HD4000 Projector Review: Summary, Pros, Cons
The Mitsubishi HD4000 rates our Hot Product award for...
Solid performance as a widescreen, portable, business projector, and also for it's capabilities as a bright projector for the home.
The HD4000 isn't for everyone, but should find a ready market in both business and home sectors.
As a business projector, the HD4000 is one of only a handful of affordable widescreen projectors (the HD4000 sells for under $2500) to reach the market.
Although it tested out noticeably below it's claimed 2000 lumens (as many projectors do), it has plenty of brightness for handling small and medium sized rooms, and can handle the typical conference room with full florescent lighting on 5 and 6 foot screens. Of course it can handle audiences of up to 150+ people on larger screens with modest to moderate lighting.
It's widescreen XGA (WXGA) native capability makes it an excellent match for today's popular widescreen laptops. It's 6.5 pound weight and reasonable footprint make it very viable for frequent portable use, and it's features make it suitable for ceiling mounting as well.
There are also a great many applications where a widescreen format is desireable, including spreadsheet use, displaying messages, and any other case where longer width is advantageous. The WD4000 can work well with traditional (4:3) aspect ratio computers that have the capabilities of outputting widescreen, or, of course the HD4000 will work fine with a standard XGA or higher resolution source.
The HD4000 also has a viable place many home users. It compromises in a couple of areas, compared to dedicated home theater projectors, most notably the slow color wheel (2x) which means more people will notice the rainbow effect, and it has some posterization noise visible when the image pans across very bright areas.
The Mitsubishi HD4000's strengths easily outweigh any weaknesses. This projector is very suitable for those needing a home solution, that is significantly brighter than the traditional home theater projector. The HD4000 has two to three times the lumens of most dedicated home theater projectors. If that isn't impressive enough, the HD3000 has excellent color handling plus good black levels and shadow details. As a result, this projector will do a respectable job for traditional movie viewing, and better for sports and general TV viewing. Gamers should like its brightness too, although they really don't have need for a widescreen solution.
The HD4000's brightness, does a respectable job on the image to the right, despite a room bright enough to easily sit and read a book.
- Excellent color handling and accuracy (especially for a DLP projector)
- Bright enough for most small and medium sized rooms with moderate to bright lighting
- Suitable for home theater/entertainment use in rooms that cannot be fully darkened, particularly suitable for sports, TV/HDTV
- Provides widescreen solution for widescreen laptops and for applications where widescreen is superior - messages/announcements, church hymnals, spreadsheets, some scientific
- Very good for photographic image display
- Exceptional warranty
- Excellent black levels and shadow details
- Very good compression technology
- Affordable per lumen (for a wide screen projector)
- Good input selection including HDMI, analog computer/component video, and separate component video
- Remote control is backlit
- 12 volt screen trigger for controlling properly equipped motorized screens
- 3 savable user memory presets
- Slight posterization in brightest areas on video, noticeable primarily when there is slow panning of the image
- Price per lumen, relative to 4:3 aspect ratio projectors
- Noisy in full power mode for home theater environments
- For business - lacks remote mousing
- 2X speed color wheel means higher percentage of viewers of video may be sensitive to the rainbow effect
- Actual lumens in brightest mode about 30% below claim of 2000 (typical is about 20% below claim)
- Lamp life
- Audible noise (for a portable projector)
For business the HD4000 is one of the first widescreen projectors to sell below the $3000 price point, with typical pricing from authorized dealers now below $2500 at the time of this review (8/2006). The HD4000 combines good brightness with extremely impressive video handling, yielding excellent price performance for a widescreen projector. The HD4000 should find a wide range of users and applications that it is especially suitable for. It is expensive if you are looking at cost per lumen, but that is the nature, right now, of widesreen projectors.
The HD4000 will also do well in home environments. Its slower color wheel will cause the rainbow effect to eliminate some potential users, and its posterization, sometimes detectible in large bright slow moving areas on video, will scare off the purists in search of the perfect image. On the upside, having two to three times the brightness of the traditional home theater projector will enthrall those who want to watch sports, TV and HDTV in rooms with modest ambient light. This is not a traditional home theater projector, but one that will meet the needs of a great many, those who aren't looking for the traditional home theater projector that requires near total darkness.
The same combination of widescreen, high quality video, color handling, and brightness will also find the HD4000 plenty of commercial applications, including sports bars, church sanctuaries, digital signage, photography, etc.
One of the first of a new breed of affordable widescreen portable projectors, the HD4000 is an early front runner in a rapidly growing market segment. I expect the price will fall significantly over the next year, as more widescreen DLP projectors come to market. That said, if you are looking for a fairly bright widescreen solution with WXGA resolution, be it for business or home, the HD4000 merits serious consideration.
PS. While working on this review I did speak with the Mitsubishi Product Manager for the HD4000, relating to the posterization I occasionally spotted. I am awaiting a response from their engineering team, to see if there is something that, perhaps, can be done to eliminate this effect. If that is doable, it would have to be considered a further boost for the HD4000 in the home market. I will update this review if I learn if there is a solution, or if it is something that can be addressed in later versions with newer firmware. -art