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Best Projectors

How To Make A Pinhole Projector To View A Solar Eclipse

I don’t know about you, but whenever there’s a solar eclipse, I have always missed out on all of the action, simply because I didn’t know how to make a simple pinhole camera. Well, now I do know how to make one and I will be sharing that info with you. So let’s learn how to make a pinhole projector. These are a very primitive version of a home theater projector and that is an understatement. For an upgrade that’s still DIY, take a look at how to make a projector screen at home.

How To Make A Pinhole Projector To View A Solar Eclipse
How a pinhole projector works. Image credit: irishtimes.com

Learn How To Make A Pinhole Projector

You need a pinhole projector if you want to safely view an eclipse. (You will still need to wear special viewing glasses before and after the moments when it’s totally blocked though, to protect your eyes.) Making a pinhole projector is so easy that a kid can do it. In fact, it is a project that is often created in grade schools across the country. It is a great way to view a solar eclipse without potentially going blind.

What You Will Need To Make A Pinhole Projector

In the simplest terms, you just need two things: an object with a pinhole in it, and something to project the image on. The easiest and cheapest way is to use two pieces of rigid white paper and poke a pinhole in one with a pin. You can use something like paper plates, white cardboard or heavy card stock.

How To Use Your Pinhole Projector Creation

Using your pinhole projector is just as easy as creating it. Now that you’ve got your piece of paper with a pinhole, Hold the piece of paper with the pinhole up and let the sunlight shine through it. You’ll use the other piece as a projector screen by putting it on a wall or on the ground. In this way, you’ll be able to see a projected image of the partially hidden Sun on that screen in a safe way.

Remember to have your back to the sun and look at the projection created by the pinhole on the wall, Do not look at the Sun through the pinhole. That will damage your eyes.

How To Make A Pinhole Projector To View A Solar Eclipse
A pinhole projector in use. Image credit: NASA/JPL

How Does A Pinhole Projector Work?

Pinhole cameras use what is called the camera obscura effect. You see normally light travels in straight lines. So when an object is lit up, the light will bounce off of it in a straight line. The pinhole in the paper lets a small amount of that light through, and an inverted image forms on the other side of the hole. They may not be one of our best projectors under a grand, but good enough for an eclipse.

Aside from being a safe way of viewing an eclipse, this eclipse viewer is also a fun and easy project to do with your kids. Now that you know how to make a pinhole projector, you can use it anytime an eclipse happens and stay safe by protecting your eyes. Learn more about how projectors work.

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Best Projectors

How To Make A Projector – Big Results On A Budget

Our TVs are only so big. Scratch that. I mean that the TVs we can afford are only so big. This is one of many reasons that people use projectors in their home theater. You can have your entertainment larger than ever before and you don’t even need a TV. Projectors can be pretty expensive though. So if you have any DIY abilities, I can tell you how to make a projector yourself and save some money. It may not be a 1440p projector, but it is fun and it works. To keep things cost-effective, take a look at how to make the best projector screen.

How To Make A Projector - Big Results On A Budget
Learn how to make your own projector.

Learn How To Make A Projector

Making your own movie projector is actually not very hard if you have some basic DIY skills. Many choose to make a simple one out of a shoebox, but if you want to make it a bit fancier, you can use wood. That’s what the folks over at thriftdiving did. I am going to give you a full rundown here. You can do it.

What Supplies Do You Need To Make a DIY Phone Projector?

You will need:
A tape measure
Pencil
Handsaw
Cheap magnifying glass
One piece of birch plywood
Jigsaw and power drill
Miter saw or circular saw
T square for straight lines
Glossy black paint

Some duct tape and a utility knife will also come in handy.

Building A Projector

To learn how to make a DIY smartphone projector, first, you are going to get a piece of plywood. Decide how big you want your projector to be, then measure it, mark it and cut. Remember, your magnifying glass will act as a lens so plan the size of your box accordingly.

Next, cut the handle of the magnifying glass and trace around what is left, on the wood, where you want your lens to be located. Cut out the hole in the middle and use your jigsaw to cut out the spot where the magnifier will go. Make sure that it fits in the hole nice and tight. It should fit flush so that no light is escaping from your homemade projector.

After that, glue and nail your pieces together, creating your projector box. Make a lid if you haven’t done so already. The next step is to paint the inside of the box so that it is as dark as it can be inside. Glossy black paint will be perfect. You can also line it with black paper. Your phone is the light source after all. You can use some foam boards to hole your smartphone in place.

That’s it. You are done. Set your phone inside the box and start movie night! You can use a projector screen or just a blank wall. You can have an outdoor movie night or indoor home entertainment. You now have a projector for your smartphone.

Helpful Tips

  • Measure twice, cut once. This is an important rule.
  • Determine beforehand how big you will need your box to be, by building a rough mockup and testing it with your phone. You can use a smartphone or tablet.
  • When playing movies you have to lock your phone screen rotation on your smartphone.
  • The movies also have to play upside down since the ‘lens” will flip the image right side up again. This is similar to how our eyes work.
  • You can also use a cardboard box and hot glue from a glue gun if you want it even easier.
  • Assuming that you have most of the tools here, this build will cost you about $15.

Also, learn about how projectors work. And if you are still curious, learn the difference between short throw and long throw varieties. DIY projectors are fun to make and easy to use. Don’t forget to lock your screen.

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Optoma HD25-LV HD 3D Projector Review

Looking at the spec list of the Optoma HD25-LV, you might have a hard time believing that such a cheap projector would actually manage to perform at the same level as its costlier cousins, let alone make it onto our list of the best projectors.

However, it may just be the best projector for home theater.  If you’re looking for more budget options, take a look at the best cheap projector.

So does the Optoma actually measure up to the legacy left by other brightness-centric projectors before it? Read on in our Optoma HD25-LV review to find out! If this is too high tech for you, consider taking a look at how to make pinhole projector view solar eclipse.

Overview

Price: $805 on Amazon 
Available: March 2013
Model: HD25-LV

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Optoma HD25-LV is a great choice for home theater beginners.

Summary: The Optoma HD25-LV sports a retina-blasting 3,200 lumen rating for ultimate brightness at any time of the day, all at a budget price that won’t break the bank.

