CNET First Look
Epson 5030UB: Deeper blacks, bright whites and still a great valueLast year our favorite bang-for-the-buck projector was this Epson's predecessor. The new version is mostly the same, with one crucial improvement: an even better picture.
Hi. I'm David Katzmaier from CNET, and this is the Epson 5030UB. This is an update of our favorite projector from last year, the 5020UB, combining excellent picture quality as well as a really affordable price for projector that looks this good. This version is even better. It actually has better black levels for even better home theater picture quality. I'll get to all of that in a little bit, but first let me run down the features of this projector. You can see it's relatively large. This isn't a pipsqueak unit of course for 2,600 bucks. You expect a little bit more power out of this. It does have plenty of power. It's got extremely bright picture capabilities, so that's one of the nicest things about this projector. You can get it an room that has some ambient light even, and get a good picture out of the screen, that's something most projectors can't do, they just can't get bright enough to overcome that ambient light. Of course, it will look better if you turn off the lights or close the Windows or do both. One of the cheap features on the 5030 is the horizontal and vertical lens shift operatable by these dials on the top here that really allows it to be adjusted relative to the screen with plenty of versatility. There is also a zoom and a focus, both of which are manual. We do prefer a power zoom, but at this price range, we don't really expect it. Picture settings on the projector are extensive, you do get a TA checks mode, which is kind of a setted in for 'get it mode,' a pretty good picture preset is very accurate out of the box. It has also the ability to adjust color, gray scale, and numerous other settings including a panel shifts you can tweak to 3 LCD panels to get it just right if you're gonna be setting it up that way. The unit of course can be ceiling mounted or floor mounted and it's, again, it's bright enough to fill extremely large screens. Another nice extra on the 5030 is a pair of 3D glasses included in the box. They use RF and not Infrared capabilities, so that means, you don't have to worry about losing the sync if you move around the room. Around back, the inputs are ample, there's 2 HDMI1 component video and a PC input. Of course on a projector, the main thing to worry about is picture quality and there is really nothing to worry about with this guy. It's 3 LCD panels are one of the best performing we have seen from that technology, it's not quite as good as DILA projectors from Sony and JVC, but those are a lot more expensive. This unit can get extremely dark, and has really good black levels again for an LCD projector that's help by Auto-Iris that actually does a really good job of minimizing that visible up and down iris effect. The projector also has extremely accurate color and again, it's a little bit better than last year in terms of those black levels, so the end result is a nice contrasty, punchy picture. Of course, the icing on the cake is this projector's light output, it can get a lot brighter than again, those JVC and Sony projector's that are more expensive, so those are more if you have a little bit more money and you wanna really dedicated home theater, this guy is a lot more versatile and again, you can keep the lights on or even take it outside and get an extremely nice looking picture. It's also worth noting the 5030 includes a variant that has wireless HDMI built-in, that's another 300 bucks. So, that's a quick look at Epson's 5030 projector. I'm David Katzmaier from CNET.