Mitsubishi HC5500 1080p 3LCD Home Theater Projector Review:

The Mitsubishi HC5500  is a definite step up from its predecessor, the HC4900. This entry-level 1080p home theater projector improves greatly upon the HC4900’s black level performance thanks to its dynamic iris, and shines with a stunningly high 14000:1 contrast ratio. The HC5500 boasts fast, smooth transitions between light and dark scenes and is incredibly quiet, operating at an outstanding 19 dBA. Brighter than most 1080p projectors and offering very good sharpness and detail, the HC5500 provides great, consistent images for maximum enjoyment. The HC5500 has the longest lamp life – up to 5000 hours – and, on top of all that, is complete with 2-year warranty.

Overview

From a picture quality standpoint, the new Mitsubishi HC5500 (link to specs), their entry level 1080p home theater projector is a definite improvement over the HC4900. The slight increase in brightness helps, but an improvement in black level performance makes it a better projector. When comparing it to the HC4900 projector, though, there are also some trade-offs. Mitsubishi (no doubt to keep costs down), reduced the amount of zoom range of the lens, and the amount of lens shift, making it less flexible when it comes to placement. For some, this will eliminate the option to rear shelf mount the projector, if their room dimensions and screen size don’t match up nicely with the Mitsubishi HC5500s zoom range. The HC5500 projector is also a bit more expensive than its predecessor, at least in the US, where the weak dollar has made it tough for manufacturers to hold or reduce prices this year.

Mitsubishi HC5500 Highlights

  • New dynamic iris definitely improves black level performance compared to older HC4900 it replaces
  • Brighter than most of the lower cost 1080p projectors when comparing “best modes”
  • Extremely quiet operation
  • “Out of the box” color accuracy is typical, and not exceptional – the HC5500 will benefit greatly from a calibration, be it an easy to use, consumer calibration disc, or professional calibration
  • Good remote control
  • Motorized zoom, focus and lens shift
  • Very good warranty
  • Longer lamp life than most (in eco-mode) keeps cost of operation low
  • Very limited zoom lens range compared to other 3LCD driven projectors

 

All considered, the HC5500, forgetting for the moment the reduced zoom and lens shift, is closer to the more expensive HC6000 in performance than the HC4900. That also means it is a much more formidable projector compared to similarly priced competition in the form of the Panasonic PT-AE2000U and Sanyo PLV-Z2000. Further, it has the advantage of being brighter than those two, and also the Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB and the Mitsubishi HC6000. Since I mentioned brightness, it is comparable in best mode brightness to the recently reviewed Viewsonic Pro8100, another new 1080p 3LCD home projector.

From a picture quality standpoint, the new Mitsubishi HC5500 (link to specs), their entry level 1080p home theater projector is a definite improvement over the HC4900. The slight increase in brightness helps, but an improvement in black level performance makes it a better projector. When comparing it to the HC4900 projector, though, there are also some trade-offs. Mitsubishi (no doubt to keep costs down), reduced the amount of zoom range of the lens, and the amount of lens shift, making it less flexible when it comes to placement

For some, this will eliminate the option to rear shelf mount the projector, if their room dimensions and screen size don’t match up nicely with the Mitsubishi HC5500s zoom range. The HC5500 projector is also a bit more expensive than its predecessor, at least in the US, where the weak dollar has made it tough for manufacturers to hold or reduce prices this year.

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