What We Liked

  • Great sound in a small package
  • Highly portable
  • Exceptionally bright

What We Didn’t

  • Runs pretty hot

Optoma HD25-LV Specs

71Kwk-i9W9L._SL1500_
Screen Size50" - 300"
Native Resolution1920 x 1080
Aspect Ratio16:9
Lumens 3,200
Contrast Ratio20,000:1
Refresh Rates60Hz
3D Capable?green-check-mark
Display TechnologySingle-chip DLP
Short Throw?red-x-icon
HDMI Ports2 1.4/MHL
Onboard Speakers16W
Weight6.8 lbs
Device Dimensions
12.7 x 9.2 x 3.8 inches
Price$805.85
Buy Now

Design

Optoma HD25-LV Projector
Nothing revolutionary here, but the sweeping front grate is still a nice touch

When you first pull the Optoma HD25-LV out of its box, the first thing you’ll notice is how deceptively light and compact its case is. At just 6.8lbs, this is a projector that you’d feel comfortable mounting on a shelf or the ceiling without worrying about what might come tumbling down in an earthquake, or fits snugly on your coffee table while still leaving plenty of room for drinks or a spot for you to kick your feet up.

As far as the actual design of the projector itself, you won’t find too many eye-grabbing features here. The projector world is fairly set in its ways about what it believes is a “good” design for a home theater device, and save for a few exceptions like the Epson PowerLite Cinema 1440, you won’t find a ton of units that stray from the model. I enjoyed the sweeping, almost racecar-esque aerodynamic look of the front of the HD25-LV, but save for those few accents, everything you find here would fit the mold as any other projector in its price class would.

Hardware

Optoma HD25-LV Projector
The Optoma HD25-LV is equipped with more ports than you’ll ever reasonably need

The Optoma HD25-LV uses single-chip DLP technology to create its images at a maximum display resolution of 1920 x 1080, with a contrast ratio of 20,000:1, with the ability to show an image as large as 300″ across from 32.8ft away.

The HD25-LV comes with a ton of ports, more than you would ever need, save for a few extenuating circumstances. The Optoma comes with two HDMI 1.4/MHL, 3 audio output/input jacks (3.5mm and R/L), two VGA in, one VGA out, a mouse/service port, RS-232C, 3D-sync out, and composite video in.

User Interface and Settings

As far as settings go, what you get with the Optoma HD25-LV is relatively basic, but still functional nonetheless. Everything you’d expect is here (contrast, brightness, zoom, sharpness, etc), as well as a few standouts that unfortunately didn’t impress as much as they should have.

Both the dynamic blacks setting and Optoma’s proprietary Brilliant Color setting set the projector apart, however they didn’t give us as much “oomph” in picture quality as we would have hoped (more on that in the next section).

Testing and Performance

Optoma HD25-LV Projector
In almost all lighting scenarios, the Optoma HD25-LV shone brightly against the background noise

Brightness/Picture Quality

As soon as you fire up the Optoma HD25-LV (more like about 5 minutes after once it’s fully warmed up, but we’re splitting hairs here), you’ll be blinded by its surprisingly bright and luminous picture.

With 3,200 lumens of raw, pupil-punishing power behind it, the HD25-LV is made for bright rooms with excessive ambient light, and in this scenario it more than excels for its price point.

Read More: Best 4K Projector

At a distance of 5ft in the middle of the day, the Optoma joined the ranks of the Epson PowerLite 1440 by maxing out our light meter, which only measures up to 2,000 lux before giving up. At a distance of 10ft we were actually able to get a reading, which started at 1,475 at the corners of the picture, and only went up from there, to 1,960 at the center.

As far as movies and TV shows go, both the colors and the blacks were rich, however they did seem a little “off” during certain scenarios, almost as though the software that drives the setting was overcompensating during fast-moving action scenes. Granted the quality was still stellar for the Optoma’s $805 cost, and if you want a decently priced high-brightness competitor to Epson’s PowerLite 1440 you’d be hard-pressed to find another projector that can stand up to the task.

Gaming Performance

Surprisingly, the Optoma performed handily during gaming tests, something that few projectors have managed to do up until now. Although there was still a noticeable amount of lag that’s inherent to all DLP-powered projectors, movement was smooth, and controls still felt responsive enough that we’d be perfectly comfortable gaming on the HD25-LV for extended periods of time online or off.

3D Performance

3D performance was equally as impressive, even though we were only able to try out one method of projection (RF glasses). The viewing angle was wide enough that four people could sit both on a couch and two love seats on the side without losing the 3D effect, and there was only a minimal amount of image blur/crosstalk when we tilted our heads.

Noise and Heat

For a projector with so much power and brightness behind it, we were amazed to see how quietly it ran during our testing scenarios.

Without any ambient noise in the room, we only tested a difference of around 4dB between having the projector on or off. This is probably due to its low-key fan, which unfortunately didn’t do much to dissipate the intense heat coming off the unit while we watched a 2-hour movie.

Sound

With a 16W onboard speaker, the Optoma HD25-LV sports a lot more sound than we were looking for going into the review. Once you fiddle around with the bass and treble a bit (and make sure the “Surround Sound” feature is turned on), the HD25-LV provides deep, rich bass with crisp highs. Of course if you take your home theater setup seriously you should invest in a separate set of stereo speakers, but if you’re on the road or just need something quick and out of the box, these speakers will handle anything you throw their way without a problem.

Wrap Up

When I originally read the specs for the Optoma HD25-LV, I was skeptical that a sub-$1,000 projector could manage to handle a 3,200 lumen brightness rating all while actually looking good at the same time.

But, thanks to the BrilliantColor color engine, solid 3D/gaming performance and a boomy pair of onboard speakers, I was quickly proven wrong. The Optoma HD25-LV is the perfect projector for anyone who’s planning on setting up their home theater in less-than-ideal lighting conditions, or those who just want a whole heap load of brightness on a tighter budget.

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Short Throw vs. Long Throw Projectors: What’s the Difference?

When you’re in the market for a new projector for your home cinema and home entertainment, there are a lot of different factors to consider: how bright is the projector, or what kind of max resolution can it project at? Can it be mounted on the ceiling? Check out our best projector under $1000.

There’s a lot to know about home theater projectors and we have the answers. If you want to start small, take a look at how to make pinhole projector view solar eclipse for your at-home projector.

Jump To: Compare the Best Long Throw Projectors.

But, of all these questions you’ll have to ask yourself – before shopping for the best projector money can buy – perhaps the most important is: what’s the difference between short throw and “long” throw projector. If you don’t know what either of those terms mean; fret not we’re going to fill you in on all the details and more in this handy guide on short throw vs. long throw projectors.  If you’re shopping on a budget, take a look at the best cheap projector.

