Epson Home Cinema 5010 - Review Summary
Time to put into perspective all the features, performance, flexibility, warranty, and other aspects of the Epson Home Cinema 5010 projector, and for that matter, the Home Cinema 5010e and Pro Cinema 6010 projectors.
11/24/2011 - Art Feierman
Epson Home Cinema 5010 Projector - The Bottom Line
This year's crop of 2D and 3D capable projectors had grown in both size, and level of performance when compared to last year's projectors. I know a lot of you aren't sold on 3D yet, but if you, like me just returned from the other side of the Universe, watching Hubble 3D on the Home Cinema 5010, you most likely would change your mind. I'll say this important message, one more time: Don't judge projector 3D, performance by what 3D looks like on those puny little 40 and 50 inch LCDTVs, etc.
The huge difference in immersion going to a 100" or larger screen, is enough to take your breath away on great content, especially if you are close to the screen. I actually now watch a lot of HDTV (stuff like Hubble 3D and Legends of Flight) within 6 feet of the 100" screen. Awesome!
When I reviewed the Sony VPL-HW30ES, I was impressed at the combination of natural looking image, and other features. Only the lack of more lumens really bothered me for "serious" 3D usage. The Panasonic then came along, the first 1080p 3D 3LCD projector announced. Loaded with a whole lot more lumens than any other serious home theater to we had seen, it was what I was waiting for.
We've had great 2D projectors that just seemed limited - in some cases dim, when doing 3D, but now that's changing.
And here comes the Home Cinema 5010 and its siblings. Every bit as bright as the Panasonic, and a bit more in fact, it's another light canon, like the Panasonic PT-AE7000. The Epson has the horsepower in 3D to fill a 100" screen to movie theater 2D brightness, on a normal screen, in your theater.
That's right - you've seen 3D in non-IMAX theaters at your local Cineplex. Many complain the picture isn't bright enough (I agree in many cases). Well, worry not, Not that I'm recommending a 130" screen, but I'm pretty confident that this Epson can do 3D, in 3D Dynamic mode, at that size and still be brighter than most 3D theaters.
Epson setting the MAP (minimum advertised price) of the Home Cinema 5010 at $2699 and the 5010e at $2699 truly surprised me. The Panasonic is at $2999, and I expected the Home Cinema 5010 to be at least as expensive.
Whether you have need, or want the WirelessHD feature in the 5010e, for $2999, the $2699 has to be the best value yet. Overall, the Epson, and the Panasonic are fundamentally similar, but with some very different special features.
Regardless of which one I like, or some other reviewer likes, much of your choice, will be made based on which of those special features you want. I mean if you can't live without Split Screen features, for example, then the Epson is the projector for you.
Placement flexibility is downright excellent, except that the HC5010 does not support an anamorphic lens. The more expensive Pro Cinema 6010 projector does, however.
Epson's two year warranty thanks to the value 2nd day replacement program for both years. It is still, to my knowledge, the best warranty in the price range, though some might favor one of the rate 3 year warranties (around this price), that lacks any rapid loaner or replacement program.
The image below, from Howl's Moving Castle (very cool flick) (this is the wrong image, to be replaced)
The Very Bottom Line on the Home Cinema 5010 projector:
The real strengths of the Home Cinema 5010 projector, are numerous, but it's first and foremost strength is as a 2D projector. The great 2D image quality, especially on dark scenes, thanks to excellent black levels, really work for me. What I mostly see, is what I liked about the Home Cinema 8700UB last year. This year, you get the same, for only $700 more, but with a lot of value add: 3D plus more brightness, split screen, and a few other goodies, thrown in for good measure.
The 5010 has very good out of the box 2D performance, and great color accuracy once calibrated. I like the menus, the remote, and even the manual (there are no truly great manuals). That it measures more than 2000 lumens in a world where most of it's competition can't beat about 1100, sets it apart from most.
When it's time for 3D, the brightness again sets it apart from most of the other projectors out there.
The Epson Home Cinema 5010 has some tough competiton out there, Panasonic, Sony, Optoma... All of them cost more, yet none of them can be considered a better projector.
Is the Home Cinema 5010 going to prove to be the best of the projectors in our Best In Class awards projector comparison ($2000 - $3500)? Too soon to tell, but I don't think there's another 2D projector I prefer near the price. I'll put the Epson Home Cinema 5010 at the top of my shopping list in this price range. You should at least make sure it's on your short list.
It's a great year for shoppers - the industry has come through with some serious projectors this year!
I think I'm going to get a whole lot of use out of this Home Cinema 5010e, before I return it to Epson. -30
Epson Home Cinema 5010 Projector: Pros and Cons
Image from Red
Epson Home Cinema 5010 Projector: Pros
- Brightest 1080p, 3D capable projector we've seen
- Clean 3D
- Excellent black level performance (2D)
- 3D glasses are available from Epson as well as 3rd party suppliers, compatible with Panasonic and some other projectors
- Excellent placement flexibility
- Split screen viewing, for whatever "floats your boat"
- CFI - smooth motion, good for sports and other non-film baaed content)
- Calibrates very well
- 2 HDMI 1.4a (Blu-ray 3D compatible) inputs
- 480hz panels for faster response time, including gaming
- Very good, but large, remote control, good backlight and range
- Works with 3rd party glasses, as well as some brands like Panasonic
- Excellent Lamp Life (4000/5000 hours)
- Very quiet operation in eco-mode
- Color filter in best modes for improved color accuracy
- Excellent menu layout (which they haven't changed in years)
- An excellent value propositioin
Image above, from Quantum of Solace
Epson Home Cinema 5010 Projector: Cons
- CFI and Dynamic iris do not function in 3D resulting in Black level performance that could be better in 3D
- One of the noisier projectors at full power, but not exceptionally so
- A second HDMI circuit to allow two HDMI sources for Split Screen, would be nice
- Does not include 3D glasses in the price
- No support for an anamorphic lens (the 6010 does, however)
Above, Captain Pike, from the Star Trek movie, again, you can "see" that small extra amount of red, being added in the process - it shows up in a slight tint in the background, walls, and adds a touch to Captain Pike's face.
Art's Last Word and Pitch: After a couple years of almost stagnant performance, (but with downward sliding prices), it's refreshing to have a whole group of new projectors to consider. More brightness, a bit more refinement, 3D, extra features like this Epson's split screen, 3D, or WirelessHD (on the HC5010e), have not only made reviewing projectors this fall far more exciting than last year (a bit of a yawn), but makes a real difference in your theater or livingroom.
And please don't sell 3D short. If you think looking through those permanently mounted glasses at a small LCDTV (55"?) at a Best Buy or Costco, is any indication of what 3D looks like with this Epson, "fagetaboutit".
By comparison, let's say these new 3D projectors, when doing 3D, should create an experience far closer to an IMAX theater 3D show, than the experience one gets with a modest (65") sized LCDTV. Having 3 to four times the screen size, really does matter!
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