20/09/2021

Licensing Consultant

Not just any technology

Epson Home Cinema 2250 projector review: Go big and go bright at home

Epson’s Home Cinema 2250 is an excellent projector, creating an impressively bright image with accurate colors and a decent contrast ratio. It improves upon just about everything we liked with last year’s Home Cinema 2150, though not in any way that’s significant enough to justify upgrading if you’ve already got one of those. If you’re in the market for a new projector, though, the 2250 should be on your short list.

Like

  • Incredibly bright
  • Accurate colors
  • Built-in streaming

Don’t Like

  • Somewhat expensive
  • Not as sharp as some competitors
  • Loud at full brightness

The standout aspect of the 2250 is its extreme light output. I’m pretty sure it the brightest projector I’ve measured, like, ever. High brightness allows a projector to look better at bigger sizes and when there’s some ambient light. Unlike most other ultra-bright projectors this one also has a pretty decent contrast ratio. It’s not as punchy or sharp as our Editors’ Choice BenQ HT2050, which I still like better overall, but the Epson does have some significant advantages over the BenQ, with better placement options, immunity to DLP rainbows and built-in Android TV streaming.

My biggest complaint about the Epson is that it’s probably $150-$200 too expensive. It’s a great projector, but would be even more competitive if Epson chopped the price a bit.

1080p in all sizes

  • Native resolution: 1,920×1,080 pixels
  • HDR-compatible: No
  • 4K-compatible: Yes
  • 3D-compatible: Yes
  • Lumens spec: 2,700
  • Zoom: Manual (1.6x)
  • Lens shift: Manual
  • Lamp life (Normal mode): 4,500 hours

The 2250 is a 1080p resolution projector, but like many can accept (and downconvert) a 4K resolution signal. There’s no real benefit in doing this, but it doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t accept HDR, which is fine because projectors in general don’t do a great job with HDR.

One of the best aspects of the 2250, like its predecessor, is how easy it is to place in a room. With ample zoom range, it can sit well behind your seating area. Even better, there’s lens shift, which is rare in sub-$1,000 projectors and quite welcome. The combination allows for significantly more placement options, like on a shelf behind your sofa. 

Most DLP-based projectors — which is nearly the entire projector market in this price range other than those from Epson — lack any sort of lens shift. Many also have a very limited zoom range. You need to make your room work around them, while the 2250 works with your room. It’s much more user friendly.

I measured approximately 1729 lumens of light output, or 192 nits. This just edges out the previous brightest projector I’ve measured, the BenQ TH685, by 10 nits/88 lumens. 1729 is a lot of light. So much so that in an otherwise dark room, on a 102-inch 1.0-gain screen, it was almost too bright. That’s actually good for two reasons. One, you’ll want to keep it in ECO mode most of the time anyway, since it’s significantly quieter. In ECO mode it puts out a still-brighter-than-many-projectors 126 nits. Two, projectors get dimmer over time, so starting with “too much” means it will be far better looking for longer.

One mild surprise is the lamp life. In Normal mode, which is the brightest, is 4,500 hours. This is fairly typical, but in ECO it’s only 7,500, about half what many other projectors can do. I don’t think this is that big a deal since Epson lamp replacements aren’t that expensive, and 7,500 is still over 5 years at 4 hours a night.


Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Who needs connections?

  • HDMI inputs: 1
  • PC input: No
  • USB port: No
  • Audio input and output: 3.5mm stereo
  • Digital audio output: No
  • Internet: Wi-Fi
  • 12v trigger: No
  • RS-232 remote port: No
  • MHL: No
  • Remote: Not backlit (x2)

It might seem surprising that the 2250 actually loses an HDMI input from its predecessor. However, I can’t imagine many people use the second HDMI input on any projector. Who runs multiple long HDMI cables when it’s way easier to switch at the source using an HDMI switcher, soundbar, or receiver

The lone HDMI also relates to why there’s no USB connection, which for many years has been there to power a streaming stick. The 2250 has Android TV built-in. So if you don’t want to run HDMI, or just want to use this for occasional movie nights, all you need is a power cable, flat surface, and Wi-Fi. It has all the usual suspects: Netflix, Vudu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, etc., and you can cast from your phone right to the projector.

The 10-watt mono speaker isn’t going to offer sound worthy of the image the 2250 can create, but thankfully there’s a 3.5mm audio output, so you can easily connect the projector to any powered speaker with an analog input.

Two small remotes come with the 2250; neither is backlit. One is only for controlling the built-in Android TV. The other can control the Android TV, but also controls the projector. This seems needlessly confusing to me. 

epson-2250-2-of-12

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Picture quality comparisons

I connected all three projectors via a Monoprice 1×4 distribution amplifier, and viewed all on a 102-inch 1.0-gain screen. The 2150 is last year’s model, while the HT2050A is still our pick for best projector in this price range.