Our Top Long Throw Projectors

 500-7888428-894__151zPQMVQ69L._SL1000_91I5a7ukpXL._SL1500_espon-204061cAID2nP3L._SL1500_
Optoma HD29Darbee 1080p 3200 Lumens 3D DLP Home Theater ProjectorBenQ TK800 4K UHD Home Theater Projector with HDROptoma HD143XBenQ HT2150ST 1080P Short Throw ProjectorOptoma UHD60 True 4K UHD Projector
Rank#1 - Editor's Choice/Best Projector Under $1,000 #2 - Best Home Theater Projector#3 - Best Budget Projector#4 - Best Projector for Gaming#5 - Best 4K Projector
Amazon Rating4andhalf-stars4andhalf-stars4andhalf-starsfive-stars4andhalf-stars
Full HD or 4Kgreen-check-markgreen-check-markgreen-check-markgreen-check-markgreen-check-mark
Lumens3,2003,0003,0002,2003,000
Check PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price

What Does “Throw” Mean?

Often (but not always), a projector will denote whether it’s short-throw ratio or long-throw with two letters at the end of the model number, such as the BenQ HT1085ST. The “ST” at the end of the model stands for – you guessed it – “short throw”. What does throw mean? I’ll explain.

Short Throw vs. Long Throw Projectors
Throw distance is one of the most important factors to keep an eye on when buying a new projector.

The difference in a projector’s throw distance is decided by the type of lens it uses, with long throws generally being cheaper to build than short throw due to the quality of glass necessary to make them work.

Short Throw vs. Long Throw vs. Ultra-Short Throw

All short or long lens measurements, regardless of brand, are categorized by the range of projector in relation to the screen to create a 100″ image.

Long throw models can require six feet or more of available space between where your projector sits and where the screen is mounted in order to reach the 100″ screen sizes limit. The upside of long throw lenses (besides the price discount compared to short throws), is they’re perfect for large hall or exhibition space applications, like business presentations, houses of worship, an outdoor theater or concert visuals. Or if you have a large room, they serve as great home theater projectors. Move them closer however and you don’t get a larger image, the image shrinks, making it less useful in projector home theater setups in smaller rooms.

Short throw projectors on the other hand have lenses that can create a much larger picture from shorter distances, or 100″ from about four feet or less in certain models. They can be used on a wall or a projection screen. The first benefit of buying a short throw also happens to be one of the most obvious: less room between the projector and the screen means less room for people to get in the way of the projectors light.

cheap short throw projector
The shorter the throw, the less chance someone is going to ruin the shot. 

Short throw projection is perfect for square footage-challenged homes, apartments, or viewing areas, but that convenience also comes at a higher cost. On average, you should expect to spend anywhere between $100 – $250 more on two comparable projectors, with the only difference being the throw capacity of their lenses. Many people use these projectors for video games since not much room is needed to get a stunning large image and create whole video walls. It’s the same reason travelers like to use them as a business projector. It delivers a larger image from a shorter distance. These are more or less portable projectors as well since they tend to be smaller.

Read More: Best Projectors for Under $1,000

Last up, there’s “ultra-short throw” projectors, which can create an image of up to 100″ from a mere 15″ away. I bet that’s larger than your current flat screen. These ultra short throw projectors are commonly reserved for commercial or enterprise applications, though they can be useful in smaller homes or apartments that are even more cramped for space than those that would use a standard short throw instead. Unfortunately, the lenses that make an ultra-short throw possible are also quite a bit more expensive, which is why they’re mainly reserved for business applications instead.  As seen in this Sony 4K short throw or LG’s PF1000U.

If you really want an ultra-short throw there are a few solid ultra short models out there, but expect to spend a lot more for a less bright, less versatile projector that only works in very specific viewing scenarios.

Some Short Throw Projectors to Consider

[amazon_link asins=’B01MSBRYZL,B01MR2RB5B,B00M9D4CAK,B01L8VXJJ8,B013JHF1SQ,B01M2DEQZ9′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’short-throw-vs-long-throw-projectors-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’af5f69c8-5226-11e7-b8a4-81dd5f3a9f05′]

Which is Right for You?

Like most technology purchases today, in the debate of short throw vs. long throw projectors: it all depends on what you’re looking for.

short throw projector sony
Short vs. long throw comes down to your home theater setup and the amount of viewing space available. 

On the one hand, long throw projectors can be cheaper than their short throw competitors, but they also don’t lend themselves too well to home theaters when there’s only so much space between your couch and the opposing wall. The saying “down in front” doesn’t get tossed out all that often in home theaters, but it can still be annoying when your friends or family are involved in a movie only for one of them to get up for a snack and ruin the shot for everybody. With long throws, you have more space between the projector and the screen, which makes it more likely that someone’s going to walk through the image path on their next trip in or out of the room. Where t find cheap short throw projector. Find the best short throw projector review here.

On the other side of the spectrum short throws are spectacular for sitting-room only setups, though that bonus comes at a cost. Short throws are more pricey at checkout, and also don’t adapt as well to further projection distances the way a long throw can. If you plan on using your projector for any other projects or presentations outside of a home theater exclusively, a long throw might be the better choice.

More Tips

Ultimately, you can calculate the perfect throw style for your viewing preferences by heading on over to our best projector for 2018 guide and using the handy tool provided there to find out whether a short throw vs. long throw projector is right for you. Make sure that you choose a projector that has the right ports that you need so that you can connect things like your computer monitor, Bluray Player, video camera, home audio equipment or video game console.

If you want good colors make sure that you choose a model with the proper color brightness. This is measured in lumens. The brighter the projector the higher the lumen rating will be.

Most projectors come with a remote control, which is handy adjusting settings without having to get up and go to the unit. However, not all give you that bonus, so make sure you know what you are getting in the box when you buy.

If ceiling mounting is what you want in a long throw projector, make sure that your projector can be mounted in this way. Again, they are not all created equal and even if you can mount it, it may not come with the necessary accessories to do this. So again, make sure that you know what you are getting.

An LCD projector tends to have a sharper image and better picture quality, whereas a DLP projector is generally lighter and more portable. The kind that you choose will be based on your own unique needs. LED projectors have limited brightness compared to LCD and DLP so they are not great for rooms where any light comes in.

Many of today’s projectors can work with your smart home and be tied into home automation as well.

Make sure that your projector can adjust the aspect ratio as some older content was filmed to be square, while newer content is rectangular.

While we are all looking at laser projector technology in the near future and dreaming of laser light, these short throw and long throw projectors will fill your every need. Some popular projectors include the BenQ ht2150st, Epson home cinema series,

Whether you are looking for a shortthrow projectors, long throw, or ultra short throw projectors, our buyers guide will give you everything you need to know about technology so that you can make an informed decision and buy the right projector models for you. Right now 4k projectors are the most popular. Remember it’s mostly about image size and image quality based on throw distances. This will determine the types of projectors that you will be looking at.

Read Next: Best Projector Screen

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Best Projector Under $1000

Best Projector Under $1000
Enhance your home theater with these best projectors under $1000.

