Epson Home Cinema 8350 Projector Review
Epson's Home Cinema 8350 will shortly be replacing the 8100 (which had received awards from us, and other reviewers/editors). Each year there are a few basically all new projectors, but most are simply minor imrprovements, with sometimes minor additional features. The Home Cinema 8350 is an improved and slightly refined version of the older projector.
The short version, is that last year's Epson Home Cinema 8100 was a very good projector, and the new Home Cinema 8350 an improved, updated model, so we expect good performance.
It should be noted that the older Epson Home Cinema 8100 received two awards from us: The Best In Class Runner-Up Award in our annual Home Projector Comparison Report in April 2010, (and received our Hot Product Award, when reviewed). Although primarily the same as last year's model, the Home Cinema 8350's slightly improved black levels, combined with a lower price, (plus the usual very bright image in brightest mode), and a very long life lamp, made this Epson a likely Hot Product Award candidate.
October 2010 - Art Feierman
Epson Home Cinema 8350 Projector Overview
What's important about this new projector? The Epson Home Cinema 8350 is very bright in "brightest" mode, has overall good color, and a lot of "pop" to the image. I watched football all weekend on the Epson 8350 - sports looked killer... You'll get all that, plus, a low cost of operation! And other things, including a very reasonable price. Those are the key reasons this Epson picked up a Hot Product award.
Below, Home Cinema 8350 "tackles" football (HDTV, Dynamic mode)
Before I go further, the Home Cinema 8350 has some siblings that should be mentioned. There is the more expensive Home Cinema 8700UB (MAP $2199), which has a bigger price tag, higher contrast, better blacks and a number of "dynamic" features. Then, the two of them have almost identical siblings in the Pro Cinema series, The Pro Cinema 9350.
I mentioned that the Epson is especially bright, at its brightest. In fairness, I must also report that when in its best possible picture mode for movie viewing, the Epson's brightness is just about average.
This Home Cinema 8350 is the slightly less expensive replacement for Epson's Home Cinema 8100. At $1299 MAP, this 1080p 3LCD projector claims 2000 lumens (doesn't get there, but few projectors actually achieve their claims). This Epson projector has excellent placement flexibility and a 2 year warranty.
From The Fifth Element:
The Home Cinema 8350 claims 50,000:1 contrast ratio, which will be discussed at length elsewhere in the review. Overall, the Home Cinema 8350 is an improvement over the popular 8100. It is certainly one of the best lower cost 1080p projectors out there, so the real questions are, is it in your budget, will it work for your room setup, the types of content you watch, or is there something else out there, for the same, more or less money, that makes better sense?
The lowest cost 1080p projectors start at several hundred less. Or you can spend more. For a bit less than $1000 additional, there are several projectors that pretty much have to be considered overall better, including, of course, the roughly $800 more expensive Home Cinema 8700UB
The Home Cinema 8350 is shipping this month (October). Time to explore the finer points.
Epson Home Cinema 8350 Projector Highlights
- Essentially an improved Home Cinema 8100, at a lower price, with better blacks
- Improved out of the box picture quality
- Very Bright "brightest" mode
- Very good black level performance for its price
- Upgraded LCD panels (for those better blacks) D7 C2Fine panels
- Excellent placement flexibility
- Very low cost of operation
- Lacks CFI (motion smoothing) a nice feature, but not found in this price range
- Very good value proposition (it's worth the price)
- Street price under $1300
Specs for Epson Home Cinema 8350
MSRP: $1999, MAP (est. street price) $1299
Native Resolution: 1080p (1920x1080)
Brightness: Manufacturer claim: 2000 lumens
Measured Brightness: "best mode": 467 lumens, "brightest" 1378 lumens
Zoom Lens ratio: 2.1:1 Manual zoom and focus
Lens shift: Vertical and Horizontal
Lamp life: up to 4000 hours at full power, up to 4000 hours in eco mode
Weight: 16.5 lbs. (7.4 Kg)
Warranty: 2 Year Parts and Labor, with 2 year replacement program
View full specifications: Epson Home Cinema 8350
Epson Home Cinema 8350 Special Features
Black Level Performance - C2Fine LCD Panels
Epson gave the 8350 the newer LCD panels. These are the panels that originally went into the UB series. This is the first time Epson has put them in the entry level 1080p projector in their lineup. These panels are dark in their native state, whereas older panels are almost clear until voltage is applied, and then get dark, with these, they are dark until "opened".
There is more going on, however in the more expensive UB projectors, especially as related to black level performance. As such, this Epson has improved black level performance, in part thanks to these panels, but still can't touch the almost double the price 8700UB.
Home Cinema 8350 Lamp Life
Lamp life isn't a fun spec, but it is fun knowing that your projector gets more life out of a lamp - costs you less - than pretty much any other projectors out there... Epson claims 4000 hours regardless of standard or eco mode. Epson manufacturers its own lamps which they call E-TORL. The combination of the Epson lamp, and inherent advantage of LCD vs single chip DLP projectors also makes the Epson more eco friendly that most projectors, but especially the DLP models. The Epson with a 200 watt lamp, delivers brightness normally only obtainable in comparable DLP projectors with 250 to 300 watt lamps.
Most lamps are rated 2000 hours at full power, and 3000 in low, or "eco-mode" power. That's been getting longer over the last couple of years, but 2000 hours is still the most common at full power. The Epson's claimed life is almost double that of most of its competitors.
2.1:1 Zoom Lens
Same old Fujinon 2.1:1 zoom lens that Epson's been using for 3 generations. This lens has more range than any competitor, although there are a number of projectors (Panasonic, JVC mostly) with 2:1 zooms, which come very close. Bottom line is you get maximum front to back flexibility, short of having interchangeable lenses. In addition the Epson has extensive lens shift for height placement flexibility.
As with all lenses with this much zoom range, there's a big difference in brightness. The mounted at its furthest from a screen, it's only about as bright as mounting at the closest point in its range. (We do our measurements with the lens at the mid-point.)
Image below - from Star Trek movie: