When we tested the PT-AE200E, we insisted on the 1970s Volvo look of the projector. The fans of the genre and the manufacturer can relax. This model hasn’t changed its look. It looks rather as if it has been shaped with an axe and this gives it a paved look that I actually quite like. In a world full of curves, it’s sometimes quite nice to find a square object around. As for the rest, no changes from the previous generation.
Now, I’m going to focus on three points: one of which is positive, the two others less so. If you prefer to start with the good news, read on. Otherwise, jump ahead to the next phrase. Energy consumption on stand-by is almost zero. Our meter gave a reading of zero, where other projectors score as high as 10 watts. This is sufficiently rare to be underlined and we salute the work of the manufacturer on this point. Now for the bad news. The focus and viewfinder are motorised, as is the zoom, which is a good idea, though motorisation of the viewfinder is not. In contrast to Mitsubishi, which has two motor speeds, Panasonic only has one relatively fast one. This is impractical to get the focus precisely right and I ended up forcing the objective manually to get the result I wanted. The last point is the remote. It is similar to the PT-AX200E remote and a notch down from the remote on the previous model. That one was universal and could learn command signals from other remotes so as to pilot them.
Remember, all images on the Full HD projectors tested here are impressive. If I had the option of receiving any of these models I’d be delighted. The parallel tests of images (carried out thanks to an HDMI signal duplicator) show the differences between the various models however and these are the details we look at in the paragraphs to follow.
If you had to cut the world of video projectors in two in respect of the five most recent models tested, I’d put the Sanyo and Sony on one side and the Panasonic and the Mitsubishi on the other. Generally speaking, the images proposed by the first group are natural/neutral and those for the second warm and alive. Two clans have grown up at the heart of the editorial team. The majority of our writers go for the brighter images. Why? Because they have more of an impact on the eye and are sexier. My tastes are however for the Sanyo PLV-Z3000 (subdued in comparison) or the Sony VPL-HW10 (brighter) which are closer to reality. The image below is a good illustration.
In the upscale, the Panasonic has a clear and defined image. More than the Sanyo, but less than the Sony, which everyone agrees is top dog here. However this is for moving images, but when it comes to a still image, the other projectors do better and are sharper. Like its colleagues, the PT-AE3000E has very deep blacks. Supported by the built-in dynamic iris, they push our sensor to its limits with very low scores (from 0 to 0.01 cd/m²) on all the darkest tones. In practice this doesn’t mean you get an absolute black. There is still some brightness and on this model there is a tendency towards violet. Video noise can be reduced using an option available in the image settings menu. Although the result is very satisfying, it is still behind the Sanyo, which is top dog in this category.
Difficult image settings
We looked at this in the inset. Nevertheless I’m going to come back to it here as it is one of the negatives on this model. The image on the PT-AE3000E has many moods. Depending on the colour mode, Cinema 1, 2 or 3, the results are very different. From reds to blues, the images have various dominant colours. This is the problem as far as I’m concerned. I couldn’t find a mode and neutral settings to go with all my test films. Depending on the film I had to go from one mode to another so as to avoid annoying colour changes (remember, this is noticeable when you have two projectors one beside the other).
- Original look
- Powerful zoom
- Low stand-by energy consumption
- Very deep blacks
- Blacks tending towards violet
- Difficult settings
- The motor too fast for focus
- Difficult to get the colour settings right
The final rating on this projector may seem severe. It is justified by two points: difficulties in image settings and the overly quick motor for the zoom and lens-shift. This really is impractical. This said the PT-AE3000E is top drawer in terms of image quality: precise, quality upscale, deep blacks and good handling of video noise.