Epson Home Cinema 3010 vs. Optoma HD33
So far, the Home Cinema 3010 and the Optoma HD33 are the only full HD 3D projectors to be released for less than $2,000. While these projectors are both budget-friendly and full HD 3D compliant, there are some important differences that will determine which one is right for you.
Light output. The Home Cinema 3010 is a brighter projector than the HD33, with a maximum output of 2110 lumens on our test sample compared to 1049 lumens on the HD33. In Cinema mode, with the lamp at full power, the Home Cinema 3010 measured 1373 to the HD33's 847. In low power mode, those numbers became 947 and 661, respectively. What this means is that the Home Cinema 3010 is preferable any time you have a very large screen or a lot of ambient light, while dark rooms and smaller screen sizes will benefit more from the HD33's more moderate output. There is no way to lower light output on the Home Cinema 3010 below 900 lumens without using an ND filter, and owners of screens 120" in diagonal or smaller should take this into consideration before making a purchase.
Contrast. We set the Home Cinema 3010 to Cinema mode with the lamp at its low power setting, while the HD33 was set to Cinema with the lamp at full power, putting the two projectors roughly 100 lumens apart--almost identical, as far as the human eye is concerned. The 3010 has deeper black levels than the HD33 in dark scenes thanks to its auto iris. In scenes of average illumination, the HD33 took the lead, with deeper black levels and comparable highlights. In bright scenes, the HD33 maintained its deeper blacks while the 3010 had bright, sparkling highlights.
3D image quality. The Optoma HD33's 3D picture is more stable and more refined than that of the Home Cinema 3010, with significantly less crosstalk and flicker. This makes the HD33 easier to watch over a long period of time. Though the 3010 is the brighter of the two projectors, 3D glasses make it look only a little brighter than the HD33 in 3D despite the sizable difference in 2D brightness. The HD33 has markedly higher contrast in 3D, which gives the picture greater depth.
3D ease of use. The HD33's 3D glasses have a wider fit and are also lighter than those of the 3010, so they feel more comfortable over an extended viewing session. The HD33 has an external radio-frequency emitter, while the 3010's infrared emitter is internal. Radio frequency sync is not subject to the line-of-sight limitation of infrared, though this means you have to turn off power to the projector if you don't want to run down your glasses' batteries during a bathroom break. Finally, the Home Cinema 3010 includes two pairs of glasses in the box, while the HD33's glasses must be purchased separately. At less than $100 per pair, creating an equivalent system ends up costing $1699 to the Home Cinema 3010's $1599. Note, though, that the 3010e does not include glasses, so an equivalent system would cost $1999.
Placement flexibility. The Home Cinema 3010's 1.6:1 lens offers additional wiggle room compared to the restrictive 1.2:1 zoom lens on the HD33. Neither projector has lens shift. On the HD33, there is a slight upward throw angle such that the bottom edge of the image appears 7% of the image's height above the centerline of the lens, while the Home Cinema 3010 puts the bottom edge and the lens centerline exactly level. This means that the HD33 will be easier to ceiling mount in some instances, since it is less likely to require the use of an extension tube. It also opens up the possibility of placing the HD33 on a low table without being forced to tilt the projector and apply keystone correction.