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Projector Review: Epson Home Cinema 3500

Released late last year, the Epson Home Cinema 3500 projector is quickly becoming a favorite mid-range set-up for home entertainment enthusiasts. The reason: The latest in Epson’s best-selling line features a range of innovative features, as well as an extremely bright bulb that provides impressive image quality and smooth color saturation.
Is it the brightest projector Epson has to offer? No, but it’s close, and in terms of performance, the projector exceeds expectations in rooms with ambient light. That’s one reason you can think of this as more of a home entertainment projector – it’s not limited for use in darkened home theaters – but it also isn’t as powerful as Epson’s Ultra Black series, which is a true home theater set-up. Either way, though, the Home Cinema 3500 is a respectable projector, and it offers a substantial upgrade over an HD LCD TV. Plus, the features, including dual 10-watt speakers and a nearly best-in-class zoom range, make this a great buy.

Epson HC3500 Projector
Epson HC3500 Projector

Epson HC3500: Image Quality

First, we’ll start with the HC3500’s impressive brightness. The projector is rated at 2,500 lumens, and that’s fairly substantial, especially for most home entertainment set-ups. That means you can expect a high-quality image even in brighter rooms. And even with larger screens, image crispness and color saturation remain impressive. Plus, the projector’s black levels are improved over the HC3500’s predecessors. Additional image specs include:

  • 70,000:1 Contrast Ratio
  • 3LCD, Epson Super-Resolution
  • 3D Ready
  • 2,500 ASNI Lumens

Epson HC3500: Lamp Specs

The lamp is another improvement for the HC3500, with extended lamp life and three modes. It’s a 250-watt bulb that has a 3,500-hour lamp life in the standard mode. In the Eco setting, lamp life is extended to 5,000 hours. Plus, another addition is a new medium setting, which sits firmly between the two and adds another degree of flexibility and reduces fan noise.

Epson HC3500: Additional Specs

One great feature is the HC3500’s built-in dual 10-watt speakers. This is the perfect feature for those wanting to plug-and-play, and for built-in speakers, they perform reasonably well, providing crisp audio. This is another reason why the HC3500 is perfect for home entertainment, like watching sports or TV shows. It’s ready to go.

Epson HC3500 Projector - Rear Inputs
Epson HC3500 Projector – Rear Inputs

Plus, there are a ton of ports, including two HDMI ports, Type A and B USB inputs, as well as audio and PC ports, among others. Additionally, the projector includes 3D RF glasses, it has a boosted processor speed which is ideal for gamers, and picture-in-picture is a standard feature.
Finally, the HC3500 also enables tons of flexibility in set-up. First, the projector features a 1.6X zoom ratio – making it easier to fit the picture to the screen – and there are vertical and horizontal lens shift capabilities. This is ideal for faster set-up and fitting the projector in a variety of rooms.

Is the Epson HC3500 Right For You?

In terms of performance, the Epson HC3500 is a contender in the sub-$2,000 price range. Why? For starters, the image quality is spectacular compared to similarly priced projectors, and it’s much improved from previous HC series set-ups. That means you can expect crisp, detailed images in a variety of room lightings, thanks to its bright lamp, as well as great image features including 3D capabilities.
Another reason: The HC3500 hugs the line between a true home theater projector and an entertainment projector. It’s extremely capable for all entertainment purposes – from watching the Super Bowl to playing games (especially with the improved processor speed.) And as a theater projector, it performs, for the most part, commendably. Are there better theater projectors? Yes, but chances are, they’re more expensive. Bottom line, this is a solid piece of hardware.