Originally Posted by steve1106
I used the two reviews in making my choice and they are still side by side in my bookmarks. I knew all my viewing was going to be in eco cinema which the review gave contrast of 2,142:1 iris off and 25,207:1 iris on. I've never used the projector with the iris off and at worst I can live with the 2,142:1 contrast in scenes that render the iris ineffective. While it is not even close to Epson's UB or JVC contrast levels, it is still fairly good for the cost given the projector's brightness, features, lamp replacement cost and warranty. I do a 151.5" 16:9 image in a less than perfect room and currently have about 3400 plus hours on the lamp.
...but I'm sure the JVC and Epson UB projector are in a totally different lane in terms of contrast.
I just wanted a projector that after two years (warranty up Sept. 2019) I can toss if I want too or slap in a $99 lamp and go two more years.
I've used the 3700, the 8700ub, and the 5020ub in the same rooms (my living room and theater room). The 3700 is perfect as a living room projector. I really enjoyed the 3700 because my wife insists on turning on lights so she can be productive while I relax at night. It's a light cannon.
In the light-controlled theater room, I went to Eco mode and put it in its darker, more accurate color modes, as it was too bright for me. I was surprised, as I love lumens. Contrast does not come very close to the 8700, let alone the 5020. I don't know what the reviewers that you noted were seeing, but it wasn't great. I had the 6100 as my first projector ~10 years ago and the black levels weren't as good as the 3700, if that helps. The 8700 is a tough comparison for the 3700 from a contrast perspective, but the 3700 trounces the 8700 with its vibrant image.
I've seen the 8350 in different settings, and it looses out to the 3700 in both brightness and contrast. Comparing black levels, I'd say the difference between the 8350-->3700-->5020 is about the same. I can't say the difference from the 3700-->8700 is as big of a difference as going from the 8350-->3700.
Now I'm back to the 8700 in our living room, and it just doesn't get bright enough. The contrast on the 8700 is superior when you have a light controlled room, and the 5020 is significantly better than the 8700. The 3700 is a really great bang for your buck projector, considering all the features. If they release an newer model, I'd consider it for my living room. I was borrowing the 3700 from a friend for about 6 months, and he finally asked for it back.