Top positive review
253 people found this helpful
Great screen for the price, tricky install
on January 17, 2012
I had a 110 inch Carada at my old house - a great screen, great company - but when it came time to put a screen in my new house I decided to take a chance, save some bucks (hey, new houses are expensive) and try this Elite based on reviews here and over at AVSForum. I'm pretty darn pleased with the end result; using the same projector (currently an Epson 8350) this screen looks just as good as my 1.4 gain Carada did, at about a third of the price (and cheaper shipping too). If you are looking for a quality screen that will help your PJ deliver an excellent picture then this Elite does the job.
I was also impressed with how this screen was packed for shipping. Somewhere in China, a young MBA sat down at the factory that makes and packs this thing and explained in great detail how spending X in up front packing costs would reduce Y in later damage claims. This advice (I assume) was taken to heart because this thing is packed like it is being sent off to war. Prodigious amounts of foam, straps, and hard plastic tubes you could ship an artillery shell in are all present. Should young Jimmy, pulling a second shift down at the docks, have one too many and confuse the left pedal of his forklift with the right, thus driving the blades directly in to the box this screen ships in, I would place better than even odds that it would survive to be hung on someone's wall. That's how well it was packed.
Now for the caveats:
First, having come from the Carada, I didn't realized how spoiled I was when it comes to installation - the Carada's frame is 4 pieces, machined to the nth degree so they fit together easily and perfectly, while the screen itself is secured via many easy to use snaps. If you have a screwdriver handy and any skill at turning it you'll have that screen assembled and ready to go in 10 minutes.
That is not the case with the Elite. Hey, you get what you pay for, and you should only have to assemble it once, right? Just be aware that it's going to take some time, patience (supplanted with beer) and a prodigious amount of swearing to get the job done. One of the reasons this screen is so cheap (and cheap to ship, packing notwithstanding) is because the top and bottom frame pieces are shipped in two parts. In addition to having to assemble this bit (which is easy to do, but hard to master, because you have to be very careful about lining the pieces up right and screwing the bracket in the correct order) it leaves a small but noticeable seam in the top and bottom part of the screen. It's not easy to see (you won't see it sitting down) but it's there if you look. If you are the kind of person bothered by this - you know who you are - then look elsewhere.
The parts are also not machined particularly well, in fact several of the screw holes in mine still had the aluminum cutouts in them, requiring a screwdriver to punch out/remove. I had a fun time getting all the corner pieces inserted correctly, and then lined up so the frame fit together at right angles. Swearing, beer, and a rubber mallet got the job done in the end.
One of many things to watch out for - the "black velvet" look of the frame, which does look very good by the way, is some kind of spray-on felt deal, which attracts pet hair like you wouldn't believe. If you have pets, and you are installing this on a carpeted floor, vacuum first, and vacuum well.
Finally, the screen itself is installed via some plastic tubes you stick around the edges, which are then inserted in to a groove in the frame, which are then held in place by little plastic tabs - about a million of them, if I counted right (the beer might have skewed this total). Add to this the fact that the screen needs to stretch, so by default it is smaller than the inside area of the frame at first, and you are in for a fun afternoon. All I can say is follow the directions on tab order *exactly* and it'll get done.
The good news is, once I had it all up and going, it looked good, the screen itself was tensioned right - no creases, sags, or folds to be seen - and it ended up looking good on my wall, doing a solid job of reflecting the picture my PJ was blasting it with back to my eyeballs.
You can get a better machined screen that looks just as good if not better, but for a far higher price. If you are looking for a budget screen this one does the job - just have a six pack handy, and maybe a buddy, for the install.