Epson Home Cinema 3010 vs. Epson Home Cinema 8350
The Home Cinema 8350 was introduced late in 2010, and remains in the Epson lineup for a second year. With a price point of $1299, it is essentially $300 less than the new Home Cinema 3010 reviewed in these pages. So, who should by which one? This is pretty straightforward. The Home Cinema 8350, first of all, is 2D only, unlike the 3010. In addition, it is more designed as a lower cost projector for a dedicated room/theater. In that regard, it has the placement flexibility advantage, with more range to the zoom (so it can be rear shelf placed in most rooms) and lens shift.
From an image quality standpoint there shouldn't be much difference, with the 8350 having a slight advantage in black levels. Far more significant is the brightness difference, so if you are looking for a larger screen, a brighter room, or 3D, then the 3010 makes good sense. If budget it tight, you are fitting a dedicated theater or room, then save a few hundred dollars and stick with the 8350. It is, by just a tad, the slightly better 2D projector unless you need the extra brightness.
Epson Home Cinema 3010 vs. Mitsubishi HC4000
The Mitsubishi HC4000's appeal is as an affordable home theater projector for those seeking best picture quality. Though lacking all but the the standard features, the HC4000 offers perhaps the best black levels of any low cost projector without a dynamic iris. Colors are rich, and classically "DLP look and feel" (which I translate in part, as looking particularly well saturated on dark scenes, without being over the top) The Epson will crush the Mitsubishi in brightness even though the Mitsubishi is about average. Onn the darkest scenes the Epson will provide a slightly blacker black, but overall, the HC4000 will be the better at blacks, and without an iris. A close thing. The HC4000 is an affordable enthusiasts and purists projector. The Epson, as noted, is first a family room projector, but will serve nicely in a theater with a medium to very large screen sizes.
The HC4000 will save you about $400 at the time I write this, making the HC4000 perhaps the most affordable step up in performance from the entry level projectors. If both are in price range, the Epson has to be the better choice for the majority. It just brings too much to the table - family room brightness, 3D, more flexibility, better warranty. On the other hand, if you want a low cost projector with a particularly excellent picture for movies, considering the price, if it works in your room, the Mitsubishi is the best choice.
Epson Home Cinema 3010 vs. Optoma HD20
How does the imensely popular though aging HD20, stand up against the Epson Home Cinema 3010? This is too easy. The Epson has the Optoma beat at about everything, but the Optoma is more than 1/3 less. The "official street prices" put the Epson at $1599, and the Optoma at $899! So, sure, buy the Epson if you have the budget. It wins in brightness, 3D (the HD20 lacks 3d), warranty, black levels color controls, features... The HD20 puts up a very nice picture, with the same 1080p resolution as the Epson up on your screen for a low price. That's it's real strength.
Epson Home Cinema 3010 vs. Sharp XV-Z17000
The Sharp XV-Z17000 will produce better black levels than the Epson, which is a really good thing, because, for about twice the price of the Epson, it really isn't going to dominate any other area. It's a good DLP projector, in terms of color. It has very limited placement flexibility. Let's just say that the Sharp is going to be a very tough sale going forward at its price. It's got the Epson 3010 at half the price to contend with, and for more like the same price, the Epson 5010 will add better blacks and CFI for smooth motion.