Mitsubishi HC7800D - Review Summary
Time to summarize much of the previous pages. For those of you who have read the entire review, no surprises. For the rest of you, this page should give you a pretty darn good idea of how the HC7800 projector performs, its greatest strengths, its most noticeable limitations, and hopefully, a good understanding as to whether this projector is for you. Enjoy!
2/1/12 - Art Feierman
Mitsubishi HC7800D Projector - The Bottom Line
I think of the HC7800D as a fine, small home theater projector that is best in a home theater-like environment, on a "smaller" sized screen. Now for you folks still watching on those tiny LCDTV's and plasma TVs, when I say smaller, I'm thinking between about 80 inches diagonal and 100 inches diagonal. (In other words, compared to LCDTVs - not small, but rather "supersized").
The real strengths of the Mitsubishi HC7800D projector are the general 2D picture quality, sharpness, and about as clean looking 3D as I've seen. A little more about each:
First, the HC7800D looks better, in terms of color accuracy, than most other projectors right out of the box. This is a point worthy of some additional conmment. This year, most projectors in the over $2000 range, are pretty good out of the box. That wasn't really the case 3-4 years ago. It seems projector manufacturers are doing a much better job these days, in that, for those who don't plan to have their projector calibrated, today's projectors, overall, will provide better skin tones, and color in general, at least if you go to the trouble of using the "best mode" the projector has to offer.
That said, the Mitsubishi HC7800D still does better, right out of the box, than most. True, there are a couple of others out there, better "out of the box" such as Epson's Pro Cinema 6010, a direct competitor, in that it too is only sold by local installing dealers. That Epson has a THX mode which is downright excellent, for "out of the box". On the other hand, the Epson 6010 costs more than this Mitsubishi, while the Home Cinema 5010, which costs less, lacks the THX mode.
If you take your movies seriously, and want best color, we'd still recommend having the HC7800 calibrated. Failing that, try our settings. They should do better than the defaults.
HC7800D Color and Overall Picture Quality
Skin tones are excellent. Extremely believable, and a touch better than the Epson 5010, which we're using as the reference in this case. (Because I have use long term of that Epson, so have been able to compare the Epson with a number of other projectors. I typically use my own JVC as reference when comparing much more expensive projectors.)
Shadow detail is also first class. For a projector in the price range, my only real complaint is with black level performance. This projector does well enough, but is relatively "entry level" when compared to other "ultra-high contrast" projectors (those with superior black performance.) Still, the combination makes for a "great little projector".
Brightness of the Mitsubishi HC7800 projector isn't a "problem" but it does limit the number of potential buyers of this projector. Let's talk 2D first:
HC7800 Projector - Brightness for 2D viewing:
The HC7800 measured 668 lumens calibrated. That's pretty good. It's almost 50% more than the Panasonic, and 5% brighter than the Epson competition. On the other hand, most of the other DLP projectors in the price range, as well as some of the LCoS projectors (Sony, Mitsubishi's own HC9000D and JVC). While the competitively priced JVC RS45 / X30, is about 30% brighter, the Sony HW30ES, and the Optoma HD8300 and a couple of others are between 10 and 25% brighter. Only the early production JVC RS60 from last year's review that we never got to finish, measures appreciably lower (other than the Panasonic).
That 668 lumens is in full power mode (a little noisy, but not exceptionally so), but with Brilliant Color Off. The HC7800D is definitely better with BC turned off if you are looking for the best possible picture. But if you turn it on, the HC7800 still looks really good, but has an additional 150 lumens.
That's basically what we use for brightest mode - turn on Brilliant Color - say for sports viewing, or maybe general HDTV with some lights on.
The brightest alternative is to change the color temp of the Mitsubishi to High Brightness - but, to me, that's basically unwatchable, the green is so dominant, and you can't adjust that setting. Too bad, really. If they provided enough control, maybe the ugly 1300 measured lumens, might have yielded a watchable 1100 or 1150 lumens, more than we can find in other modes.
Now if you are just a movies only type person, and have a good room, those same 668 lumens will really allow you to go up to a nice 120" diagonal screen, but you won't have the lumens to spare, if you want any lights on, as you might when watching TV and sports with friends and family. Add 3D to your viewing mix, and definitely you'll want a smaller projector screen than that.
HC7800 Projector - 3D Brightness:
Just barely enough for a typical 100" screen. Actually, with my 1.3 gain screen, there's still lots of content I'm not feeling bright enough for at 100" diagonal. High contrast 3D content, though, like most animation, or Tron, is acceptable to me at 100 inches.
