EVALUATION

EZCast Beam H3 Projector Review: Have You Ever Wanted to Watch TikTok on a Five-Foot Screen?

0

EZCast Beam H3

7.00 / 10

Read Reviews

See on amazon

The Beam H3 by EZCast is a great supplement to an existing home theater setup, but low brightness means it won't replace your television.

Key Features

  • Auto-portrait mode
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Horizontal and vertical keystone adjustments
  • Supports various placements
  • Ceiling mounting option
  • 1080p @ 60Hz native resolution
  • Cable and wireless projection
  • Dual-band wireless (2.4Ghz and 5GHz)
  • Auto vertical keystone adjustment
  • Android, iOS, ChromeOS, Windows, and macOS compatible
Specifications

  • Brand: EZCast
  • Native Resolution: 1080p
  • ANSI Lumens: 200
  • Projection Technology: LCD
  • Connectivity: HDMI, USB-C, USB-A, Wireless, microSD
  • Throw Ratio: 1.3:1
  • HDR: No
  • Audio: Single 4-ohm, 5-watt Bluetooth speaker
  • OS: EZCast multimedia center
  • Lamp Life: >30,000 hours
  • Noise Level : 62.6 – 65.1 dB (fan only)
Pros

  • Great for gaming
  • Exceptional portability
  • Supports numerous inputs
  • Portrait mode for social media enthusiasts
  • Built-in stand works with most tablets/phones
  • Compatible with Chromecast, Roku, AppleTV, and others
Cons

  • HDCP limitations for iOS users
  • Not bright enough for daytime viewing
  • Focus walks
  • Ceiling mode is unusable
  • Auto-portrait mode is weird
  • Warranty is only 12 months
Buy This Product

EZCast Beam H3 amazon

Shop

For cinema enthusiasts in search of an authentic theater experience, nothing beats a projector. Say what you like, but a 65-inch television will never offer the immersion of the big screen. But the projector market is a hard one to navigate. Cheap junk is everywhere, and many manufacturers don't use standardized ratings. If you've fallen victim to one of these units, you might be soured on projectors altogether.

If that's the case, EZCast is looking to change your mind. The company's new Beam H3 projector offers 200 ANSI lumens of brightness, wireless connectivity, USB-A and USB-C connections, and a fascinatingly strange automatic portrait mode. The unit is normally available for $169, but is on sale for $135 currently. EZCast is also offering a special discount to MUO readers. I've been testing this projector for about two months, and I have to say it has surprised me.

advertising

What You Need to Know Before Buying a Projector

Beam H3 Box detail

So first, let's discuss the main issue with some projectors on the market—brightness. You've probably heard the terms nits, lumens, lux, candela, and maybe even foot-lamberts thrown around when it comes to projector brightness.

advertising

If you want a crash course on these terms, numerous resources around the web can help with the details. However, when buying a projector, there are only two things you should know:

1. Many manufacturers use non-standardized terms like “lumens” or “lux” to mask exaggerated brightness claims. In the industry, these terms are often referred to as “marketing brightness.” In other words, you should critically evaluate these claims for accuracy.

2. For proper brightness comparison across brands, you should look for a value called ANSI (American National Standards Institute) lumens listed in the manufacturer specs. ANSI lumens are a standardized measure of brightness across nine zones using a light meter.

The key here is that ANSI lumens are standardized. That means ANSI lumen values are more trustworthy than the self-reported values of marketing lumens or lux. So, whenever you're looking at a projector, and it does not have ANSI lumens listed, then there is a strong possibility that the manufacturer is reporting exaggerated brightness.

advertising

The EZCast Beam H3: Build Quality and Design

Beam H3 top view

The first thing you'll notice when you get the Beam H3 out of the box is the unit's weight. At 2.65 pounds (1.2 kg), some might call this projector featherweight. It's lighter than many laptops, though it does have some presence.

The exterior is hard white plastic, and EZCast positioned the main control buttons on the top surface. All the usual suspects are here, including the power button, home, back, arrow keys for menu navigation, and the OK button, which confirms on-screen selections. There's also a channel for supporting tablets or phones. Toward the front of the projector is the manual focus wheel for precision focus adjustments.

advertising

On one side of the projector, you'll find a USB-C port, a microSD slot, an HDMI 2.0 input, a USB-A input, a 3.5 mm audio port, and a recessed USB-A slot that accepts an included wireless dongle. This wireless dongle is the secret weapon that the Beam H3 uses to connect to 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless networks. Finally, you'll find the exhaust port for the internal fan on this side of the unit. On the opposite side of the projector is a single power port that accepts the included AC adapter.

On the face of the H3 is the lens, behind which is the LED lamp. This lamp offers a 1000:1 contrast ratio and outputs video at 1080p, in a native aspect ratio of 16:9. EZCast reports the LEDs life to be greater than 30,000 hours, or around 3.5 years if you left the projector on 24/7. There's also an EZCast Logo and an IR sensor receiver tucked into the front face.

advertising

Underneath the projector, you'll find four rubber feet, the manufacturing information, and a single thumbscrew which allows for angle adjustments of the unit. If you remove this screw, you can attach the projector to most tripods.