These are some of the best projectors around $1,000 and it shows. All three projectors look good on any content you want to send them. The images are colorful, natural, and punchy, at least relative to other projectors within a few hundred dollars. 

Side by side, I could clearly tell the 2150 and 2250 are made by the same company. The images look far more similar than different. The extra brightness, about 7%, isn’t that noticeable. The 2150 was the third brightest projector I’ve measured. Which is to say, they’re all very bright. 

The biggest difference is in the contrast. Technically, the 2150 has a higher contrast ratio, about 1,220:1, which is the second highest for projectors in this price range after the BenQ HT2050A. The 2250’s 1,026:1 is lower, but when it comes to contrast ratio a difference of 20% is hard to notice at best (and fairly close to what could be considered inherent measurement error). However, they look different. This is largely because there seems to be less of a color tint in the 2250’s darkest images. So it looks less artificial and, subjectively, better than the 2150 overall. 

Neither projector comes close to the BenQ in this regard, however, which is still our champion in contrast ratio at 2,094:1. Its image has more depth and punchiness, though the difference is less pronounced between these rarefied contenders than with some I’ve reviewed in the last year. 

epson-2250-3-of-12

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The other edge the BenQ has is in detail. Both Epsons are LCD, and in my experience LCD just doesn’t look quite as sharp as DLP. So even at the same resolution, the BenQ just looks higher resolution. Edges and fine details are just more noticeable. The Epsons certainly don’t look soft, but side-by-side with the BenQ they’re definitely softer.

Comparing the BenQ HT2050A and the Epson 2250, it’s not an easy choice. On a strictly image quality basis, I’ll give the nod to the BenQ. That contrast ratio is fantastic. Both projectors have great color accuracy, but the the BenQ looks sharper. The Epson is brighter, but the BenQ is still quite bright. 

This isn’t quite the whole story, however. 

Beyond the specs

Like all single-chip DLP projectors, the HT2050A is subject to rainbows. Personally, I’m not bothered by them. Some people are, however, and if that’s you, it doesn’t matter how good a DLP projector could look, it’s unwatchable. So point to the Epson, since it uses three LCDs, which can’t exhibit rainbows.

The HT2050A is also harder to fit in a room. The zoom range is a lot less, the maximum throw distance is less, and while it has lens shift, it’s not as much as the Epson. I don’t think built-in streaming is a big benefit in this kind of projector, but the 2250 has that too and it works well. So that’s another point.

epson-2250-1-of-12

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The Epson’s biggest liability, however, is its price. The BenQ is 25% cheaper, and there are other projectors that can get the job done for even less. For the same money as the 2250 you could get the 4K Optoma UHD30. That projector has some issues, but looks great and is incredibly detailed. 

So the bottom line is this: The Epson 2250 is an excellent projector. If you’re not interested in the BenQ HT2050A, or want to sacrifice some overall picture quality at the altar of pixels for the UHD30, the 2250 is the one to get.

Geek Box

Test Result Score
Black luminance (0%) 0.189 Poor
Peak white luminance (100%) 192 Good
Derived lumens 1729 Good
Avg. grayscale error (10-100%) 2.485 Good
Dark gray error (20%) 3.524 Average
Bright gray error (70%) 2.605 Good
Avg. color error 5.564 Average
Red error 7.171 Poor
Green error 8.1 Poor
Blue error 4.771 Average
Cyan error 7.352 Poor
Magenta error 3.192 Average
Yellow error 2.797 Good
Avg. saturations error 3.12 Average
Avg. color checker error 2.6 Good
Input lag (Game mode) 28 Good

Measurement notes

Out of the box, in the Cinema picture mode and the seven-color temperature mode, the 2250 was very close to accurate in just about every measurement. It lacks green throughout the grayscale range, except for the brightest of images, but not enough to look that way to the naked eye.

Color primaries and secondaries were all very close to their targets. Green is very slightly yellow, as is red. Cyan is slightly blue. 

There are two different lamp modes and two iris speeds. You can hear the iris working if you’re close to the projector. In Normal lamp mode, labeled Power Consumption in the menu, the 2250 is quite loud, but is able to produce 192 nits, which works out to roughly 1,729 lumens. Drop to ECO mode and the fan noise drops to a more acceptable level, while still producing 126 nits. If you want to go all out, and sacrifice overall image quality and accuracy, the Dynamic mode can produce a whopping 289 nits, or roughly 2,602 lumens. I wouldn’t recommend that setting for normal viewing.

The contrast ratio average, not including the iris, was 1,026:1, which is quite good for a projector in this price range. The iris, which tracks the video signal to make darker scenes darker, gives the 2250 a dynamic contrast ratio average of 5,730:1. I didn’t find that it added much and disabled it in the menu.