Epson Home Cinema 8350 Projector Review
Epson Home Cinema 8350 Projector - Appearance
The Epson 8350 is a smaller projector, but not particularly so. It may be full size smaller than larger projectors like the Sonys, JVCs and larger BenQ and InFocus models, but it’s fairly large compared to the very smallest, like the Optoma HD20. All considered, it’s a larger, small projector. It is finished in a shiny off-white casing with silverish side panels and lens trim.
It’s got some curves, but basically it’s a bit boxy. You aren’t likely to find one of these in the Museum of Modern Art in 30 years, despite two toning, and grillwork. Still, there’s nothing offensive, it’s just a projector, not a work of art. Two years ago, the older 1080 UB models were a bit smaller, and possessed some real styling. Oh well. Most of us only care how a projector looks with it turned on, and the lights turned down.
The local dealer only version of the 8350 – the Pro Cinema 9350, comes finished in black, not white.
OK, the lens is mounted to the right side (if looking at the front of the projector), with a large vent on the left side. The lens protrudes out about 2 inches from the case. (When figuring out placement distances, one normally measures from the front of the lens.) There’s an infra-red sensor in the front for the remote (and another in the top back). Below the front, are two screw thread adjustable feet. The control panel is located on the side with flush buttons (I much prefer control panels to be located on the top, where they are almost always accessable, if needed). Still, that’s not a real issue.
To focus the lens, and adjust the zoom, simply rotate the appropriate rings on the lens. To control the lens shift, there are two dials on the top of the projector near the lens. It’s that easy.
The well equipped input panel is located on the rear.
Home Cinema 8350 Control Panel
While I’m not a fan of side control panels (Epson, Sony), because I tend to use control panels a lot while testing, for most folks it really won’t matter much, since they will rely on the remote control.
One thing though, I refer to it as being on the side, but I should point out that the power button and source switch are located on the top of the projector. The control panel functions are rather typical.
Closest to the front of the buttons is a large Menu button. To its right, the four arrow keys on a rocker (diamond configuration, with a center Enter button), I’m not a fan of the rocker type four way around the enter button, but, its functional. Finally closest to the back, is the Escape key which takes you back up a level in the menus.
It’s that simple, should you misplace your remote!
No surprises here, everything is the same as on last year’s Epson projectors, in precisely the same places.
The Home Cinema 8350 has a fairly typical selection of inputs and outputs. There are (from the left) two HDMI (1.3b) inputs, a component video input (3 color colded RCA jacks), the basic S-Video and composite video inputs, and an analog computer input (standard HD15 connector), which can double as a second component video input.
There is an RS-232 serial port for controlling the projector from a computer or room control sytem. Additionally, this Epson projector has one 12 volt screen trigger. As mentioned elsewhere, the Home Cinema 8350 also has a second infra-red (IR) sensor on the back of the projector.
Home Cinema 8350 Menus
The first, nice thing about the Epson menus, is that all the main menus are visible, while you are looking at any of the first level of sub-menus. On the right, you can see the Image menu, and to the left of the Image Menu choices you can see all the other key menus: Image, Signal, Settings, Memory, Info and Reset. The menu is partially translucent, which is always nice. Even when I put these translucent menus in front of a very “busy” scene, they remained easily readable (some menus that are even more translucent can get tough to read at times.) The Picture menu first gives you a choice of color presets, including Dynamic – the brightest – Living Room, almost as bright, slightly better color, then Natural, Cinema, and x.v.Color. Also found on the Image menu is a Skin Tone control. Best skin tones seem to be with settings of 3 or 4.
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