Compare Projectors-Mitsubishi HC3800 vs. Optoma HD20

Here we take a look at the two in expensive 1080p home projectors – the Mitsubishi HC3800, which received our Best In Class, Runner-Up award, and the Optoma HD20. We’ll consider how the Mitsubishi compares to the first to ship under $1000 projector, the Optoma. The Optoma is one of three under $1000 1080p projectors that are shipping as of late April ’10. I’m refering to the Optoma HD20. Basically we have here, a true entry-level 1080p projector, and another projector, several hundred dollars more, that we believe is overall superior.

In this comparison, our goal is to remind you of the differences, and to help you determine whether the Optoma HD20 or the Mitsubishi HC3800 projector will work out best for you. For many, the question is simply, is the HC3800 worth the difference in price?

HC3800 vs. HD20 - An Overview

Both projectors are rather small. The Optoma HD20 is the smallest 1080p projector to grace us so far. The Mitsubishi HC3800 is a good deal larger, but still small compared to the field.

The Optoma HD20 was built to break the $1000 banner. In that regard, there’s not going to be much room for added performance, or exotic features.

The Mitsubishi HC3800, as Mitsubishi’s entry level 1080p projector has the luxury of a bigger budget. As it turns out, Mitsubishi has poured that extra budget into more performance, while keeping features very basic. In fact the Mitsubishi has less inputs than the HD20! They – Mitsubishi – might have at least sprung for a second HDMI input.

Both projectors are pretty limited in placement flexibility. That means ceiling mounting for most people doing a “permanent” installation.

Physical Attributes

The Optoma HD20 is nice looking, it’s got a couple of curves. The Mitsubishi is more boxy, but with some sculpting, but nothing to write home about. The bigger difference is that the HD20 is white, and the Mitsubishi HC3800, a dark grey that might as well be black.

The HD20 and HC3800 have their control panels on the top, and their inputs (and outputs) located in the back. The Optoma projector has two HDMI 1.3 inputs, the industry standard. The HC3800, however has but one. For those doing switching through an AV receiver (with HDMI switchin), or routing everything through a PC, won’t care. For some others it will be an annoyance, although one can buy a good little hdmi switcher for around $50 or even less. You’ll need a couple extra short cables too.

When it comes to placement flexibility, let’s call it a tie. For inputs though, the Optoma HD20 gets a win, besting the HC3800 by virtue of not only having a second HDMI input, but also a 12 volt screen trigger.

Below, first image, is the Mitsubishi HC3800 input panel, and below, the Optoma HD20’s input panel.

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