Mitsubishi HC1600 720p, DLP, Home Theater Projector Review: Overview
8/26/2008 -Art Feierman
The Mitsubishi HC1600 home theater projector replaces the highly popular HC1500 projector. The two are very similar overall, both in physical design, and in overall performance. Interestingly, Mitsubishi seems to have made some improvements, but also some compromises, relative to the older projector. Notably, the real compromise is that the HC1600 has a slower spinning color wheel than the HC1500.
This shouldn't matter for most folks, but for the small percentage of people who are sensitive to the rainbow effect, with the slower color wheel, rainbows will be a bit more noticeable, and it may make the rainbow effect visible to some, who never had the issue with the older home theater projector.
In exchange, the newer HC1600 projector is a bit brighter, although not dramatically so. For some, though it fits into the concept, of "every bit helps."
The Mitsubishi HC1600 is a true "entry level" projector - one of a small handful of home projectors that sells for under $1000. Once a basic calibration is done, the HC1600 produces a competent image with good color accuracy, and pleasing colors, including skin tones.
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Also of note, it has a standard computer input, and has enough lumens to double as an entry level, portable business projector.
Mitsubishi HC1600 Projector Highlights
- Overall, brightness (with Brilliant Color turned off), is pretty average for a home theater projector
- With Brilliant Color engaged, the projector becomes very bright, at some expense in overall color handling, with 10 different settings, brightness continues to increase with the higher settings, but a price is paid in terms overall picture quality - notably color accuracy, and some minor image artifacts
- A very good balance of brightness and color accuracy can be realized by only using Brilliant Color at the lower settings - such as in the 3 to 5 range
- Limited zoom lens, with 1.2:1 zoom ratio - this is, however very typical of DLP projectors
- A basic number of inputs, with only a single HDMI, and also one component video input, and a computer input, plus the usual lower res inputs
- Short 1 year warranty (not uncommon with 720p resolution projectors)
- Definitely seems quieter than older HC1500, very quiet in eco-mode
- Only $999! MAP price, which pretty much would be the high number for online sales. Expect it to be had for the $999 or just slightly lower
Mitsubishi HC1600 Projector: Basic Specifications
Click here for more complete HC1600 specs, and access to a pdf of the projector's brochure.
MSRP: $1495, MAP (minimum advertised price): $999
Technology: Single Chip DLP
Native Resolution: 720p (1280x720)
Brightness: 1700 lumens
Zoom Lens ratio: 1.2:1
Lens shift: None
Lamp life: 3000 hours low power (eco-mode), 2000 hours at full lamp power
Weight: lbs. 6.5 lbs. (2.9 Kg)
Warranty: One Year Parts and Labor
Mitsubishi HC1600 Projector: Physical Tour
We start facing the front of the HC1600 DLP projector. The lens (with its 1.2:1 zoom), is centered, simplifying ceiling mounting relative to those with lenses off to one side or the other. The hot air from the fan exhaust also exits out the front vents.
The front infra-red sensor about covers it for the front of the projector, other than a screw thread type height adjustable, centered front foot.
Moving to the top, right behind the lens, and recessed, are the focus and zoom controls. In the center, is the HC1600's control panel.
It is pretty much standard, and the same as on some older Mitsubishi models.
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There's the power button, and slightly further back, are six additional buttons. Five are the usual diamond configuration for the arrow keys to navigate the menus, (four arrows, and an Enter button in the center). The sixth button, in the bottom left position (looking from the rear), is the Menu button.
Three of the four arrow buttons take on different functions when you are not in the menu system. The left and right arrows are for Computer, and Video source selection, respectively. The Computer button toggles between the computer input, and the HDMI, while the Video button selects from the component video, S-Video and Composite video sources.
All the inputs (and other connectors) are located on the back. You'll find 1 HDMI input, and one computer input (standard computer type HD15 connector), that will take the usual analog computer signal, or a component video signal. There is a second (or primary, I should say) component video input with the usual three color coded RCA jacks. Of course there are the obligatory composite, and S-Video inputs as well. This Mitsubishi projector also has a USB port, a serial port, and a 12 volt trigger for raising or lowering a properly equipped motorized screen.
Lastly, there is a rear infra-red sensor for the Mitsubishi remote control, and, of course, the power receptacle.
On the bottom of the projector you will also find the two drop-down and screw thread adjustable feet (that makes for a nice, steady, three point stance, should you be running it from a table top). The lamp door is also on the bottom, which is unfortunate for those who ceiling mount the projector, as it will require unmounting it to replace the lamp, every couple thousand hours, or so, of operation.
The Mitsubishi handles this tricky image from Aeon Flux, extremely well. Despite the special lighting, the skin tones still have a natural look.
The Mitsubishi HC1600 is typical of most DLP projectors in that it has no air filter to clean or replace. Definitely a plus when ceiling mounting!
That covers the hardware, except for the remote, which is discussed in the General Performance page.