Despite its budget price, the 8350 is well-built and looks to stand the test of time. Its manual controls may seem like a detriment, but they go a long way toward insuring a trouble-free existence, as too many motorized mechanisms can often lead to failures down the road.
The 8350 is bright, very bright, enough to illuminate screens up to 120 inches in diagonal width, though many will most likely be paired with screens between 84 and 110 inches.
While its out of the box image quality isn't what I'd call exact or even close to calibrated, simple adjustments made, using discs like Digital Video Essentials, will pay huge dividends here. Moreover, putting the 8350 into its Cinema preset will get you half the way there and the ball rolling in the right direction.
In its Cinema preset, the 8350's contrast, color and motion performance is very good and on par with or better than even its costlier peers from Epson. Low Points
Out of the box and due to its three-chip LCD design, the 8350 does suffer some panel alignment issues, which are easily visible by lines of red, blue or green color along stark contrast lines such as text.
Contrast in the darks as well as highlights aren't fantastic, as in not as composed as some, though many first-time enthusiasts and/or casual viewers will most likely not notice.
Due to panel alignment errors, there is some slight pixilation visible in highlights and text.Competition and Comparison
Among the affordable front-projector sect, the projector that comes to mind as the one most likely to do battle with the 8350 is Optoma's HD33
. The HD33 is a single-chip DLP design, though it retails for about the same as the 8350 and boasts similar specs. Which is best is going to be a matter of personal opinion and preference, though despite their different technologies, the two are very evenly matched. The Optoma does add 3D functionality to the mix, whereas the Epson does not. For more on these affordable front projectors, as well as others like them, please visit Home Theater Review's Front Projector page
There's no denying the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8350's price to performance ratio, especially given its online price of $1,099 on VisualApex. For the first-time front-projection enthusiast, the 8350 is a solid go-to choice and one that can be easily paired with a 100-inch screen, some modest speakers and electronics, all for under $3,000. That's incredible. Is it perfect? No, but I doubt that 99 percent of the consumers out there will notice or take any offense at what the 8350 may get wrong here and there. Of all the affordable Epson projector options - and there are a few - the 8350 is far and away my favorite and the best value of the lot, so long as you don't need (or like) 3D. If I were getting started in home theater and was shopping for a front projector, I'd definitely take a good long look at the 8350 before all others.