Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12 projector assessment: Laser-powered image dice

The Epson EF12 is a tiny projector with built-in streaming and surprisingly loud audio system, all packed right into a slick-looking dice. It is a one-stop store for film nights anyplace you’ll be able to run an extension twine. The draw back? For $1,000, its image high quality is not any nice shakes, with below-average distinction ratio and a fairly dim picture in comparison with different projectors on this value vary.

LikeGreat designSounds massive for its sizeAndroid TV streaming buit-in

Do not LikeNot very brightMediocre distinction ratioExpensive

As you’ll be able to guess from its design, nevertheless, the EF12 does not intend to compete with conventional residence theater projectors. For one factor, it is tiny: approach lower than a foot cubed. So it may match nearly anyplace. There are a number of HDMI inputs, Wi-Fi and Android TV. It could actually even double as a Bluetooth speaker. And it additionally makes use of a laser mild supply, so that you by no means want to interchange a projector bulb.

The EF12 is much like the Epson EF-100 we appreciated, however with higher sound, sharper decision and fewer brightness. It prices greater than our Editors’ Alternative BenQ HT2050A, however that projector is way bigger and lacks built-in streaming and good audio system. In order for you one thing simply transportable with the whole lot you want for a film evening, the EF12 can match that invoice. However if you happen to can match one thing bigger or do not prioritize built-in sound high quality, the identical cash or much less will get you a much better image with one other projector.

Cute dice: Up shut with the Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12
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Fundamental specsNative decision: 1,920×1,080 pixels HDR-compatible: Yes4K-compatible: Yes3D-compatible: NoLumens spec: 1,000Zoom: NoLens shift: NoLamp life (Regular mode): 20,000 hours

The EF12 can deal with 4K decision and HDR video sources, however do not count on a lot of a lift in image high quality from them. It is a 1080p decision projector and no projector can actually do HDR. 

The lumens spec, which determines brightness, is essentially the most disappointing side of the EF12. The EF-100, which is analogous in design and objective, is rated for twice that. A thousand lumens is not dim, but it surely’s not quite a bit in an period of projectors with 3,000 and better lumens scores, particularly for the value.

There is no lens shift, which isn’t surprising on this value vary, however the lack of a zoom is disappointing. The thought is if you would like a bigger or smaller picture, you simply transfer the EF12 farther or nearer to the display, or extra probably, no matter wall you are utilizing as a display. There’s automated autofocus.

The laser mild supply is rated for 20,000 hours.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
Connectivity and convenienceHDMI inputs: 2PC enter: NoUSB port: 1Audio enter and output: 3.5mm stereo outputDigital audio output: NoWi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac12-volt set off: NoRS-232 distant port: NoMHL: NoRemote: Not backlit

The EF12 has two HDMI inputs, and one even has Audio Return Channel to get audio from its inner apps again to a soundbar or receiver. There’s additionally a 3.5mm analog audio output. 

You may not want both, nevertheless. The 5-watt built-in stereo audio system, co-designed with Yamaha, sound surprisingly good. They will fill a room and have first rate bass for such a small cupboard. They seem to be a bit boomy, however for the dimensions and comfort, they’re undoubtedly one of many EF12’s greatest attributes.

There is not a lot profit to built-in streaming with conventional residence theater projectors, but it surely’s good to see in a small, doubtlessly transportable PJ just like the EF12. It is even higher to see actual Android TV and never the Aptoide retailer discovered in lots of small projectors, which is at all times a legal responsibility.

The distant is not backlit, however does include a devoted button to regulate the settings, in order that’s good. It additionally enables you to discuss to Google Assistant, if you happen to’re so inclined.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
Image high quality comparisons

I selected these two projectors for my EF12 comparability as a result of the Epsons are comparable in value, dimension and meant use. The BenQ HT2050A represents a extra conventional residence theater projector for across the identical value. 

I linked the BenQ and EF12 through a Monoprice 1×4 distribution amplifier. The EF-100, being decrease 1,280×800 decision, ran off its personal streaming stick. I manually synced up the identical content material on each sources. I considered all of them on a 102-inch 1.0-gain display. 

