The Art of Home Theater Projectors

Panasonic PT-AE7000 3D Projector – A "First Look" Review

Greetings from Panasonic West.  Ok, not really!   Panasonic in the US, is HQ’d in Secaucus, NJ.  But they have their digital labs out by Universal Studios in LA.  Today, I got a first look at Panasonic’s PT-AE7000 3D and 2D, 1080p home theater projector!

It will be shipping in September!  I asked, they could not tell me when in Sept – early or late, or…  We’ll just have to see.

A quick comment then some details.   I had the opportunity to see a good hour plus of assorted 3D content, including Ice Age 3, and others.  This was in Panasonic’s “theater” screening room.  It’s a small theater, with great huge home theater type seats (yep cup holders, too), and it’s got all dark surfaces, and a huge screen.

PT-AE7000 lens and controls – lens shift and control panel

We saw the PT-AE7000 as it will be called in the US – or PT-AE7000U, also to be known at the PT-AT5000 in the EU, and probably a lot of the rest of the world.

It’s impossible to make any precise, quick judgements when viewing content you don’t or barely know, in a room you are unfamiliar with.  For that reason, I reserve all serious judgements for after a PT-AE7000 graces my testing room and theater.   That said, it was most impressive!

What we have here, is Panasonic’s PT-AE70000.  It is a 3 LCD panel projector (yes good old transmissive panels (or maybe good “new” panels.  I never asked.  It seems about the same size as the PT-AE4000, but far better looking.  Gone is the commercial box, replaced with some decent sculpted lines.

Unlike the PT-AE4000, the PT-AE7000 looks great – turned off.

Turn on the power and you have a 2000 lumen rated 1080p projector.  That’s an increase over the PT-AE4000, but perhaps more importantly, that makes it about twice as bright (or more) than any of 3D 1080p capable projectors I’ve had in, to review.

With a MSRP of only $3499 (no, it’s not $3495), it prices below, yet is brighter than the JVC, the Sharp XV-Z17000, the Mitsubishi HC9000D and the Sony VPL-VW90ES, that we’ve reviewed to date.  Even the  forthcoming Sony HW30 should be at least a few hundred more expensive, as, no doubt, Panasonic will set their MAP price lower.

Panasonic has not yet set it at this time, but the two most logical price points will be $2995 or $2495  We shall see.  Final pricing on the recently announced Optomas, and probably guessing at what the other 3D projector with transmissive LCDs will price at – that being whatever Epson rolls out at Cedia in 6 weeks, as they too say they will have one.

Enough on that, however.  Let’s talk projector.

PT-AE7000 Contrast:   300,000:1  (significant improvement)
PT-AE7000 Brightness:  2000 lumens

We saw the PT-AE7000 and AE4000 doing the same 2D material side-by-side, both in Cinema 1 modes and you can definitely see slightly blacker blacks and the additiona pop – dynamic look, to the image.  All considered, the PT-AE7000 with better blacks and a couple hundred more lumens, effortlessly looked the better of the two. Similar, but definitely better.

For 3D viewing, there was no competition there for comparison, but (for an unfamiliar location) it really did look good.  On most of the content, the PT-AE7000 was essentially free of the ghosting, referred to as cross-talk.  Part of that was attributed to their 480Hz driven LCD panels, with larger aperture.

The PT-AE7000 inherits a lot from the older AE4000.   The Waveform generator is still there, but it’s been upgraded to do 3D as well.

The Lens Memory feature is still there.  I believe it shares the same lens and throw distances, as the older model, and it does have the same 100% range on vertical lens shift, although it has a little less horizontal shift that the 4000.

A new Red rich lamp, according to Panasonic is making a real difference.  AE7000 has CFI and pretty much all the other dynamic type features that the 4000 has offered.

OK, of interest.  Like DLP-Link, the PT-AE7000 sends out the syncing information for the active shutter glasses.  They say the range is about 6 meters – call it 20 feet.   If your room requires more, no worries, a separate IR transmitter for 3D is included, and plugs into one of the two “Screen triggers”.  Problem solved.  The emitter was used for the demo, as some folks in the Panasonic theater were as far back as 40+ feet.

Just a couple more things before I go.

