The Epson EF-12 is considered one of an rising variety of units that goals to fill the hole between true dwelling cinema projectors and actually transportable projectors.
In contrast to a real dwelling cinema projector it has a correct built-in sound system and a sensible platform, enabling it to carry out as a self-contained cinema system. It is compact and lightweight, too, so could be picked up and moved on a whim.
However, not like a very transportable projector, it lacks an built-in battery so requires proximity to a mains socket. Assume backyard cinema somewhat than campsite cinema.
So, that is the Epson EF-12’s area of interest – how nicely does it carry out?
The one manner this projector might look any extra transportable can be if it had a carry deal with – and we’re stunned it doesn’t. Its compact dimensions give it a splendidly small and accommodating footprint. It might sit as fortunately on a espresso desk because it might on a kitchen worktop.
That flexibility is especially helpful provided that this can be a mounted lens projector, which means that the one technique to make the picture larger or smaller is by shifting the EF-12 nearer to or additional out of your screen.
Epson EF-12 tech specs
Kind 3LCD laser projector
Picture dimension 30-150in
Chromecast built-in Sure
Brightness 1000 ANSI-lumens
Throw ratio 1:1
Inner storage 10GB
Dimensions (hwd) 14 x 18 x 18cm
Luckily, there’s loads of scope with projection angle too. The quantity of keystone correction out there (± 34° vertically and ± 40° horizontally) implies that the EF-12 doesn’t should be face-on to get a good picture. It could additionally mechanically focus and form the image with out you having to become involved, though we do discover that small handbook keystone and focus changes are price taking time for.
The EF-12 can prop itself as much as a good angle utilizing somewhat retractable kickstand on the entrance that will likely be acquainted to Epson projector customers. There are additionally sturdy-looking ceiling and wall mounts included within the field when you’d wish to create an everyday place in your primary viewing house.
Whereas there’s no weather-proof ranking on the EF-12, it’s clear that Epson sees it as appropriate with again backyard viewing. The boxy construct definitely helps right here – the lens is properly shielded and the protecting end on the skin gives the look it might survive toppling off its perch.
We’d wish to have seen a battery inside to provide this projector some actual freedom, however a backyard extension cable is your buddy right here. In case your wi-fi doesn’t attain that far, you may play native movie recordsdata by the USB port or from the 10GB of inside storage. There are additionally two HDMI sockets (ARC and HDCP 2.Three appropriate).
For the built-in audio, there’s a Sound by Yamaha 2x 5W sound system. The 2 drive items face the rear corners to cowl the viewing place. That HDMI ARC means you need to use a soundbar when you favor and there’s additionally a 3.5mm audio-out socket for headphones. However Epson is assured you’ll just like the Yamaha set-up and has included Bluetooth so you may flip the EF-12 right into a wi-fi speaker for music playback.
There’s a row of buttons on the highest floor of the machine for energy, Bluetooth and quantity however the helpful distant management ought to cowl each operate you want, from autofocus and auto-keystone to direct entry to the system’s app providing.
The EF-12 is one other in Epson’s lengthy line of 3LCD fashions. That’s three 0.62in LCD panels with a Full HD pixel depend on every – one for pink, inexperienced and blue, which may all be mixed to create a 1920 x 1080 full-colour picture on display.
The 1000 lumens laser gentle supply shines by these liquid crystal panels and that brings almost-instant on/off benefits over conventional lamp-based fashions, in addition to an anticipated lifetime of as much as 10 years, even when you watch one movie daily. The opposite enormous bonus is the quiet operation, the noise stage is quoted as simply 27dB, which is considerably decrease than standard machines as a result of the EF-12 has no mercury lamp to maintain cool.
Crack into the Android TV OS, although, and you may overlook about all that. Settings are pretty restricted and fairly nicely built-in with the remainder of the platform and, when you’ve got used Android TV earlier than, there gained’t be many surprises right here. Apps are of prime significance to the expertise and also you’ll discover them on the homepage. You’ll be able to entry the Google Retailer so as to add those you want, together with Amazon Prime Video, Plex, Tidal, VLC, Spotify, BT Sport, ExpressVPN and Disney Plus, together with some extra specialist choices.
What you gained’t discover, nonetheless, are well-liked providers akin to Netflix, BBC iPlayer, All Four and Now, plus a number of others. In contrast with TVs, projectors are comparatively small fry for these providers, and it’s common for transportable machines such because the EF-12 to have some app gaps. All the identical, it makes you wonder if a non-smart projector and an HDMI media streamer is perhaps a greater and cheaper technique to go.
Luckily, the Google working system implies that Chromecast is on board and it’s doable to solid most lacking providers out of your cellular, pill or laptop computer to your projector – the principle exception right here is Apple TV. The opposite plus level is Google’s voice search facility, which removes loads of the effort of tapping away on digital keyboards.
Whereas 1080p is as a lot decision as you’ll get out of the EF-12, it will possibly deal with a 4K enter and even help HDR10. Whereas watching Deadpool on 4K Blu-ray we get a great really feel of the distinction in punch that makes. The three superheroes stand out brilliantly as they swagger in the direction of their huge showdown with Ajax on the shipyard.
