Portable projectors are becoming somewhat of a trend lately. We’ve already seen the BenQ GV1 and I’ve started seeing adverts now for other brands and their offerings. But now it’s time to unpack the Epson EF-100B Portable Projector, and see what they’re all about. It’s got a long lasting, 20,000 hour laser light-source inside which will last for up to 10 years according to Epson, but this was measured as using this projector for up to five hours a day.
The Epson EF-100B portable projector comes in a very small package, measuring only 21cm wide, 9cm tall and 23cm in depth. It has a small opening on top right of the front for the lens and you can find all the buttons you will need on top including the focusing ring. The front is bordered in bronze plastic, giving it a nice premium finish, and the front panel acts like a grill for airflow. You will find several other grills and fans down the side of the device.
Making our way round the back, the rear panel which is covered in a soft to touch material. Why this is the case we’re not sure, but it will probably have something to do with airflow again as there are air vents on the back. Underneath the panel you can find a HDMI input and a USB input for power passthrough for an Amazon Fire Stick or Roku Express or similar. You can find a kettle plug input on the back left as you look at the projector.
As the only practical input on the back was an HDMI, I used my Roku Express to access a number of video playback apps like Netflix and NowTV, which I must say worked very well, but more on that in a moment.
I positioned the projector in my living room on the side table, so it could effectively project onto a plain wall. It stood I would say around three meters away from the projection wall, which gave me a throw of around 86-inches. The projector can throw an image up to 150-inches, but you’ll need the room to go further back. Now I haven’t got a projector screen, so I had to make do with a grey wallpapered wall. I lowered the little plastic stand that is housed in place on the bottom of the projector so the lens is raised. The stand is a little flimsy which was very surprising considering the build quality of the projector actually feels quite high. A heavy nudge could be enough to snap it from its bracket.
The projector once turned on had to go through an initial setup menu. I had to use the focusing ring on top to focus my image. It’s very sensitive so you need to be gentle to get it pin sharp. The setup included brightness and picture profile options and even had vertical and horizontal changes so you can get an accurate aspect ratio depending on the angle the projection was being thrown on the wall. There’s keystone adjustments too so the image is always ensured to stay at a 16:9 aspect ratio.
Epson EF-100B Performance
The second I plugged in my Roku Express, it detected the input and showed Roku’s main menu on the projection. Image straight away was sharp, thanks to my already tuned focus, but it could have been better so messed around with focus even more. I also noticed at first that my keystone adjustments weren’t correct from when I ran the initial setup so had to make some more adjustments to get my image nice and square.
I used Netflix, as my primary source of media playback, purely because I pay for a subscription, and to be honest with you, I can’t see users buying this for some ultimate 4K uncompressed goodness. Bare in mind again that I don’t have a projector screen to test this, yet I was still very impressed with the image quality that it gave me. Images looked sharp, and even text from the Roku menu was very readable.
The Epson EF-100B uses 3LCD technology to produce its images, and has a laser projector as well rather than a bulb. The projector can produce an image up to 2,000lm which is very bright for the size of the projector itself, and really shines if you’re using it in a dark room. Even during the day the image on my grey wall looked passable, and I have big double doors to the outside. The contrast ratio sits at 2,500,000:1 which is staggering, and made movie consumption look absolutely fantastic!
I will say now that there are a plethora of in-depth colour calibration options to go through so you can really pinpoint your colour accuracy. Being a bit of a n00b when it comes to this, and the fact I don’t have any kind of colour calibration gear in the office, I stuck to the very basic options like saturation, colour temperature and tint and brightness/gamma. I’m binging Mindhunters at the moment, and after the initial setup, I had to go back into the settings again, as the colour when watching media was a little on the warm side, making skin tones too orange, and I had to counteract the amount of green in the image with the tint option.
One criticism I do have with the Epson EF-100B is the sound quality of the built-in speaker. It’s great being there, as you can carry around this projector to a presentation or similar and still get sound for your powerpoint presentation, but watching TV, movies or even playing games, the sound suffers. It doesn’t feel deep enough and certainly lacks bass. Epson’s solution to this is Bluetooth, as the only input on the projector is a headphone auxiliary port, no digital inputs like an optical port. You can hook it up to a soundbar or Bluetooth speaker if you’re using this as a media player in the home.
The Epson EF-100B is a stylish, compact projector that can bring any of your media to the big screen, as long as you can display it through the HDMI port. It’s small, doesn’t intrude with its fan noise and the quality I must say was extremely impressive. The fact that you can project onto your ceiling too makes this quite a decent pairing for a bedroom, as you can lay down and look at your ceiling while consuming content. It costs around £849 on places like Amazon, but I have already seen it for cheaper with a quick Google search. For more information, head over to the Epson website.