Epson EF-12 portable projector review – One of the best
The Epson EF-12 is a compact and portable projector designed for home entertainment purposes.
Design: The Epson EF-12 has a sleek and modern design, featuring a white exterior with a built-in speaker. It is quite compact and lightweight, making it easy to carry around and set up in different locations. The projector has a convenient lens cover that automatically opens and closes when turning the device on and off.
Image Quality: The EF-12 offers a Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution, which delivers sharp and detailed images. With a brightness of 1,000 ANSI lumens, it performs well in dimly lit rooms or shaded environments, but it may struggle in brightly lit areas. The projector utilizes Epson’s 3LCD technology, which produces vibrant and accurate colors. The contrast ratio is decent, although it may not match the deep blacks and high contrast levels of dedicated home theater projectors.
Connectivity and Features: The EF-12 offers various connectivity options, including HDMI, USB Type-C, and USB Type-A ports, allowing you to connect a wide range of devices such as laptops, gaming consoles, and streaming devices. It also supports wireless screen mirroring via Miracast, making it convenient for streaming content from compatible devices. The built-in Android TV platform allows you to access popular streaming services directly from the projector without the need for external devices.
Sound Quality: The projector features a built-in 5-watt speaker, which provides decent audio quality for casual viewing. However, for a more immersive audio experience, it is recommended to connect external speakers or a sound system to the projector via the audio-out port or HDMI ARC. The Epson EF-12 includes a Sound by Yamaha 2x 5W sound system, with the speakers positioned to cover the viewing area. HDMI ARC allows the use of a soundbar, and a 3.5mm audio-out socket is available for headphones. Epson has also added Bluetooth functionality, allowing the EF-12 to be used as a wireless speaker for music playback.
Ease of Use: Setting up and operating the Epson EF-12 is straightforward. It has a user-friendly interface and comes with a remote control that provides easy navigation through the menus. The projector has automatic keystone correction, which helps adjust the image to be square and proportional even when the projector is placed at an angle.
Portability: One of the key highlights of the EF-12 is its portability. It weighs around 2.7 pounds (1.2 kg) and comes with a built-in handle, making it easy to carry around and set up in different rooms or even take it on the go for outdoor movie nights.
Pros and cons of the Epson EF-12 portable projector:
Pros of the Epson EF-12:
- Portability: The EF-12 is compact and lightweight, making it easy to carry and set up in different locations.
- Image quality: It offers Full HD resolution and utilizes Epson’s 3LCD technology, delivering sharp, detailed, and vibrant images.
- Connectivity options: The projector has multiple ports, including HDMI, USB Type-C, and USB Type-A, allowing you to connect various devices. It also supports wireless screen mirroring via Miracast.
- Built-in Android TV: With the integrated Android TV platform, you can access popular streaming services directly from the projector without the need for additional devices.
- Automatic keystone correction: The projector automatically adjusts the image to be square and proportional, even when placed at an angle.
Cons of the Epson EF-12:
- Limited brightness: With 1,000 ANSI lumens, the EF-12 may struggle in brightly lit environments, and the image quality may be affected.
- Contrast ratio: While the projector offers decent contrast, it may not match the deep blacks and high contrast levels of dedicated home theater projectors.
- Audio quality: The built-in speaker provides average sound quality, but for a more immersive experience, connecting external speakers or a sound system is recommended.
- Lack of optical zoom: The EF-12 does not have optical zoom capabilities, which means you’ll need to physically adjust the projector’s distance from the screen to achieve the desired image size.
- Price: Compared to entry-level projectors, the EF-12’s price may be on the higher side, considering its specifications and performance.
It’s worth noting that individual preferences and specific use cases may influence how these pros and cons are weighed.
The Epson EF-12 is part of Epson’s lineup of 3LCD projectors, utilizing three 0.62-inch LCD panels to produce a Full HD image with a pixel count of 1920 x 1080. Its laser light source with 1000 lumens provides quick on/off functionality and an expected lifespan of up to 10 years. Additionally, the EF-12 operates quietly at just 27dB due to the absence of a mercury lamp that needs cooling.
The Epson EF-12 portable projector runs on the Android TV OS, which offers limited settings but integrates well with the platform. While the available apps are important for the user experience, some popular services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, All 4, and Now are missing. Although this is not uncommon for portable projectors, it may lead some users to consider a non-smart projector with an HDMI media streamer instead.
Fortunately, the EF-12 supports Chromecast and allows users to cast content from mobile devices or laptops. The Google voice search feature is also available, offering convenience in navigation.
Although not weather-proof, Epson suggests that the EF-12 is suitable for outdoor use. Its sturdy build provides protection, and while it lacks a built-in battery, it can be connected to a garden extension cable. Local film files can be played through the USB port or from the projector’s 10GB of internal storage. The EF-12 also features two HDMI sockets (including ARC and HDCP 2.3 compatibility).
The Epson EF-12 portable projector includes a row of buttons on the top surface for power, Bluetooth, and volume control, but the provided remote control offers comprehensive functionality, including autofocus, auto-keystone correction, and direct access to the app offerings.
The Epson EF-12 is a compact and versatile projector that offers good image quality and convenient features for home entertainment. While it may not match the performance of high-end home theater projectors, it provides a solid viewing experience, especially for casual use in smaller spaces or when portability is a priority. Priced at $699.99, the Epson EF-12 is considered one of the best portable projectors in its price range.