Jump To: View the Top Rated Projectors Under $1000.

To determine the best projectors under $1000 we first researched the top 50 models online, measuring their features and aggregating customer sentiment and other expert reviews. Based on that research, we then narrowed the list down to the top 10 projectors on the market today. Following that, we ordered each projector for hands-on testing. Next, we got the projectors set up in our testing environment and started playing video games and watching our favorite movies to get a handle on which ones perform better than others. We then gathered key data points ranging from throw distance to display resolution, along with specific things like brightness and contrast ratio. If you follow our guide, you’ll have the best projector for your home in no time.

And after 40 hours of testing, we appointed the Optoma HD143X projector as our #1 pick for under $1000 in 2020 because of its brightness, overall low price tag and high contrast level. Keep reading to learn more about this project and the other 4 we selected as our top picks.

Best Projectors Under $1000

OVERVIEW
gr5-table__imageOptoma HD143X
  • Item Weight: 2.49 Kg
  • Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 31.8 x 10.7 cm
  • Wattage: 10 Watts
  • Batteries Included: No
  • Batteries Required: No
CHECK PRICE
gr5-table__imageVANKYO Leisure 3 Mini Projector
  • Item Weight: 953 g
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 15 x 7.9 cm
  • Wattage: 50 Watts
  • Batteries Included: No
  • Batteries Required: No
CHECK PRICE
gr5-table__imageEpson Home Cinema 2150
  • Item Weight: 3.49 Kg
  • Product Dimensions: 31 x 28.4 x 12.2 cm
  • Wattage: 10 Watts
  • Batteries Included: No
  • Batteries Required: No
CHECK PRICE
gr5-table__imageEpson Home Cinema 2150
  • Item Weight: 8 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 11 x 5 inches
  • Wattage: 240 Watts
  • Batteries Included: Yes
  • Batteries Required: Yes
CHECK PRICE
gr5-table__imageBenQ HT2050A Projector
  • Item Weight: 3.6 Kg
  • Product Dimensions: 12.2 x 38 x 27.7 cm
  • Wattage: 353 Watts
  • Batteries Included: No
  • Batteries Required: No
CHECK PRICE

Read: Best Projector

#1 Pick Optoma HD143X

The Optoma HD143X gives you everything you need at a bargain budget price.

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Need brightness on a tight budget? Get the Optoma HD143X

The Optoma HD143X is a stellar option with high-performance features at an extra-affordable price. Offering a combination of both the cheapest sticker price ($431.22 at the time of this review) as well as one of the highest contrast ratios (23,000:1) on this list, we love the HD143X as the perfect entry point for anyone who’s considering their first DLP projector, but isn’t prepared to spend an arm and a leg to get their hands on it.

This is not a short throw projector, but it will project an image size of up to a whopping 301 inches, depending on the distance you place your projector from the screen. It has a light output of 3000 ANSI Lumens and will connect to all of your gadgets, like your settop box and some smart home devices.  So this is a good choice for those looking for gaming projectors. It also has a builtin speaker. It boasts a warm color temperature that looks great. There’s no lens shift here, however. As far as connectivity, this model has 2 HDMI ports, 3D Sync port, 12v out, audio out and USB power. We also love that the fan noise is not very loud. Great price, great brightness and contrast and great performance are all here. On a side note, the best mini projector can go with you anywhere.

View on Amazon – $431.22

#2 Pick Vankyo Leisure 3 Mini Projector

Need to fit a projector in a tight space on a tight budget? This is the perfect fit for you.

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: This kind performance is unheard of on such a small device and at such a small price.

This is an incredibly cheap projector and offers a surprisingly high level of performance for its size and price tag. This mini projector is highly rated by users online thanks to great features like 170-inch display size, long-lasting bulb life, an MStar Advanced Color Engine and much more. You may not think it when looking at the Vankyo Leisure 3, but it’s a solid performer that can work with a variety of different devices ranging from gaming consoles to TV sticks.  If you’re looking for the best cheap projector this is your pick! It’s one of the best in this price range. A great budget pick. If you’re looking to spend a bit more money but not your entire budget, take a look at the Epson Powerlite instead. This will soon be an essential part of your best home entertainment system.

View on Amazon – $89.99

#3 Pick Epson Home Cinema 2150 Projector

Epson’s contrast ratios blow the competition clean out of the water.

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: With contrast ratios like this every color pops off the screen.

The Epson Home Cinema 2150 is one of the newest projectors on this list, and it has the 3LCD projector technology pedigree to back it up. This LCD projector is perfect for movie nights or everyday home entertainment.

With an LCD lamp and an eye-melting 60,000:1 contrast ratio, you won’t find any other projector in this price bracket with deeper, richer blacks or better color representation across the board. You won’t find any rainbow effect here. It boasts 2500 lumens of brightness, brilliant color and has a long throw ratio. You’ll need a large room and due to the low black level, you’ll want to use a grey screen or keep it away from any light source and ambient light. There’s also wireless connectivity here, which is a great cutting-edge feature. The Epson Home Cinema is a superb home projector with great image quality. Whether for movies or video games. It’s not for those looking for a 4k projector with its native resolution of 1080p. If you want another quality Epson pick under $1,000, take a look at the Epson Pro EX9220 180p wireless projector.

View on Amazon – $699

#4 Pick BenQ HT2050A Projector

The HT2050A is great for its price.

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Short-throw projector with 2D keystone color correction, what more do you need?

BenQ has always been one of the leaders in projection technology. They are known for popular models like the BenQ ht2150st, BenQ ht2050 and the BenQ ht3050 to name a few. You’ll be happy to know that the BenQ HT2050A continues that legacy with flair. As the only short-throw on this list, the BenQ still comes in on the lower end of the price tier. Like the HT1085ST, the HT2050A is a great selection for anyone who wants to be sure they’re going with a reputable brand, and also doesn’t mind a bargain deal.

At $620.00 the HT2050A lands right in the middle of the cost spectrum, and also comes with 709 color accuracy calibration so all your movies and games can pop off the screen and give your entertainment a whole new level of immersion. This 1080p projector has a 2200 lumen brightness level and is one of the most ideal projectors for today’s games. This will give you a full HD experience from the comfort of your home. Also one of the best movie projectors. It has great picture quality for watching movies. If you need a dependable 1080p projector, this one is highly rated by users.

View on Amazon – $699

#5 Pick BenQ HT2150ST

The HT2105ST is bright and beautiful.

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Want brightness? The HT2150ST has got plenty to spare.

