3D Home Video Projector
May 14, 2013
Acer H5370BD vs Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 750HD
The H5370BD isn't the only 720p home video projector we've got in house right now. The Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 750HD, reviewed last month, is a WXGA home video projector with HDMI 3D capability that sells for $799. The two projectors are more alike than they are different, in that they are both sub-1080p home entertainment projectors with 3D capability, but the differences are significant in their own right.
Resolution. From a video standpoint, the H5370BD and 750HD are more or less identical. That's because 1080p content is scaled down to 1280x720 on both projectors. On the other hand, if you're interested in PC gaming, the 750HD's native 1280x800 resolution is slightly larger than the 1280x720 resolution of the H5370BD, giving you more vertical space. The 750HD's added resolution can actually be detrimental for video since the extra pixels create tiny black bars on the top and bottom of the screen when 16:9 material is being displayed.
Light output. Whereas the H5370BD produces 2127 lumens in its brightest mode and 675 lumens in color-optimized mode, the 750HD cranks out a massive 2912 lumens in bright mode and 2003 lumens in color-optimized mode. As a result, the 750HD is a stronger projector in situations where ambient light is present, or you want to push to a larger screen in a room with some ambient light. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the H5370BD can produce 560 lumens minimum while the 750HD cannot drop below 1560 lumens. This makes the H5370BD a more versatile projector for dark-room use or multi-purpose projection where time will be split evenly between theater and living room.
Contrast. The H5370BD produces a blacker black than the 750HD and has higher dynamic range. The 750HD's automatic iris, while helpful for reducing black levels, can't match the deeper native black performance of the H5370BD. On the other hand, the 750HD showed less crushing of deep shadow detail at the very low end of the brightness range.
Color. While both projectors can produce accurate color, the 750HD's higher saturation and better default calibrations make it the go-to choice for applications where rich color is a must-have. On the other hand, the H5370BD has better adjustments, with separate gain and bias controls for RGB adjustments compared to the 750HD's single-axis controls. The 750HD also lacks a color management system, though this won't matter unless you plan to adjust color gamut.
Pixelation. Both projectors down-convert 1080p content to 720p, but the H5370BD's DLP chip has a smaller inter-pixel gap as compared to the pixel structure on the 750HD's LCD panels. As a result, you can sit closer to the H5370BD without noticing any visible pixelation.
3D. While both projectors offer 3D, the mechanisms differ. The H5370BD uses DLP Link, which has the advantage of inexpensive glasses and no required emitter. On the other hand, the 750HD's radio-frequency link is less likely to lose synchronization than DLP Link, but the glasses are proprietary and cost significantly more per pair. It is easier to watch 3D for extended periods on the 750HD because it is a brighter projector and produces less flicker than the H5370BD. For extended 3D viewing, the 750HD is a stronger product.
Input lag. The H5370BD is the faster projector at an average 24ms of lag in our tests. In comparison, the 750HD measured between 40ms and 50ms of lag using the same testing methods. For gamers looking for fast response times, that can be a big difference. On the other hand, unless you already know what input lag is and why it is important, it probably will not affect you.
Rainbows. If you are sensitive to rainbow artifacts, the 750HD is the projector for you. Its three-panel LCD engine will never produce rainbows, while the 2X-speed RGBCMY wheel of the H5370BD will produce them fairly often.
Fan noise. While neither projector is whisper-quiet, the 750HD did not manifest the fan cycling issue we found on the H5370BD.
Placement flexibility. Neither projector has lens shift. The 750HD has a 1.2:1 lens, giving it a few inches of extra adjustment range over the H5370BD's 1.1:1 lens. In most instances, this won't matter, but it can be important when traveling with the projectors.
The Acer H5370BD is perhaps the least expensive way to bring 3D into your home. At $549, this 720p projector is equipped for both home video and home theater, and its highly adjustable light output makes it easy to go from the living room to the darkened theater without a second thought. It has some quirks common to inexpensive projectors, like a lack of User memory settings, the inability to adjust factory presets, and a 2X speed color wheel, but it also has solid color and a great 2D picture. A long-life lamp keeps maintenance to a minimum while inexpensive DLP Link glasses keep ancillary costs low.
The H5370BD faces stiff competition from the Epson Home Cinema 750HD, which offers a brighter image, better color saturation, and a picture free of rainbow artifacts. But the H5370BD's less visible pixelation, more adjustable light output, faster response time, and $250 lower price make it an attractive option for a first projector or a dedicated gaming machine.