The full press release will be posted on our site, most likely tomorrow.   They handed out paper, not a file, although a couple folks were asking and might have gotten the pdf by now.   Either way, we’ll get the full release up as quickly as possible.

Same for the specs, although you know already know most of the ones you care about.

The PT-AE7000 looked great in 2D, it looked almost (not really) bright, in 3D.  In one room they actually dared show it on a 120″ diagonal 1.1 gain screen.  Well it was at least as bright (by my best guess) as any of the four mentioned above, on a much smaller screen.   I’d say on my slightly higher gain Studiotek 130, at 100″ diagonal, none of those others was quite as bright as the Panasonic, on 120″.  This gives me hope that my friends who object to the general lack of brightness of 3D, and often prefer the 2D version, only because of the brightness, may be swayed.  My toughest viewer, insisted 45 minutes int Alice, on the JVC, that she couldn’t stand the dimness, so we switched to 2D.

So, I’m most encouraged.  So far, the only consumer 1080p projectors out there with 2000 lumen type brightness are entry level 720p 2D/3D projectors, more for gaming or the family room.   This Panasonic changes all of that.  It still won’t be close to 2D brightness in a movie theater, but it’s a good step on the way.

So, from a quick look under unfamiliar conditions:   Brighter than most 3D projectors, cleaner on ghosting and crosstalk, a reasonable price (you really didn’t expect them to give you 3D for the same price as the AE4000 did you?) – and a classically extensive set of performance and consumer features!

Great promise.  Can’t wait until a review unit arrives (no they couldn’t say when yet – and these units here, are all engineering samples), to see how well Panasonic delivers on the promise.

One last thing.  When Panasonic was asked “what took you so long”, their answer was basically, “we wanted to get it right”.  Looks like they are on the right track.   It’s going to be a really interesting fall and winter this year, for home theater projectors.   That’s great, the past 12 months have been a bit thin  on great new projectors, but this CEDIA, there should be plenty.  I’m ready!

People, start saving, there look to be a lot of cool projector choices coming in the 2nd half of this year, and the PT-AE7000 definitely looks to be one of the more/most interesting.  -art

News And Comments

  • Edwin Jaehn

    With LG and Toshiba now producing 3D LED TVs with “passive” glasses, as in a movie theatre, there is no earthly reason to still use the “active” glasses. For me, and many people, the active glasses are a dealbreaker.
    If no 3D projectors are produced with passive glasses in the next year or so, I will simply buy a 65″ LED 3D TV from either LG or Toshiba. Right now a 65″ LG can be had for about 3K. Not bad.
    I have sampled the LG in BestBuy, and I was very pleased– no headache or dizziness, which I experienced with the active TVs.

    • Lisa Feierman

      Hi Edwin,

      I understand, active glasses bother a small percentage of people, (much as the rainbow effect does). If you can’t watch through active, you may have to go LCDTV or Plasma. The 65″ TVs are great for “small screens”, or as I like to kid: Good size for the bedroom.
      You may have another option, stacked projectors – with passive. They are showing up here and there at the trade shows primarily for education and biz, but, hopefully, within the year there will be some solutions for using a pair of respectable (for home) 2D projectors. BTW as I understand it, passive has half the resolution of active. with alternate “lines” being used for left and right eyes, not that it’s that big a deal. -art

  • Scott M

    What’s the reason for the offset lens?

    If not for the 3d, is there enough difference from the 4000 to justify an upgrade?

    There was talk of both new 3d and non-3d models? Is this the only model coming for now that they mentioned?

    • Lisa Feierman

      Scott M! Hi.
      Lens offset – accomplished by lens shift allows you to optically correct for keystone distortion. without any offset, the only way to get a rectangular image would be if the projector is perpendicular to the screen, with the lens dead center – in height and width. With lens shift, you are able to correct for that, without using keystone correction. Keystone correction is a digital process, which requires destroying a lot of data, and creating an image that is inherently softer, than native 1:1 pixel mapping, which means every pixel of data has one pixel on the projector and one unique spot on the screen.

