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Epson Home Cinema 3700 Projector Review - Hardware Tour

Posted on February 14, 2017 by Art Feierman
HC3700 Home Entertainment Projector Review - Hardware:  Overview, Lens, Control Panel, Inputs and Connectors As is customary in our reviews, we'll start with a general overview of the Home Cinema 3700.

Home Cinema 3700 Hardware Overview

The HC3700 is a medium small home theater projector with some nicely sculpted lines, finished in a soft white with minor black trim.  It measures 16.1" x 12.0" x 6.4" (W x D x H), and weighs in at 15.2 pounds.  It's lamp is rated 5000 hours in Eco mode, and 3500 lumens at full power.  Epson does not include a rating for Medium power which is slightly brighter than Eco, so figure closer to the 5000 hours than the 3500.

The manual zoom lens is mounted off center. A large exhaust for hot air exits the front left side (if facing the projector).  A front infra-red sensor for the Epson remote control is on the far right of the front.  There are two screw thread adjustable front feet, on the bottom below the front.

Moving to the top, find the vertical and horizontal lens shift controls, and the control panel. Also located there is the door for the lamp.

The rear of the projector contains all the inputs and other connectors, as well as the grills of the rear facing 10 watt speakers.

Epson HC3700 Lens

The manual zoom lens has a 1.6:1 zoom ratio.  That, folks, is about as good as it gets in terms of sub-$2000 home projectors.  Most have less, with a lot of the sub-$1000 zoom lenses having far less range:  1.1:1 to 1.3:1.  There are a few projectors, mostly far more expensive Epson's, Sony's an JVC's with 2.1:1 zooms, but other than those, don't expect to find more than this Epson offers.

The lens has a healthy amount of lens shift, +/- 60% - very impressive, and also +/-24% horizontal.  That, along with the zoom lens, provides more placement flexibility than just about all competitors.  So, whether you are ceiling mounting, or just placing table top, you'll have more options than with almost any other projector.  You can see the lens shift controls (dials) on the top just behind the lens.

Overall, the optics on the Home Cinema 3700 (and therefore also the HC3100 and HC3900, aren't quite as good as the more expensive UB projectors (which start at $3000).  The noticeable difference is more blooming on these.  That's very common on lower cost projectors.  You most easily notice this when you don't care, such as white credits on a black background.  There you'll notice that the white of the characters bleeds a bit into the immediately surrounding black. Edge to edge sharpness is good, but, again, as expected, hardly perfect.  If you focus the dead center perfectly, you'll notice some softness to the sides, and more in the corners.  I recommend you focus the lens to maximize sharpness about 1/3 out from the center of the lens.  That will give you the most even focus and overall, the sharpest look.   Are these things something to worry about?  No, it is simply typical, but these are some  of those things that more expensive projectors typically improve upon.

Control Panel

The HC3700 serves up the typical Epson control panel which hasn't changed much in the past decade.

Home-Cinema-3700-control-panel

The HC3700 Control Panel

 

 

On the top right in the image, you can see the two indicator lights.  Below, them is the power switch and a small led (to its left) to indicate power status.  Next over is the one relatively new button:  Home, which brings up an integrated home menu (see menus section).  Slightly to the right and above, is the Menu button and to it's right Esc which moves you back upwards when navigating the menus.

The arrow keys are in a round formation, with the Enter button in the center.   The arrow keys take on different functions when not in the menu system.  The up and down arrows double for keystone correction, while the left and right ones are volume down and up.

HC3700 Inputs and Connectors

All inputs and connectors are on the back.  We'll take a quick spin though them, starting at the top left.

Home-Cinema-3700-inputs

All inputs are located on the rear, between the grills of the two 10 watt speakers

 

There are two HDMI inputs,with HDMI 2 supporting MHL for mobile devices such as Roku sticks, MHL compatible smart phones, etc.  Further to the right is a small service port using a small USB connector, while a standard USB connector is to its right.

That USB port can, among other things, accept Epson's $99 Wireless module for support of a local area network, such as Wi-Fi at home.

For working with mobile devices, the Epson offers their iProjection App (for iOS and Android.  For simplicity setup is assisted by using a QR code.

Keep going to the right, and you'll find the rear IR sensor for the remote controls.

Moving back to the left, there's a standard analog PC input which also supports component video.  Further to the right is the stereo audio out.  Note, that placing a connector in there, turns off the internal speakers.

It would be better if the Epson supported allowing the internal speakers to work while still outputting from that port.  That in turn would allow people to easily add a small powered subwoofer to enhance bass for those action flicks.

In fairness, though, I've yet to run across a home entertainment projector that allows the audio out and internal speakers to work at the same time.  I keep suggesting it to manufacturers, but I'm still waiting!

The remaining items are a Kennsington lock slot for security and a 1 amp USB connector that can charge Epson's 3D glasses, or, for that matter, your smartphone.

At the bottom is the AC power cord connector.

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