Epson Home Cinema 5030 UB Home Theater Projector Review
The Home Cinema 5030 UB is the third generation of this 5xxx series of UB – “Ultra Black” projectors. This 5030 UB and before it, the 5020 UB have added minor features and improved performance over their predecessors. While there are no great changes this year, we can say that this year’s Home Cinema 5030UB does put a slightly better image on the screen than last years.
The Bottom Line
What’s not to like? The Home Cinema 5030 UB, and UBe version offer minor performance improvements over last year’s Epson UB projectors. There is only one other projector in the $2000 to $3500 range that is refreshed for this year, and that’s the almost $1000 more Sony VPL-HW55ES.
The other home theater projectors representing the best of the competition – all projectors that last year, didn’t do quite as well as the Epson in our annual Home Theater Projector Comparison Report, are the same for this year.. Those include good projectors like the BenQ W7000 and the Sharp XV-Z30000. I could also mention the Mitsubishi HC7900 and HC8000D projectors, but since Mitsubishi announced a couple of weeks ago that they are exiting front projection and much of the LCDTV market, they are a non-factor going forward. Lastly that leaves the Panasonic PT-AE8000, also not refreshed for this year. The Panny is the only direct competition using LCD, and is always a good seller although I favor the Epson in part because of black levels.
No surprise here, the Epson 5030 UB tested almost identically to last year’s model. With Mike’s gear and testing (which tends to be on the conservative side, the Epson achieve almost 2100 lumens at full wide angle. This is a projector that is brighter than almost all competing projectors and one of only a very few with the horsepower to tackle living rooms and family rooms where surfaces are lighter, and ambient light often a problem. That said, it’s black level performance and almost 700 calibrated lumens make it a projector truly at home in a dedicated home theater.
Seems about the same as last year’s which had been a real bump up from the older still, 5010 UB. This year we have the same RF glasses. The unit I have here is brighter than the 5020 UB I have here, but the 5020 has 1100 hours on the lamp, which should account for all of the difference. Nothing mentioned by Epson would make me expect a brightness increase this year.
So how bright is 3D? In my dedicated home theater, I can fill my 124″ diagonal screen with 3D and call it acceptable. Oh, a bit brighter would definitely be nice, but, it’s probably still brighter than most cineplexes. At 100″ diagonal I could actually consider calling it reasonably bright. Again, more lumens would be better, but in 3D Dynamic, no one’s going to complain. 3D THX mode I found the picture not quite bright enough for my fairly demanding taste, to use at my full 124″ maximum screen size.
Home Cinema 5030 UB Color in 3D. The 3D THX and 3D Cinema modes offer better color than 3D Dynamic, who’s color is certainly watchable, but hardly close to calibrated colors. That said, I spend more time in 3D dynamic, for movies, due to the extra brightness. This will be a matter of your personal choice.
This is the brightest 3D projector in its class!
Epson I believe sells extra pair (you get two with the projector), I believe, for $89 each, but if you are planning to host a 3D party, there are alternatives. Samsung makes some very light 3D glasses that are compatible (SSG-5100GB). They are more open (so don’t help with the immersion), and probably a few grams lighter. They run on button lithium batteries, not rechargeables, they have snap in arms, so they don’t fold up, but folks, they cost only $19.99, so there’s an affordable way to have 10-20 pair for that next 3D party.
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