Epson CO-FH02 Smart Projector Review | The Scribbling Geek

Should you buy the Epson CO-FH02 Smart Projector?
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Is the Epson CO-FH02 Smart Projector the “perfect companion for work & play?”


Projectors adopted several new identities over the years, even though they primarily still do the same thing.

They were an office luxury at the turn of the century; not a purchase to suggest to your boss during a poor quarter! In subsequent years, they began to be promoted as home theatre equipment. Notably, not just for opulent residences with huge AV entertainment chambers but as affordable, mobile alternatives for TVs too.

Next up, they gained Internet and Android capabilities, and that placed the “smart” before their traditional name.

The Epson CO-FH02 is one such smart projector. (In the US market, the model uses the longer Epson EpiqVision Flex CO-FH02 name) Marketed as an “All-In-One” that’s perfect for work and play, the CO-FH02 comes with smart media streaming features, a surprisingly enjoyable sound output, and as its key selling point, a dazzling 3000 lumens high clarity display with FHD resolution.

At 2.6 kg, it’s not featherweight but an ergonomic build that measures just 36 cm diagonally across provides reasonable mobility.

The idea here is this. You can use this smart projector as long as you have a power source and a featureless wall; darker walls would do too. For “installation flexibility,” the projector is equipped with easy-to-access keystone correction functions as well as other adjustment parameters.

Get the hang of how the projector operates, and the CO-FH02 could be a work gadget and entertainment companion wrapped into one. In other words, it aims to be a companion that you would love from morning to bedtime.



Epson CO-FH02 Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 211 x 320 x 82 mm | Approx. 2.6 kg
  • Light Source: Lamp (Fixed), 188 W UHE
  • Brightness: 3,000 lm / 2,000 lm (White Light) | 3,000 lm (Colour), with “3LCD” technology.
  • Native Resolution: FHD (1920 by 1080)
  • Sound Output: 5W Monaural (with enclosure)
  • Connectivity: 1 x (HDCP 1.4) | Wireless Smart Media Player | USB A & B
  • Screen Size (Projected Distance): 34” to 391” [0.89 to 10.40m] (Zoom: Wide) | 26” to 290” [0.91 to 10.41m] (Zoom: Tele) | Standard size: 60” screen 1.58m
  • Chromecast built-in features

Physical Build

Epson CO-FH02 Review
The appearance of the Epson CO-FH02 is decisively minimalistic in feel. There are no sharp corners, i.e., it’s easy to bring around.
I say “minimalistic” not just because of the aesthetics but also because the CO-FH02 has minimal buttons and ports. If you do not remove the side panel, all you’ll see are a power button, a power inlet, and an inconspicuous security slot for Kensington Microsaver Security Systems.
Epson CO-FH02 ELPAP12 Android TV Dongle
Removing the side panel reveals the all-important ELPAP12 Android TV Dongle. For my loan set, the dongle was pre-plugged-in and very snuggly packed.
Epson CO-FH02 Remote Controls
The package comes with not one but two remote controls and this is one area that is a little confusing. More on this later.

Operating the Epson CO-FH02 Smart Projector

Oh, how I fondly remember all those times sitting in a client’s conference room, quietly waiting to do a presentation while flustered office assistants struggle to set up a projector! (And inevitably, always encountering a myriad of tech issues)

These memories are imprinted in my mind and so I was in for a pleasant surprise when I first switched on the CO-FH02.

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Very simply, in default mode, it operates like an Android TV. Power up and you’re shown an Android streaming screen; there are pre-installed apps like YouTube and Netflix too. Once you’ve set up a WiFi connection, that’s it, you’re ready to go. I was watching YouTube clips within five minutes of switching on.

Projecting media from another device requires slightly more work. If you’re using a wired connection, you would need to remove the side panel and detach the ELPAP12 Android TV Dongle from the lone HDMI port. Into this then goes the HDMI wire connected to your device, say, your laptop.

As long as the connection is properly done, the Epson CO-FH02 immediately switches to the screen/output of your connected device. Sound is automatically captured too. There is no need to do anything on the other device. (At least, not for my laptop)

It’s as easy as it gets. Made even easier if you have a look beforehand at the official manual and know what to plug in and at where.

Why Are There TWO Remote Controls?

My loan unit came with two remote controls. A white, do-it-all one operated by IR and a black “streaming media player” one that uses Bluetooth. The black one provides home users with immediate access to applications such as YouTube. (There are dedicated buttons on it, as you can see from one of the pictures above)

According to the manual, you might need to do a pairing process for the black controller too.



I never needed to use the black controller, though. Whatever I wanted to do, I could accomplish with the white controller. The black one does offer someconveniences like immediate access to Netflix, but doing the same on the white one requires just one or two extra clicks. What’s important to note for this review is thus this. The black controller is an accessory. Without it, you can still operate the Epson CO-FH02 with the white one.

3000 Lumens FHD Clarity With 3LCD Tech

To share, I’m currently in between homes and I don’t have access to clean, light-coloured walls ideal for projections.

I thus had to make do with whatever corner I could find at home and my coworking space for this review.

This limitation turned out to be useful tests for the brightness, clarity, and screen adjustment capabilities of the Epson CO-FH02, though. In my bedroom, I was able to “fit” the screen, more or less, into an space underneath my air-con.

