Mitsubishi HC3800 review: Mitsubishi HC3800

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Typical Price: $3,299.00
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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Compact size Impressive big HD images. Great blacks and natural colours. Value for money with long lamp life.

The Bad Prefers permanent placement. Only one HDMI input. Dust magnet.

The Bottom Line The HD image quality of this Mitsubishi and its longer lamp life are the keys to this projector's appeal. If you can forgive a few minor shortcomings, the HC3800 is an excellent choice among the current affordable 1080p crop.

8.1 Overall

While its local automotive division had a series of hiccups in recent years, Mitsubishi Electric seems to be weathering the global financial storm quite nicely. Aside from a vast array of domestic and commercial air conditioning and a range of household refrigerators, Mitsubishi Electric also includes four home theatre projectors. It too has brought 1080p projection to a far more affordable level lately, and the HC3800 has proved one of its more popular models.

Design and features

Encased in shiny black plastic, this is a serious dust magnet, as are all high-gloss electronics. Physically, the Mitsubishi is a similar size to the Optoma HD20 and BenQ W1000 , which is well proportioned if you're opting for table-top use. It can, of course, be ceiling mounted and has top cover access so the projector doesn't have to be removed to change the lamp. Speaking of which, Mitsubishi rates it good for 5000 hours in "Low" mode making it one the longest-lasting of any manufacturer. A replacement is going to cost around AU$550 making it a lot dearer than that of the BenQ for example, so factor this in when weighing up the pros and cons of lamp replacement cost versus hours of use. But, if it lasts as long as Mitsubishi claims, the long-term running costs of the HC3800 would be comparatively very affordable.

There's only the one HDMI input, compared to the mandatory two (or more) that you'll find on any of the competition, plus component video, VGA, S-Video and composite options. No manual lens shifting means installation could be a bit tricky, although the installation menu does offer a vertical shift option. Control is via a serial input RS-232 and there's a 12v trigger to enable powered screens.

When it comes to the number crunching, the Mitsubishi's on par with what you'd expect at this resolution, projection type and price. The specs tell us there are 1300 lumens, combined with a contrast ratio of 3300:1. Coupled with a 1.5x zoom lens, you'll be able to happily view things in "Low" lamp mode, making full use of those extra lamp hours without worrying about lack of brightness.

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