Epson Home Cinema 3010e Home Theater Projector Review
We've worked with both a pre-production Home Cinema 3010e, and a production 3010. For that reason, the full review was published as a 3010 review. On this page, we take a look at the Epson Home Cinema 3010e projector, its WirelessHD capabilities, and its overall value proposition compared to both the base projector, and the immediate competition.
10-25-2011 - Art Feierman
Epson Home Cinema 3010e Projector Overview
We already concluded in the main Home Cinema 3010 review, that the 3010e and 3010 deserve our Hot Product Award. As a short summary, the things that impressed us with these Epson projectors include: Excellent brightness, including enough lumens to be reasonably bright when in 3D, very good color, dynamic iris, respectable black levels, reasonable placement flexibility, and a great warranty, all for $1599 or $1799. Definitely Epson has raised the bar in terms of the performance that can be expected in a low cost, 3D capable projector. In fact, all considered it's a great 2D projector value, with 3D thrown in for free, so to speak.
There are two factors which will help you determine whether you should purchase this Home Cinema 3010e, or whether the base version, makes more sense for you. Those are the addition of WirelessHD on the 3010e, and that it supports 3D (like the 3010), but does not include two pair of 3D active glasses for it's $1799, whereas the base projector, selling for $200 less, comes with the glasses.
Above, from Star Trek, impressive, dynamic colors, very good skin tones.
The math is pretty simple. You are basically paying $400 for the WirelessHD version, but since the 3010e doesn't come with the two pair of 3D glasses (($99 x 2) that the base 3010 comes with, you only see a $200 difference. Put another way, if you want 3D with 2 pair of glasses, and WirelessHD, then the total price is $1799 + $198 = $1997, compared with $1599 for 3D without WirelessHD.
Image above taken with a fair amount of ambient light present
Let's understand what WirelessHD is. And what it brings to your party. Basically, WirelessHD provides a lossless wireless transfer of HDMI (complete with HDCP), from the provided transmitter, to the Home Cinema 3010e projector. The transmitter comes with a typical low voltage power supply to plug into AC. After that, you simply plug in your HDMI source into the side of the Transmitter. The Epson projector scans for a signal (it lists WirelessHD as one of the source options.)
As I see it, there are two definite rationales for going the Home Cinema 3010e, which is to say, going with WirelessHD.
The first relates to setting up your new home theater. If you are planning to mount the Home Cinema 3010e, then you normally need to deliver at a minimum, two cables to the mounted projector. One, of course is power, and the other, would be HDMI, the most popular choice in delivering HD source material. The thing is, in most homes, power is found on most walls, and in many ceilings. But your projector is likely to be further away from its electronics, found typically, closer to the floor, and in the front of the room. If you were planning to pay folks to wire your room, then the cost of getting that HDMI wire to the projector is likely to set you back at least that $400, if you have to open the wall at several points and later close it up and repaint. If you are a DIY person, you'll have to make your own assessment of the savings in time.
Going Mobile with the HC3010e
Not everyone will mount the Home Cinema 3010e, in fact, perhaps half of owners won't. This group of people may just set the projector on a table, permanently, or just set it up when watching it. In some households the projector might even be used in more than one room (not at the same time, of course). Some people will want to haul the projector outside on occasion, to shine a movie on the garage door, or perhaps onto an inflatable screen in the back yard. In each of these cases, having WirelessHD is very handy. Since the Home Cinema 3010e projector has onboard speakers, if you wanted to use it out back, you'd only have to get power to it, just run a safe extension cord. Next, place the WirelessHD transmitter next to the nearest DVD or Blu-ray player (or satellite/cable box) in the house, and transmit the content to the projector. It makes life much simpler than moving more gear outside.
And since the Epson Home Cinema 3010e supports HDMI-Link, you can even be outside and control that indoor Blu-ray player, if it's HDMI-Link compatible. Nice.