Overall, the unit is about the size of a box of Triscuits, with official dimensions of 8.58 (W) x 6.77 (D) x 3.46 (H) inches (218 × 172 × 88 mm). Those dimensions mean the H3 is unobtrusive, and it will pack easily into most carry-ons. Business professionals will likely appreciate this quality the most.

What's in the Box?

Beam H3 What's in the Box?

Inside the box for the H3, you'll get:

  • H3 projector unit
  • IR remote
  • Two foam supports
  • An instruction manual
  • An AC adapter
  • The wireless dongle

And, for some reason, our unit came with three bags of stickers, one of which was slightly vulgar. Why EZCast included these stickers is anyone's guess.

advertising

Setup/Installation

Beam H3 has numerous ports

There are two parts to setting up the Beam H3. First, you'll need to find a suitable spot for the projector, and insert the wireless dongle. Then you need to connect your device to the projector.

Because of the various inputs, you can use almost any phone, tablet, or computer with the H3. There's also the EZCast app, which EZCast recommends. However, in my experience, the app wasn't super helpful after getting this projector up and running.

You'll need to first connect to your wireless internet. To do so, enter the Settings menu, navigate to Wireless, and enter your network credentials. From there, the projector should show up on your network.

Next, you'll connect your device. There are eight different ways to connect, and exploring every one in detail would probably waste your time, but just know that you can connect via iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, HDMI, or USB port.

advertising

The manual focus wheel on the Beam H3

For iOS, the Beam H3 utilizes the screen mirroring function. That means, when you connect with your phone, you control what's on-screen by swiping around. So, if you wanted to play a YouTube video, for example, just queue up the video on your device and press play. Rotate your phone, and the Beam H3 will rotate the display from portrait to landscape almost instantly.

The Beam H3 has a throw distance of one to 4.4 meters, or roughly three to 14.5 feet for optimal viewing. It's at this maximum distance where you'll get the largest display. Note: the Beam H3 product page reports the projector has a 150-inch maximum screen size, while the downloadable spec sheet has the maximum screen size listed as 155 inches. This is a throw ratio of roughly 1.3:1 (the ratio of distance from the screen to the horizontal projection size).

advertising

Overall, the setup wasn't especially complicated, though there are some limitations to using smartphone-based connections without an intermediary like a Roku or a Chromecast. More on that in a moment.

The Beam H3: Picture Quality

Beam H3 front face

ANSI 200 ratings don't produce the brightest image quality, but it is passable if you're in a pitch-dark room. For me, I have light-blocking curtains in my bedroom, so setting the projector up in there and turning off all the lights gave me the best image. I also used a 150-foot screen purchased from Amazon to test the image throw capabilities.

EZCast multimedia center menu

After queuing up a couple of episodes of Masters of The Universe: Revelation, I found colors to be equivalent to a 1080p computer monitor. They weren't mind-blowing, but color representations didn't affect my immersion.

advertising

The image was also sharp at about 12 feet (3.66 meters) after some minor focal adjustments. Though, like many projectors in this class, the focus did seem to walk a bit. I found this effect even more pronounced when the H3 was projecting onto the ceiling. In this orientation, images became unwatchable without constant adjustments.

Daytime use, on the other hand, was terrible. Images were hardly visible, which makes this projector useless unless you can eliminate most of your room's ambient light.

EZCast Daytime Viewing

The Beam H3 also has horizontal and vertical settings for keystone tweaking, a four-corner adjustment mode, and an auto vertical keystone mode. These settings allow the projector to be placed in various locations, like on a side table or mounted to the ceiling. Apart from testing, I left keystone settings on auto and didn't notice issues with distortion.

advertising

I did turn on the highest brightness setting, however. I think this setting is integral for the best quality picture.

Sound Quality

Beam H3 underside

Inside the H3 is a 5-watt mono speaker. The manual for the unit suggests that you can connect to the projector and use this Bluetooth speaker for things like parties or backyard barbecues.

While this is technically correct, the issue here is that the speaker isn't very high quality. It will work, but you're probably not going to want to use this speaker as your main home theater audio. There was also a slight delay between streamed content and the speaker output while watching YouTube, though buffering might be at fault for this variance.

Rather than use the internal speaker of the H3, I found the best way to get good sound was to hook the projector up to an external speaker via the 3.5 mm audio port.

advertising

Auto-Portrait Mode

EZCast YouTube Content

One of the most interesting features of the Beam H3 is its auto-portrait mode. The primary use is to view content from places like TikTok and Instagram.

To my knowledge, this projector is the only unit available that accommodates social media content in portrait mode. So, if you've ever wanted to doom scroll on a giant screen, the Beam H3 makes it possible.

Included in the box with the projector are two foam supports that you attach to one of the projector's sides. Doing so allows the unit to stand on one end while still offering enough ventilation to prevent overheating.

