First impressions count, and in the case of the Epson 5020 they're dead-on. This projector's design initially struck me with its kidney-grille facial resemblance to a certain luxury car, and it performs like one.
The image quality of the 5020 is characterized by excellent color, prodigious light output, and very good black levels. You can pay thousands more than the $2,500 or so the 5020 will set you back, but you will only be able to get incremental improvements in the most important area: black levels.
When compared to the cheaper Epson 3020 and BenQ W1070, the 5020 represents a big jump in picture quality. But from the 5020 to the next tier, occupied by the likes of the significantly more expensive Sony VPL-HW50ES and JVC DLA-X35S, there isn't as large a leap. It's also better than any of them in a room with some ambient light, making it the most versatile projector we've tested. Bang for buck, the Epson represents the best balance we've reviewed yet between price and image quality.
Epson ups the value proposition further by including a number of useful extras, namely two pairs of 3D glasses, and in the case of the 5020UBe, a wireless HDMI hub. But while WirelessHD is fun, it's not a significant upgrade. Spend the $300 saved on something nice instead.
If you're looking for a versatile projector at a great price and don't demand the ultimate in dark-room picture quality, the Epson 5020UB is our go-to recommendation.
March 14, 2013 1:02 PM PDT
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET
| Caption by: Ty Pendlebury
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