Mitsubishi HC3800 review - an affordable Full-HD Projector
Mitsubishi Electric HC3800
Buy the Mitsubishi HC3800
The Mitsubishi HC3800 is a full-HD entry-level projector that uses Texas Instruments DLP technology instead of the brand's usual LCD technology. That makes the HC3800 cheaper than the other models from the brand, such as the HC4900, HC5500, HC6500, HC6800 and HC7000.
Even if the HC3800 is considered an entry-level projector, it has a HD Ready 1080p display with a 3300:1 contrast ratio (1300 lumens) and some other interesting features on paper. Let's see if the Mitsubishi HC3800 lives up to our expectations.
Unboxing the HC3800: A First Look
The Mitsubishi HC3800 is black lacquered; it looks very good but it'll probably gather dust (and fingerprints) much faster. There are buttons on the top of the projector that lets you turn it on/off, navigate menus and select the source. During installation, no lens shift is available to do small corrections on the position of the image (either horizontally or vertically) on the screen. But keystone correction is available to maintain a squared image (a distorted image results from a misalignment of the axis going from the projector to the screen), which allows placing the projector below or above the middle of the screen. But in any event, it will have to be right in front of the screen horizontally.
The focus and zoom are manual, and are adjusted using rings on the lens. Reverse projection (for rear projection) is also available.
From a distance of about 12 feet, the image is 7 feet wide.
You can count on an 1.3 HDMI input, a Mini D-Sub (15 pin), component input, S-Video input, RCA composite input and a standard serial connector. It also has a trigger, for automatic screen control.
An infrared port is available on the back panel, allowing us to control the projector even if it is in front of us (as in a conference room). Of course, there is another sensor at the front of the projector.
For the sake of saving energy, I would've appreciated a switch to completely cut the power when the device is not used.
Menus and image rendering
The appearance of menus for the HC3800 is no different than from other models in the brand. They are particularly simple and without frills. However, there are many settings available. Thus, it is possible to find a gamma adjustment (auto, sports, video, film, user1 and user2). The settings can be stored which is handy. Color temperature can be changed, like the color, tint, sharpness and of course the brightness and contrast.
With a luminosity of 1300 lumens, it is recommended for use in total darkness. However, if you can not, I suggest checking the method proposed in the 'Brilliant Color' menu for adjusting the device to keep a good colorimetry.
Also in the setup menus, there is the possibility for each color (Red, Green, Blue, Cyan, Magenta and Yellow) to adjust the gain and saturation. Not bad for an entry-level model.
The Mitsubishi HC3800 projector can display different image format: 16:9, anamorphic1, anamorphic2 and automatic modes are available. We can also adjust the overscan; that's appreciated.
Regarding the rendering of the image, I was pleasantly surprised by the level of blacks. Well, maybe not so surprising since it is a DLP technology that delivers deeper blacks than LCD projectors. But still, very good.
As usual, these black levels are obtained at the expense of the rainbow effect. Check if you are among those who are sensitive to this effect first, as you might find it difficult to watch projected images for a long period of time. But, however, its nothing here to get a headache from.
The movements are quite fluid even if there is no compensation system. Interlacing could be a bit better. But we can not have everything for this price. There is a Full HD picture, which, with appropriate content (Blu-ray) gives a very good result.
In eco mode, the projector does not make much noise. We may even consider sitting fairly close to it. But as you can expect, in normal mode, don't count on it.
In standby mode, the Mitsubishi HC3800 consumes about 19 Watts... Hence the necessity of the presence of a switch, unfortunately absent. In operation / eco mode, the projector consumes about 235 Watts. In standard mode, it consumes about 285 Watts.
It is backlit which helps handling. There is no dedicated button for this as is found on the Epsons but the keys light up as soon as a button is pressed. It is recommended to point the remote toward the projector to control it because on my test model, the projector has been slightly capricious.
I like having all of the sources immediately available. In the same vein, the main settings are immediately available to avoid having to navigate the menus.
The small notch in the back of the remote allows you to fully have it in hand, avoiding unfortunate slippage.
This projector is more than respectable for quite an affordable price: it is possibly the best projector I've seen in the sub-$2000 category. The HC3800 can be an interesting approach to a first full-HD home theater.
Display Technology: DLP 0.65 inch 6 segments wheel
Resolution: HD Ready 1080p , up to 1920 × 1200 (computer)
Contrast: Up to 3 300:1
Brightness: 1300 ANSI Lumens
Noise Level: 25 dB (eco mode)
Connectors: 1 HDMI, D-Sub 15 pin (VGA), RCA Composite, S-Video, RCA Component YUV, RS232, Trigger
Compatibility: 480i, 576i, 480p, 576p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p 50/60/24
Keystone Correction: Yes
Lens shift: No
Throw Ratio: 1.40~2,10:1
Zoom and focus: 1.5x manual
Consumption (Watts): 286 / 19 (at waiting)
Dimensions: 13.5 × 10.5 × 44 in (344 × 270 × 113 mm)
Weight: 7.7 lbs (3.5 Kg)
Buy the Mitsubishi HC3800 from Amazon.com
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