Nonetheless, this Mitsubishi has to be included in with just about all the LCoS and most DLP projectors to date, in that a lot more lumens are really needed to enjoy a fairly bright 3D image. Consider that projectors like the Epsons, and the Panasonic (the LCD projectors) have the brightest 3D modes, right now along with the BenQ W7000 (DLP), are about the only ones that you can watch at 100" and feel like the image is actually fairly bright, rather than "err, ok, I can live with that, but more would be better." Remember too, I do like bright, but I'm also reviewing projectors with virtually brand new lamps. Before you haven't even used 1/2 of your lamp life, you probably will have also lost 30% of the starting brightness...
With a basic white screen with typical modest gain: 1.3 to 1.4, I think the HC7800D is best doing 3D on screens 92" diagonal or less. The call, though is yours. As I said, I tend to demand a bit more brightness than a decent number of my readers.
The Very Bottom Line on the HC7800D projector:
Love the color! Love the sharpness. I really did enjoy watching the HC7800D as long as I didn't go too large an image.
Only black level performance really bothered me, and really it wasn't that bad. It's just that I'm one of those black level fanatics (and think we all should be - to some degree). In the general price range, though, most of the competition is at least as good at blacks and several are far better. On the other hand, not one of those capable of blacker blacks can match the HC7800's image sharpness and clarity, and it's also great on dark shadow detail.
The overall brightess we've discussed isn't a problem, it simply sets limits on what type of room setup the HC7800D should go in, and the number of folks who will find it a really good match for their viewing preferences and environment.
All considered, a very impressive projector. It's not the right one for my room, and my tastes (which include lots of sports with intentional ambient light present), but it might be a great projector for you.
I believe that there are enough other really good competing projectors out there - most of which are brighter, that you consumers have lots of choice. DLP fans in particular, though, should give this one a close look. As I was saying - a lot of good competition. As such, I felt that the brightness limitations were enough to prevent the HC7800D from being a good candidate for our Hot Product Award.
That said, the HC7800D does have a lot going for it, and it will be a great choice for some people, especially those demanding great color and sharpness. As a result, I "determined" that our Special Interest Award was the right one for the Mitsubishi HC7800D projector. What does that mean: I translate Special Interest award to- "really good," when a projector can be a great match, but only for a relatively small segment of the home theater projector people out there.
I expect to hear some complaining from some HC7800D owners, who will feel I should have given it more respect (Hot Product Award), but, the bottom line is, especially with 3D capabilities, the overall brightness does eliminate a lot of folks who otherwise might love this little Mitsubishi projector to death. Lastly, don't forget, the HC7800D comes with a 3 year parts and labor warranty. In the grand scheme of things, that's one of the longer and better warranties out there. Nothing like a little piece of mind!
Mitsubishi HC7800D Projector: Pros and Cons
Mitsubishi HC7800D Projector: Pros
- A brighter than average 668 measured lumens in "best" mode, is enough for a reasonably large screen for movie viewing in a fully light controlled environment
- Excellent overall color, and skin tones
- Really good dark shadow detail
- Very good placement flexibility
- HDMI 1.4a inputs (2) allows for support for Blu-ray 3D content
- No problem with any 720p or 1080 content from any DirecTV 3D channel
- Optional 3D glasses and emitter provide plenty of range for 3D
- Good looking CFI (for smooth motion)
- Lamp Life is excellent (rated 5000 hours) when running in low power mode
- Low maintenance - no filters to change
- Lamp can be replaced without unmounting the projector
- Dynamic iris very smooth
- Excellent warranty: 3 years parts and labor
- A smaller projector, fits nicely in smaller rooms
Mitsubishi HC7800D Projector: Cons
- Below average brightness - in its brightest watchable mode
- Lamp life at full power only rated 2000 hours, which is below average these days (although at low power their 5000 hours is as long as anyones)
- Black level performance could definitely be improved (though not bad)
- Fair amount of audible noise at full power, but many other good projectors are louder (including most other DLPs)
- 3D glasses are optional (just a reminder)
- Encountered a minor glitch or two coming out of 3D mode to 2D, but not a problem
- Remote is dated, backlight dim, buttons soft
- Definitely could use additional user memory positions
Just a couple of last images for your amusement! Fini!
Above, from Star Trek: Captain Pike. Below from Harry Potter: Phoenix
From Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D: (in 2D), below:
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