      I’ll pass on the PT-AE4000 to PT-AE7000 question for 2D only viewing. It will be better, but, I need to see it in my world to determine how much better I think it is, adn then how to best describe how that translates for different types of users, in different types of rooms, etc. -art
      PS If there is a 2D from Panny, they weren’t talking about it. They haven’t brought out a fully new projector in 4 years, they needed to get word out on the 3D to prove to a lot of us they weren’t rolling over and playing dead – surrendering the market to the competition… The PT-AE7000 says, they are back. Anything else (announcements) is gravy, so save it for CEDIA if there is another one. -a

  • Kevin Prouten

    you really didn’t expect them to give you 3D for the same price as the AE4000 did you?


    If unchanged the price of the AE4000 would have to drop
    to complete with sub $1000 full hd projectors.

    and it is the human brain that does the 3D
    the projector is just showing more images in a shorter time.

    perhaps panasonic will release an Entry Level FUll HD projector to fill the price gap

    • Lisa Feierman

      Hi Kevin, Well, I really didn’t expect them to come out lower than $2500-$3000, but, as you point out, competition has a big effect. Your first assumption, though, that the PT-AE4000 will remain in the lineup for a significant period of time. (I don’t honestly know.) I wouldn’t expect Epson to come out under Panasonic – if they bring out one 3D projector. If they split it like they have been doing for years, 8350, 8700ub, with two 1080p models, and they both have 3D, that would be really interesting, but it’s far more likely they would want 1 2D projector, and 1 2D/3D, for more separated price points.

      No mention at the Panny event about another lower cost projector for this fall, that would be a very interesting surprise…

  • Eric

    Hi Art,

    I’ve been following your projector reviews for quite some time, and thank you for your precious insights on the good and bad of each model.

    I have 2 important points which I’d like to refer to:
    1. I haven’t seen any article regarding projector vs LCD TV. We all wanna know how current top-of-the-line LCD/Plasma TVs stand up against the best projectors from the likes of JVC, Epson & Panasonic.

    2. From my experience, stretching a resolution of 1080p on an area with a diagonal larger than 55″ (16:9 ratio) – doesn’t make any since. The presented footage simply gets too blurry, which no amount of electronic wizardry can fix.
    Going any higher than 55″ is really only viable with higher resolutions such as 2.5K(2560×1440), 3K, 4K (4096×2304).

    • Lisa Feierman

      Hi Eric, I’ll have to take issue. But first, it’s hard to “compare apples and oranges” and that’s surely the case. When there are some nice 90″ 110″, or 124″ diagonal LCDTVs or Plasmas that people can afford, and that don’t need strengthening the walls. They are inherently very different, first and foremost (at least if you are talking front projection for the projectors), the way they work with ambient light. While Oled might offer some hope, I really haven’t ever seen an LCDTV, with native contrast, say to match or even come close to a JVC, or for that matter, say, an Epson UB, or the forthcoming Panasonic PT-AE7000…

      But since the environmental issues and drastic differences in size, along with other things, does obscure the answer, I’ll just say that if you want immersion, LCDTV and Plasma won’t get you there, without going to the largest sizes, and a proper room as well.

      To your other point, I think you are way off base. First there can’t be any fixed number which doesn’t take into account seating distance. I will see more detail 10 feet away from, say, a 100″ screen, then you will sitting 10 feet from a 55″. Even if one were really to run out of resolution, the entire screen would be too small for you to see the small details at 10 feet with your 55″. But getting to the resolution itself:
      OK< you are talking 1920 across. let's take a nice big 115" diagonal screen which gives you a width of almost exactly 100 inches. Divide the 100 inches into your 1920 pixels and you have 19 pixels per inch resolution.
      Let's say you are sitting 12 feet back. Take a piece of paper and place four Xs each 1/4 inch a part in a matrix (1 square inch) Now go stand 12 feet back and see if you can see each X.

      Your 4 X's are less than 1/4 the pixel resolution of 1080p. (540×460) You really need 19 x19, not 4 x 4, but you can barely spot the x's as is.
      There is plenty of difference visible between 1080p and 720p, at say, 10 feet.

      Let's use 12 feet for a different approach. we had 19×19 pixels per inch move to 6 feet (half) and your equivalent resolution is 38×38 ppi. At 3 feet, it doubles to 72×72. Hmm, that's a relatively low resolution laptop or desktop display (at 3 feet, remember), at half that – 18 inches, that's a resolution of 144×144, not laser printer resolution, but better than your better laptop displays.