Epson Home Cinema 3010e Projector Highlights
- 3D Capabilities with support for Blu-ray 3D, satellite channels... game consoles
- Extremely bright home projector, ideal for family and bonus rooms, and theaters with large screens
- Four preset 2D modes, 2 preset 3D modes, and Auto mode, and 10 User savable settings
- 2 10 watt speakers for respectable sound, if you don't have a full sound system, or want to go portable
- WirelessHD (wireless HDMI)
- Full color and gamma controls
- Backlit remote control
- Dynamic iris for better black level performance
- Easy to use split screen capability
- Excellent warranty
- 3D glasses are optional ($99/pair)
- One of the lowest priced 3D capable, 1080p home projectors
Specs for Epson Home Cinema 3010e
Home Cinema 3010e MAP: $1799 (3010e is glasses optional, but WirelessHD is built in)
Native Resolution: 1080p (1920x1080)
Brightness: Manufacturer claim: 2200 lumens, 1972 measured max, 1424 lumens "best" mode
Contrast: 40,000:1 in 2D, 1600:1 in 3D (dynamic iris off in 3D)
Zoom Lens ratio: 1.6:1 Manual zoom and focus
Lens shift: None
Lamp life: 4000 hours at full power, 5000 hours in eco mode - $ replacement cost
Weight: 13.4 lbs. (6 Kg)
Warranty: 2 Year Parts and Labor with replacement program
View full specifications here:
Epson Home Cinema 3010e Special Features
All of these features listed below are discussed at length in the full length review of the base Home Cinema 3010 projector. Here, just a title and a few words.
Split Screen Viewing
Two side by side images of equal size, or one can be set larger than the other. Note: Only one can come from an HDMI source as the projector (like others) has but one HDMI circuit, normally shared by two connectors. This means if you plan to use split screen, you still will need to run a cable to the projector from a second source, if the 1st source is the WirelessHD.
Home Cinema 3010e 3D Capabilities
You'll need some 3D glasses (not included with the 3010e) but everything else to process 3D is there. Unlike most of the early 1080p, 3D capable projectors this Epson handles not just Blu-ray 3D and 1080 source material off of DirecTV, but also 720 3D content from the various 3D channels on DirecTV. I've got about 50 hours of content recorded, and it all works fine on the Home Cinema 3010e projector.
The Epson 3010e offers basic frame interpolation, including 24 to 48fps (2:2). Not to be confused with CFI - creative frame interpolation, which tends to appear on a number of projectors around $2000 and up.
The Epson Home Cinema 3010 offers a player for showing images and other content off of USB thumb drives, and other USB devices
Built in Audio
The Home Cinema 3010e's got a pair of 10 watt speakers. No deep bass, but pretty respectable for those sports gatherings, and your backyard movie shows. Of course, if you have a surround sound system, fire it up, but not bad in a pinch.
That's the short list of features. The two Epson projectors share a 1.6:1 manual zoom lens, keystone correction (but no lens shift), a full featured remote control, HDMI-Link for controlling other HDMI-Link
The Home Cinema 3010e - The Bottom Line:
Selecting the WirelessHD Home Cinema 3010e over the standard 3010 projector means that one way or another, you have use for the WirelessHD feature. Certainly, if you are portable, it comes in very handy. Or, if you are permanently mounting it in your room, you won't need to run an HDMI wire to your sources. If you don't need the WirelessHD feature - now or the future.
Most folks will opt for the standard HC3010. It's simple, if you don't need the WirelessHD, why spend for it? Still, it's attractive to have. Even if you have wired for everything you need, having the WirelessHD transmitter handy allows you to add one more HDMI source, such as, perhaps, a friend's MacBook, or what ever shows up at the door.
Below, the Home Cinema 3010e in a temp setup in our main room. Not a large screen size, but that's a lot of daylight on the other side of all those doors. I put the WirelessHD transmitter in a nearby room, and plugged in a short HDMI cable from the DirecTV box to the Transmitter. Bingo, HDTV. Since HDTV (and the WirelessHD device), carry the audio, the Epson Home Cinema 3010e's speakers handled the sound for the room (which is pretty large).
As a 3D projector, the Home Cinema 3010e simply outshines the only competition near their price so far, with far more brightness, and a much larger feature set. Based on what's out there right now, it's going to set you back close to $3000 to find a step up projector, and so far, nothing can match it for less. Consider this Epson projector to be at the top of the lower priced section in the food chain, if you want 3D.
Now if you aren't sold on 3D, the Home Cinema 3010e projector manages to also be a perfectly good value as a 2D projector. For those of you not convinced about 3D, consider it thrown in for free. You never know, you might like it. As a 2D projector, the HC3010e makes an excellent family room projectors, with tons of lumens, and a very good overall picture for the price.
The Home Cinema 3010s can also work fine in a dedicated home theater environment. If you don't need the brightness or 3D, are an enthusiast looking for best picture for the dollar, you might consider a couple of other 2D projectors in your hunt, including Epson's own Home Theater 8350, and the Mitsubishi HC4000, two of our favorites. Both sell for a few hundred less than the basic 3010. You'll have to make the final call. All that considere, this pair of Epsons should be evaluated by pretty much everyone looking at under $2,000 projector... Some pretty bright 3D, bright 2D, built in sound, what's not to like!