Published on September 24th, 2013 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
Epson PowerLite Cinema 8350 Projector Review
There’s nothing like playing The Last of Us and having the characters represented to scale.
Review Notes: Sample product was received for review purposes.
Supported Video Signals: NTSC / NTSC4.43 / PAL / M-PAL / N-PAL / PAL60 / SECAM
480i / 576i / 480p / 576p / 720p / 1080i / 1080p
Supported Gaming Devices: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Wii, PlayStation 2, iPad, PC
The Epson PowerLite Cinema 8350 1080p 3LCD Projector does more than sport a long name. The projector brings that big screen cinema feel that most can only get by trotting along to the movie theater and paying an arm-and-a-leg for entrance. Now, that experience is available in your home, even bringing with it more features and image quality that contests that of the “big screen.” Well, everything except the distinct smell of feet and freshly popped popcorn.
If you are curious about the “3LCD” abbreviation in the title, in laments terms, it is simply the technology used with the lamp to display variations in color for the image. The technology has been around since the ’80s and was developed by Epson, however it hasn’t been as prominent as it is now with the use of lower wattage bulb power (200 W for the PowerLite) and yielding richer color. This is is done with LCD tech rather than DLP.
One of the first things you will notice about the PowerLite Cinema 8350 is its size. While it may not be the most discrete system (with the big size of the device comes big video quality), it measures in at 100-inches diagonally to be exact. This also creates a 9.8-foot wide view, and is very much capable of sustaining a complete 16:9 ratio.
Imagine playing Battlefield 3 and having the entire screen take up a whole wall space in your house. I can guarantee you that Squad Rush will never feel the same again. Yeah, that happened.
Having HD inputs available for a variety of devices is important when taking that image and making it bigger than most HDTV’s on the market.
For anyone looking for the true theatrical experience, there are a slew of video inputs to support all of your devices. As seen in the image above, you will notice the backside sports Component, Composite, S-Video, VGA, and most importantly—HDMI.
This means that everything down to your original Nintendo Entertainment System is supported. Most importantly, the high definition devices of today’s modern age can live in to their maximum potential when their resolution is pushed to the limits and magnified.
Even though it sports two HDMI 1.3 ports, HDMI 2.0 was recently announced for the higher resolutions of 4K TV’s. In this case, it offers a more conveniently priced venture into high definition and is still relevant.
The design of the projector is simple. There are two legs in the front that can raise the console for the perfect video height. This is important if you do not have the projector mounted to the ceiling, which was the case for me having it at the far back wall of the room. Even so, there are options to flip the image and adjust it accordingly in the menu options. Your typical adjustments for Brightness, Contrast, Screen Ratio, and even Energy Saving modes can also be found here.
If that still isn’t enough option for you, there are two dials available on the top to fit the screen horizontally or vertically depending on the need to align the screen. These are mostly used for fine tuning, but with the use of the pattern graphic, there is no doubt that you will have the perfect alignment for your new toy.
With the price of the unit being $1300, it was a surprise to me that there wasn’t an auto-focus feature. On the lens itself, the base of the lens is used for making the projected image larger or smaller. The outermost portion of the lens is used to fine tune the displayed image. So, even though an auto-focus feature isn’t available, the custom fitting of the displayed image is very helpful for any household space.
Something else that you will find impressive about the design is in the depth. The PowerLite boasts “2,000 lumens of color and white light.” Scenes are perfectly lit for both day and night-time viewing. This was the case on my day off doing a nice Netflix run on my PlayStation 3. The richness in display was immediately noticeable in the Netflix loading screen. When it comes to gaming, there were many scenes in The Last of Us where the contrast, listed as 500000:1, gave huge detail to the eerie post-apocalyptic environment of the world. Other scenes where spores floated through the air were detailed right down to their dust-like nature.
Although, most large-scale TV’s hitting around the 80-90-inch range, boasting 4,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratios, the PowerLite does not falter.
The fun doesn’t stop at the gaming applications that the PowerLite has. If you can think of something to hook up to the projector, it can probably be done. For instance, if you have an iPad that has an HDMI out, or even an App TV hook up, you’re in luck. With the available ports, there isn’t really much limiting you. However, there were a few instances that did hinder my experience.
It was a pretty big surprise to me that the projector itself didn’t come packing left and right channel audio outs. The PowerLite also doesn’t sport an optical out. There are two reasons that this bugs me.
For one, if you are hooking up a device that has HDMI as its primary video/audio source, the device in which you are hooking into should have the option for a (L) and (R) channel selection being that it has speakers on its own. If not, there should be an audio out to support an external sound system, such as a sound bar, surround sound system, or TV speakers. In the case of the PowerLite, there isn’t.
Secondly, the projector doesn’t have an optical or digital coaxial out. Currently, the fiber optic port delivers the most consistent, high-quality sound available to support your HD experience. However, this isn’t available.
For those using this as an option for gaming, if you have component cables, you’re in luck. Luckily, since I own a Hauppauge! HD PVR, I did have some extra component cables laying around to hook up an additional sound system. If this isn’t available to you, then you might want to think about grabbing the adapter that is made for gaming headsets to support an additional sound system.
There is also a noticeable slant to the displayed image. This is something that you sometimes find in projectors that have a manual adjustment. However, even though the PowerLite is moderately priced for value, it didn’t quite sit well with me that the slant could be seen. However, being that it was the only one tested and could not be compared to, I can’t really hold it against the system for review.
The Final Truth:
The Epson PowerLite Cinema 8350 is one hellova toy. It offers one of the cleanest, color rich experiences that I’ve seen in quite a while from a projector. It handles current generation devices (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC, laptop, iPad, Roku) with ease.
Make sure that you asses your audio setup before dropping those bills. You might need to make some adjustments in terms of audio outputs as the PowerLite doesn’t host its own (L) and (R) channels, optical out or digital coaxial.
There was a noticeable slant to the image; however there wasn’t another duplicate machine to compare it to.
Overall, the Epson PowerLite 8350 is a dream for any home entertainment connoisseur. It offers support for just about every device from the ’80’s until now. If there are multiple inputs needed, a switchox can ease your worries.
Editor’s Note: Other games that were tested against the printer include GTA V (Xbox 360) and The Bureau: XCOM Declasified (PC).