      There are other things going on… but the bottom line, most of the time it's the opposite of your point. It's more likely that you are sitting too far back from your LCDTV to see all the detail it's capable of. therefore having a display 2x the size, will allow you to see that "missing detail"
      OK? -art

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  • Michael

    I think I am going to wait until I don’t have to wear glasses at all!

    • Lisa Feierman

      Hi Michael,

      That’s cool, or you might change your mind. Long ago I had a friend who was considering buying a PC, but back then, prices were dropping about 20% a year. So he decided he would wait until prices stabilized… He waited, and waited… I hope the day comes that 3D is glasses free, but, at least for projectors, I don’t see that anytime really soon. With brightness already an issue, the idea of projectors being for groups of people, and the current glasses free technologies I’m familiar with, require a loss of brightness for each additional sweet spot (the places where you can sit and still see 3D.
      Could be a while… -art

  • PatB

    You describe the Panasonic screening room as a “small theater”. Later you mention that the rear seats are more than 40 feet back.

    I admire your concept of small.

    • Lisa Feierman

      Hi PatB,

      Hey, remember, we’re not talking small HOME theater, but rather small Commercial theater. This one probably had a seating capacity of 60 people. YOu can walk into your favorite cineplex and find theaters that are 150 feet deep and hold many hundreds.

  • Bjorn

    Thanks for the preview Art. Nice to see some new 3d models coming out this year, do you have any info on an upcoming Epson 3D model and potentially a new JVC 3D model?

    • Lisa Feierman

      Got some rumors on an Epson…. Am about to write them up. Will post in a few hours. -art

  • CaW

    As an owner of the Epson PC1080UB still on the original bulb…. I have to say I may be tempted to move onto a 3D unit this fall. What’s a PC1080UB worth if I throw in the new unused bulb?

    I have updated to a 3D BD player and I moved up to an Onkyo 3008 for Audyssey XT32 which is also 3D compatible… so the only thing missing is the 3D projector.

    • Lisa Feierman

      Hey CaW,

      I really don’t know. check ebay… But, I’d certainly consider a fully functional 1080UB with a brand new lamp to be worth well over $500 (which isn’t to say you would get it). Basically, I figure – it’s 3 years or so used, but it still will outperform the current 8350 which sells new for around $1200… -a

  • Darryl L

    Hi Art

    Just curious when you expect to receive an AE7000 in for review?


    • Lisa Feierman

      i still don’t know. I was told I would find out more at my meeting with them Friday at the show.

      I’m off to the Sony press conference, to see when I can get their’s too. -a

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  • Toni

    Hi, and thanks for the article and big appreciation for you that you bother to answer on most of the comments. As a enthusiastic gamer I’m eager to know how well this new Panasonic performs when gaming in 2D and 3D, did you have a chance to test any games and did you happen to measure input lag in 2D or 3D modes? As the previous AE4000 had a very low input lag I’m hoping this one would also be good for gaming.

    • Lisa Feierman

      Toni, Scott or Pete will run the Panasonic, and the Epsons through their paces, for lag, and general performance, as those projectors come in for review. I’m just not enough of a gamer, to deal with all of that intelligently, but these two guys – they are living it! That’s why I went out and found them – there are a lot of interested gamers out there, and I’m glad, that, going forward, most projectors will be properly evaluated from a gamer’s perspective! Spread the word to other gamers… While I play very little, I can say Carbon Canyon racing on a 128″ screen is most impressive. (why do they even bother to make those little 42″ lcdtvs?) -art

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  • Darryl L

    I’ve asked a few questions now over the past month on this blog, and they are both still awaiting moderation.
    One of them was regarding when you expect to receive an AE7000 in for review?


    • Lisa Feierman

      Hi Darryl,

      Sorry about that, I do think I’ve answered that a couple of times, but the questions come in, from different threads. The short answer is “soon, I hope”.

      I have yet to be able to get a commitment from Panasonic. I know they have at least one review projector out there, because I’ve read the review. I asked again today, but had to settle for a “we will go over that with you at our meeting. My meeting with Panasonic at CEDIA is on Friday. So, at best, I won’t know until then. As I plan to blog a couple/few times from the show (I arrive tomorrow, show floor opens on Thursday).