When it comes to home theater projectors, brightness is king. If you’re trying to watch a movie during the day or can’t see the enemy you’re trying to get a headshot on in Call of Duty, the 2200 lumens of brightness on BenQ’s HT2150ST is sure to shine through the darkness to provide one of the clearest, sharpest pictures you’ll find on the market. This is what you want in a DLP projector. It may not be a 4k projector, but it is a solid performer, especially as a gaming projector. Your video games are going to look fantastic. It will be a big hit on movie nights as well. This projector also has brilliant color no matter how you use it. Even as a business projector. That’s why it is top rated.

View on Amazon – $747.64

Key Factors to a Top Projector

Three Key Factors: Any projector worth the purchase prices is going to have three key features: longevity, HD resolution, and a high lumen rating. “Bulb hours” as they’re called, are important because the bulb on any given projector has a limited lifespan. This can be anywhere between 5,000 – 10,000 hours depending on the bulb you choose, but the longer it lasts without losing brightness, the less money you’ll have to spend on replacements. Before spending a lot of money on a projector, take a look at the lamp life, and the color wheel that make up your projector.

Speaking of brightness, lumen ratings tell you what kind of brightness you should expect out of the projector, and in any case, a higher rating will always result in a better picture.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Enough Space: Obviously, the biggest mistake you’re going to want to avoid is buying a projector that doesn’t have a proper amount of room to accommodate its throw distance. Without enough space left between the projector and the screen, the eventual size of the picture can be much smaller than what most people expect. If you’re not sure how big the picture on your projector will be based on where you plan to mount it, you can use this handy calculator that will allow you to enter the dimensions of the space you plan on installing the projector in, and recommending a model that has the best lens and throw distance for you. You also want to consider the screen size when purchasing your projector.

Features to Look For

Throw Distance

  • Right out of the gate, this is one of the most important features that people miss when shopping for their first projector. The throw distance refers to how far or close the projector can be to the screen or wall that you’re projecting on to get a certain size picture.
  • For example: a standard HD projector without a “short-throw” lens will need about 6 feet of distance at least to display a picture larger than 80″ wide, although how these numbers match up will inevitably depend on the model of projector you go with.  Make sure to use a calculator. Short throw projectors are great for small areas, as are ultra short throw projectors. Most mini projectors are short throw.

Display Resolution

  • Although all of the projectors in this list have the ability to display their pictures in full 1080p, it’s always important to pay attention to exactly what level of HD your projector is capable of handling before taking the plunge.
  • Many cheaper projectors will only support 720p, so be sure to check the specifications prior to making any purchases. If you don’t look into this first, you may be dealing with input lag when trying to watch high quality content.

Display Technology

  • The four different bulb types to look for on your projector are LED, LCD, DLP, and LCoS.
  • DLP is the oldest of the three, using mirrors and light to physically reflect the picture through the lens and onto the screen. The next is LED projectors and LCD, which uses LED diodes to transmit three separate images in the RGB color spectrum to combine and make the full image. You might also want to consider a projector that has at least 15,000 lumens.
  • LCoS stands for “liquid crystal on silicon” is sort of a hybrid of all three systems, combing both mirrors and RGB-separated display elements to create the final picture. Each type of display technology has its own benefits and drawbacks in areas like brightness or contrast ratio, and no one is completely better than the others in all areas of what makes a projector right for your particular needs.
  • Anyone planning to game on their projector will also need to look for the projectors that have lower response times. Even though an LED TV is still preferred overall if you depend on a sub-10 millisecond range of response, certain newer projectors have begun to break down the barrier, and will only continue to do so as the technology improves. A model with good color accuracy will also make your game look great.

Mounting Brackets

  • Because of the distance necessary to get a projector to display on the wall is often equal to the width of some people’s entire living room, where you plan to mount your projector can be just as important as the resolution.
  • VESA-compatible projectors will open you up to the largest number of possible mounting arms, which can be placed anywhere from a wall to the ceiling, out of the way of your couch but still close enough to adjust if you want to change any settings or refocus the lens.

Business vs. Home Theater

  • All the projectors on this list are made for home theater applications, but there are plenty of people who go shopping for their first who forget to check if it’s made for business or personal use. Always use a buying guide like this.
  • Business projectors aren’t “bad”, necessarily, they’re just not meant to keep up with the framerates possible in most Blu-Ray movies and HD TV shows.

As prices continue to drop, projectors are becoming a hit with consumers who want the biggest possible picture they can get. While they may not be the best for watching during the day or if you want the absolute most crisp HD picture possible, for anyone who values a massive movie experience over everything else, a home theater projector takes the cake.

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Best Projectors

Sony VW285ES Review

Despite being on the higher end of the price scale, the Sony VPL-VW285ES is a marvel for any movie enthusiast that wants to bring the cinematic experience right into their living room. Its 4K Ultra HD resolution is aided by other technologies such as its Triluminos Display, which brings out true-to-life colors and tones. The projector also supports the viewing of HDR content which makes it great for gaming, and has a lamp that grants up to 6000 hours of lamp life (in low lamp mode). Is this enough to rank it among the best projectors in 2020? Stick with this review to find out. If you’re looking for a slightly cheaper high performing projector, consider the Benq w1500 instead.

Why We Like It – Sony VW285ES

The Sony VPL-VW285ES is a great choice for anyone that is looking for a home theater projector that is capable of playing High Dynamic Range content at a native 4K Ultra HD resolution. With a lamp life of 6000 hours, this is sure to be a long-term buy that’ll keep running for a while before you start doing any maintenance. For a slightly more expensive projector, take a look at the Acer H6517st review.

Pros
  • Long lamp life in eco mode
  • Quiet projector
  • High brightness at 1500 lumens
Cons
  • No Dynamic Iris to improve black scenes
  • No lens memory

Performance

Sony has gained a reputation as one of the brands that’s doing a lot to push down the costs of its high quality 4K projectors, and the VPL-VW285ES Sony is one such example. The home theater projector comes equipped with a brightness of up to 1500 lumens which is great for viewing even in ambient lighting, but not enough to compete with the Optoma HD29 Darbee at 3200 lumens. Even though Sony didn’t disclose its contrast ratio, we could see that this UHD HDR projector had great black levels, as its black colors appeared deep and well saturated, even in the absence of dynamic iris (a feature that improves the handling of black scenes). The projector also has a motorized 2.6x zoom lens, which allows for easier adjusting of the picture according to your wall space.

Design

Like most Sony projectors, the Sony VW285ES comes coated in a dark grey finish, with the Sony Logo sitting well on it’s upper side. It doesn’t look as good as the BenQ TK800, but it does offer a whole lot more than its formidable competitor. Near the front of the projector’s side we have a control panel that consists of a power button, an input button, a menu button and a joystick for easier navigation. The projector also has a good range of input options, with 2 HDMI inputs that both support high dynamic range & 4K content, an RS-232 port, a LAN port for networking, a USB port and an IR in sensor for the remote control.

