Mitsubishi HC4900

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Mitsubishi HC4900
  • Mitsubishi HC4900
  • Mitsubishi HC4900
  • Mitsubishi HC4900

Pros

  • Well-priced, high quality image, varied mounting options

Cons

  • Low brightness level, cheap plastic design

Bottom Line

The HC4900 has lowered the entry-level price point for 1080p projectors. With good image quality and a large range of colour and image customisation options, it's very good value for money. Apart from its simplistic black plastic design and low brightness levels, the HC4900 is a high quality unit.

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Mitsubishi's HC4900 home theatre projector is one of the cheapest 1080p-capable units on the market today, coming in at under $4000. While it doesn't have the most attractive design, it has a comprehensive range of features and it displays a fantastic quality image using a wide variety of source material.

The projector has a smooth black plastic case, with a completely removable lens cap. While this is convenient and gives the projector a more professional look, it also means the cap can easily be lost in a darkened room. The supplied remote is simple. It sports a trigger system on its base that means it can't easily placed on a table or flat surface. The main controls for the unit are on its top, and they allow you to tweak the focus, lens shift and zoom, as well as enable the ambient light sensor, which dynamically changes the lamp brightness based on room conditions. All of these electronically controlled options are able to be changed manually, which allows for a very precise setup and gives the user a variety of mounting options.

Compared to other 1080p projectors, the HC4900 produces an excellent image at this price. Watching Pearl Harbour on Blu-ray through a Sharp BDHP20X, we were blown away by the picture quality. Using the 'Cinema' preset, the colours were rich and the image was crystal clear. Scenes showing fast motion were well rendered without any tearing, and the image noise levels were low. When the source was changed to a 480p DVD of The Matrix, some scenes displayed small amounts of pixelation and jaggedness — this is to be expected watching a DVD on a 1080p display, and it was still pleasing to watch.

Flesh tones were warm and natural on all sources, and colours were well balanced without being too rich. When in a dark room, black levels were good. When ambient light levels were high, the projected image lost some detail in dark areas — the brightness when on low-light mode was not always sufficient to show detail. Gamma settings are easily adjustable to compensate for this, and individual colour levels can be tweaked as well.

At all resolutions and brightness levels there was no evidence of the flyscreen effect – the image was consistent throughout viewing tests, and there were no gaps between individual pixels. In a few instances, the ambient light sensor changed the brightness level during playback without an obvious cause. This was only noticeable for a few seconds when it took place, and it didn't detract from the viewing experience once it had happened. This automatic feature is easily disabled using the menu options.

The projector produces an extremely detailed image, with its default settings biased slightly towards excessive sharpness, which caused some colour bleeding. When changed to around -3 on the sharpness setting, images look perfectly clear without any halo appearing. Noise levels were low, with only a small amount of graininess appearing during some scenes of Pearl Harbour, even though we conducted this test without the noise-reduction feature enabled.

The lamp in the HC4900 is rated to last for 5000 hours when used in the low-light mode with an output of around 750 lumens; the full-light mode provides 1000 lumens. When tested under direct light the image was hard to see, but in any other conditions the brightness level is adequate.

With its flexible setup to suit any mounting position, good brightness levels, consistently great image quality and a low price tag, Mitsubishi's HC4900 projector is highly recommended.

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