Epson Home Cinema 8350 - Review Summary
Time for a relatively quick summary of the Epson Home Cinema 8350 projector's pros and cons and capabilities.
10/6/10 - Art Feierman
Epson Home Cinema 8350 Projector - The Bottom Line
For $1299 (and eventually less), this projector is going to be difficult to beat. It's got competition, but it also has a lot going for it. As a family room projector, it's outstanding for sports and TV. Kill the lights (as many as you can) and it will do a very respectable job on movies. Black level performance is very good for the price point, making for really good movie viewing, even if more expensive projectors will look better on those really dark scenes. On the average and bright images, however, the Epson really does look extremely impressive.
The Home Cinema 8350 is several hundred dollars more than the least expensive 1080p DLP projectors, though I do believe it is still less than any other 3LCD home theater projector on the market, (though a couple are close in price.)
Let's just say, that if the budget is tight, you can spend less elsewhere, but it looks like by doing so, you'll also have to settle for less performance. You can spend a whole bunch more, and do better, as well.
At the Epson Home Cinema 8350's price point though, it has one obvious, but different competitor, the Mitsubihsi HC4000, a DLP projector that is also bright. BenQ, Vivitek, and Optoma offer lower cost DLP projectors, although I don't see any of them as serious competition, in overall image quality and performance. Sanyo's PLV-Z700 is a competitor, although now, entering its third year. That Sanyo will likely need a lower price to compete with the Epson, as it won't match the brightness or the black level performance.
Now, if you have a bigger budget of around $2000, the plot thickens. Basically now you can choose from a number of projectors that are not brighter, but can produce a superior image (and some not so superior too). Consider the Sanyo PLV-Z4000, the Panasonic PT-AE4000, BenQ W6000, Vivitek H5080, and Epson Home Cinema 8700UB as key competitors. And for a few hundred more still, there's the LCoS LG CF181D, the Sony, and others. But, back to our under $1500, or rather under $1300 reality - the Epson Home Cinema 8350.
The zoom lens, with its much greater than usual flexibility - in both zoom range, and lens shift - will open up the mounting choices for many.
The Very Bottom Line on the Home Cinema 8350 projector:
It's the easy choice for the family room or bonus room, but can easily be considered one of the best low cost choices for more of a dedicated theater. Strengths include being one of the brightest projectors for sports and general viewing, gaming, etc. By comparison it's just average in "best" mode, for watching movies and other critical content.
The brighter modes of the Epson are fun - punchy, and pretty neutral color wise, as brighter modes go, with good skin tones. The better, darker Cinema mode definitely offers more accurate skin tones, and a softer, more natural feel that best suits movies.
Placement flexibility and a great warranty, just add to the value proposition, as does that 4000 hour (either mode) lamp. The remote is good, has very good range, and the menus - well, I've always liked the Epson style layout, and they've barely changed it in the last decade other than to add features.
You won't find an overall superior projector to the Epson Home Cinema 8350 around its price. My take is that it's better than most, overall, but there is competition, most notably the Mitsubishi HC4000, but depending on your specific needs, there are others.
The Epson may not proved to be the best under $1300 home theater projector for your exact situation, but, all considered, there is a good chance it is.
Epson Home Cinema 8350 Projector: Pros, Cons, and Typical Capabilities
Epson Home Cinema 8350 Projector: Pros
- Really very good "out of the box" picture quality
- Really good color accuracy post calibration (best mode)
- Very good black levels for a projector in its price range, though not quite "ultra high contrast" calibre
- Image has good sharpness
- Projector lamp can be changed without unmounting the projector (door is on the top, though well hidden)
- Very low cost of operation - low cost long life lamp 4000/4000 hours, and a longer warranty than most similarly priced projectors (two years)
- Very good menus, very good remote (good range)
- Interpolates 24 fps content to 48 fps
- An excellent price/performance value - it's going to be hard to beat
Above, from Alice - Johnny Depp - can he get any weirder (as all fans know, the answer is always - YES).Sadly, you won't be seeing other images from this movie going forward, for, when I pause to shoot, that box comes up, and I can't get rid of it. If anyone knows how to get rid of the pop-ups when you pause on many Blu-ray movies, please email me, or post a comment on my blog - I read them all, thanks!)
Epson Home Cinema 8350 Projector: Cons
- Black levels, while respectable, are not a match for many more expensive projectors some of which are far better in this regard (the "ultra-high contrast projectors)
- It is a few hundred more expensive than the most "entry level" projectors
- Although 24 fps is converted to 48 fps, other projectors offer up to 120 fps
- Lacks CFI - creative frame interpolation for motion smoothing
Epson Home Cinema 8350 Projector: Typical Capabilities
- About average brightness in "best" mode
- Styling - it's off white, silver trim, not quite a box, but nothing stunning either
- Audible noise - average, but still a good bit quieter than the DLP projectors that make up the Epson's primary competition
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