Value

One of the things that the Sony VPL-VW285ES offers as one of its best capabilities is its MotionFlow menu, which allows you to reduce the amount of blur and judder that you experience when viewing your content. In addition to that, you’ll also be able to determine how long your lamp lasts depending on the lamp mode that you choose. The low lamp mode allows you to go the longest period at 6000 hours, but it doesn’t come close to that of the Optoma HD143X at 8000 hours. If this mode doesn’t give you enough brightness though, you can also go for picture preset modes such as Cinema Film 1 for the highest brightness level, and Cinema Film 2 for 4K content and HDR. There’s also a reference mode that provides a good baseline that you can use to compare and decide between the different modes.

Sony VW285ES Wrap Up

This home theater projector may cost a bit more than most people are prepared to shell out, but it does deliver very sharp pictures due to its 4K UHD resolution. The projector is great even for day viewing, and could actually end up being an amazing substitute for your TV in the long run.

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Optoma UHD50 Review

Most home theater projectors that have a 4K resolution will probably retail at more than a $1000, making the Optoma UHD50 a steal for the kind of picture quality that it delivers. The UHD home theater projector also enjoys a wide color gamut, meaning its pictures are color rich and well saturated. Its lamp life of up to 15000 hours means you’ll have plenty of time before you have to change the lamp, and its brightness of 2400 lumens means everything appears as crystal clear as you’d want things to. These and a lot more features allow the Optoma UHD50 to be on our list of the best projectors, but is it really the perfect upgrade for your home entertainment set up? Read on to find out more.

Why We Like It – Optoma UHD50

The Optoma UHD50 is a home theater projector that brings the cinematic experience right into your living room thanks to its 4K Ultra HD resolution, its 140 inch optimal image size, and its support for HDR content. Compare this with Screen Innovations 5 series motorized projector review to determine which projector is best for your home.

Pros
  • High color accuracy
  • 4K UHD resolution
  • HDR10 compatible
Cons
  • Weak on-board radio
  • No Full HD 3D

Performance

The image quality delivered by the Optoma UHD50 is brilliant due to a contrast ratio of 500,000:1, which is delivered by its Dynamic Black technology that adjusts the lamp output to produce near-cinema black levels. This is far more than what you’ll get with the Optoma HD29 Darbee at 30,000:1. The projector also comes with a DLP chip, which uses microscopic mirrors and a spinning colour wheel to create an image. The projector boasts of a short throw ratio, allowing you to fill a 120-inch diagonal screen size at a distance of about 10.5 feet. The Ultra HD home theater projector also has a decent lens shift range, and four phase pixel shifting to quadruple the number of pixels on the screen.

Design

Compared to the BenQ HT2550 or the BenQ TK800, the design of the Optoma UHD50 really doesn’t have much to write home about. The DLP projector also doesn’t have very good audio and dynamic range due to the two 5-Watt speakers on-board, so the best option is to hook it up to your set of external speakers. Out of the box, the projector comes with a lens cap, an AC power cord, a HDMI cable, a remote control and the projector’s carrying case.

Value

For those a bit concerned about power consumption, the Optoma UHD50 comes with an eco mode that you can use to reduce the lumen output by about a third (33%), and also get it to be completely silent as you watch your movie. The projector also allows for a vertical lens shift of about 10% (which you don’t get with the Optoma HD143), which is good enough for considerable image adjustment along the Y-axis. Gaming on the Optoma UHD50 is also a joy thanks to a 57ms input lag, which is too little to notice once you’ve got some action going on your Xbox One X.

Optoma UHD50 Wrap Up

As a UHD DLP projector that’s now under $1000, the Optoma UHD50 is reasonably priced. The value you get is a lot more than you’re paying for, since most of the features that the projector has are reserved for models that go for more than $1500. Numbers aside, the Optoma UHD50 is a projector that is sure to keep you away from the cinemas for a very long time.

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Anker Nebula Capsule Review

The first thing you’ll notice about the Nebula Capsule is its form factor. This portable projector also doubles up as a bluetooth speaker, which is a combination that’s not easy to find. The Anker Nebula Capsule runs Android as its Operating System, which is not too bad considering that most of us would easily figure out how to work it. The pico projector also packs a battery life of up to 3 hours, and has an included remote that you probably won’t find yourself using a lot. Either way, we still think it deserves a spot on your list of the best projectors. Here’s why:

Why We Like It – Anker Nebula Capsule

The Nebula Capsule is the best portable alternative for anyone who doesn’t want to move around with a big clunky projector. The soda-can sized projector features a 5,200mAh battery that powers it for upto 3 hours, and built in JBL speakers for good audio quality. This is a great on the go projector, but take a look at the BenQ W1500 Digital Projector for your home.

Pros
  • Good battery life
  • Runs Android
  • Very portable
Cons
  • No Access to Google Play Store
  • Low brightness

Performance

This mini projector packs a top brightness of about 100 ANSI lumens (500 lumens), which really isn’t as bright as your normal black box – cue the Optoma HD29 Darbee. Despite that, picture quality on the Anker Nebula is still respectable, though a standard resolution of 854 x 480 pixels might make you think of it more as your backup in case the main projector fails. Its operating system also looks quite similar to that of Android TV, but you’ll only get to use that actual OS if you decide to upgrade to the Nebula Capsule II. This projector also lets you listen to music through its speaker mode. It doesn’t get that loud, but still manages up to 30 hours of playback – nothing to scoff at.

Design

The size & design of the Nebula Capsule will probably be one of the main reasons you decide to buy it. It doesn’t look as good as the BenQ TK800, but its cylindrical shape looks fun, and you get to choose between having it in black or red. On its top you’ll see all the controls you’ll need to operate it. These are the power buttons, volume controls and a switch button that lets you alternate between projector mode and bluetooth speaker mode. The projector also comes with an included remote, which makes navigation more convenient when you want to control the projector right from your seat. Its inputs are just the necessary micro-USB port (for charging or a storage device) and a HDMI port.

Value

The Anker Nebula’s support for Android unfortunately doesn’t grant it access to the Google Play Store. This means streaming from Netflix Amazon might be a bit difficult at first, but not if you run Aptoide TV. It’ll grant access to most of the apps that you’d like to use, while still omitting a bunch of others. If not getting apps from Google Play is an absolute dealbreaker for you, another alternative might be downloading the APK of your favourite apps then installing them through the file manager. It might sound cumbersome at first, but if you’re determined to get your share of apps on the Play Store to run on the Capsule, then there’s no other choice. Once you get things set up, its IR remote control should allow you to navigate effectively, just like that of the Optoma HD 143X.