It wasn’t a great fit, but it did demonstrate that screen positioning with the white remote was relatively easy; one button brings out the main adjustments. The CO-FH02 moreover has some sort of auto perspective correction, which I suspect is activated by the front adjustment foot.

It’s seldom spot on but this auto-correction does simplify the fine-tuning process.

Epson CO-FH02 Smart Projector Test
I didn’t quite manage to get the screen to fit into the space between my air-con and cabinet. But I think you can evaluate the image quality and Epson’s 3LCD brightness technology from this picture. By the way, that’s an old and uneven wall.
Epson Home Theatre Projector
With the lights switched off, the CO-FH02 offers visuals close to a home theatre experience.

My coworking space was the more challenging test since there are only metallic and dark-coloured walls there, and because the whole office is so bright. One entire length consists of floor-to-ceiling glass panels. In other words, it’s a medium-sized room with super-abundant natural light.

Despite the latter, the CO-FH02 didn’t fare too badly at all. It was even able to project something readable onto a white metallic screen. With a dark grey wall, it had absolutely no problem.

This metallic hoarding wall is obviously NOT the sort of screen to be used, but the CO-FH02 still handled the task admirably. At least good enough for a brief presentation.
CO-FH02 Projector Review
Much better results when projected onto a dark wall.

Image Quality

Image quality from a projector depends on many things. Resolution, brightness, contrast, and so on.



As a whole, I think the FHD projection quality from the CO-FH02 works for standard office presentations and pitches. For those new to home cinematic experiences, it would very likely be satisfactory too.

More discerning viewers might find certain areas lacking. For a start, contrast is average. Those looking for, what’s the word, more immersive experiences would likely mind the lack of HDR input.

Don’t get me wrong, though, what the CO-FH02 provides is definitely watchable. Bizarre as it might sound, the impressive brightness compensates a lot, too, while colours are consistently vivid and attractive.

Sound Quality

The Epson CO-FH02 doesn’t have an inbuilt woofer or sound bar, so nope, you cannot expect audiophile-quality, Dolby Atmos-like sound from it.

That being said, the sound output is more than decent. It’s loud enough to fill, say, a typical meeting room. The audio quality is also clear, without the sort of tinniness, harshness, or muffling so common with cheap speakers.

If I were to nitpick, my only complaint would be that the output lacks deep bassy resonance. But again, one cannot expect that from a projector of this price range. Frankly, it would be silly to.

CO-FH02 Air Exhaust Vent
The air exhaust vent gets quite hot. You don’t want to and shouldn’t put anything within 30 cm of it.

What Are the Limitations of the Epson CO-FH02?

A projector being what it is, the Epson CO-FH02 does get hot and noisy, especially around the air exhaust vent. Switching to “Eco Mode” slightly reduces the heat and fan speed. Epson is also aware of this and so they advise certain amounts of open space on each side of the projector when in use; 30 cm on the side with the vent.

This is something to take note of. It furthermore means you cannot use the projector on a crowded table, with a laptop next to it and all that.

The streamlined build comes with some compromises, as in, there’s only one HDMI outlet. To switch from streaming mode to projection mode, you thus have to power off and do the unplugging/replugging business described above. (Chromecast could prevent this need)



Most importantly, there’s no sound port. If you have a laptop/PC connected, you could redirect the sound to another device. When using the projector as an Android streaming device, you would have to rely on Bluetooth speakers/headsets.

Review Summary: A Hardworking Mid-Range Model With Impressive Brightness and Decent Picture Quality

In Epson’s marketing literature, the CO-FH02 is described as a “perfect companion for work & play.” While there are some limitations, I think this smart projector does indeed work hard to double as an office device and an entertainment gadget.

Setup and connections are easy. It’s also (relatively) lightweight. If your work calls for it, you could be using this projector in the daytime for presentations and bingeing on the latest Netflix series at home hours later.

At a retail price of SGD 899/-, the Epson CO-FH02 would qualify as an, erm, mid-range model? There are pricier, more optically enabled models by Epson and other brands above it. Vice versa, there are significantly cheaper budget models, too, at least in Singapore.

On price, I’ll say that brand matters; Epson has been making projectors for decades. The lamp of the CO-FH02, projected to last 6,000 hours, also comes with a two-year warranty.

Overall image quality, while not top-notch, wouldn’t disappoint either. Add to this is the presence of a more-than-decent speaker.

Coming to the question of whether this smart projector is great for home entertainment, well, it depends on the condition of your home and which specifications you are particular about. If you cannot afford the space for separate televisions in your living room and bedroom, this projector will be a convenience. Non-4K, non-HDR input considered, watching a movie with this smart projector beats any laptop movie experience, hands down.

If you’re setting up a home theatre, then I guess you might want to consider a 4K-enabled projector. That is, unless budget is an issue.

Pros

  • Superb brightness; able to operate even in a lit environment
  • Vivid colours
  • Easy to connect & operate
  • Decent sound quality
  • Built-in Android streaming capabilities

Cons

  • Gets quite hot esp. at the exhaust vent
  • Average contrast
  • Only 1 HDMI port & no sound port

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Epson CO-FH02 Smart Projector Review | The Scribbling Geek
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Epson CO-FH02 Smart Projector Review | The Scribbling Geek
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The Epson CO-FH02 Smart Projector impresses with dazzling brightness and above-average picture quality. But how good is it for work and play?
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