Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 750HD
WXGA Home Video Projector
April 24, 2013
Light output. The Epson 750HD is specified to output 3,000 lumens and our test sample measured 2,912 in Dynamic mode. The Epson 750HD's Dynamic mode shares very little in common with the Dynamic mode of other projectors, which tend to be both very green and very low in contrast. The 750HD doesn't lose much of its contrast or color performance in Dynamic mode, making the projector's maximum brightness available for actual use. Still, Dynamic mode isn't the projector's most video-optimized mode by any stretch, so while it is a useful option it is far from the only one.
Living Room mode is next on the list of factory presets. It is also the next brightest mode, at 2130 lumens on our test sample. Living room mode has a subtle blue tint, perhaps in an effort to counteract predominantly yellow ambient light. Whether or not that was the intention, the blue tint is useful for exactly that purpose.
Movie mode, at 2003 lumens, produces the best contrast and color performance of any pre-calibrated mode. The fact that it does so at 2/3 of the projector's maximum output isn't too shabby, either. Movie mode is powerful enough to put up a strong, bright, TV-like image at 60" diagonal in ambient light. It can go much larger with lower ambient. Just keep in mind that a viewing distance of 1.5x the screen with or greater is needed to make sure pixel structure is rendered invisible.
Since all of these image modes output some serious brightness, many folks will find it helpful to switch into Eco lamp mode. Eco mode reduces brightness in any mode by 22%, which can bring brightness down to a more reasonable level when ambient light is less prevalent.
Contrast. The 750HD does not produce the same inky black levels found on Epson home theater projectors, because in ambient light black levels are compromised anyway. The projector does have an auto iris, which can deepen black levels when ambient light is not a concern. The iris works quickly, though its action can sometimes be seen if you watch closely and it makes a faint clicking noise during operation. It is also easy to disable if you decide you don't like it. All in all, black level on the 750HD is competitive with other home video projectors, but not exceptional in its own right.
Shadow detail is excellent, with good reproduction of deep shadows. Our test sample did not show any evidence of highlights blowing out or shadows being crushed at the default settings. If you are looking for a punchier image, you can boost gamma by a notch or two, which will give the picture a little bit more "oomph." However, this is in no way required.
Color. Color is perhaps the 750HD's best feature. The projector's three main factory presets -- Dynamic, Living Room, and Movie -- are all reasonably close to 6500K, and none is wildly off-base. Dynamic's aggressive brightness makes up for its slight green cast, which is not nearly as severe as that found on many other projectors. Living Room's slight cooler tint and ~7000K color temperature is useful when dealing with ambient light, which tends towards the warm end of the spectrum. And Movie mode is close enough to 6500K that we have no compunctions about using it as is. Saturation in all modes is quite good, and the image is well-balanced thanks to the 750HD's excellent color brightness. If you do want to make adjustments, though, you'll find that the 750HD's white balance controls offer only a single axis of adjustment and there is no color management system at all.
Sharpness and clarity. The clarity of detail when watching native-resolution content is excellent. The 750HD can display both 720p and WXGA material natively, and content in these formats is razor-sharp and crystal clear. However, most people buying the 750HD are likely going to feed it some form of high-definition video. When watching 1080p material, there's a noticeable loss of fine detail when compared to a native 1080p projector. This normally would not be an issue -- after all, the 750HD is intended to be a large format TV replacement and general entertainment machine, not a home theater powerhouse. However, its $799 price tag puts it within spitting distance of this year's entry-level 1080p projectors, so the comparison is appropriate.
Input lag. On balance, 3D projectors tend to be slower than their non-3D brethren when it comes to input lag, and the 750HD is no exception. We measured roughly 50ms, or three frames, of delay in the projector's main modes (Dynamic, Living Room, Movie). Game mode, as the name might imply, is slightly faster at 40ms (2.5 frames). While this is not terrible performance by any measure, it is slower than Epson's Home Cinema 8350, which measured 16ms in our tests.