Epson Home Cinema 5020 UB Home Theater Projector Review

Epson HC5020UB Brightness

Light canon!  Almost 700 lumens calibrated with zoom at mid-point (well over if at wide-angle)  Almost 2200 lumens at brightest, and even after our “quick-cal” to improve the color of the Dyanmic mode, more than 1600 lumens with the zoom only at mid-point, and close to 2000 lumens at wide angle.  Only the Panasonic comes close to matching that in 2D.  As noted, it’s not near as bright in 3D as this Epson when comparing 3D.

Picture Quality of the Epson Home Cinema 5020

Out of the Box – the Epson’s THX mode assures you of really impressive, well balanced color, to start with.  Gamma is accurate, and very adjustable, including custom settings, should you have the desire.

Color, however, is the key, and THX looks great, if the slightest bit cool.  Mike found it easy to adjust, and calibrate properly (better than the older 5010), and the result was very close to dead on color.

OK, color looks great, but that’s just the beginning. There’s still no projector near the price that can best this Epson in terms of black level performance, even if the Sony can be considered it’s equal.  Shadow detail was equally excellent. The combination of the two are unmatched so far, with only a JVC to review under $5000 that might compete.  If you want better blacks, you’ll probably have to start with Sony’s much more expensive VW95ES – a $6000 projector – yes, over twice the price, and a higher cost of operation.

Home Cinema 5020 UB Competition

The real competition out there are the Sony HW50ES ($3999 with 2 pair of glasses + spare lamp (we consider it a $3499 projector, for comparison purposes), and the Panasonic PT-AE8000 which is loaded with some extra features, but overall, can’t quite match the Epson (at least by my tastes).

To start, the Panasonic is $400 more now at $2995, plus there’s no guaranty that Panasonic will renew their free 2 pair of glasses promotion (good to 12/31/12) Any way you slice it, the two closest competitors are significantly more expensive.

There are other competitors out there, including some DLP projectors.  (The Panasonic uses the same LCD panels as this Epson, the Sony is an LCoS design – SXRD.)  We will explore some of those in the competitors page when it is posted.

Will the Home Cinema 5020 work in your room?

Sporting a 2.1:1 zoom lens, and more vertical and horizontal lens shift than almost anything else out there, nothing can match this Epson as long as you are purchasing a 16:9 screen.  If you want to go “wide screen” (2.35:1), you can, as Epson supports anamorphic lens.

This means you can place the projector relatively close, or, in almost any room, instead, place on a shelf in the back of the room. (you will be giving up some brightness placing it far back as is always the case.)

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