Epson PowerLite Home 10+ LCD Projector

It's only budget in price.

It's quite impressive what $1,300 will get you nowadays. In many ways, the Home 10+ looks the most like a home theater projector of those in our Face Off. The smooth, pearlescent case looks a lot like a Chiclet on steroids, and this was the only projector with a dedicated component video input, in addition to RGB.

My favorite feature was lost on the other participants: a cubby in the back of the case that holds the remote when you aren't using it. I felt this would prevent me from losing the remote all the time, but some of the reviewers disagreed. In fact, each of them wrote that they thought they'd lose the tiny remote completely. Well, I thought it was a cool idea, anyway.

The Home 10+'s most surprising feature at this price point is its adjustable iris. There are four settings (inaccurately named "color modes"), but the iris basically has two positions. In its darker modes (theater and theater black), the black level was better than that of the BenQ. In its brighter modes (living room and dynamic), the black level was terrible, but the projector was brighter than either of the others. There are no gray-scale adjustments (only three preset color-temperature modes), and the living room and dynamic modes are far off the D6500 standard. Unless you're trying to compete with ambient light, stick with the theater black mode (which is also quieter and provides longer bulb life).

The Home 10+ was the only projector in the Face Off with a native 16:9 aspect ratio; so, of course, there was no light spill above or below the screen. The well-built case held in almost all extraneous light. Although the specs indicate that this projector had the lowest resolution (854 by 480), the 16:9 window we used on the winning projector's 800-by-600 DLP panel was only 800 by 449. Even so, Scott remarked that there was an obvious screen-door effect with the Home 10+. The reviewers were sitting about three times the picture height from the screen. At about 3.5 picture heights, the pixel structure was almost unnoticeable. (The same was true for the lower-resolution winner.) Keep this in mind during setup.

The Home 10+'s color got mixed reviews. Scott thought that fleshtones looked a little pink and greens looked a little yellow. Amy liked the reds and thought the fish tank in The Fifth Element looked especially vibrant.

The Home 10+ did the worst in the Gladiator test scene, creating jagged edges and stairstepping galore. When I sent it a progressive image, though, it cleaned right up. Given the low price of progressive-scan DVD players these days, consider getting one (if you don't already own one) to use with this projector.

Most LCD projectors have a problem with black level and shadow detail, and the Home 10+ was no different. Its overall black level was significantly lower than the BenQ's, but shadow detail in the "Montage of Images" and Master and Commander clips was somewhat messy.

Everyone thought that the projector looked better with the HD source than with DVD material, although Adrienne felt that it still looked somewhat softer and grainier than the winning projector. This goes to show that, even if a display lacks the ability to show a source's full resolution, feeding that display the best possible source will have a positive effect on the image.

For the money, this projector does an excellent job of giving you a big-screen image for small-TV prices. It's attractive, has a decent black level, and provides an iris to adjust that level. It can't be calibrated (it's the only one in this test that couldn't), but it isn't that far off the D6500 standard out of the box. As long as you take its resolution into account when you're choosing screen size and seating position, the Home 10+ would work well in most homes. At the very least, it's certainly our value winner.

• Beautiful case
• Adjustable iris
• Internal remote holder

Dealer Locator Code EPS
(800) GO-EPSON