It's been a while since I've had a projector of this caliber in my theater. It was great to get a chance to take a look at this year's Epson flagship. No doubt, the Epson 5020e threw one of the most impressive images I've ever had on my screen. But how does this projector hold up in the game room? Read on to find out!
Whether you are looking into buying your first projector, or someone who follows the yearly model revisions and improvements, I'm sure Epson is a brand you are familiar with. They have been very competitive in the entry/mid level price range projector market for many years and the Epson 5020e is this year's flagship. It's hard to believe, but it is the four year newer version of the projector I currently own, the Epson 6500UB.
Over past four years, this flagship model has been given quite the face lift. Physically, the designs of the newer Epsons are very modern and stylish, kinda rugged and large without being clunky. When first placed the projector on my rack in my theater room, the first thing I said to a buddy of mine was "Wow, that thing looks badass!" and it is... 🙂
The Epson 5020e is not just a pretty face. Under the hood is all the latest technology and features, including 3D, Wireless HDMI and Creative Frame Interpolation. One thing worth repeating, however, is this projector is large. It doesn't even come close in terms of portability to some of the more recent projectors I have reviewed. It is easily 4-8x the size and is really not meant to be moved around.
However, the placement flexibility on the 5020e is about as good as it gets. It has physical lens shift (not digital keystone correction), a feature I have found extremely useful over the years moving to different rooms/setup configurations. If this projector can't put the image where you want it, you'll be hard pressed to find one that can. This to me is a selling point and the reason why I purchased my 6500UB at the time. I hope Epson continues to provide this level of placement flexibility in their projectors for years to come.
I'm not going to talk too much about the overall image quality of the 5020e, because to be quite honest it is outstanding. The colors are very accurate, it throws an impressively bright and sharp image with fabulous shadow detail and inky dark blacks that leave me drooling. If you are thinking about buying this projector, I can tell you the image quality will not disappoint...
I do, however, want to take some time and talk about a couple of the different extras included with the 5020e. I spent a good deal of time playing around with 3D and Wireless HDMI and want to share some of my thoughts.
I know I've stated a number of times before that 3D capabilities are not a feature that I would search for if I were in the market for a new projector. Especially, in the the entry level market, most folks are trying to get as much bang for their buck as they can. I feel many times, people get lost in the specifications, flashy features and marketing gimmicks and lose sight of what is actually important to them. In that price range, your money is still better spent finding a solid 1080p projector with good optics and a good warranty without concerning yourself with 3D, CFI, etc.
However, to me, the Epson 5020e is an entirely different animal. This is not an entry level projector, it is a mid level projector. Naturally, at 2-3X the price of many of the entry tier units, the manufacturer can afford to invest a bit more into this projector, and it shows.
The 3D was...enjoyable...and something I could see myself using. It was bright enough that my eyes didn't hurt, and pretty smooth all around. I watched a couple 3D movies to get a feel for the projector in general and played Gran Turismo 5 as my 3D demo gaming material.
I usually wait until the end, but I'll jump right into it and say the Epson 5020e lag numbers are ~50ms. With all image processing turned off, my measurements ranged from 30ms to 80ms and very consistently measured 50ms lag.
This is an improvement over last year's numbers, and in my opinion, this would be acceptable for the type of gaming I do. I'd still like to see Epson get these numbers in the <30ms.
What is really interesting is that I tested the input lag with both a physical HDMI connection and with wireless HDMI receiver included with the 5020e. To my surprise, the wireless HDMI worked near flawlessly. It took me a bit to actually get the projector to recognize the wireless HDMI receiver, but after it was "found", I couldn't tell the different between the two connections qualitatively at all. To make sure, I ran the input lag tests again and there were no differences in lag numbers. The photos don't lie folks! I can definitely see adding a wireless HDMI receiver to my home theater. I really enjoyed the convenience and can see it saving some headaches with wiring. So, great job Epson!
Keep in mind, these lag numbers are with all forms of image processing OFF. As soon as, CFI or other image processing is turned on, the Epson's lag increases, as expected, to around 100ms+.
Here are a few more screen shots of a couple games I ended up played on the Epson.
All around, I think the 5020e is a fabulous projector. If you are looking in this price range, this is definitely worth a strong consideration. For those looking for the fastest of gaming projectors, the Epson 5020e may not be for you, but anyone looking for a home theater projector that can also double as solid gaming projector, the 5020e fits the bill. For what it's worth, the 5020e is the first projector in four years that has seriously given me the upgrade itch... 🙂
That's all for now.
P.S. I have both the BenQ 1070 and ViewSonic Pro9000 in house and I'm taking a look at them this weekend. Keep an eye out for their reviews sometime next week.