The best feature of Epson’s Home Theater 3010—a three-chip LCD projector—is its extreme brightness. At 2,200 ANSI lumens, it’s 10 percent brighter than the Acer, and more than 18 percent brighter than the Optoma. Its biggest drawback is the fact that it doesn’t include lens shift, which could make the projector more difficult to set up without having to resort to quality-compromising keystone adjustments.
If you do need to make keystone adjustments, the 3010 renders horizontal adjustments easy and precise. And when you’re running the projector in 3D mode, you’ll definitely appreciate that added brightness, since the tinted active-shutter glasses will block a considerable amount of light from reaching your eyes. The trade-off for all that brightness is a black level that’s slightly worse than the Acer’s. But black remains black, not dark gray, so we think the trade-off is worthwhile.
All three projectors delivered stunning 3D experiences. There’s one scene in the IMAX Blu-ray disc Under the Sea 3D in which a gargantuan potato cod turns to face the camera, and it looked as though the huge fish was protruding eight feet off the screen and right into the middle of our home theater. But only the Epson could accomplish the trick with complete effectiveness in the presence of ambient light from nearby windows.
The center-mounted lens on Epson’s Home Theater 3010, combined with the absence of lens-shift support, could complicate your installation if you’re upgrading from a projector with an offset lens.
Epson provides two pairs of LCD active-shutter glasses, and there’s an infrared emitter built into the projector. If that’s not suitable for your installation, you can plug an external IR emitter into an RJ-45 port on the back. The 3010 provides the usual complement of video inputs—two HDMI, VGA, composite, and component—but for an extra $200, the model 3010e adds wireless HDMI (although Epson doesn’t provide any glasses with this model). Integrated stereo speakers are an unusual feature on both models. We don’t imagine anyone would use the speakers with the projector permanently installed in their home theater, but they would come in very handy for backyard movie nights.
The Epson Home Theater 3010 is a great projector. It would be even better with lens shift, but that would likely have rendered it more expensive. If you crave 3D, but have difficulty controlling the ambient light in your home theater, this is the projector to buy.
Epson Home Theater 3010
Very bright; great color; includes two pair of glasses.
Lacks lens-shift feature; black level not as good as either the Acer or the Optoma.