The EPV PolarStar has one commanding feature that no other ALR screen in this review has -- it has a Silver-Gray surface that polarizes light, a feature you need if you want to set up a passive 3D video system. The advantages of passive 3D include simple, lightweight glasses that don't need batteries, and usually cleaner pictures with no crosstalk artifacts. You lose resolution compared to active 3D, but with the new 4K revolution, it's a non-issue. For those who want to go passive 3D, the EPV PolarStar is an excellent choice.
The other key advantage of the PolarStar is that, like the EPV DarkStar9, it shows very subtle texture, quite minor compared to the rest of the ALR screens in this group that show texture/graininess/noise artifacts.
Beyond these two unique performance elements, the PolarStar is a reasonably solid performer that does not stand out in any particular way. In the Side Illumination contrast test it registered a very respectable 27:1, just behind the Black Diamond at 30:1, and far higher than the low of 16:1 in this test. With the ceiling floods added to the ambient light mix, the PolarStar measured 17:1 contrast which is middle of the pack in a range that ran from a low of 11:1 to a high of 22:1. So in the competitive mix it did quite well with ambient light from the side, but did not maintain its edge when overhead light was introduced. Similarly, black levels were reasonably good with ambient side light, but they fell off when the overhead lights were turned on.
The PolarStar's viewing angle in our ambient light environment was 60 degrees, again about middle of the pack. So it does not have the extreme viewing angles of its sister product the EPV DarkStar 9, but like the Stewart Firehawk it offers more latitude than several others with very narrow viewing angles.
In terms of relative luminance, it measured 125 fL against a maximum of 146 and a minimum of 92 in the group, consistent with its gain rating of 1.3
Probably the weakest parameter was a measured vertical half gain angle of 18 degrees which was close to the low of 15. So take care in the vertical positioning of the projector and screen relative to the position of the audience.
In our view, the EPV PolarStar is an excellent choice if you need a polarized ALR screen to support a passive 3D system. But passive 3D support is its sole competitive advantage. If you are not going to use this feature, the PolarStar is still a very good all around ALR screen with a cleaner, more artifact free picture than most of the other screens in this group. But it can be outperformed in contrast by some competitors and in viewing angles by others, each of which have their own set of limitations. So the trade-offs need to be carefully evaluated to determine which products would be the best fit for any given viewing environment.