First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Home Theatre projector prices have dropped quite dramatically in the last year and DLP projectors in particular have become very affordable. The Mitsubishi Electric HC3000 seems to fly in the face of this trend with a high price tag but considering the image quality, it's almost justified.
- Superior colours, Rich blacks, Low heat emissions.
- Slightly overpriced, some noise in low grays.
If you are in the market for a high quality cinema projector that is light weight, compact and delivers with fervor, this is the projector for you.
Price$ 3,499.00 (AUD)
The design of the HC3000 is quite attractive and very compact considering the power of the unit. It is curved with simple to access ports on the rear, a heating vent at the front and operation buttons on top. The lens is medium to large in size with manual zoom and focus levers. The unit surprisingly doesn't put out too much heat. Similar projectors we have reviewed have always been hampered by heat issues, issues which this projector seems to have largely avoided.
The Mitsubishi comes with a compact remote which, for the most part, is identical to every other projector remote out there. However, it seems to fit more comfortably in the hand and is a breeze to use with clearly labeled functions and a separate button for each input channel. The rear of the unit has inputs for connection to a PC as well as component and composite video, HDMI, and S-Video.
We found the menus very easy to use, though initially labeled pictorially making them a little difficult to comprehend. However, the calibration options are very limited, particularly with respect to image adjustments. This projector only allows for basic calibration of brightness, contrast and the like without any options to change settings in each primary colour element. This makes calibrating the image a very limited and frustrating exercise, especially when you can see where is needs to be fixed but are unable to do it.
Powering up the unit takes approximately 50 seconds while powering down takes about 2 minutes. This is a fairly standard power cycle although the power down cycle could have been better. This projector also has a setting called "Brilliant Colour" which, when turned on, is meant to bring colours to life. It works a charm, and colours look much better but using it comes at a cost as it lowers the contrast ratio quite a bit.
We found the HC3000 to be an exceptional DLP projector. It was hampered by the usual DLP rainbow effect but it wasn't too severe. We ran our HDMI and Component tests first and found that the projector performed brilliantly. Our screening of the Lobby Scene from "The Matrix" showed very few problems. There was some slight stepping on flesh tones, small amounts of noise on dark areas and medium noise on block colours. Most of these problems are probably due to the green tint of the scene as it is rather hard for any projector to remain consistent under those conditions. Despite these very minor problems, the colour reproduction in this scene was excellent and the flying debris was highly detailed without any pixelisation.
The T-Rex attack scene from "Jurassic Park" was also very good. There was a little stepping on flesh tones but the general quality of the image during this scene was rather good. Despite the scene taking place at night with lights flashing all across the image, the projector handled it well with good colour separation and superb blacks.
Our formal Digital Video Essentials tests showed very few problems. The SMPTE bar patterns were reproduced flawlessly and the grayscale and white on black block tests were quite good. We did notice severe noise on low and Dark gray which explains the visual aberrations in both component and HDMI.
We connected the projector to a PC to run our DisplayMate Video Edition tests. The projector had problems properly recognizing the signal at first and cropped the side and bottom of the image. We had to manually set the signal type to XGA before it would display it properly. The PC input is near flawless with clear and bright images with vibrant colour. We were quite taken aback at the tiny dot pitch of each pixel and the near-invisible fly screen effect.
We ran our PC tests and are happy to report, the HC3000 performed flawlessly in almost every test. There were a few problems though which again, consisted of noise of the dark and low end of the grayscale. However, to its credit, the text on colour block test had absolutely no problems. This is one test that devices very rarely walk away from with confidence.
If you are in the market for a high quality cinema projector that is light weight, compact and delivers with fervor, this is the projector for you. It is slightly over priced, especially when you consider the price tag of the vastly superior Panasonic AE900 but the when you see the quality of the images produced by it, you will know where that money went.
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