end, it only takes a few seconds to obtain an interesting image and start its projection.

Finally, and this is a very good idea, Epson allows the EF-100 to be placed vertically and thus to project the image… on its ceiling. Ideal for a little movie in bed!

Very satisfactory brightness but limited contrast

It is obviously on the image quality that the EF-100 is the most awaited. The proposal for a laser projector for less than 1000 euros cannot be valid without a certain level of rendering. Naturally, it is on the natural qualities of the laser that Epson bases its hopes. The laser sources are generally very bright and that of the EF-100 is no exception to the rule with 2000 lumens announced on the technical sheet. Obviously, this is a theoretical and variable value depending on the power of the laser and the size of the image to be illuminated. But generally speaking, Epson’s compact projector can be called bright. In terms of colorimetry it is also rather positive with surprisingly correct factory settings.

The basic settings are also a snap. The size of the diagonal depends on the distance of the projector from the wall. It is therefore enough to move it to obtain an image which can reach 150 inches… in theory. In practice, for an acceptable image quality we recommend that you limit yourself to around 100 inches. The keystone can be corrected by going back and forth in the product menus, which are very clear, and the sharpness is adjusted using the dial on the upper surface of the projector. In the end, it only takes a few seconds to obtain an interesting image and start its projection.

Finally, and this is a very good idea, Epson allows the EF-100 to be placed vertically and thus to project the image… on its ceiling. Ideal for a little movie in bed!

Very satisfactory brightness but limited contrast

It is obviously on the image quality that the EF-100 is the most awaited. The proposal for a laser projector for less than 1000 euros cannot be valid without a certain level of rendering. Naturally, it is on the natural qualities of the laser that Epson bases its hopes. The laser sources are generally very bright and that of the EF-100 is no exception to the rule with 2000 lumens announced on the technical sheet. Obviously, this is a theoretical and variable value depending on the power of the laser and the size of the image to be illuminated. But generally speaking, Epson’s compact projector can be called bright. In terms of colorimetry it is also rather positive with surprisingly correct factory settings.

On the other hand, it is on the contrast that the EF-100 completely collapses. To the naked eye, blacks appear washed out and clearly tend towards gray. Our lab’s measurements will only confirm the visual impression with some of the lowest values ​​we found during our last tests.

We cannot close this passage on image quality without mentioning two additional flaws. First, there are those two ugly light bands that surround the image at the top and bottom. This greyish zone has the effect of reducing the useful projection surface in addition to polluting the image. Finally, during our viewing, we noted a relatively recurring concern in terms of image fluidity. Lateral movements cause regular and particularly unpleasant jerks.

Connectivity: the essential is there, well hidden

The connection part of the video projector is perfectly hidden behind the beast. The rear panel serves, in fact, as a plastic cover and provides access to the various ports. There is an HDMI input, a USB port, another mini-USB and enough space to accommodate a chromecast that we would like to hide for example.

Unfortunately, the USB port only serves as a power source and cannot be used for any projection. Its interest is therefore very limited. In terms of connectivity, Epson is satisfied with the essentials but in the case of this laser projector it is anything but trivial. Indeed, the EF-100B does not have a real OS but a simple settings menu. Not having a wireless connection, it is dependent on the devices that will be associated with it at all levels. If you have a Blu-ray player, Nvidia Shield, Apple TV, or game console, you will be able to take full advantage of it, but outside of an external source of quality, its use is extremely limited.

Quiet but perfectible in audio

If there is one point on which the EF-100 performs well, it is on the noise emitted. Indeed, with some 30 dB emitted, it is one of the projectors considered silent and unless it is stuck to your ear you will not suffer from its slight buzzing.

Epson EF-100B – Specifications

Inputs and Interfaces HDMI, USB
Dimensions (HWD) 3.6 by 8.3 by 9.1 inches
Weight 6 lbs

Epson EF-100B – Conclusion

The Epson EF-100B undeniably has many qualities (compactness, brightness, ease of use) but at least as many flaws (contrast, HD Ready resolution). Epson’s bet, which consisted of offering a compact laser projector for less than 1000 euros, has only partially succeeded. This is due to the many compromises necessary to lower the cost of the product and which have an impact on these real capacities. Some of these compromises are acceptable. It is in particular possible to do without an interface worthy of the name or to live with gray bands at the top and bottom of the image. On the other hand, such a weakness in contrast and an image limited to HD Ready are two pills that will be very difficult to swallow even the least demanding of users. Ultimately,

Positives of Epson EF-100B

  • Compact and transportable model
  • Good brightness
  • Possibility of ceiling projection
  • Ease of use

Negatives of Epson EF-100B

  • Deficient contrast
  • Only HD Ready
  • Gray bands around the image
  • Concern for fluidity

Read more about our other Epson projector’s reviews. 

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment