Top positive review
The best budget projector!
17 November 2018
I have been using home theatre projectors for over 14 years now. I currently have a Full HD 3D projector that costs close to a lakh. Why then get this cheap low-end projector?! Well, there are reasons, Read on...
Higher-end non-LED projectors use high power lamps that have a lifetime of 2000-3000 hrs. This might be fine if you watch a few movies in a week. However, in my case, I like to watch cricket and other sporting events on the big screen. These tend to take several hours and drains the lamp quicker. The higher power also means the projector will heat up and you will need to have AC running or keep the fan at full speed. I used to feel guilty wasting extra electricity as it is like running an iron box for long.
LED TVs typically have life upwards of 30,000 hrs. Since the eGate projector employs similar technology, it enjoys longer lamp life of over 20,000 hrs. This is a ten-fold improvement over conventional non-LED projectors. It does not heat up much, so the AC can be kept switched off. The wattage too is very low, only as much as one of those 40-60W incandescent bulbs.
Can it match the picture quality of normal DLP projectors? No, but the picture is very good still. Remember that it's ANSI lumen output is only 120 lumens compared to non-LED projectors outputting over 1000 lumens of light. So you definitely need a dark room to view the picture. Some reviewers comment about the picture blurring towards the edges. This happens when placing and setting the projector wrong. The eGate projector does not have any major positioning adjustment other than the screw stand in front and a small keystone correction. What this means is that the placement of the projector relative to the screen as well as the angle has to be correct to get a uniformly focused picture. It is best if you can position the projector height with keystone at zero (middle). Ideally for this, the projectors lens should be parallel to the screen. Make sure the text is sharp at the top of the screen as well as the bottom and that the edges of the screen rectangle does not slant. When set up properly, all screen text such as subtitles are sharp and clearly visible.
For a non-HD projecor, the picture is really good. The sound is not too bad either. It is quite loud and is more than adequate to listen to a cricket commentary. The pixel grid is visible but your eyes will get used to it quickly. I connected a Creative A60 PC speaker to it and the sound is great through the headphone jack. If using headphone or speaker, also refer to the audio out requirement in next paragraph.
I have connected a Fire TV stick to the HDMI input to make it a complete self-sufficient entertainment box. The colour reproduction is quite good, considering that it costs under 6k. The Fire TV stick is a better option than buying the costlier eGate version with Android OS as it tends to be buggy. It was able to play mp4 and mkv videos using the crude menu system but had troubles displaying movie subtitles. Please note that for the audio out to work when using a fire stick and maybe Chromecast, you need to change the TV sticks audio output mode to stereo as, by default, it will be 5.1.
The picture size matches that of some basic short throw projectors. So you can get over 140 inch screens at a distance of about a dozen feet from the screen. After you change positions the focusing will need to be adjusted again. The remote provided feels a little cheap but works ok. The only issue is that the infrared sensor being behind the box, it may be out of sight of the remote if you install the projector too close to the wall or if it is behind you. I used a transparent acrylic wall stand as it seemed to let through the IR rays.
Projector screens for large sizes can be costly. However, if you have a decently sized plain wall with a light colour paint in a room that you can make dark, you needn't waste money on a projector screen. Even if the paint is darker, it may still be ok but would need the room to be very dark. Other alternatives would be to repaint the projected area on the wall or to just use a stretched cloth.
If it is your first projector experience, you will be awed by the big picture. If you have experience with costlier HD projectors, lower your expectations as it is a ridiculously cheap projector.
In spite of its tiny size and portability, it may not make for a good business or work projector. Since it has a low resolution not suitable for small text in presentations and due to the dark room requirement, it is best used as a home projector.
Bring the theatre to your home for the price of about 40 movie tickets!
Hope you have found this review helpful for making a decision.