Epson Home Cinema 3800 4K PRO-UHD Projector Review
Epson Home Cinema 3800 Pros
- Excellent out-of-box image quality
- 10 memory positions let you create multiple customizations of any or all color mode presets—for SDR, HDR, and 3D, for example, or for different lighting conditions
- Same preset color modes available for 2D and 3D content
- Excellent setup flexibility with 1.62x zoom and wide lens shift
Epson Home Cinema 3800 Cons
- Frame Interpolation not available with 4K input or with 1080p if 4K Enhancement is on
Our Take On The Epson Home Cinema 3800
Like Epson's bigger and heavier pixel-shifting, 4K-capable models, the Epson Home Cinema 3800 delivers a gorgeous image for 1080p SDR and 4K UHD content along with conveniences like a much larger horizontal and vertical lens shift than typical for the price.
The $1,699 Epson Home Cinema 3800 is the more expensive of two new and similar Epson projectors. The other is the $1,499 Epson Home Cinema 3200. Taken together, they are the latest example of the continuing trend towards lower prices for entry-level 4K home theater projectors—or, more precisely, the price of pixel-shifting, native 1080p projectors that produce images essentially indistinguishable to the human eye from true 4K. These models officially replace the Home Cinema 3700 and Home Cinema 3100, 1080p models which do" not offer pixel shifting to enhance resolution and do not accept UHD signals.
The 3800's slightly higher price compared with the 3200 buys you on-board stereo speakers, a 12V trigger port, an RS-232 port for external control, and—most significantly—higher brightness and contrast ratio. Based strictly on the ratings—3,000 lumens for the 3800 rather than 2,900 for the 3200—the brightness difference isn't enough to notice. The difference in contrast should be, at 100,000:1 compared with 40,000:1. Beyond these differences, the features and specs for the two are virtually identical.
The other obvious comparison for the 3800 is the Epson Home Cinema 4010, which Epson's website is selling at this writing in late October for $1,799. Note that the 3800 has the advantage of being smaller and lighter. In addition, unlike the 4010, it adds HLG HDR support to the HDR10 they both offer, and uses the more advanced, 16-step HDR brightness control first introduced in Epson's Home Cinema 5050UB. Like the 5050UB, it also has HDMI 2.0b ports, giving it the 18 Gbps bandwidth needed for display of 4K content with HDR at 60 Hz. However, it doesn't share the 4010's powered zoom, focus, and lens shift, a major convenience compared with the 3800's manual control for all three. Nor does it have the higher end, 15-element glass lens used on the 4010 and 5050UB, the same ability as those projectors to deliver 100% of the DCI-P3 color space for UHD content, or the same level of contrast. Epson rates the 3800's contrast ratio at just half of the 4010's specification.
The 4010's powered lens controls also works in tandem with onboard memory to let you easily change lens settings as needed for a constant image height setup. If the price difference between the two models remains this small, you'll want to take a close look at the 4010 before you decide on the 3800.
Epson Home Cinema 3800 Features
Epson's approach to pixel shifting puts twice as many pixels on screen as are in the native 1080p chips. That's fewer pixels than native 4K projectors or pixel-shifting DLP 4K projectors deliver. But combined with Epson's 4K PRO-UHD technology—a collection of features designed to enhance detail—and Epson's 12-element, high-quality glass lens, it delivers an actual ability to resolve detail that rivals, and in some cases surpasses, the detail in images with more pixels.
As with the vast majority of projectors, the brightest mode has a green bias, but it's little enough that most people will still consider it usable on an occasional basis when needed. More important, all the other modes offer good color accuracy with default settings, and some offer ample brightness for a family room with lights on. I measured Bright Cinema at roughly 2,270 lumens, which is enough to light up a 120-inch diagonal 1.0-gain screen in moderate ambient light.
The 3800 also offers excellent placement flexibility, especially for the price, starting with the 1.62x zoom lens. For a 120-inch screen, the throw distance ranges from 11.5 to 18.75 feet. (You can find the throw distance range for your screen size using the Epson Home Cinema 3800 projection calculator.)
Even better, the 3800's manual vertical lens shift, at +/-60%, will let you set up the projector at any reasonable height relative to the screen, including a table below the screen, a bookshelf in back of the room, or inverted in a ceiling mount. The +/-24% horizontal shift also gives you plenty of flexibility for positioning it left or right of the screen's vertical centerline.
Another notable plus is that the 3800 weighs only 15.2 pounds, making it relatively easy to set up and light enough so you can carry it to the backyard for a movie night. Its onboard pair of 10-watt stereo speakers delivers robust enough audio so you may not need to bother with an external sound system.
Here's a more complete list of the Epson Home Cinema 3800's key features:
- 1920 x 1080 native resolution X 2 with pixel shifting enhanced by a high quality lens and Epson's 4K PRO-UHD technology
- 4K PRO-UHD projection technology, a collection of features that, in addition to enhancing resolution, includes advanced color and other image processing
- 3LCD design with a separate chip for each primary color to ensure equal color and white brightness and no rainbow artifacts
- 3,000 lumen brightness rating using ISO 21118 (similar to ANSI lumens)
- 100,000:1 contrast ratio rating (full on/full off with auto iris on)
- Auto iris with settings of Normal, High Speed, and Off
- Accepts up to 4096 x 2160 input
- Two 18 Gbps, HDMI 2.0b, HDCP 2.2 ports
- HDR10 and HLG HDR support
- 12-element glass lens; 1.62x zoom
- Significant vertical (+/-60%) and horizontal (+/-24%) lens shift
- Four color preset modes; 10 memory positions for storing customized versions of any mode
- Color management system for adjusting RGBCMY hue, saturation, and brightness; white balance adjustments for RGB gain and offset
- 16-level HDR brightness control with direct access from remote
- Onboard stereo sound system with two 10-watt speakers
- Audio output for wired connection to external audio system or Bluetooth for wireless connection to speakers or headphones
- Full HD 3D (Epson and Vesa RF glasses only, glasses not included)
- Full-size, backlit remote with one-button access to key picture adjustments
- 2-year warranty; 90 days on lamp
- 250-watt lamp rated for 3,500 hours in High power mode, 4,000 hours in Medium, 5,000 hours in ECO; replacement lamp ELPLP85 costs only $99
|Review Contents:||Introduction, Features||Performance, Conclusion||Measurements, Connections|
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