Anker Nebula Capsule Wrap Up

The Anker Nebula Capsule is a great buy for someone who wants a camping projector, or a temporary alternative in case the main projector happens to fail. It can work well as long as it’s in a place with minimum ambient light. Using apps from any app store can be hard especially if you’re not enough of a nerd to figure it out, but the Capsule II tends to solve this problem thanks to its support of Android TV and Google Assistant.

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Best Projectors

Optoma HD143X Review

The Optoma HD143X printer is an affordable alternative for a projector. If you’re sold on a projector for your home, take a look at five of the best home theater projectors instead. Its cost is not too much for what it has to offer, so you’ll get a lot of value from it if you do decide to purchase. The Optoma HD143X is marketed as one for home entertainment, and its price point also reflects the same. It comes with a brightness of 3000 lumens, making it bright enough even for rooms that have a considerable amount of ambient light in them. The projector’s lamp life is also quite impressive at close to 15,000 hours, placing it in the list of the best projectors you can get.

Why We Like It – Optoma HD143X

The Optoma HD143X is a 1080p Full HD home theater projector that has most of the features that you’d want for home use. The DLP projector also provides an immersive experience when gaming or watching movies thanks to its support for 3D viewing. The Optoma HD143X is a 1080p Full HD home theater projector that has most of the features that you’d want for home use. The DLP projector also provides an immersive experience when gaming or watching movies thanks to its support for 3D viewing.

Pros
  • Full HD for both 2D & 3D
  • 3000 lumens of brightness
  • Up to 15,000 hour lamp life
Cons
  • Loud fan motor
  • No Bluetooth Connectivity

Performance

The Optoma HD143X has impressive features that are sure to make you think about you taking it home. It has a dynamic contrast ratio of 23000:1 that enhances the dark areas of an image, though it is dwarfed by that of the Optoma HD29 Darbee that stands at 30000:1. It also features a HD resolution of 1920 x 1080p, and a short input lag of 32 milliseconds that keeps things snappy when you’re playing games. The projector delivers excellent image quality regardless of whether you’re viewing in 3D or 2D, and in regards to sound quality, the HD143X comes with a 10-watt mono speaker that can get reasonably loud. If the volume still doesn’t happen to be enough, you can always hook up your surround sound system.

Design

In terms of design, the home theater is not very different from the design of other home theater projectors. Unlike the colorful BenQ TK800 4K UHD projector, It only comes in the black, and measures 4.2 by 12.5 by 9.7 inches. Setting it up is also fairly easy thanks to its manual focus & zoom, and its IR remote control which adds to its convenience of use. The projector also has a keystone correction of up to 40 degrees, though using this isn’t the best option as it might distort the image quality.

Value

The Optoma HD143X comes with various shooting modes depending on how well you want to preserve its lamp life. It clocks 12,000 hours in Dynamic mode, 10,000 hours in Eco mode and 3,500 hours in bright mode. The projector also has great out-of-the box picture quality, meaning you won’t need to spend a lot of time tweaking the settings. Its 3000 lumens of brightness also compares well to competitors such as the BenQ HT2150ST that boasts of only 2200 lumens, and for big screen fans, the HD143X is capable of up to 215 to 290 inches measured diagonally. This is still quite big even for home entertainment.

Optoma HD143X Wrap Up

The Optoma HD143X is a great projector for home use thanks to its high contrast, low input lag, light weight of 5.5 pounds and its affordable price tag. We would recommend it to anyone who’s just looking to ramp up their home entertainment hub without necessarily leaving a hole in their wallet.

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Best Projectors

BenQ’s MH350 May Be the Affordable Home Projector You’ve Been Waiting For

If you are looking for a great home theater projector like the Epson Home Cinema 2150 Projector, you’ll love this BenQ model. One of the big draws of home projects is the cost: You can get a full HD image at whatever size you want – and at a fraction of the cost of a big-screen TV. This advantage is shining bright and clear with the BenQ MH350 home projector, which costs only $1,000 while offering plenty of excellent entertainment features.  It’s definitely in the running for the best cheap projector. If this is still out of your price range, take a look at how to make projector-big results on a budget.

It could well be the best budget projector in the market.

It looks like we have a contender for the best home theater projector for 2016 on our hands.

This project also comes with a lamp rating of 3,200 lumens, which is particularly bright in this market and helps solve the visibility issues that can sometime plague these projectors. That lamp also lasts an especially long time, up to 6,500 hours in all. The DLP engine inside is ready for 3D content as well, as long as you have the right content and components to use it.

This model is also “Colorific,” a name for BenQ technology designed to help provide as vibrant a picture as possible. One of the primary issues with projectors can be washed-out colors and tones, and Colorific is designed to help with this. With a 10,000:1 contrast rating, this projector could use some help in this department, so it’s nice to see BenQ highlighting this tech.

BenQ MH530 side
This home projector is great for first-timers.

Finally, the lamp save mode offers you a dimmer setting that helps you save even more money in the long run by preserving lamp life. There’s an additional mode that activates when the project is detached from a content source to save even more power in a sort of sleep mode.

Are there downsides? Well, as long as you install the projector with a bit of forethought (we suggest taking a look at some of the accessory components if you do decide to buy), there aren’t many drawbacks here: the MH350 has a great set of specs, hands down. However, you are stuck with 1080p “resolution” quality, which does suffer against comparisons to increasingly cheap 4K TVs. What do you think? Is $1,000 a low enough price to make this model competitive in the mainstream market? BenQ sure looks like it knows what it’s doing.

Related Articles:

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BenQ HT3050 Review Roundup

The BenQ HT3050 is am $800 home projector that tries to reach toward high end projection qualities while still keeping the price as low as possible. If you need a less expensive option, try our BenQ MSS17 SmartEco Projector review. It doesn’t quite succeed in this, but it is a notable contestant in the middle of the market.  If you’re shopping on a budget, you might want to consider the best cheap projector. Let’s take a closer look! The Epson Home Cinema 1440 Projectors might be worth a look too. Learn more about Why You Should Buy a New Home Theater Projector. If you prefer to DIY, take a look at how to make a projector on a budget with big results.

Features

This 1080p 3D projector offers a 100-inch images from 8.4 feet, with options for up to 100 feet of coverage (and an option 2D keystone side projection). The stereo speaker in the model offers up to 20 watts of sound. At 2000 lumens, it’s not the brightest projector, but it does come with lens shift option, which may help with closer placement. Ports in the model include both 3 HDMI ports, with an included MHL connection. If you’d rather have a projector with a screen, give our Screen Innovations 5 series Motorized Projector review a read too.

