Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5020UBE 3D LCD Projector


Design of the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5020UBE 3D LCD Projector

The chassis looks just like last year's 5010 model. It's definitely a case of, "don't fix what ain't broke." The case is compact and relatively light making installation easy. The white plastic is non-reflective and offsets the black vents and rear panel nicely. On the top are manual dials for vertical and horizontal lens shift, and lens rings to control zoom and focus. The lens is center-mounted with a motorized door to keep out dust when the projector is off. Around the side, behind a sliding door, are basic controls for source selection and menu navigation. Underneath are two adjustable feet to help level the projector in a shelf or table installation.

Epson's latest-generation 3LCD light engine uses red, green, and blue imaging chips that are 0.74 inches across. Obviously, the larger the chips, the greater the light output for a given bulb wattage. And they haven't left that all-important component alone. To get the most out of its 230 watts, Epson has developed a dual-parabolic reflector system that concentrates more of the light onto the imaging chips. The end result is an extremely bright image; one that can hold up even under some ambient light.

The back panel has a complete set of inputs. There are two HDMI (1.4a), and one each of component, composite and VGA. RS-232 and trigger jacks are provided for control purposes. Adding to the complement is a five-input wireless HDMI transmitter. This small box will link to the projector at distances of up to 32 feet as long as you have line-of-sight with the projector's front. This is an extremely slick way to solve installation obstacles when it's difficult to run traditional cabling. All Epson's models with the "e" designation include this feature.

Two pairs of lightweight, comfortable 3D glasses are included in the box. Additional pairs are $99 each. They are powered with a rechargeable battery and switched on and off with a traditional slider. I'm seeing this on more and more glasses. It's really nice to know for sure they're turned on just by feeling. Charging is as easy as plugging in the included USB cable to your computer or the wireless transmitter. Three minutes will give you three hours of viewing and 40 minutes will charge them fully. They sync up to the 5020UBE via RF and pair with a button next to the power switch. I only had to do this once and they connected automatically every time I used them after that. You have to remember to put the projector in 3D mode before turning on the glasses. Otherwise, they won't pair.

The remote is another one of Epson's superb handsets with a complete set of controls and a powerful IR transmitter. At the top are separate power on/off buttons and a key for the backlight. Next are discrete input selectors followed by transport controls. These will work with any HDMI-CEC compatible device and can be configured in the projector's menu. Between those and the menu navigation keys are buttons to toggle 3D on and off, switch picture modes and toggle the super-res feature. At the bottom are more projector functions including a user key which can be set for a variety of commands. Lastly there are three buttons to control the wireless HDMI and PIP functions. The remote works extremely well; always responding quickly when pointed at the screen.