Epson Home Cinema 640 review: extremely bright image for cheap

The Good
At $350, the Epson Home Cinema 640 is one of the least expensive home theater projectors available. It's extremely bright, and thus able to fill larger screens and compete better against ambient light.

The Bad
More expensive projectors can deliver full HD resolution and overall superior picture quality. Just one HDMI input.

The Bottom Line
Despite lack of true HD resolution, the Epson Home Cinema 640 has impressive overall image quality considering the rock-bottom price.

Basic specs
  • Native resolution: 800x600
  • Lumens spec: 3200
  • Zoom: Digital only
  • Lens Shift: No
  • 3D-compatible: No
  • Lamp Life (Normal mode): 5,000 hours
  • Replacement lamp cost: $80
The 640 is a bright little projector, making it a good choice both for larger screens and for situations where you can't completely darken your viewing environment -- think during the day or even at night outside. It's small enough (11.6 by 9 by 3.1 inches WDH) to take just about anywhere, although unlike some tinier "pico projectors" it doesn't run on batteries.

Because there's no zoom or lens shift, placement isn't as versatile as some projectors. You'll need to physically move the projector to size it to your screen properly. If you're less persnickety about filling the screen completely, or if you're using a white wall or other makeshift projection surface, that's less of an issue.

I recommend avoiding the digital zoom because it impairs picture quality, and the same goes for the keystone control, as usual.

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Connectivity and convenience
  • HDMI inputs: 1
  • AV input: 1 (with S-video)
  • PC input: Analog RGB
  • USB port: 2
  • MHL: No
  • Remote: Not backlit
  • Built-in speaker: Yes
The Epson's back panel is quite basic, as is the remote. There's just one HDMI port, when many budget projectors have two. You can plug in USB flash drives for easy photo and video playback, but the unit isn't compatible with phones that use MHL