NOTE: Update 11/12/11: When i wrote my original review on 10/28 (in black color text) I didnt realize I got a lemon for 3010 and so my initial impressions were not very favorable....now I got a replacement which has no prior issues and I am strongly inclined towards 3010 as you can see in my updated comments in red color
I am starting this new thread to collect my thoughts on what I observed so far between HD33 and 3010 and encourage anyone who own(ed) them and can make similar comparisons. As you will see, I am torn between the two and I am hoping this exercise will help me decide which way to go eventually as the professional reviews are not much helpful in bringing out the real pors and cons we all are looking for.
First a quick background. I am new to PJ world and dont have any biases for/against LCD or DLP. I am a huge 3D enthusiast and bought a Panasonic plasma 3dtv only to be disappointed with terrible crosstalk. That led me to look for a 3D projector and my search lead to HD33 which I owned for a few weeks and thoroughly enjoyed. However I eventually returned it as it had some issues (such as settings getting erased, loud noise when changing from 3D to 2D, missing menu items for some FW versions, C0 firmware that cant be upgraded online or via USB according to guitarman, now you hear some users compaling that their remote doesnt work and only way to shut down the PJ is t pull the power cord...not good for bulb life
) and I read bad reviews about Optoma's customer support which I did not want to deal with. It seems the only way you can get reliable support from Optoma is to upgrade to HD3300 for another $170 to $320 (depending on if you need to pay state tax)
which has 3 year replacement warranty, but before going that route I wanted to see whats this new Epson 3010 is all about.
As each camp is biased for their own solution, I decided to find out for myself and went and got the 3010 from Best buy. Here are my initial impressions comparing the two...please note that I am not a professional reviewer and solely go by what my beyes see and so dont flame me if you don't agree with what I observed. Also I will not go into any technical details but will try to highlights my perceptions of how they differ from user experience.
: HD33 comes in a colorful box that shouts out its 1080p 3D and many folks including me reported that the box had a side flap that usually comes open risking loss of accessories. The 3010 comes in a well packaged black and white plain box and doesnt even mention 1080p 3D in bold letters.
: Cant discuss exact pricing but if you do the math you will realize that Epson can be obtained for $300 less than Optoma. Here I took HD33, added a 2 year 3rd party warranty, 2 RF glasses to make it equal in high level features to Epson (which has many other extras like speakers, PIP, USB photo viewer etc). So clearly Epson has a lot going for its price. So the question is what does Optoma have extra over Epson thats $300 worth ?Update 10/29 HD3300 will cost a little more (sales tax could be additional burden in some states) but you get 3 year warranty instead of 2.
Update 11/12/11:T truely equalize warranty, one has to compare 3010 to HD3300 and the price difference quickly becomes huge....something budget PJ buyers need to evaluate carefully..I for one can see myself getting more glasses for the price difference
: I really liked HD33 when I first saw it. However, 3010 is beautiful to look at, feels more sturdier in exterior casing. The HD33 has a manual lense cover thats attached to the PJ witha string...but you risk messing up the focus/zoom when you use the lense cover as they are around the lense. 3010's lense cover doesnt attach to PJ so has a risk of getting misplaced...but it doesnt mess up the zoom/focus settings as they are not near the lense.
: HD33 has louder fan noise even in eco mode and 3010 is much quieter in 2D mode but I heard the fan or whatever at a higher level in 3D mode. However, my 3010 has this annoying loud noise when the auto IRIS is enabled. It sounds like a rusty door opening and closing as the image intensity changes and it gives an uneasy feeling that some thing may break soon. Similarly HD33 has a baby-moo sound when switching from 3D to 2D, but this is a much more rarer event so not as annoying.Update 10/29 I am getting used to the IRIS which sounds like a harddrive as one of the users put it. I will get a replacement unit and see if its a universal issue...if it is, then this can be a big negative for some.
Update 11/12/11:The replacement 3010 has no IRIS noise whatsoever just like Art said ! Yeahahahhahaha!!!! Now I barely hear it and the PJ is truly quiet
: I am projecting from a table top onto a 120" 1.0 gain white matt screen (no light control in my room) and I found 3010 was much easier to setup owing to its extar zoom and lens being centered (no H or V keystone used).Update 10/29 Not sure what i am missing, but HD33 filed my whole screen but 3010 filled my screen vertically, but left some gaps lengthwise.
Update 11/12/11:With a few adjustments to focus and zoom, am now able to fill the entire screen...however I think 3010 gives more flexibility for people who dont want to mount the projector in a fixed sweet spot as it has Horizontal V-shift and centered lens.
