Mitsubishi's projectors are a case in point, with the HC3800 on sale in stores while the HC3200 is mostly found online.
Because the two different versions are so similar, this review isn't laid out like most of our other projector tests: it's much shorter than usual and only points out the differences (and some of similarities) between the two projectors.
Hardware & Handling: no lens-shift but a powerful zoom
There's no difference between the two projectors here: they have the same levels of energy consumption, have the same zoom and produce as much noise while projecting. The remote controls that come with them are also indistinguishable.
Image Quality: Full HD is on the table-but nothing else
Despite a spec which claims more brightness than the HC8300, our contrast tests, performed in eco mode, produced almost identical results.
We measured black levels of 0.46 cd/m² against whites of 327 cd/m², compared to 0.43 cd/m² and 330 cd/m² respectively for the HC3800 for the same values, giving it a slightly higher contrast ratio. That said, I'm pretty sure you'd be hard-pressed to tell them apart based on this factor alone.
For information about the other aspects of its visual performance, you can read two other projector reviews: the Mitsubishi HC3800 and the Acer H7350D. The first of these examines the image quality in detail, while the second compares the Mitsubishi projectors with the Acer, which should give you a lot to think about if you can't decide between the two of them.
Differences between the HC3200 and HC3800
As we saw earlier, the differences in brightness and contrast between the two models aren't particularly meaningful. What does change, though, is the quality of the guarantee. The HC3800 is covered for five years (with the bulb for two), but the HC3200's guarantee only lasts two years with the bulb lasting one). But does that mean it's worth spending more to get a an extra three years of cover? As reassuring as that might seem, it still strikes us a little expensive ...
- Accurate 1080p video
- Powerful zoom
- Deep blacks
- Cheaper than the HC3800
- Shorter guarantee than the HC3800
- No lens-shift
- Loud while projecting
- Bare minimum of inputs
- Rainbow effect
If you disregard the different guarantees and external appearances, Mitsubishi's two entry-level 1080p DLP projectors, the HC3200 and HC3800 are actually very similar, and project good quality video without any of the extras you'd find on more expensive projectors. There's no 100 Hz mode here for instance. Just watch out for the rainbow effect if you're sensitive to it.