Projector Reviews

Best in Class – Under $1000 Value Home Theater: Epson Home Cinema 2100 and 2150

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The Home Cinema 2100 and 2150 (also called the HC2100 and HC2150) replace the venerable HC2040 and HC2045, two top-rated Epsons. A number of improvements were made, while at the same time, the overall street price seems to have come down. That translates into even more value.

These two Epson projectors only differ by $50 selling price: The HC2100 is $799, while for $849 the HC2150 adds wireless HDMI!

Epson Home Cinema 2100/2150 Overview

Epson offers a lot at this price point. For starters, they are also the “peace of mind” projectors. These 3LCD projectors come – right out of the box, with probably the most accurate color in their best modes, while their brighter modes tend to be both brighter, and have better color than most DLPs. That means they are more “no muss – no fuss – just plug in and enjoy, than most of the competition. And that’s just the start…

Add to that a larger feature set, and a great warranty. While most sub-$1000 projectors (Viewsonic is a major exception with 3 years) offer 1 year warranties, without replacement programs, the Epsons come with 2 year warranty and include 2 years of rapid replacement (your Epson fails under warranty, you call them, and then you can expect a replacement in no more than 2 business days) to arrive at your place, at no cost to you. Sweet! Some other companies offer 1 year replacement, but usually that starts with more expensive models.

Under $1000 Best in Class Best Value Home Theater Epson Home Cinema 2100 and 2150
Epson Home Cinema 2150 Hunger Games Katniss
The Epson Home Cinema 2100 and 2150 have excellent color right out of the box!

While I count these Epsons as more home theater than home entertainment, they are, when you want very good color, about as bright as most of the DLPs claiming many hundreds of lumens more, because the DLPs – as a group, need to sacrifice more overall lumens to have great color – due to lower “color lumen” measurements. That means they also do rather well in those brighter rooms. I planted theme in the HT category because Epson also offers their HC1060, with more lumens, but less features.

Consider – Bright Cinema, a rather good-looking mode geared for ambient light, has very good color, and still manages 1763 lumens.

Even Natural – the mode that served extremely accurate color after Eric our calibrator “tweaked it,” measured 1135 lumens… in ECO mode! So, even Natural hits 1700 lumens at full power. These are mid-zoom measurements, so there’s even about an extra 4% more lumens (insignificant) if the projector’s lens is at full wide angle.

The Epson Home Cinema 2100 and 2050 are also pretty good gaming projectors with less input lag than most competitors – lag measured 29ms. That should satisfy all but the most hardcore gamers: The kind that buy extremely souped-up computers and very expensive low input lag monitors, and even they will “survive” these input lag speeds.

The Epson HC2100/2150: What Makes Them A Great Value

Bottom line on the HC2100 and HC2150: Probably the best color in the class, plus an excellent feature set – including CFI for smooth motion, dynamic iris for improved black level performance, lots more zoom range and outstanding placement flexibility that blows away all the competition. 

I think I started using this phrase when we reviewed the Home Cinema 2150, but perhaps before that: Epson Easy!

Buy one of these two, if you want the least hassle projectors in the price range, that work best, right out of the box, have no real issues (like rainbow effect) that can affect or offend some, have exceptional lamp life and lower cost lamps than the competition, plus that great warranty.

The HC2150 in particular, thanks to the wireless HDMI, is the projector I most often recommend to folks as their first projector (and in this budget range). For the real enthusiast, I definitely lean to the BenQ HT3050, our Home Theater Performance winner in the under $1000 Class, but these are better as general family projectors, and I favor the Epsons on sports over the BenQ, although I give the BenQ the edge on movies.

If this is your first projector, either of these Epsons – the HC2150 and HC2100 can be best described as the low-cost projectors you just can’t go wrong with. Perfect for under the tree, this holiday season, or for fall sports. Enjoy.

Epson HC2100/HC2150 Review