Epson Home Cinema 710HD - Review Summary
We've covered a great deal of discussion about the Epson Home Cinema 710 projector's performance, flexibility, warranty, and other aspects. We'll summarize what we found, and our opinions, along with a list of the Pros, and the Cons.. For those of you who landed here from a web search, or just jumped from the first page of this Epson HC710 review, if you are looking for specifics and detail, you'll have to visit some of the interior pages of this Epson HC710HD's review.
7/25/2012 - Art Feierman
Epson Home Cinema 710HD Projector - The Bottom Line
This Epson 710HD is a good starter home projector, or just a fun projector for the family to share. It's going to be fine for the casual consumer, but not the enthusiast. There are a number of real strengths, and a few weaknesses. Well, if everything was great on entry level projectors we wouldn't need more expensive ones.
In giving this Epson HC710 HD our Special Interest award, we recognize that while this Epson is very strong at some things, notably brightness, good color, warranty programs and support, and low cost of operation (long life lamp). On the other hand, there are some areas where it could be seriously improved (starting with black levels). For an entry level projector, the strengths easily outweighed the weaknesses. Still we would have wanted to see blacker blacks a a couple of other minor improvements for this Home Cinema 710 HD to earn our more important Hot Product award.
As I have said repeatedly in this projector review, the Home Cinema 710 is a very bright home projector. It claims 2500 lumens and measured even higher. This Epson projector would have to be considered a "cross-over" projector. In that, I mean that its roots are more business portable, than home theater. It shares a case, and many aspects with several Epson business projectors. That helps explain the brightness, and also the less than impressive black levels.
The Home Cinema 710 is a really good choice for that room not optimized for home theater, that is to say, rooms without reat lighting control, light wall, ceiling and floor surfaces, etc. In other words, perhaps your living room, family room, bonus room.
Strengths include rather good color, all those lumens, and a great warranty plus support program.
It has one of the lowest cost and longest life conventional lamps lasting 4000 - 5000 hours. It also uses less electric than competing DLP projectors.
When it comes to watching, it does really well with HDTV sports in particular. This is a 720p resolution projector - but that's what you get at this price point. Remember, 720p is resolution 2.25 times greater than standard DVD.
The feature set is pretty basic. There is a dynamic iris to help out with blacks, but the truth of it is, that native contrast is not very home theater like at all, so even with a bit of improvement thanks to the iris, black level performance is strictly entry level. Shadow details aren't bad, but again, definitely not a strength. Of course if you can't darken your room reasonably well, you'll loose a lot of that detail on dark scenes, as well. Too much ambient light will destroy the bulk of the visual difference between an entry level black level performer like this, and much more expensive home theater projectors, such as Epson's own $2600 Home Cinema 5010.
The image below from X-Men First Class is already cropped.
Pretty good - A close up of Magneto from X-Men First Class on the: HC 710HD:
The Very Bottom Line on the HC 710HD projector:
Like the roughly $1200 Panasonic PT-AR100U, this is a light canon for your "family room" environment. If you have any inkling that you will be hooked on owning a home projector, and you have the budget today, I'd suggest spending almost double on that Panasonic, or even more expensive projectors, but if your budget is just not that far north of $500, this Epson definitely gets you into the game!
The excellent support program, and Epson warranty with its two year replacement program, really takes the potential hassle out of things, and make the Home Cinema 710HD the "peace of mind" representative in the entry level price range. I know that's really big for many of you.
It's Olympics time (from one of the first 2012 Olympic broadcasts)
You probably already have at least one LCDTV. If you really have a room you can use for a projector, then have some fun, don't buy another tiny LCDTV. Instead: Pair this Epson with an affordable High Contrast gray screen to help with the ambient light.
Once you start enjoying football, concerts, CSI or whatever your taste is, on a 100 inch or 120 diagonal screen, you'll be wondering how your friends survive with only a 55" or 65" LCDTV. It must be traumatic for them. You can do this - afford this: This Epson projector paired with a 100" diagonal motorized screen should start at about $1000.
Bottom line: Enjoy the really big screen - for you, your kids, even the spouse. Some of you have parents that remember when TV was black and white (it was when I was a very little kid), and some remember their first color TV. Others remember buying a huge 17" diagonal TV. Now we think back to 17" diagonal and that's what? an overized tablet, but certainly too small to be a serious "TV".
Well it won't be that long, you'll remember your old Epson Home Cinema 710HD, and fondly remember that some folks actually had to watch TV back in the 2010's on sets that were only 40 or 55 inches diagonal. Yes, those early days of the 21st century were so barbaric, until Epson's 710HD made "decent" sized viewing - affordable!
Have fun with this one. Everyone should. But, if you are the kind who expects you might just catch the Home theater bug... - to become an enthusiast...this is still a good starter projector. Once owning this one, if you then decide in a couple years to get really "serious", the 710HD will have helped you decide what your next and better projector should be capable of. And thanks to the great - and longer than most of their competitor's warranty, (and the exceptionally long lamp life) this little Epson may command more dollars if you were to sell it, than most of the other similarly priced 720p projectors out there, which have only 1 year warranties.
Epson Home Cinema 710HD Projector: Pros and Cons
Above, Scarlett Johansson in Ironman 2
Epson Home Cinema 710HD Projector: Pros
- About as bright (measured over 2500 lumens at max) as under $1000 home projectors get
- Can handle some moderately bright rooms when it can be paired with the right screen
- Pretty good color, right out of the box, even better post calibration
- Can easily double as a business portable WXGA projector
- Very long life lamp (4000/5000 hours)
- Lamp can be changed without unmounting the projector
- Geared for the tyical consumer, not the enthusiast
- Geared for the "family room" not the dedicated theater/cave
- Built in speakers - means quick and easy sound outside or for a quick setup in a room.
- HDMI input
- Good Documentation
- Easy to use, menus nicely designed
- Lightweight and portable
- A mass market projector that provides value, with Epson's good rep for reliability
- Best warranty and support package around
Image above, from Iron Man 2
Epson Home Cinema 710HD Projector: Cons
- Black levels definitely could be better
- Lacks a full color management system for fine tuning individual colors
Only a single control for each primary (instead of the usual 2), when adjusting grayscale balance
- Lacks a color saturation control
- Remote control is not backlit
- Lacks CFI for smooth motion (typical for entry level projectors)
- A good bit noisy (fan) at full power, though OK in Eco-mode
- Lacks the multiple user memories more expensive Epson models have
- Limited placement flexibility (1.2:1 zoom, no lens shift) but typicl of the price point
- Only a single HDMI input (buy a $39 switcher if needed)
- No lens shift (a great feature you just aren't likely to find on any projectors under $1000)
- Cannot engage auto iris in Living Room mode (not a big deal)
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