Though some experts seem more enthused by the competing Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5010 (*Est. $2,750) , the Panasonic PT-AE7000 could be a compelling choice for many. Image quality is terrific, though some experts are at odds over how terrific it is -- with at least one wishing that black levels were a bit better. Color performance is good in all respects, even out of the box, most agree. For videophiles, it is possible to calibrate to near perfection -- and Panasonic builds-in a suite of calibration aides to make that easier. Though some grouse that placement flexibility is compromised compared to previous Panasonic projectors, it's still fairly easy to find a perfect location in most viewing rooms.
Brightness in the best picture modes for 2D is lower than some competing projectors. That's fine -- if not better -- if you have a perfectly light-controlled home theater, but it can be a liability if there is some ambient light or if you want to project a larger image. For 3D viewing, the light can be turned up high enough to overcome the loss through the 3D glasses without unduly harming other picture characteristics. The result is a 3D picture that most say is better than what's seen in many move theaters. Of course, if you want to enjoy that, you'll need to budget extra for the optional but required for 3D active-shutter glasses.
Reviews for the Panasonic PT-AE7000 aren't extensive, but two well-regarded experts -- ProjectorReviews.com and ProjectorCentral.com -- weigh in. Britain's What Hi-Fi? contributes a brief review on the nearly identical European version of this projector.
ProjectorCentral.com gives the Panasonic PT-AE7000 its Highly Rated award. Evan Powell calls it "a projector for the true videophile." He does complain that lens shift is reduced compared to its predecessors and that the lens shift adjustment has become harder to use. Elsewhere, in a review of the competing Epson Home Cinema 5010, Bill Livolsi does a good job of comparing both projectors' relative strengths and weaknesses.
Review: Evan Powell, Aug. 16, 2011
Art Feierman likes the Panasonic PT-AE-7000 well enough to grant it a Hot Product award, though he's not above finding some faults with it. Blacks, though fine for its price category, could be better. So could brightness in the projector's best 2D picture modes. Still, he calls it a great value, despite the fact that the 3D glasses are extra, and a good performer for both 3D and 2D entertainment.
Review: Panasonic PT-AE7000 Home Theater Projector Review, Art Feierman, Nov. 10, 2011
3. What Hi-Fi?
This British site looks at the Panasonic PT-AT5000E, the nearly identical European version of the Panasonic PT-AE7000. They award it 5 stars and call it the best projector in its price class -- perhaps ever.
Review: Panasonic PT-AT5000E, Editors of What Hi-Fi