Epson Home Cinema 5010 Home Theater Projector Review

It was a close thing, the Home Cinema 5010 projector arrived less than a week before Thanksgiving, with another review (Acer already started). Despite that, we managed to get about 75% of the review posted the night before Thanksgiving. -art

Update, 1/20/2012: Epson replaced the original pre-production Home Cinema 5010 projector, with a full production one. The new one is visibly sharper, impressively so. It is sharper than the JVC RS45 I’m currently reviewing at the time of this update. The rest of the review is not updated to reflect this improvement.

Let us begin.

The Epson projector here is actually the “e” version, and it is currently showing Hubble 3D as I write this. Writing with the 3D glasses on gets tiring, so they are on top of my head at the moment. If something really cool is going on, I look up, lower the “shades” and take a look: We’re passing through a nebula right now, and I must admit that, looking through the Epson Home Cinema 5010, the 3D Universe is something to behold. But, I digress, let’s get this review of the Epson Home Cinema 5010 started.

Epson Home Cinema 5010 Projector Overview

The Home Cinema 5010 (click for specifications) projector starts off with all the performance of last year’s Best In Class winner, the Home Cinema 8700UB. It too, is a 3LCD projector, although it sports newer LCD panels; Epson’s latest D9 panels (which are also used by Panasonic). These 480hz panels improve overall performance, and enhances 3D as well.

And that’s the point. The Home Cinema 5010 offers 3D as well as 2D, and is the brightest under $10K home theater projector we’ve seen, when doing 3D.

The Home Cinema 5010 projector is the standard projector in the Epson lineup, and comes pretty loaded with features. There is a second version, the Home Cinema 5010e, which sells for $300 more, and gives you wireless HDMI capability for the difference in price. More on that later. There is also the Pro Cinema 6010 sold only by local authorized dealers. It bears a black case, has just a couple extra features, but is basically a 5010e with anamorphic lens support.

Epson sticks with the same Fujinon lens it’s been using for years. The HDMI ports are new HDMI 1.4a for handling Blu-ray 3D.

But mostly, this Epson is a all purpose home theater projector, designed for your home theater – or “cave”, but with all that extra brightness, it will be just as happy in the bonus room or living room.

What is the most direct competition for this Epson projector? From a pricing standpoint, if you clear the $2000 price point, there are a handful (and growing) list of home theater projectors that are 3D capable, and some additional that are 2D only.

The most direct competiton is, of course, the Panasonic PT-AE7000, which even uses the same LCD panels. This contest will be discussed at length, as the major shoot-out in the $2000 to $3500 Class that we consider the market sweet spot.

Interestingly, this is the first time Epson is selling their projector for less than the competing Panasonic. Other contenders will include – the forthcoming BenQ W7000, the Mitsubishi HC7800, and at the top end of that range, the Sony VPL-HW30ES, JVC RS45, and Sharp XV-Z17000. All of those should be shipping by the last days of 2011. A few more will likely be announced at CES, and ship in Q2.

 

 

The Home Cinema 5010 receives our Hot Product Award.

the combination of performance and price looks better than any of the more expensive LCoS and DLP 3D capable projectors I’ve just mentioned.

Of course, that doesn’t mean one of those others isn’t a better choice for you. It’s always about matching the projector to your room and your tastes/requirements. This projector can handle most room environments! Few others can. And the Home Cinema 5010e might even save you a chunk of money if you are wiring your room, with its Wireless HD (more later).

Few projectors can match the versatility of the Home Cinema 5010 projector series, in terms of working in your room environment. and with that said, let’s see what Epson brings to the table, in terms of Highlights, Basic Specs, and all those Special Features found below (and others we don’t even get to mention).

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