      BTW, when I have a confirm on a shipment of a projector I’m going to review, I invariably post it on the main site’s homepage, within 24 hours, that it’s inbound, or will be arriving on… -art

  • hart henry

    Hi Darryl,
    Don’t feel bad about not getting an answer to your question. I too had a question for Art regarding all the different choices of projectors, at the time, the aledged Epson Rumors, and should you go 7000 or just get the 4000. Art did not answer my question either, in fact, it was up for one day and he flat out just deleted it!!

    • Lisa Feierman

      Greetings Henry,
      Well, I honestly have no idea, regarding approving and then deleting any comment once approved. So, I don’t know what to tell you about that… but, back to your question about PT-aE4000 vs. ae7000 and the epson 3010, 5010, etc.

      Ultimately, I can’t tell you. Your original comment/question on 8/27, didn’t provide enough info to make any kind of serious recommendation, without knowing your interest in 3D, screen size, room conditions, what you like to watch, etc. My answer under almost any circumstances would be different, for example, if one only watched movies, in a dedicated theater, with dark walls, vs. someone into a mix of sports, general HDTV and movies, in a family room, etc., etc., etc.

      But, ultimately, as I mentioned, things are very hectic. I just flew into Indianapolis, directly from Boca Raton FL, where I’ve been (call it personal leave, even though I’m still churning out pages), for 9 days due to my mom’s major surgery (87 years old). That of course, plus posting lots of new pre-Cedia info, and finishing a review.

      Try to remember, I’m not only reviewing projectors, running a company, bringing 3 bloggers up to speed, but also answering perhaps 3 dozen questions a week, between the many blogs – You may only see your question on that blog, but there are dozens that generate comments. Generally, I simply post incomplete info comments, and let them be, or if they are interesting enough, comment for more info. But, ultimately, it’s going to be weeks again, before I’m responding to most blogs. I trust you and others would much rather me get the PT-AE7000 review, the Epson reviews, the Mitsubishi reviews out, instead of answering other people’s comments. Just a lot to do. Before I started the blog, I could do about 40 reviews a year. My blogs now take up over 20 hours a week, alone.

      But, I will of course be commenting on exactly your kind of question, in those new reviews themselves, Still, I need to get my hands on the products beforehand, for me to be comfortable making such recommendations. -art

  • jahxp

    Hello Art, I have read Panasonic AE-7000U and Epson 6010 shares the same panels, so the image quality should be similar I think. At this time, can you say if the 3D performance is similar in both, or if is better the Pany or the Epson?

    I have read the Panasonic demo on IFA last week was terrible, because it was a 2 minutes 3D demo of night scenes from Avatar movie with cross-talk and ghosting. When you saw the Panasonic in action, did you notice this problem?

    Thank you very much and sorry if my english is no good.

    I am counting the days to read your full reviews.

    • Lisa Feierman

      When seeing the PT-AE7000 at Panasonic, it looked very clean to me, and we did see some Avatar. I’ll try to take another look today – I have 90 more minutes to hit the show, if I stop blogging now.

      The Epson 5010, or actually the 6010 that they were demoing, still had some issues, but it really was a dramatic improvement in that regard, from seeing it at Epson just 2 weeks ago! Remember, no one’s seen a full production version of either. That means they are still fine tuning, although the Panasonic will ship sooner of the two. -art

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  • Clayton

    Hi Art, thanks for your help.
    Do you knhow how mutch will cost the active glasses for AE7000 ?

    • Lisa Feierman

      Not yet, Clayton,

      I’ve just emailed Panasonic (well, last night) still no reply. My bet would be $99, but ya never know. Of the 3D projectors we’ve seen so far, the JVC’s at $179, are the most expensive per pair. -art

  • Clayton

    Hi Art
    I am from Brazil and here its almost impossible to test a projector before buy. So, i will put a hot rock in your hand.
    If you have to buy today a new projetor(for 2D and 3D). And the only option are the AE7000 and the RS45 (x30 jvc). Which of these would you buy ?
    Thanks for your help.