6) 2D Image
: When I first projected HD33, my jaw just dropped with the super sharp image and colors out of the box and i was almost in tears as I realized how you can get a superb 1080p 120" image for fraction of a cost of HDTV ! I tried several movies and played some photos and there is almost 3D-like quality to the image and I finally understood what they DLP-POP people keep talking about. I was thrilled to see well defined square pixels resulting in sharp edges. See my HD33 initial impressions HERE
Having been impressed with many of the positives mentioned above, I was very eager to see what 3010 would look like and I fired off the inbuilt pattern that is a blue screen with a white cross hair. Out of the box, I noticed several artifacts. First its not as sharp as HD33 even when perfectly focused and I clearly saw the RGB not converge for many pixels on the white cross hairs. I felt let down for not being able to see well defined pixels and the images or videos looked significantly softer than the HD33. Having said that, I have not yet watched any 2D movie so far and so am keeping myself open to be surprised at the 40000:1 contrast ratio. I want to test out guitarmans statement that ANSI contrast of LCD will not match DLP.Update 10/29 I sampled some 2D movies such as Cars and Transformers, and I am beginning to love the vibrant film-like image quality of 3010. You need to see it for yourself to decide which is more important for you POP or Film like quality. After watching mofre 2D sources, I dont see any negative effects from not seeing the individual pixels and the color convergence has not showed up in normal watching, so I am thinking both these are minor issues. I loved the POP of HD33 but 3010 is no less impressive and perhaps to me it looks even better than HD33 in many respects. The skin tones on 3010 seem to be more vibrant than HD33 and 3010 gives explicit controls to change skin tone that will allow you to tune it the way you like (very imporatnt for non-videophiles who may prefer to tune as professional calibration is out of reach for many $wise) and overall image is no less impressive than the HD33 ones that guitarman posted on HD33 thread. So to my eyes both PJ's will deliver a n excellent image that will blow you away. I wish the IRIS noise is not a major issue as this 3010 has a lot of good in its favor. Also even though the image is brighter than HD33, it doesnt hurt my eyes as HD33 did (cant explain why) and you can be assured that 3010 will deliver excellent image even with ambient light, somethin i value highly as i dont have dedicated HT room and my living room has good ambient light. In this regard 3010 has a lot of potential to be a better choice for many non-videophile customers like myself who canbt dedicate room for a batcave and crave for humongous screen size with no less bright image. BTW, I did not perceive 3010 to have any less contrast than HD33 in 2D mode. Unless you are a videophile, you cant tell the difference in black levels that easily.Update 11/12/11: I am pleasantly surprised to find that the replacement 3010 has near perfect convergence of RGB owing to which I am able to see my beloved pixels Now the image is not only very sharp but also has a bit of pop to it and I can finally let go of my fond memories of HD33 The blacks and Contrast to my eyes are just as good as HD33 in my non-blacked out living room....people with batcaves may be able to percieve the difference in blacks better...but most non-videophile uses like me will be perfectly happy with the blacks....I have seen many more movies offlate and I swear that even in bright scenes with black objects the blacks are as deep as HD33 an dofcourse in all dark scenes the IRIS is doing its magic to make the blacks rich with details. Another thing I am now convinced about 3010 is that eventhough this PJ is very bright even in Cenema mode, it somehow does not hurt my eyes as my previous two bright DLPs id (HD33 and HD66)...I read somewhere that some people are sensitive to DLP brightness...may be I am one of those...but 3010's bright image is very pleasant to the eyes
7) 3D Image
: HD33 had superb 3D image with ZERO ghosting (optoma-dlp-link glasses) in a wide variety of 3D content and the contrast with glasses ON seems much much higher than in 2D mode with inky blacks. As expected 3010 has noticeable drop in contrast and the blacks look grayer than HD33 in 3D mode as IRIS is turn off (gald it was off as there no more annoying noise) while watching step-up-3d which has many high contrast scenes....however you will get used to it if you have never seen a HD33 before so not a big deal if you are not spoiled
For example, when i watched DriveAngry, I was pleasantly surprised to see that many of the dark objects looked inky black on 3010 eventough the contrast is lower and this may be because your eyes will create an illusion of deep balcks in the presence of bright objects. I saw some of the previous movies and noticed that there is very faint ghosting in many scenes where there is too much depth or pop out. However it is not as jarring as it was on my Panny 3dtv and something you can live with as its not that distracting. However the colors on 3010 are a lot more vibrant and image is brighter than HD33. Although I loved everything about HD33 3D image, I felt the image is very restrictive to factory setting as I did not find other settings very pleasing. The HD33 glasses were more darker and the color seems to be not as clear as the 3010 (more below).Update 10/29 I sampled some more 3D movies (Tangled, Tron, Gaurdians) and found the every so faint ghosting in high contrast scenes but I am glad to report that these are minor and most people will not notice them. But the highlight is I am really liking the quality and colors of 3010 more than HD33. Interesting thing is 3010 is brighter than HD33 but it doesnt hurt my eyes the same way as HD33 (I cant explain this). In spite of relatively lower contrast and minor ghosting, 3010 delivers awesome 3D images and there is no doubt users will enjoy it as much as HD33. Also I think i am beginning to like the filim-like quality with vibrant colors even in 3D mode. To me the image is a lot more consistent between 2D and 3D on 3010 as opposed to HD33 where I felt the 2D and 3D have different look. Anyway, in the end Epson has done a superb job in getting 3D to budget market and stands in its own right next to HD33. Even though the POP is missing, the 3D effect and depth is no less satisfying on 3010 and you will not be disappointed in any way.
