Having great black levels for handling really dark scenes (in a really dark room) is perhaps the most significant difference between home theater, and home entertainment projectors, (also, to a lesser extent, brightness is a difference). I can’t even think, though, of a single under $3000 laser projector from anyone, with really good black levels. The thing is, the potential home entertainment market is far larger than the home theater one.
Although the EF-100 lacks a dynamic iris to improve black level performance on dark scenes, Epson has equipped this projector with Automatic Luminance Adjustment. Now that sounds (from the manual’s description) a lot like using the laser light engine to lower overall brightness on dark scenes to improve black levels, as a dynamic iris would. Iris’ typically have far more range though. I’ll be curious to see how well that works when I do the review, but I would expect a slight improvement over "entry level", but don’t expect “quality home theater” projector black levels.
In order take advantage of those far more expensive “theater” projectors, ideally you want a dedicated room, with dark walls, floors and ceilings (like mine). The really good home entertainment projectors like the EF-100, though, are far more affordable, and traditionally really thrill their owners. Because they are fun!
Place the EF-100 on a table top, project on to a screen (ideally, they aren’t expensive), wall or ceiling. On a wall, brighter content, which pretty much includes almost all sports and a lot of HDTV/streaming, should look great under modest to moderate ambient light.