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Elite Screens Kestrel Tab-Tension 2 CLR Series Review

Electric floor-rising screen’s amazing Ceiling Light Rejecting technology gives great color, brightness in full light

Elite Screens Kestrel Tab-Tension 2 CLR Series (image credit: Elite Screens)

The Elite Screens Kestrel Tab-Tension 2 CLR Series is a perfect screen for home theater aficionados and businesses looking for a 4K screen that quickly sets itself up and negates the washout effect from overhead lighting in bright room environments.

    • StarBright CLR® screen material rejects 95% of overhead light
    • Brilliant colors and excellent brightness in fully lit rooms
    • Tab-Tension system automatically keeps screen taut and flat
    • Up to 4K sharpness
    • Ultra-wide viewing angle

  • Doesn’t work with long throw projectors
  • Must be stored horizontally
  • Strong wind or ceiling fan can cause screen fabric to ripple

The Elite Screens Kestrel Tab-Tension 2 CLR Series electric floor-rising screen is a plug-and-play solution for home theaters, offices and businesses who need to display in brightly lit rooms or venues. The StarBright CLR® (Ceiling Light Rejecting) screen material rejects 95% of overhead light, combatting the washout effect from overhead lighting experienced with regular white material screens. This floor-rising screen is available in 101″ and 121″ diagonal sizes in 16:9 aspect ratio and is a welcome addition to the Elite Screen lineup and is an excellent option for your next home theater setup.

Design & Screen

Elite Screens Kestrel Tab-Tension 2 CLR Series (image credit: Elite Screens)

The star of the Kestrel Tab-Tension 2 is the StarBright CLR screen material specifically crafted for use with UST (ultra-short throw) tabletop/bottom mounted projectors. This material absorbs up to 95% of overhead lighting and has 100x contrast enhancement over standard matte white projector screens under ambient light while the special lenticular surface provides superb color fidelity, contrast and black/white dynamic range up to 4K resolution.

Additionally, the black backing eliminates light penetration to avoid picture degradation while a reflective layer concentrates projected light back to the viewer’s field of vision and negates light scatter. The screen’s ultra-wide viewing angle allows viewers to see a clear, bright, and uniform image from any seating position and the Tab-Tension system does an excellent job of keeping the screen taut and flat.

Elite Screens Kestrel Tab-Tension 2 CLR Series (image credit: Elite Screens)

Unfortunately, if you’re hoping to use the Kestrel Tab-Tension 2 with a long-throw projector, you’re going to be disappointed. The StarBright CLR® screen material is designed for ultra-short throw projectors, which isn’t a bad thing, considering the superb results you get in any amount of lighting.

The Kestrel Tab-Tension 2 is available in black or white aluminum housing and is backed by a 2-Year / 3-Year ENR-G Manufacturer’s Warranty by Elite Screens. An RF remote and IR remote are included, and you can also operate the screen manually with a switch on the side of the casing. Elite Screens also includes a USB dongle with the Kestrel Tab-Tension 2 that plugs into an HDMI port on your projector. This feature automatically raises the screen and lower when you power the projector on or off, adding an additional layer of quality of life to your home theater setup – plus it eliminates having to use one more remote.

Testing Experience

Elite Screens Kestrel Tab-Tension 2 CLR Series (image credit: Future)

TWICE had the opportunity to test a Kestrel Tab-Tension 2 CLR Series recently, and we’re impressed with how well the screen does what Elite Screens claims it will do – give up to 4K sharpness with excellent brightness and color saturation in full overhead light situations.

While the Kestrel Tab-Tension 2 is long at 8.1 feet in length, it can be picked up by one person and moved to where you need it to go. We still advise using two people when removing from the packaging and placing it where you want it. Another word of caution, it’s much like maneuvering an armful of 2X4’s, so be careful with balancing while moving and watch out for both ends!

Elite Screens Kestrel Tab-Tension 2 CLR Series (image credit: Elite Screens)

This floor-rising screen was incredibly easy to set up, and it took us longer to remove the packaging than to place it, plug it in, put batteries in the RF remote and press the Up button. The screen raises and lowers smoothly and quickly in approximately 15-16 seconds, and the motor isn’t terribly noisy either.

When it reaches its maximum height, the screen retracts slightly and the Tab-Tension system kicks in, pulling the sides of the screen to the perfect tautness. It’s really quite elegant and so much easier than other styles of screens to use, truly plug-n-play.

Elite Screens Kestrel Tab-Tension 2 CLR Series (image credit: Elite Screens)

Once our projector was set up, we eagerly tested the screen in a multiple variety of viewing environments, including full overhead lighting, lights completely off, lights off with floor lamps and light directed at the screen, and daylight filled rooms. In each situation the Kestrel Tab-Tension 2 rejected the light as promised and we were able to enjoy our favorite 4K content in all testing environments.

The only con we noticed with the screen itself was it occasionally rippled when it caught a strong gust of air from the ceiling fan. Fortunately, the Tab-Tension system helped the fabric settle fairly quickly, so we didn’t get motion sick. For most home theater setups, the Kestrel Tab-Tension 2 will stay in one location, so storage won’t be an issue. For businesses who plan on using the screen at various locations and venues, it is important to note that storing the Kestrel Tab-Tension 2 in a vertical position will void the warranty, so make sure you have a long storage space in between events to house the 8.1 foot aluminum casing.


We are impressed with how easy the Kestrel Tab-Tension 2 CLR Series is to use, and we’re even more impressed with the quality of brightness and color the screen allows in bright, overhead light environments. This ultra-short throw screen is ideal as a non-invasive solution for home theater and business environments where wall or ceiling installations are impractical or if users need regular access to behind the screen itself. The smooth raise and lower coupled with the Tab-Tension system make it a great system for businesses who display at shows and conventions often. If you are wanting a great screen that effectively combats washout effects, we highly recommend the Kestrel Tab-Tension 2 CLR Series.

See also: KEF Sharpens Lineup With Updated Blade Flagship Floorstanding Speakers