The supports work as intended, but I can see them being an issue down the road from a durability standpoint. Plus, they're not attached to anything, so eventually, one or both are going to wind up under the couch.

advertising

So, is the social media feature useful? That depends. If you're trying to learn Charli D'Amelio or Addison Rae's latest dance moves, and you want to avoid staring at your phone to do so, then sure. And if you feel like watching life-sized Instagram Reels content, I can confidently say that this is the projector for you.

Similarly, if you have kids, this mode might be an entertaining—albeit strange—alternative to family game night.

Gaming Performance

Classic games look great on the EZCast Beam H3

In our opinion, the best use for a projector like the H3 is for gaming. The Beam H3 can run a 60Hz refresh rate in 1080p mode, and this refresh rate is ideal for consoles like the PS4. The H3 is also pretty great for playing mobile games.

advertising

As for latency, I couldn't find any concrete specification data, though I will say that I didn't notice any input lag during play.

Additionally, for someone like me, who is a fan of retro arcade gaming, the refresh rate and resolution are perfect for seeing old games in new ways. To me, this application is probably the best fit for a projector like the H3.

Street Fighter II, Golden Axe, Sunset Riders, and even Final Fight on my RetroPie setup all played beautifully with this projector. Immersion was excellent and using a large screen allowed ancient arcade games to come alive.

Limitations of the Beam H3

Beam H3 button detail

Earlier, I mentioned using an intermediary such as a Chromecast with the Beam H3. If you're buying this unit, one of these intermediary devices is a must-have. Here's why: The Beam H3 cannot broadcast copyrighted content from popular streaming services on its own. Unfortunately, that means if you try to connect to Netflix, Prime Video, or Hulu wirelessly, you'll only see a black screen.

advertising

This limitation is due to something called High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP). Simply put, HDCP prevents copyrighted digital audio and video content from being copied as it travels through certain connections. But, you can get around this limitation by streaming to an HDCP compliant intermediary like a Chromecast, Fire TV Stick, or Roku.

Using one of these devices also eliminates the hassle of wireless dropouts and excessive buffering, which were present when using direct screen mirroring.

Can You Repair the Beam H3 Projector?

While there is access to the fasteners at the bottom of the unit, it doesn't appear that EZCast wants consumers attempting a repair. The unit's warranty is seven days from the date of purchase for all defects, and 12 months from the date of purchase for the main projector.

advertising

That means remotes, dongles, adapters, and other accessories aren't covered. The warranty also won't cover any sort of mishandling or damage caused by a shoddy accessory. Finally, if you need to send the projector back, you'll be responsible for shipping costs.

What Do We Love About the Beam H3?

Beam H3 front face alternate view

As far as entry-level projectors go, the H3 offers some compelling features. While the resolution isn't 4K, you have to remember this projector is well under the $1000 price point that decent 4K projectors command.

For a fraction of that price, though, you can have a perfect unit for sales presentations, extended gaming sessions, TikTok parties, and even recreating the drive-in movie experience.

Is the H3 going to blow you away? No, but compared to the cheap dreck on the market today, this projector stands out. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it performed. And adding an old Chromecast and a cloth screen gives you a mobile movie theater that fits into a carry-on.

advertising

What's Not to Love?

Beam H3 foam supports for portrait mode

The direct-connect wireless performance of the projector itself leaves a lot to be desired here. Unfortunately, the same is true for the EZCast app. None of these features wowed me, and I found myself frustrated with how the projector handled input directly from my iOS devices.

Stuttering and buffering were present whether I was using a USB or a Wi-Fi connection, though these issues did ease once the projector had played a few videos. They weren't gone completely, but they diminished slightly.

The HDCP limitations were also frustrating. Had I not had a spare streaming device sitting around, I would have probably given this unit a much lower rating. If you're an Android user, HDCP might not be a problem, however. Additionally, even with brightness on the highest setting, daytime viewing wasn't enjoyable.

advertising

Finally, I'm not sold on the auto-portrait mode. It may have value to some, but watching five-foot-tall TikTok dance videos just seems slightly awkward, if not voyeuristic.

Our Verdict: Should You Buy the Beam H3?

As with many products, the ultimate answer is, “that depends.”

Ideally, this projector would be a fantastic start if you're looking to supplement an existing home theater setup. It's also a good purchase for road warriors who need a way to show off their PowerPoint skills. If you have kids, then this projector is also an excellent pick. Finally, If you are looking for an inexpensive upgrade that will make old games feel new, grab your credit card.

On the other hand, it's hard to recommend the EZCast Beam H3 as the new heart of your home theater. It's simply not bright enough unless you're in pitch darkness, and it doesn't support the most popular streaming services out of the box–at least for iOS users. So, if you're looking to buy this projector for those purposes, you should be looking elsewhere.

advertising

For this review, EZCast has extended a 10% discount to all MakeUseOf readers. Just use code MAKEUSEH3 at checkout.

admin

3 Raspberry Pi Cloud Storage Software Solutions

Previous article

How to Safely Open a Windows REG File

Next article

You may also like

Comments

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in EVALUATION

Login/Sign up