Update 11/12/11:Other than better native contrast, the reason HD33 has deeper blacks is because the DLP-links were much more darker which give better blakcs at the cost of more loss in 2D to 3D brightness. 300's glasses are noticeably lighter in color which sacrifices a bit of blacks but yields much brighter imgae in 3D compared to HD33....I think this is a good tradeoff in the long run as one could always use the extra brightness to compensate for lamp aging The replacement 3010 has significantly lower crosstalk....almost negligible....I do see it once in a while but something I will gladly live with in exchange for much better performance in every other aspect such as brightness and excellent natural looking color...again my 3D sources are limited to blurays and games so people who cant live without daily dose of 3D may prefer HD33. One interesting thing to note here that many HD33 owners have recently complained that they are seeing cross talk with the RF glasses that doesnt go away with tuning also. Having said that I am curious to see if I can try out the RF glasses on 3010 to see how it works. Also as the new units has almost perfect convergence, the 3D has better pop and the colors are so much more natural to my eyes than HD33.
: After seeing the above negatives in my original 3010, I almost made up my mind to return the 3010 and get a HD3300 till something interesting happened as i continued to watch the movie. I started playing with the image settings and i was very impressed to see 3010 has a lot of flexibility in image settings that encapsulate a lot of details into presets that work very well across many settings (such as gamma, color temp, tinit, color saturation etc). I found that 3D image quality on 3010 has an undeniable quality and color inspite of the lack of pop and sharpness as the HD33....i think i am beginning to understand what people mean about "Film like" quality when describing LCD. The interesting thing is that I am beginning to fall in love with it in terms of the color quality and flexibility. Contrary to this I did not find any other settings on HD33 to my liking other than the ones given by guitarman for 2D (for 3D only the factory settings seem to be the best so far).Update 10/29 I cant put it in words, but I think i am beginning to like 3010 more than HD33 for some of the positives I mentioned above and will try to see if a replacement unit has any better IRIS noise.
: I have not tested this myself yet, but would like to quote other 3010 users who report that 60ms lag can get very annoying for avid gamers. I did play games on HD33 and did not notice any such lag.Update 10/29Played a bit of KillZone3, and the lag is there but you may get used to it....like someone below said, if you are a single player gamer like myself it may not be a big deal...The image quality is just as awesome as it was on HD33 both in 2D and 3D. Will try to play some more games to see if this becomes a pain in the a$$ for me...I hope not as I love this PJ in many respects
Update 11/12/11: Played a few more games and I didnt notice it much in Uncharted-1 but Infamous I noticed a bit more...but something I beleive I can get used to.....will have to play more to be certain though
: Already wrote a length review of optoma-dlp-link on HD33 forum, but to summarize they work perfectly with no sync-loss and are heavier than Epson glasses which also showed no sync loss....whats surprised me is that even though they are IR, they did not lose lock even when I went into another room until I was completely out of sight...just like the dlp-links. Epson glasses are much lighter and one of the best fitting models I have tried across many brands. However there is a huge downside I noticed....all my remotes were malfunctioning suddenly and I replaced battries but nothing helped, till I turned off the PJ....then I realized that IR is completely clobbering all my remotes....so this means you need to come out of 3D mode even to change volume on your AV !Update 10/29 I found that only my AV remote is messed up and not my bluray 6700 player (PS3 uses bluetooth so no issues there). Also I hear that 3010 uses a universal 3D standard that may allow one to get cheaper glasses down the line that work with no compatibility issues.
Update 11/12/11: Cant wait to try the samsung IR glasses that came with 2010 models...if they work, its a hiuge win ad you get many ecplusive movies like IMAX combo, Dragon, Shrek 3D along with 2 pairs of glasses
: 3010 comes with built in speakers that sound very good....with these, Epson is truly portable without the need for an AV receiver and may appeal to people who are looking for a mobile HT PJ.Update 11/12/11: For some one who dont plan to mount this PJ in a fixed location, the speaker and brightness offer a great flexibility....I for one am looking forward to move it to my bedroom to play some late night games while lying down....ofcourse need to worry about extra brighness that shows up as the screen size will be much smaller owing to smaller throw distance in my bedroom
I will be testing this more in coming days and will continue to update my impressions...but for now I am torn between the two great projectors each of which has their own unique advantages !Update 10/29 I am beginning to lean towards 3010 (barring any IRIS issues and lag issues) and I think everyone deserves to do this kind of comparison for themselves before deciding which way to go as its very difficult to figure this out reading the forums, although they are very helpful. Also I found PC's review of HD33 more accurate and Art's review of 3010 more accurate.
Update 11/12/11: Ok, I spent more time with settings and I found that 3010 has a Standard-sharpness mode which goes all the way to 5 and it was not sharp enough. I went deeper into the menu to access an Advanced-Sharpness mode which allows you to increase sharpness more (think line, thickline, horizontal, vertical sub modes) that make the image very sharp....on par with HD33
Some Photos of 3010 are attached below...not the very best shots owing to low quality of my camera...the actual image looks a lot more breathtaking