We used the same source for HiDef viewing and the same source material for DVD comparison (but running from different DVD players).
It was in no way a super controlled videophile comparison. There were a lot of variable that we either didn't choose to control or couldn't. We were looking mainly for stark differences between the projectors that were noticeable under the conditions we had. I think mainly to decide what the extra $$ given from say an X1 to a Panasonic gets you.
Environment - Az's basement with moderate to low sunlight getting around his curtains lighting up the left side of the screen.
Stuff we didn't control - color - we had colors all over the place. Filters on, filters off, not calibrated ... etc. This made it hard to compare the projectors. Like at the electronics store - the display with the most jacked up color or brightest light output was hard to ignore.
I was stunned at how good the X1 looked. For the money, the thing is a steal. If I ever want another TV for video games or playing movies in front of my treadmill I'm going to be looking it the X1s direction.
My impressions were this...
Rainbows... headaches ... nausea? All that scary stuff about DLPs - I didn't see anything like that. I've got better than 20/20 vision uncorrected and viewing the X1 and Az's little HP (what model is that Az?) gave me no problems.
If I (rather spasticly) turned my head from side to side I could see some rainbow effect - the same for when I waved my fingers in front of my face, but I had to be looking for it. It was still hard to see and not near the distraction that I (having not ever seen the X1 before) was led to believe.
On DVDs the X1 looked great. I could see a little more screen door than I could on the two LCDs in attendance (Panny 300 and an HS10). The lower resolution was not that noticeable on DVDs - especially if you kept the screen smaller. On 16:9 material and larger screen sizes though - you can tell. Remember - this is with me straining to pick nits. Your friends would never know the difference. The question I guess is whether it is worth it to you. This hobby is all about being anal though.
On HiDef material is where the higher resolution projectors shined. The panny and HS-10 produced noticeably cleaner images. The X1 didn't look bad, it just didn't look as good as the Panny and the Sony. It sort of had an aliased look to it - lines had jagged edges like in video games. I feel like I need to keep saying this for some reason, but again ... I'm picking nits. This wasn't a VW vs. Ferrari comparison. It was more like comparing a Corvette and a 350Z. If the issue was whether to sit on the fence and wait a year for something else to come out or buy an X1. I would go for the X1.
I had a harder time deciding between the Panny and the HS10. The panny was the other projector that I strongly considered when I bought my HS-10. I would have been happy with it. With the variations we had with color, brightness, size, etc. It was very hard to pick a winner. We were showing half screens of the same movie (we synched up the DVD players and covered opposite halves of the projector lenses.) On DVD's forget it - there isn't an appreciable difference. I don't want to compare black levels, etc. because of the varations mentioned above. On Hi-def I would give a slight nod to the HS-10, but only slight and that may have been my psyche trying to validate my decision to go with the HS-10.
The X1, HP, and Panny all had these niftly little carry cases. The projectors were small and were easily transported. Contrast this to my lugging in the original box for my HS-10, which is about the size of a stack of 6 xtra large pizzas.
OTOH - I liked the fact that I could adjust my lens focus and zoom from the remote.
Additionally, after I had fired up the HS-10 turned it off and then back on - the lamp didn't fire up. Instead, the orange lamp cover light blinked and the fan ran. This has only happened to me in the past when I fired the projector back up while it was still warm from a previous session. I've never had it turn off during operation. A quick unplugging and turning it back on fixed that, but I plan on having the thing plugged in in the attic so that may suck. If it happens I guess I'll just go in the basement and flip the breaker.
In the end ... it is what you want to pay. There were 4 projectors - two the same price, two priced progressively higher. You do get a little more for your money, but there is definitely a damper on the value you get as you shovel in the cash. For me I hit it right at the point I was looking for. The point on the curve of diminishing returns where I'm satisfied that I couldn't tell enough of a difference to justify the extra $$ to upgrade to say a Sanyo PLV-70.
The test showed me that (as expected) I like resolution - the more the better. I got as much as I could in a budget projector. Black levels and contrast ... yeah I can tell. The differences we are talking about here, however, are not horrendous. If I don't have the projectors sitting side by side I'll forget about it. My eyes adjust and I'll enjoy the material. I'll trade black levels for extra resolution. I'm waiting for that $2500 1920x1080 LCD or DLP or whatever they think of next. Until then (or so long as it keeps humming) I'm happy with my HS-10, would have been happy with the Panny, and if I were doing mainly movie watching, would be all about that little X1.