Mitsubishi HC7900DW Home Theater Projector Review

How does this Mitsubishi HC7900DW compare to other 1080p home theater projectors on the market?

Mitsubishi HC7900DW vs. Epson Pro Cinema 6020 UB and Home Cinema 5020 UB

Let’s start by considering the HC7900DW against the Epsons when they are calibrated.  Note that both Epsons should produce identical pictures.  Differences between those two Epson models are basically case color, warranty, and local vs online sales.

Skin tones – the Epson’s are pretty darn good, but the Mitsubishi gets a win here.   You might not notice unless comparing side by side (which I, of course, get to do), but I have to say that the Mitsubishi HC7900′s skin tones are more natural.  Both projectors are similar in terms of calibrated brightness, not enough different (less than 4% difference) to matter to anyone.

Black Levels:  The Mitsubishi HC7900 is very good at blacks, but the Epson is a step up in that area of performance.

3D Picture.   Both do a very nice job, with the Epson pretty clean, and the Mitsubishi even cleaner.

Brightest Mode:  This favors the Epson.  It can put almost double the watchable lumens on the screen, and that’s a big factor in any family room type environment, and it can matter in a home theater, if you go with a very large screen.   When it comes to 3D, although we give the Mitsubishi a slight edge in picture, we give the Epsons a big win for 3D brightness – no comparison. The Epsons are projectors that people who love 3D and watch a fair amount, will want.  The Mitsubishi in 3D is fine, but due to lack of brightness, only really viable on smaller screens.

Warranties are both great – 3 years on the Mits, 2 on the Epson, but Epson provides two years of  “overnight” replacement program, a great feature.

Pricing.  The online Epson HC5020UB is going to be about $2599, with 2 pair of 3D glasses.  The Mitsubishi HC7900 is $2499, without glasses or emitter – so figure $99 for the emitter and $99 for 3D glasses (assuming good ones).  The xPand 3D glasses Mitsubishi provided were IR, and heavier than the Epsons’, and not quite as comfortable.  From our reckoning, consider (if you want 3D), the Mits to be only $200 more, despite being “local dealer only”.  By comparison, the HC6020UB (also local only) would be about $700 more, but would not only have the 2 pair of glasses, but also a 3rd year of warranty with replacement program, and a spare lamp and ceiling mount. In other words, priced about the same when you strip away the extras.

Interesting choice!  More different than better/worse

Mitsubishi HC7900DW vs. Sony VPL-HW50ES

Hmm.  The Sony is also very natural in terms of skin tones, etc.   I might just have to give the HC7900 the edge, but it is going to be really, really slight, and which you would pick strictly on that criteria may well depend on which movie you are watching!  Call it a tie for most of us.

Placement:  The Sony has more zoom range, and full vertical and horizontal lens shift, vs. the HC7900′s vertical only.

Black levels are all Sony, which rivals the Epsons.  A slight edge to the HC7900 DW for dark shadow detail.

Calibrated – the VPL-HW50ES crushes the Mitsubishi with 992 lumens vs 701.  The HW50ES is the brightest calibrated projector ultra high contrast projector we’ve seen under $12,000 in quite a while.   Bottom line – bigger screens like the Sony.

Brightest mode:  Now the two are much closer, but the Sony has the advantage, and that also results in…

3D viewing:  Got to go with the Sony for producing a brighter image in 3D.  The DLP Mitsubishi will be cleaner (no official DLP crosstalk), but the Sony is close enough.

Sharpness:  The Sony has that great dyanmic detail enhancement that adds apparent sharpness to the image.  By comparison, the HC7900 starts with single chip DLP – and an inherently sharper image before fancy processing.

In most situations I’d pick the Sony, but they aren’t comparable in price. Your talking $3999 with 2 pair of glasses and spare lamp, so roughly $3400, vs. roughly $2800. $600 is significicant money.

Both have a three year warranty, so no advantage there.

While both put an impressive image on the screen, despite a number of other differences, it may come down to brightness vs. cost.

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