If you own a projector, it’s likely in a dedicated home entertainment room. Today, we have new portable projectors that can be used anywhere. They are small, portable, and easy to use. They come with internal Bluetooth speakers, a built-in streaming interface, and wireless control. With a simple Wi-Fi connection, you can turn any white surface into a projector screen.
I’m reviewing the Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12. This is a 1080p laser home theatre projector with Android TV. With its cube-link design, integrated Yamaha Bluetooth speakers, and Google Assistant voice control, this is a box full of entertainment. Worth the investment? Let’s find out.
Notable specs: Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12
- Full HD 1920 x 1080 native resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio
- Project on screens or flat surfaces up to 150″ in size
- Auto picture skew and focus correction corrects the alignment and focus automatically when projected onto a wall
- Approximately 20,000 hours of lamp light
Design of the Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12
The Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12 has a compact cube design measuring approximately 7”x 5.5”x 7” (WHD) and weighs just under 5lbs. The top half houses the Yamaha speakers distinguished by a dark grey fabric speaker grille. Under that, you’ll find the lens which at first glance seems to be too low. However, underneath the bass is a grey button that releases an adjustable leg. This allows users to angle up the projected image to a wall.
The right side houses the connection ports. There are two HDMI ports, a USB-A port, a USB Mini port, and a headphone jack. Dedicated control buttons are located on the top. Most people will use the provided remote control for day-to-day use.
Setting up the Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12
Turning the projector on for the first time, a series of setup instructions project onto the wall. The first step was connecting it to my Wi-Fi network. From there, I used my Android phone to set up the projector as a new device and connect it to my Google account. The entire setup took less than 5 minutes.
To get the most out of this projector, you will need good Wi-Fi. I recommend setting it up indoors and then moving it to a different location later. If you need to improve your home Wi-Fi, this networking buying guide will help.
Using the Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12 indoors
For this review, I tested this projector indoors and outdoors. For daytime indoor use, I tested it in my smart home-themed Airbnb suite. Here, I have a dedicated 165” projector wall and an older Epson projector mounted on the ceiling. I placed the Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12 on a coffee table and turned it on. Since there is no optical zoom, I had to move the coffee table around. I then used the adjustable leg to tilt the projector perfectly towards the wall. Once in position, the EpiqVision automatically adjusts the image to the wall.
I was able to position it far enough to produce a 150” max screen size. However, the brightness is diminished the bigger the screen gets. This is especially noticeable in daytime use. After playing around with various screen sizes, I found 100 inches to be ideal. It has the right balance between size and brightness, especially during the daytime.
Despite being only 1,000 lumens, I was impressed with the daytime brightness. I suspect this is due to Epson’s Advanced True 3-chip 3LCD display technology. It uses three individual LCD chips to continuously display 100% of the RGB colour signal for every frame. The whites, in particular, are very bright even in the daytime.
Using the Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12 outdoors
My next-door neighbour built an outdoor projector screen in his backyard. So it was no surprise that I tested the EpiqVision Mini EF12 there. Around sunset, I got a stellar image outdoors. Again, at around 100” I had the best balance of size and brightness. I do like the versatility of this projector. It can be used in an entertainment or gaming room in the winter, and in the backyard during the summer months. It’s perfect for entertaining kids and even allows them to game outside.
Horizontal and vertical keystone correction
The Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12 projector uses automatic keystone correction. A vertical keystone correction aligns the top or bottom of the image. Likewise, the horizontal keystone correction aligns the distortion on the left or right side. After the auto keystone, users can manually adjust the keystone in the Display setting. Corner adjustments and focus can also be manually adjusted.
I’m the type of person who likes everything perfectly aligned. For some reason, I had a hard time getting the image straight with the auto keystone. I had this issue both indoors and outdoors. The quickest solution was to use coasters under the feet to straighten the image. I think it would be nice to include adjustable feet on the projector so I didn’t have to use coasters.
Sound quality and sleep timer
The Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12 has two 5W Yamaha speakers built-in. The sound quality of the speaker is impressive and really adds to the cinematic experience. When you’re not using it as a projector, it also functions as a standalone Bluetooth speaker. This is a great hidden feature. I love that I could play podcasts on it from my phone when I wasn’t using the screen.
Another feature I really love was the sleep timer. This is great for people like me who routinely fall asleep watching TV shows and movies. I tried to use Google Assistant to turn the sleep timer on. Unfortunately, that feature is not available.
I think portable laser projectors are the future of home entertainment. They’re small, easy to use, and versatile for indoor and outdoor environments. The Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12 projector has a stellar, compact cube design with great audio and built-in Android TV. There’s a lot to like, but I do see some room for improvement.
First, the auto keystone is far from perfect. From my experience, it’s worthwhile to do manual adjustments. Also, try to have some coasters around. I found that to be the quickest way to straighten an image. Adjustable back feet could solve this.
Second, I wish it included a USB-C power connection port. That way, users could connect it to a power bank. I’ve seen this in other portable projectors and I hope it becomes an industry standard. Otherwise, I recommend you have an extension cord nearby as you will likely need to use it.
Finally, allow the sleep timer to be set up via voice. Currently, you have to go into the Settings menu to activate the sleep timer. Epson needs to make it easier to access the sleep timer or I suspect people will not use it. This feature is great for people who routinely fall asleep watching shows and movies, myself included.
Who is the Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12 for?
If you are looking for a two-in-one entertainment device to replace a traditional television, the Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12 is for you. It can be used in bedrooms, living rooms, gaming rooms, and even outdoors. It’s small, portable, and works in the daytime and at night. Plus, it’s a Bluetooth speaker when you’re not using the screen. In all, the Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12 is the swiss army knife of home entertainment.
You can find similar versatile and portable projectors at bestbuy.ca today.