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Panasonic PT-AE3000 review

The Panasonic PT-AE3000 might look unappealing, but performs like a winner in our eyes Tested at £2000.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Simple to use and with superb results – a hugely persuasive argument for taking the big-screen plunge

Pros

  • +

    Superb set-up procedure

  • +

    full HD spec with three HDMI inputs

  • +

    colourful, natural and detailed video

  • +

    smooth motion

  • +

    quiet operation

Cons

  • -

    Uninspiring looks

One of the most popular questions we're asked, whether on the forums at whathifi.com or at shows around the country, is "should I buy a projector or a new television set?"

Normally a large TV is seen as an alternative to a projector – a top-notch 46 or 50in set would be in the same price bracket.

But when you see this Panasonic in action it's a good reminder that a TV, no matter how good, really can't match the home cinema experience that a projector delivers.

Setting up is simple
What's more, this is probably the easiest projector to set up that we've ever come across. That means we're enjoying the brilliant images quicker than you can say 1920 x 1080 resolution (this LCD projector has that under its bonnet, too).

Two click-wheel style controls atop the projector give you total control of the image. One allows you to shift the projector left and right, and up and down, the other gives you access to the powered zoom and focus controls. In a matter of seconds, we're in business.

Along with the necessary 1080p resolution and easy set-up, there's not a great deal more for a projector to worry about in terms of specifications.

It has three HDMI inputs, Panasonic's 100Hz motion processing and plenty of other picture adjustments, too. Also worth noting is that it's quiet in operation, although it does run fairly warm.

Simply sublime HD images
We settle back to watch Slumdog Millionaire and the picture the Panasonic conjures up is simply
sublime.

Colours are full-bodied, bold and punchy where required, and the grime and sweat of the Mumbai slum is accurately conveyed thanks to muddy, deep browns and hot, luscious reds.

Switch to the more natural, at times insipid, palette on the BD release of Gomorrah and the PT-AE3000 is equally adept at realistic skintones that pack in plenty of detail, ensuring the tough men, and indeed women, are given the appropriate definition.

We chose 'mode 1' when it came to motion processing, to ensure a smooth but natural delivery. While upscaled DVD won't impress in the same way as HD, we have to rein in our expectations only a touch before we enjoy sharp, insightful, colourful pictures.

So, a lesson: never judge a projector by its decidedly dull exterior. This Panasonic is a supremely clever and brilliantly capable piece of kit.

See our projector Best Buys

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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