Much though I tried to keep in a neutral frame of mind as I set about the H5350, I have to say I wasn’t expecting much quality at all from such a dirt-cheap DLP offering. But while its pictures are not even close to the quality of those from the InFocus X10 we mentioned earlier, they are not a complete horror show.
It’s probably best if we get the bad stuff out of the way first, so you can decide if you’re still intrigued enough at £421 to move on to the good news.
Without question the single biggest problem is the amount of DLP’s rainbow effect the projector suffers with. If you haven’t read much about DLP projectors before, the rainbow effect is caused by the colour wheel system DLP technology employs, and manifests itself as stripes of pure red and green over the picture – particularly over especially bright image segments, and also if you move your eyes around over the image. Black and white footage, with its extreme bright/dark separations, is particularly badly affected.
The rainbow effect has generally been reduced considerably in recent times, but the amount of it that’s visible on the H5350 definitely harks back to an earlier, far-from-golden era.
Normally this issue would be enough in itself to pretty much crucify a projector’s chance of impressing TrustedReviews. But in the H5350’s price context, I think it’s reasonable to offer up a couple of ‘get out clauses’. Namely that a) if the image you watch isn’t too big and so doesn’t require you to rove your eyes over it too much, the occurrences of the rainbow effect are considerably reduced, and b) some people just aren’t affected by the rainbow effect at all. Somehow their eyes just don’t seem to see it. So if you’re one of those people, you’re laughing all the way to the bank.
Anyway, my other main concern with the H5350 is its black level response – or to be more accurate, the lack of shadow detail in dark areas. For while the H5350 can actually produce some remarkably deep blacks for its money, with considerably less greying over than you’d see on any sort of cheapo LCD projector, dark areas of our ”Unbreakable” Blu-ray transfer do look rather hollow, with quite a bit of shadowy picture information going AWOL.
A more minor concern is that the projector’s colour tones aren’t as natural as those of DLP models higher up the price scale, looking slightly over-ripe. Also, on my 120in screen some edges look slightly jagged, and occasionally – mostly with over bright text – I could even make out evidence of the pixel structure of the DLP mirror device.
Set against these flaws is the fact that the image is exceedingly bright for such a cheap projector without, as we’ve seen, completely destroying black level response.
Also, while not always particularly natural in tone, colours are certainly rich and vibrant, and don’t suffer badly with the phenomenon of striping over what should be smooth colour blends.