    • Lisa Feierman

      Greetings Clayton,

      For the money, I have to go with the Panasonic PT-AE7000. While the RS45 is, like the older RS40, supposed to be brighter than the higher end RS55, RS65, the RS45, by my take, as with most “1st generation” 1080p 3D capable projectors, is going to be underpowered. The Panasonic should be capable of almost twice the brightness, which I think is critical for enjoyable, long term, 3D viewing. 3D in terms of artifacts, from my brief look at the Panny, was clean, compared to the RS60 I got a look at last year, and one other reviewer who has reviewed the Panny says it’s the cleanest he’s seen. The RS45 should have a slight black level advantage, but the Panny’s got all the toys and the 3D advantage. For about twice the price, only a black level fanatic, or someone not worried about the dollars, should likely jump right in to the RS45 if they really want years of 3D as well as 2D. As a reader pointed out, also, lamp life is shorter, and lamp costs higher as well, with the JVC.

      All that said, I’m a JVC owner and love the blacks, but I’m an RS20 owner, and that’s a step up in black level performance from the RS45. The Panasonic will save you money, and keep more options open. -art

  • Clayton

    Very thanks for your quickly help Art. Its realy amazing how you can manage your time between reviews, blogs and at the same time help us. Very thanks. I will wait for your review, but i will by the AE7000 today.

  • Dan Janssen

    I would love to see a comparison against the Panasonic AE PT 7000 and the new EPSON 5010. I am trying to decide which one to buy. I have read the stats on both and heard great things from different people who have seen one of the projectors, but not both. I like the split screen image option of the EPSON, but love my current Panny. Please advise.

    Thanks Dan

    • Lisa Feierman

      Hi Dan, Fear not. I will definitely do a head to head comparison piece, as soon as both of them arrive and are reviewed. That of course could take another 4-6 weeks. The Epson’s not scheduled to ship until probably late November, and for me, it’s all about getting in review projectors to work with. Still waiting on the Panny. But, at least that probably means I’ll have both the 5010 and the AE7000 at the same time. -art

  • Ryan Sandridge

    Hi Art,

    I just moved into a new home last spring that came with a home theater room. It is still empty, but I’m trying to get it up and running by Thanksgiving (maybe possible). Anyway, I’ve just spent the whole day reading articles on The Art of Home Theater Projectors, and I was real close to deciding on the PT-AE4000 until I stumbled onto the PT-AE7000. I really love the Lens Memory feature (although, may be kidding myself that I’d need that). My biggest concern with the AE4000 is watching hockey games.

    This first look was great, but I’m curious if you’ve received yours yet. I’d love to read the full lab report, but I might just have to pull the trigger and have a leap of faith that it is worth the 50% more than the AE4000. None others offer Lens Memory do they?

    Thanks for your website! Keep up the great work!

    • Lisa Feierman

      Hi Ryan,

      So we are on the same page, Lens Memory really only becomes a factor if you are going to buy a 2.35:1 or 2.4:1 “wide” screen. You won’t have use for it really, with a 16:9 screen that most folks buy. Lens Memory is also coming to some JVC’s but they are all more expensive than even the PT-AE7000.
      Both Panasonics have the Lens Memory, in fact it goes back to the PT-AE2000 projector.

      I received an email today from Panasonic’s agency, confirming that (finally) a PT-AE7000 would arrive at my door, at some time between Nov 2 and Nov 7th (a 4 day window), they’ll send me tracking as soon as it ships. Figure the review should publish no later than the 14th, and hopefully sooner.

      Sooner or later, hockey will be in 3D… I’ve watched an assortment of football, basketball, x-games, boxing, etc. I like 3D for sports. There’s your excuse for the AE7000, and it’s roughly twice as bright.

  • Philip Adams

    I read the review between the Pan 7000 and Epson 5010.
    I dont recall any mention of gaming tests. I have read the Epson 3010 has a lot of lag and was wondering if the Epson 5010 had the same issue. Also what the results of gaming on the Pan 7000 was.
    Looking to purchase one of the two for my HT room this week. While the Epson appears to have better viewing due to higher lumens…i am leaning toward the Pani as an overall smooth viewing experience. Thanks

    • Lisa Feierman

      I posted a blog last week about gaming on the two. Didn’t get a chance to do lag tests on the Panny when I had it, as no time to get it to my gamer/projector bloggers, before it had to go back, but Panasonic has always touted their gaming abilities, and their game mode on previous projectors has been pretty good (I’m thinking 30 ms?). The 5010, as stated in the blog, measured 84 ms, definitely too slow for most serious gamers doing FPS, etc. If you are a “hard core” gamer, the Panny will be the way to go. -art