Still more good news finds colours looking pleasingly rich and, for the most part, pretty natural – especially thanks to the way the projector’s processing and Full HD resolution enable it to reproduce even the subtlest of colour blends without striping.
One final impressive thing about the HC5500 is how amazingly quietly it runs. Its operational noise is rated at just 19dB by Mitsubishi, and to be honest we’re not sure it even gets that high, especially if you use the Low lamp setting. This is one budget projector that certainly won’t distract you from even the quietest of movie soundtracks.
In fact, the HC5500 doesn’t really have any really stand-out weaknesses. But it still falls short of a wholehearted TrustedReviews recommendation by a matter of degrees. In other words, while it’s good at most things, resulting in natural, always enjoyable pictures, it’s also not absolutely jaw-droppingly brilliant at anything in particular.
And so, for instance, although black levels are deep and stable by LCD standards, they’re not quite as rich as those of the InFocus IN80. Also, although the image is generally dynamic, where very bright image content has to sit right alongside very dark image content in the same frame, such as when somebody stands against a window, black levels start to look a bit crushed and flat as the dynamic iris struggles to find the best brightness level. These sort of bright/dark crush problems are far less obvious on projectors with a better native (as opposed to dynamic) contrast ratio than the HC5500.
Next, while the image is impressively clean, HD pictures don’t look quite as textured and sharp as they do on some affordable HD rivals – including the Sony HW10 we mentioned earlier. And although colours are mostly natural and engaging, they do occasionally suffer small toning issues, particularly in the appearance of a slight green pall to some skin tones during low-lit scenes.
Finally, while standard definition pictures survive the journey up to the HC5500’s Full HD resolution very well for the most part, I did spot occasional traces of combing noise around edges.
Please don’t get too deflated by this run of gentle negativity, though. For Mitsubishi clearly had to make compromises to hit the HC5500’s price point, and in fact for the most part I’d argue that it’s actually worked those compromises out very well.
The HC5500 is the best Full HD LCD projector I’ve seen for under £1,500, making it a really tantalising option to consider if you can’t quite run to the £1,500 (or more) asking price of Sony’s slightly better VPL-HW10, or you hate the rainbow effect issue with the InFocus IN80.
What’s more, if the higher-spec Mitsubishi HC6500 we’re hoping to get our hands on soon can perform significantly better than the HC5500, we could be in for a real treat. Watch this space.