Epson Home Cinema 3010 - Review Summary
To cut to the chase, this Epson Home Cinema 3010 is the most exciting projector I've encountered in at least a year. True, there are far better, more expensive projectors, but this one's a bell ringer. I had been very impressed by the Optoma HD33, but in most ways, the Epson out shines and out performs it. The Epson is a very good 2D projector, but it's also a bright, great little 3D projector. Allow me to spend a few more paragraphs, to rave about these new Home Cinema 3010 series projectors.
10/18/2011 - Art Feierman
Epson Home Cinema 3010 Projector - The Bottom Line
Assuming you agree with us, and are seriously considering one of these Epson's, which do you buy? The Home Cinema 3010, or the Home Cinema 3010e? Since I've already received a couple of email questions about that, let me simplify.
Either will give you 3D, and the real difference, with them both doing 3D, is $400. A $200 price difference, and 2 pair of glasses for the 3010e.
So, if you are 2D only for now, you can get a projector for $200 more, with the wirelessHD, which is great if you move the projector around, or if you are installing, and don't want to open lots of walls to run from the gear at the front of your room to the projector on the ceiling.
Myself, I'd likely spring for the WirelessHD 3010e, but you'll have to decide if it's worth the $400 to you. Of course, add those glasses and you have all the same 3D abilities as the standard 3010 as well.
I'd like to address two questions: How is the 3010 as a 2D projector, and how is it as a 2D and 3D projector?
The Home Cinema 3010 is certainly a very good 2D projector in terms of picture quality, and considering the $1599 price, but it doesn't have the absolute best picture for the price.
What it offers instead, is a close to best picture for the money, and just about double the brightness of all but one or two competitors.
And being a bright projector is a wonderful thing for family rooms, bonus rooms and outdoor evenings. That significant extra brightness should give this Epson a lot of bonus points with me, and most of you. I've been yelling at manufacturers for years, to give us brighter projectors for the family room.
Until now, those brighter ones have mostly been very entry level lower res projectors, or some crossovers - modified biz projectors that aren't even close to a match with projectors like this Epson 3010 in picture quality.
With the Epson Home Cinema 3010, you really get an all around projector, that has no major flaws. Skin tones are rather good, black level performance is very good for the price, and the Epson is pretty well loaded with features, other than lacking CFI - motion smoothing and lens shift.
Features include a full CMS for color adjustment, 3D of course, a zoom lens with good zoom range (1.5:1), and sophisticated gamma controls. Although the projector lacks lens shift, it has pretty good placement flexibility regardless. You get a full control panel on the projector and good remote control with plenty of range.
Remember, these Epson Home Cinema 3010 projectors are geared first for family room type environments. If you do have the budget for something more expensive, and want a step up in quality, there's plenty out there, but in this price range, with this type of feature set, especially with light canon brightness, the Home Cinema 3010 is going to be hard to beat.
For those caring for 3D capabilities, in fact, most likely the two most interesting alternatives are going to be around $3000, and that would be the previously mentioned Panasonic PT-AE7000 and Epson Home Cinema 5010. Both are also bright projectors, with 3D. At the same price (roughly) as the Epson, is the Optoma HD33. Of the two, though, the Epson seems to be a much better value, brighter, more features...
If you are only interested in 2D only: There are more good choices. Consider the Epson 8350, and Mitsubishi HC4000 two of our favorites, and also the forthcoming Panasonic PT-AR100U, which should be even brighter (2800 lumens claimed vs 2400), for $1999. Just remember, despite that extra $400 the Panasonic is 2D only. Also, the Epson has the best warranty of any of those mentioned.
The image below, from Howl's Moving Castle (very cool)
If you are going into a theater type environment, and don't need all that brightness, then two more alternatives are the just being discontinued (10/11) Panasonic PT-AE4000U and the Epson Home Cinema 8700UB, which have been, without doubt, the best selling ultra high contrast projectors out there.
I'll mention one more, the BenQ W6000 for those craving for a fairly bright projector, with that DLP "look and feel". It too, is more in the $2000 range, but it's not quite as bright as the Epson.
After offering you some possible 2D only alternatives, I'll still pitch the Epson 3010 and 3D. Why?
I think there's some great 3D for almost everyone.
Don't sell 3D short, just becaue the perception is that most movies are for kids, or at least "family" flicks, or gimmicky. The wide range of other great content on Blu-ray 3D and HDTV, almost certainly has something you will like, and glasses aren't much of a "price" to pay for the 3D experience. It really can make a world of difference entering a bright, 3D world through your 7 to 10 foot wide screen! It's nothing like watching on a 42" LCDTV demo at Best Buy.
The Very Bottom Line on the Home Cinema 3010 projector:
The Home Cinema 3010 is definitely my favorite new projector of the year so far. I'm expecting a few more of those, but most of those other projectors that offer potential greatness are going to be about 2-5 times the price of the Home Cinema 3010 and 3010e.
Choose your Epson - the only real difference between the Home Cinema 3010 and 3010e is the "e" has wireless HDMI, a very nice touch that can save you a chunk of money if you are paying installers to run wire. It's $400 more, since the $1799 doesn't include the 2 pair of 3D glasses, that come with the standard Home Cinema 3010.
I don't think you can go wrong with this Epson, at this price point.
As a big fan of 3D HDTV, I will own a 3D projector shortly. If I can't find one I can rationalize to replace my old JVC, you better believe I'll just hang on to my JVC and buy one of these for my 3D usage. My rooms are used to more than one projector, and my JVC is used to sharing the room.
If you enjoy the Epson Home Cinema 3010 as much as I have enjoyed watching it while working this review, it will be one of your all time favorite decisons. Have fun with this one!
Epson Home Cinema 3010 Projector: Pros and Cons
Epson Home Cinema 3010 Projector: Pros
- Brightest 3D projector we've reviewed to date, and the first that has good 3D brightness on an average sized (100" to 110") and surfaced screen, even with a little ambient light!
- Handles large screens for 2D viewing.
- Very good overall color
- Skin tones are very good post calibration, not bad at all, even without
- Very good shadow detail
- Excellent lamp life (4000 hours/5000 hours)
- HDMI 1.4a inputs (2) allows for support for Blu-ray 3D content
- 2 pair of 3D glasses included
- Two 10 watt speakers provide respectable audio when not hooked up to a surround sound system, great out back for a summer festival, or in any room for a quick setup
- Dynamic iris for black level performance that's very good for the price range
- Excellent 2 year warranty with replacement program
- Good looking projector
- Excellent value proposition overall! And a very good value proposition even considering it as a 2D only projector
Image above, from Quantum of Solace
Epson Home Cinema 3010 Projector: Cons
- Black level performance is good but not "ultra-high-contrast"
- No lens shift
- Only front feet adjustable, and having rear adjustable would simplify for some layouts
- Minor 3D artifacts including crosstalk
- Could be quieter in full power mode
- Lacks CFI - creative frame interpolation
Above, Captain Pike, from the Star Trek movie
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