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Review - Epson 5010e Projector

Hey all! It's been a little while since I've had my hands on any new projectors, and I was really hoping Art would allow me to get my hands on this one.   Up until receiving the Epson 5010e, I had primarily looked at projectors in the  $700 -$1400 range.   The Epson 5010 retails for ~$2999 and I can tell you - it certainly performs like a projector in that price range.   I took a look at the Epson 5010's younger brother (Epson 3010), and I really liked the image quality, but it suffered from a bit too much input lag to recommend for any serious gaming.   I can say that the Epson 5010e is superior to the 3010 in nearly every fashion.    Read on to find out more on how the Epson 5010e holds up in the game room.   I've had the Epson 5010e setup in my theater room for over a week and I've had a chance at a few solid gaming sessions.   Without letting too much drool leak from my mouth, I will say that this is the only projector I have reviewed thus far that has made me want to upgrade my Epson 6500UB.  It was a benefit to review this unit immediately after the Epson 3010 so I could more easily compare the two.   The first thing I noticed was the build quality of the 5010.  I can't tell if it's cheap tricks, but the 5010 seemed well built and stylish compared to it's younger brother.    It seemed to reach out like it wanted to be noticed when I placed it on my A/V rack. My next surprise was lens shift.   The Epson 3010 uses keystone correction as it's placement mechanism, the Epson 5010 has a full mechanical vertical and horizontal placement system which I think is much better in general.   It made for a seamless integration into my setup. I'm a sucker for black levels and it was no surprise the 5010 performs well in this area.  I started with Resident Evil 5 and worked through a couple dungeons in Skyrim to get a feel for the black levels and shadow detail.  They were both superb.  The Epson 5010 is bright enough in best mode, and when put into dynamic it has enough horsepower to cut through moderate ambient light.   As with all projectors, it certainly benefits from some light control. Another thing the Epson 5010 includes that it's younger brother does not have is a creative frame interpolation system.   This was something I missed a bit in the 3010.  There was some jitter now and then, but the CFI was smooth compared to my 6500UB, but that isn't saying much because the CFI in the 6500UB is known to be flawed. The 5010 is 3D capable and I made it a point to get some new 3D demo material.   My choices were a bit limit, but I went with Gran Turismo 5!  Before StarCraft 2, I had zero 3D gaming experience, and let's just say Gran Turismo 5 benefited a bit more from the 3D game-play.   I really enjoyed how the 3D enhanced depth and realism in this game.  It made for a really fun, racing simulation!   I don't really have much basis for comparison, but I can really see 3D being an asset to racing games specifically.  It allowed for a better feel for how close and how sharp turns were and actually seemed to improve my skills.   I'll probably write something in the future that compares many different genres and how they perform/benefit in 3D, but for now, racing games sit at the top of my list for most improved. I know many were disappointed in the 3010 because of its high input lag and many are curious if the 5010 behaves the same way.    Unfortunately...yes, it does.   The input lag tests were a bit more involved because of the CFI system/3D/Wireless HDMI features on the Epson 5010, but absolute lowest number I could measure was ~85ms.   This was, of course, with CFI OFF and all other image processing OFF.   Naturally the CFI system introduced some lag (the results are below).  

CFI OFF    ~85ms lag

CFI LOW    ~100ms lag

2D-3D conversion ~ 100ms lag

CFI NORMAL  ~120ms lag

CFI HIGH    ~150ms lag

*Wireless HDMI Feature did not change any of these results*



It really is a shame this projector can't do better with input lag.   From purely an image quality standpoint, this projector is spectacular.   But again, I can't recommend it for serious gaming because there is just too much input lag.  In my opinion, 100ms+ is unacceptable for any material.  There was so much lag with CFI HIGH I (as well as some others without me asking them) noticed the sound to be delayed from the lips on the video. I'm still waiting to hear back from Epson, but at this point I'm doubtful they will make any serious effort to improve these numbers with a firmware update - at least with this year's model.  We can only hope that the next revision of the Epson 3010/5010 addresses this issue.   I can tell you -  if it does, I will be seriously considering upgrading my 6500UB. That's all for now!   -Pete   Thanks to TXLZone, we have an unofficial update saying “A fix would require more than just a firmware for the lag on with video games. There would have to be a hardware change as well. These first 3 units were designed to work with 3D movies more than any other media. It will be addressed for future models.” We can cross our fingers and stay hopeful!   Also, I have a BenQ W7000 on it's way. I should be able to look at it this weekend and post a review sometime later next week.  So stay tuned!

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