The EF-100’s decrease decision is apparent proper off the bat. Whereas 1,280×800 is okay by itself, it isn’t shocking that your eye is drawn to the projectors with double the pixels and the larger element that gives. Not simply element both. The picture is smoother and fewer synthetic as effectively, for the reason that pixels are smaller and nearer collectively. With a 100-inch display it isn’t laborious to see particular person pixels from the EF-100 if you happen to’re seated in any respect near the display.

The EF-100 is noticeably brighter than the EF12, nevertheless, roughly on par with the HT2050A. The EF12 does not look dim, however is certainly dimmer than the opposite two. I measured roughly 650 lumens, which is watchable on a 100-inch display however would look higher and brighter on one thing smaller. 

The tradeoffs between the 2 Epsons largely cancel out. On bigger screens, the additional brightness of the EF-100 could be welcome, however its decrease decision is way more seen. The additional decision of the EF12 appears to be like nice on a bigger display, however its decrease brightness robs the picture of impression. Between the 2, as a result of I believe the decrease decision could be one thing extra folks would discover by itself (with out different projectors to check side-by-side), I might lean in direction of the EF12 for most individuals. 

Distinction ratio can be fairly poor on each the Epsons. The EF12 improves upon the EF-100 somewhat, however the distinction between 315:1 and 394:1 is just like the distinction between one automotive that will get 12 mpg and one other that will get 13. It is also barely outdoors the vary of measurement error. In apply the whole lot appears to be like pretty washed out on each. The decrease brightness on the EF12 does nothing to make the picture pop both.

As you may need guessed, the BenQ HT2050A simply appears to be like higher than each. The distinction ratio is considerably larger, practically 2,100:1 in comparison with about 400:1. It is simply as brilliant because the EF-100, however with a far smoother picture due to its larger pixel depend. So the picture simply appears to be like extra pure and has extra punch due to its a lot larger distinction ratio. 

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

It is a powerful one. The EF12 suits a particular area of interest: Somebody who does not need, or thinks they do not need, a “actual” projector. One thing small to drag off a shelf for an occasional film evening. In that, it really works nice, and the interior audio system are much better than what you’d get in a conventional projector. The image in comparison with the EF-100 is… for instance otherwise meh, however the higher dimension and sound makes me lean in direction of the EF12 for this particular use. 

One thing just like the BenQ HT2050A prices much less and affords a good higher image, so if excessive portability is not an absolute necessity, it is a greater worth. The EF12 suits in a backpack and the HT2050A is the dimensions of a backpack — but it surely’s not heavy and if you happen to’re not transferring it usually, who cares concerning the dimension? 

When it comes right down to it, if the EF12 was twice as brilliant, and somewhat cheaper, it would be an absolute winner. 

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
Measurement notes

For essentially the most correct colours use the Pure coloration mode. The Cinema and Brilliant Cinema mode oversaturates inexperienced, amongst different extra delicate coloration inaccuracies. A coloration temperature of seven was pretty correct throughout the brightness vary, although tended to float inexperienced with mid- and brilliant pictures. 

Coloration usually was pretty correct. Inexperienced and blue had been just about spot on their Rec. 709 targets. Crimson was somewhat orange, yellow somewhat inexperienced, cyan somewhat blue and magenta somewhat purple. It was as if these colours had been all shifted clockwise on the colour chart just a bit bit.

Brightness, as claimed and as measured, was decrease than you’d hope for a $1,000 projector. I measured 650 lumens within the Brilliant Cinema mode, lower than half the EF-100’s roughly 1,500.

Distinction ratio was additionally low, at a median of 394:1. This was barely higher than the EF-100’s 315:1, however nonetheless roughly half what the typical projector can do on this value vary in 2020.

Geek Field

Take a look at



Black luminance (0%)



Peak white luminance (100%)



Derived lumens



Avg. grayscale error (10-100%)



Darkish grey error (20%)



Brilliant grey error (70%)



Avg. coloration error



Crimson error



Inexperienced error



Blue error



Cyan error



Magenta error



Yellow error



Avg. saturations error



Avg. coloration checker error



Enter lag (Recreation mode)



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