Mitsubishi HC3800 Projector Review

Mitsubishi HC3800 Projector - The Bottom Line

The bottom line on the HC3800 seems to be that Mitsubishi has introduced an “entry level” home theater projector using DLP technology, and 1080p resolution, for a MAP (minimum advertised price) of $1495. The HC3800 is more an entry level projector in terms of price, than it is, in terms of performance.

No doubt, it isn’t the least expensive 1080p projector out there. In fact it’s street price shoud be about $400-$500 more than three new announced (or already shipping), $999 1080p projectors, and there’s always some manufacturer’s last year’s model closeout floating around too.

On the other hand, it’s performance looks to be superior to the only of the $999 projectors we’ve reviewed so far, the Optoma HD20. The HC3800, overall, also bests the more expensive Samsung projector, which is a few hundred more. There’s only so far you can expect a projector in this price range to go. It’s not a match for several projectors in the $2500 – $3000 range, but, all of that has been discussed on the Competitors page.

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 Mitsubishi HC3800′s price point though, it only seems to have one serious current competitor, and thats the new Epson, which just arrived, and is next on our review list

The bottom line on the HC3800 seems to be that Mitsubishi has introduced an “entry level” home theater projector using DLP technology, and 1080p resolution, for a MAP (minimum advertised price) of $1495. The HC3800 is more an entry level projector in terms of price, than it is, in terms of performance.

No doubt, it isn’t the least expensive 1080p projector out there. In fact it’s street price shoud be about $400-$500 more than three new announced (or already shipping), $999 1080p projectors, and there’s always some manufacturer’s last year’s model closeout floating around too.

On the other hand, it’s performance looks to be superior to the only of the $999 projectors we’ve reviewed so far, the Optoma HD20. The HC3800, overall, also bests the more expensive Samsung projector, which is a few hundred more. There’s only so far you can expect a projector in this price range to go. It’s not a match for several projectors in the $2500 – $3000 range, but, all of that has been discussed on the Competitors page.

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 Mitsubishi HC3800′s price point though, it only seems to have one serious current competitor, and thats the new Epson, which just arrived, and is next on our review list. What makes the HC3800 especially attractive, and wins a lot of love from me, is it’s brightness. This projector is capable of almost 1000 lumens in its best mode! True, it doesn’t have many extra lumens for a brighter, and inferior mode for dealing with ambient light, but it does fill a large screen with your favorite movie, rather effortlessly compared to almost everything else!

Ok, so it’s bright, but there are other factors that are needed to be a great projector for its price, and the overall picture quality is high on that list. Skin tones are extremely good, and surprisingly so considering we’re working with an engineering sample). Black levels, while hardly anything to write home about, turn out to be superior to other projectors lacking a dynamic iris. That said, the HC3800 can’t match the blacks of the competition that have good dynamic irises, such as the new Epson.

The zoom lens, with it’s greater than usual flexibility (for a DLP projector) of 1.5:1 is a nice improvement, but what may get a lot of attention is th support for an anamorphic lens, without a motorized sled. Mitsubishi isn’t the first to offer this, but it is definitely the least expensive projector that can. Only the Panasonic, which “emulates” an anamorphic lens, would make for a less expensive anamorphic type solution, but the Mitsubishi’s way of approaching the issue is the better way.

Ultimately, though, the reason I’m singing the praises of the HC3800, is that, while it seems to do just about everything very well (execpt for the lack of great black levels), it combines a great picture – a natural, film-like classic DLP look and feel, with lots of rich colors and depth to the image, with lots of lumens. That in turn gives the projector a lot of pop and wow factor at the same time.

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