Epson Home Cinema 3000
1080p LCD Home Video Projector
Epson Home Cinema 3000, 3500, and 8350
The Home Cinema 3000 is seen by many as a successor to the Home Cinema 8350, an immensely popular 1080p projector released in 2010. The Home Cinema 8350 brought together a high-quality image and unprecedented placement flexibility at a bargain price. Upon release, it sold for $1,299 - the same price as the Home Cinema 3000. But aside from price, brand, and resolution, the two projectors share little else in common.
In a heads-up comparison, the Home Cinema 3000 outpaces the 8350 in most areas. Light output jumps from 560 lumens to 1703 lumens in Cinema mode. There's a visible, though not dramatic, improvement in contrast. Color accuracy is better out of the box, and the projector is both smaller and lighter, so portable use is more feasible than before. There's also a small improvement in vertical lens shift range, but not enough for this to be a serious decision factor for most people.
The Home Cinema 3000 also includes a number of features, such as Full HD 3D support and panel alignment, that are not available on the 8350. Panel alignment is particularly important, as it means less downtime as the projector ages - always a good thing.
On the other hand, the Home Cinema 8350 still does certain things very well. Its 2.1:1 zoom lens offers more flexibility than the 1.6:1 zoom of the Home Cinema 3000, though it loses quite a bit more light (39% vs. 11%) at its maximum telephoto setting. It has a deeper black level, though this is primarily due to its lower light output. The black level advantage disappears when you equalize light output between the projectors. The Home Cinema 8350 is much quieter during operation and nearly silent in Eco mode. It also has less input lag than the Home Cinema 3000 (33ms vs. 45ms), which is important for certain gaming applications.
On the other end of the spectrum is the Home Cinema 3500, the next model up in Epson's 3000 series. The Home Cinema 3500 costs $500 more than the Home Cinema 3000, but that $500 goes a long way.
For the extra five hundred bucks, the Home Cinema 3500 includes:
- Super Resolution
- 2D to 3D conversion
- Two pairs of ELPGS03 3D glasses
- MHL support
- Two 10W stereo speakers
- Roughly 500 more lumens in Cinema mode
What the extra $500 doesn't get you is any improvement in contrast, color, detail, or overall picture quality. Aside from the brightness difference, the two projectors' pictures are identical.
Since the Home Cinema 3000 is already quite bright, home theater users won't get much benefit out of the extra lumens on the 3500, but the brightness boost will be useful in ambient light. Likewise, 2D to 3D conversion and 3D glasses only appeal to people who enjoy 3D, while MHL support and onboard speakers are attractive to folks interested in portable projection. It's not that one projector is better and the other is worse, but there is value to be had in the upward step if you need or want the Home Cinema 3500's extra features. The upgrade means that the Home Cinema 3500 is a better projector for certain applications, namely portable use, 3D, and high ambient light situations.
Once upon a time, Epson released an inexpensive 1080p projector called the Powerlite Home Cinema 8350. We knew it was something special, and gave it our Editor's Choice Award for that year. We had no idea, however, how much staying power it would have. Yet here we are in 2014 discussing whether or not the Epson Home Cinema 3000 is a worthy successor to a four-year-old projector.
In short, we think the Home Cinema 3000 is a worthy upgrade, and most folks will get more value out of the newer projector. The exceptions are few: those with extra-long throw distance requirements, and gamers who need super-fast performance. Even then, it would be worth finding a way to work around those restrictions and use the newer, brighter, better projector.
But the Home Cinema 3000 doesn't need to be compared to other projectors to prove its worth. It stands on its own as a great product for use in ambient light or extra large home theater screens. Folks who've been considering the Home Cinema 8350 but disliked its lack of 3D or relatively dim image can finally stop looking, because there's a new LCD budget king in town.
|Review Contents:||The Viewing Experience||Key Features||Performance||Limitations|
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