Epson Home Cinema 3020 Home Theater Projector Review

Epson Home Cinema 3020: Bottom Line Sharpness

The Home Cinema 3020 sure looks just fine to me. The 30xx series lens, offering less zoom range, seems about as sharp as the 2.1:1 Fujinon lens on the more expensive Epsons.  A good single chip DLP projector can do better, but down in these price ranges, you don’t always get the best optics with DLP projectors. Consider the Optoma HD33 – the most direct competition to date – whose optics seem to bloom more, compared to the Epson. The HD33 may be a single chip DLP projector, but the Epson overall appears to the the sharper, clearer picture, even with the usual minor misconvergence of pixels.

Then there’s Super-Resolution, aka dynamic detail enhancement (rather than “sharpness”).  Super resolution adds a seeming level of clarity.  For sports I like to set the Super-Resolution to 3, other HDTV and sometimes movies, to 2.  It’s not the real thing (true sharpness), but the “illusion” does make you believe the image is distinctly sharper than with Super-Resolution set to 0.

Bottom line? Home Entertainment projector – it could be sharper, but all but the fanatics should be very happy.   Note, no signs of any pixel tearing – a concern of the most fanatical.

Light Leakage

A little out the side venting. Should not be an issue, unless you are sitting with eyes level, and just foward of the projector. If you are very close, the heat of the fan blown exhaust of the HC3020 will be a much bigger issue than any light leakage!!!

Image Noise

Overall 2D image noise is minor. Panning is a touch smoother than some more expensive projectors, on a couple of tricky pans.  in 3D, the primary “noise” is crosstalk.  With glasses on medium, crosstalk is minimal, with the source material usually responsible for most of it.  In other words:  Clean content – the Epson does really well.  Poorer content (in terms of crosstalk) – you’ll notice it more on the Epson.

This Epson, is of course a 3LCD projector.  DLP projectors we should note, due to their different technology, tend to be relatively crosstalk free (other than the source content).  Is this an issue?  I think not! The kids won’t care, and adults – well, those demanding the highest possible performance even from an “entry level” 3D projector could complain.  Personally, I found the 3020 in 3D to be just fine in terms of my own concerns about crosstalk when I was viewing (at that was at least 8 – 10 hours of 3D).

Audible Noise

Fan noise at full power is on the louder side of home theater/home entertainment projectors. Considering this is primarily an “entertainment” projector, more likely to not be in a very quiet theater, few should be concerned.  That said, this 3LCD projector claims a little higher than 30db. Under 30db, we consider to be very good for full power.  Like most projectors, though, the Epson gets very quiet in eco-mode.  At those levels, just about no one should care. I don’t think there are any projectors running at full power, as quiet as this Epson in eco-mode.  Considering that the Epson is also probably brighter in eco-mode than most of those others running full power, it may well be that this Epson can deliver more brightness, while still being quieter than the competition.  (I hope that makes sense to you – a bit convoluted!)

As with other Epson projectors with a dynamic iris, you can detect a low rumbly sound at times.  Whether mounting or table top, placing some vibration absorbing material between projector and table (or projector and mount) is likely to really help, should it be noticeable enough for you to care.  Still, I don’t consider it an issue but for a few who are very specific about being adverse to any noise.  Those same folks, I would venture to say, are unlikely to run this Epson, or almost any other projectors, at full lamp power, because they would find the fan noise even worse than the rarely noticeable low rumbly sound.

The vast majority seem to consider any iris noise a total non-issue, or one of the more minor things gladly traded for the Epson’s  performance in other areas.   Thus, all considered, this Epson is reasonable for a home entertainment projector.  Could be something a very  few will be concerned about at full power, but everyone should be happy in eco mode.

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