Home Theater Projector Shootout
Eight 1080p Projectors under $1500
As the only LCD projector in the shootout, the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8350 at $1,299 stands apart from the others in several ways. It includes both horizontal and vertical lens shift as well as a long 2.1:1 zoom lens. It uses an auto iris to boost on/off contrast and its native dynamic range is nothing to sneeze at, either. Its calibrated light output makes it ideal for home cinema.
- Best placement flexibility
- Natural image
- Calibrated light output
The advantage of the Epson 8350 over the other projectors in this shootout is that it can be used in a wider variety of mounting situations. It can be placed in a ceiling mount, like all of the other projectors, or placed on or under a coffee table. But it can also be placed on a shelf in the back of the room thanks to its long zoom lens. Lens shift allows the projector to be placed over, under, or to either side of the screen while the image remains square without the use of keystone correction.
The Epson 8350 has excellent contrast, with a touch less three-dimensionality than the Mitsubishi HC4000, which won top honors in this category. A combination of good color, deep black levels, low digital noise and open mid-tones make the picture look natural and film-like in a way that few other projectors can match.
On the other hand, the Epson 8350 (along with the Mits HC4000) has a lower than average brightness in cinema mode, measured at 560 lumens. But the Epson 8350 also loses light when using the telephoto end of the zoom lens--up to 39%. The Home Cinema 8350 has other image modes, such as Living room, which offer more lumens at the cost of contrast and color accuracy, as well as a Dynamic mode which produces 1500 lumens for use in rooms with more ambient light.
Most serious home theater folks don't care about portability or onboard audio. Since the 8350 is designed for classic home theater, it has neither. It is the heaviest projector in the group at 16 lbs, so those thinking about portable applications will probably want one of the smaller and lighter models.
|Review Contents:||Introduction||Acer H7531D||BenQ W1100||BenQ W1200|
|Epson Home Cinema 8350||Mitsubishi HC4000||Optoma HD20||Viewsonic Pro8200|