There’s a black depth on supply that simply isn’t there with Epson’s similarly-priced, lamp-based machines. We really feel as if we’re getting worth out of our 4K Blu-ray, despite the fact that it’s not hitting that top-level decision. The heroes’ outfits look daring, the sky brilliant and blue – it’s an thrilling, attention-grabbing image.
What’s additionally spectacular is how nicely this machine handles movement. There’s no adjustable body interpolation built-in, however its native expertise are sufficient to make all of the motion simple to view. There’s somewhat judder however no blur to fret about as Deadpool leaps by the air relieving henchman of their physique elements.
Taking it all the way down to this projector’s native Full HD, the image on Jupiter Ascending on Blu-ray is way the identical. It’s robust, dynamic and completely fulfilling to observe the opening sequences introducing the eponymous heroine.
Darkish element is simply as spectacular as conventional dwelling cinema projectors of an analogous worth and the added black depth of the EF-12 makes the scene even simpler to grasp. It brings glorious context to the moonlit second on the cargo vessel when Jupiter comes into the world.
It’s doable to understand how alone they’re on the cargo ship within the Atlantic, contained in the candle-lit transport container. Watched on equal lamp-based 3LCD projectors, the image is just too washed out and that narrative is misplaced.
It doesn’t all go the best way of this laser machine, although. Even in contrast with the cheaper Epson EH-TW650, the EF-12 isn’t as brilliant, particularly as you’ll must decrease the sunshine output setting a contact to get the absolute best image. That’s price contemplating when you’re wanting to make use of the EF-12 in a setting with some ambient gentle.
It isn’t fairly as refined a picture in relation to tone and element both. It doesn’t handle as a lot nuance to color as one of the best non-portables, nor ship fairly as a lot in the best way of shading. As is commonly the case, that is most noticeable when rendering pores and skin tones and scenes of combined exposures when there’s no HDR to assist.
The very best preset to work with is the Cinema mode. Kick the color temperature up a contact to cut back the golden tinge and take up each the Brightness and the Adaptive Gamma. Discover that steadiness and also you’ll nonetheless get an image that’s robust and thrilling whereas sustaining the broad strokes of textures akin to Deadpool’s pink stitching and black leather-based epaulettes.
With normal definition, the EF-12 nonetheless produces a good image. The Camden crescent in Woman In The Van on DVD is straightforward on the attention. There’s no noise, loads of color and it’s a pointy image for the cash. It’s not fairly as forgiving as Epson’s softer, lamp-based projectors at SD, however there’s loads of curiosity in relation to the wrinkles on Maggie Smith’s face, even when it will possibly’t fairly handle the texture of the nice and cozy glow of the afternoon solar that the TW650 can seize.
The mono sound methods constructed into dwelling cinema projectors is usually a little bit of a waste of time, that’s not the case with portables and significantly not with the Epson EF-12. Yamaha and Epson have finished a great job with this audio set-up.
There are some filters to play with however, for the very best quality audio, change off the Clear Voice, Auto Loudness and Bass Extension modes and even the Digital Encompass too. Left within the Theatre preset, it’s a remarkably expressive system with simply sufficient precision to carry its personal even in scenes with heavy motion, such because the alleyway battle in Jupiter Ascending.
Even this hectic encounter comes throughout nicely with out turning into a large number. We will nearly select all of the laser pulses, the voices, explosions and motion of the characters and that’s no imply feat for a small field like this. There’s even a very nice hum to Channing Tatum’s plasma defend, exhibiting off the Epson’s dynamic ability.
For music playback, it’s a contact skinny in contrast with most wi-fi audio system however is a superbly acceptable music machine. Listening to Blue Monday by New Order, there’s sufficient punch to maintain the electro bassline bouncing together with loads of tempo. There’s a comparatively good really feel of weight and nearly sufficient rhythmic grasp to carry the tight drum pad beats collectively.
Most spectacular, although, is the straightforward steadiness throughout the vary nearly all the best way up the amount settings. There’s loads of sound too – sufficient to have a great stab at filling our sizeable AV check room. Sensibly, the 2 drivers level again in the direction of the seating place and, all through our check, we by no means really feel the urge to plug in a soundbar. An exterior speaker would, after all, make for a much better audio expertise, however what’s included right here is nice given the worth.
The Epson EF-12 might be one of the best transportable projector we’ve seen at this worth. You’d must double your cash to the LG CineBeam HU80KSW to search out one thing considerably higher. It’s brilliant, punchy and exhibits a stage of subtlety that’s uncommon, and the succesful built-in sound system makes it a reputable all-in-one choice.
The issue for the EF-12 is that with out an inside battery, a extra full suite of apps and that further fringe of image refinement that conventional dwelling cinema projectors can supply, it’s all too simple to level would-be consumers in the direction of the likes of the Epson EH-TW650 Full HD projector and even the five-star 4K HDR Epson EH-TW7000 as an alternative. All you’ll want to add is a media streamer with Netflix and a wi-fi speaker to have the EF-12 licked.
All the identical, if the simplicity and dimension of an all-in-one projector has a powerful enchantment for you, then we wouldn’t hesitate to take the EF-12 for a spin.
- Image 4
- Sound 5
- Options 4
Learn our information to the best projectors
Learn our Epson EH-TW7000 review
Learn our Epson EH-TW650 review
Learn our LG CineBeam HU80KSW review