Pros

  • Accurate color without adjustment
  • Low lag

Cons

  • Some installation limitations
  • Not as good as high-end models
BenQ HT3050 Back
BenQ HT3050 ports

Projector Reviews

Projector Reviews recommends this BenQ model for those who want something better than an entry-level home projector, but don’t have much to spend. They put its brightness and image processing at better than low-end projectors, but not really comparable to high-end models. Fortunately, they did approve of the ports and features, although they found the picture looked best without any tinkering.

“BenQ’s big pitch for this “Colorific” projector is its REC 709 mode.  It doesn’t matter what you call it, some might call that mode; Cinema, or Theater or Movie, or???  The point is that BenQ does a very good job, providing rather accurate color right out of the box in their REC 709 mode which is the best looking one.

Because both the HT3050 and it’s big brother, the HT4050 both have REC 709 modes, I had hoped that the same calibration settings for the HT4050 would work for the HT3050.  They do not!  Normally I would have had the HT3050 calibrated in that case, but at $999, where few will ever bother to pay someone to calibrate their projector, I decided it wasn’t worth the trouble since that REC 709 mode looks so good without any adjustment.”

PC Mag

PC Mag notes that the projector makes a good upgrade from cheap 3D home projects (although it does come without 3D glasses, and praises the sound system as far better than expected. However, they did note that rainbow artifacts may be a problem for some users.

“The HT3050 is a touch bigger than most home-entertainment projectors, at 4.8 by 15 by 10.9 inches (HWD), and on the heavy side, at 7 pounds 14 ounces. That makes it a little less portable than most, which might be an issue if you want a projector that you can easily move from room to room or take to a friend’s house to watch a movie. BenQ says that the extra size and weight goes hand in hand with the better-than-typical sound quality, however. And keep in mind that it’s a lot easier to carry and set up a projector that weighs a pound or two more than most than it would be to carry a lighter projector plus a separate audio system.”

Amazon Users

Amazon users were overall impressed with this BenQ, praising multiple facets including color, low noise levels, good keystone controls, and visual clarity. Some of the few problems noted by repeat reviews including difficulties setting up on a shelf (the projector apparently works best with a ceiling mount) and some overheating after continued use.

“After much review, tech support, pictures, youtube reviews, etc, I chose the HT3050. Im very happy with my choice. I have about a 156″ super clear display at about 13ft. The benefit of the 2150ST was the low latency in gaming lag. Well, the first time I played my XboxOne through the HT3050, I noticed no lag whatsoever. The picture quality on this thing is astounding. Every color is vivid and colorful. There are no rainbow effects. No lag between frame rates. If you are debating between this one and another projector in this price range, I guarantee you will be extremely satisfied with this projector. I have it in Eco mode and the picture quality literally didn’t even seem to diminish. So I’m getting a lot more lamp life out of an amazing looking projector.”

Bottom Line

If you really want a 3D projector but also want it to do other things, this BenQ may be a good choice. Just make sure your mounting options match.

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5 Best Projector Screens in [year]

To find the best projector screen we started by buying the top 15 models on the market and tested them with our own eyes using our favorite games and movies. During our real-time testing, we paid special attention to features like color accuracy, gain, ease of installation and different surface materials. We took these tests, and narrowed our list down to the best projector screens. With one of the best projector screens, this projector should be easy set up in your living room.

Jump To: Compare the features of the top Projector Screens.

During our testing, we were impressed with each screen’s ability to display a stellar picture, but in the end, we chose the Silver Ticket 100″ projector screen as our winner and #1 pick. Its super affordable price, tensioned rod system and ability to display the best picture possible made it an easy pick for us. Keep reading to learn more about this projector screen and the others we though good enough to make the cut.

Best Projector Screen

 61uxywappsl-_sl1280_51lqzpdewsl-_sl1000_71ed3o6dd7l-_sl1500_
Silver Ticket Projector ScreenElite Screens ezFrame SeriesBest Choice Products Manual Projector Screen
Rank#1 - Editor's Choice#1 - Best for Gaming#3 - Best Budget
Amazon Rating4andhalf-stars4andhalf-stars4andhalf-stars
Size100"120"119"
View Size (Height/Width)53.8" x 91.9"58.7" x 104.7"84" x 84"
Screen MaterialWhite Screen CineGray 5DHigh Gain Matte White
Gain1:11:1.51:1
Tensioned?green-check-markgreen-check-markred-x-icon
Price$189.98$1198.49$52.99
Buy NowBuy NowBuy Now

#1 Pick Silver Ticket 100″ Projector Screen

Silver Ticket
The Silver Ticket is your “ticket” to a perfect mid-range home theater experience

Award: Editor’s Choice

Price: $189.98 Features: Tensioned rod straightening system, 1:1 gain, 160° viewing angle, 100″ white screen

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: For mid-range projector owners, the Silver Ticket 100″ is your “ticket” to a beautiful home theater experience.

For the budding home theater enthusiast who doesn’t want to drop half a house payment on their next projector screen, the Silver Ticket 100″ provides a nice balance of premium features at a cost that won’t leave you out an arm and a leg by the time you hobble away from the checkout counter.

With 1:1 gain and a super simple setup process, the Silver Ticket is perfect for larger home theaters and living rooms. Plus, it helps that this projector is easy to put together. Whether you’re running a short-throw or long-throw projector, as long as you’ve got the space to spare, a 100″ screen looks good from almost any distance. Plus, thanks to the vinyl screen material your media’s colors will really be able to shine in ways you never thought possible before.  For more options on a budget, try the best cheap projector.

View on Amazon- $189.98

#2 Pick Elite Screens ezFrame Series 120 Projector

Elite Screens ezFrame

If you have the money to spend, the Elite Screen ezFrame is the one projector screen to rule them all

Award: Best Projector Screen for Gaming

Price: $1198.49 | Features: CineGray 5D screen material, 4K Ultra HD ready, 1:1.5 gain

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Elite Screens ezFrame Series 120″ offers the peak of projector screen performance.

There are cost-effective projection screens, there are quality-built projector screens, and then there’s the cream-of-the-crop Elite Screens ezFrame Series 120″, a 4K projector screen that stands in a category all its own. Fully-tensioned, acutely honed and tuned to CineGray 5D standards, and complete with Ambient Light Rejecting technology, this is the absolute best projector screen you can get under $1,000 on shelves today. This will give you a quality at-home viewing experience in a way that doesn’t break the bank.

Elite Screens continues to be one of the best in the business when it comes to providing quality products that measure up to the standards set by other projector manufacturers in the business. So whether you plan on using your personal theater for movies, sports, or video games, there isn’t another model out there that can stand toe-to-toe with everything the ezFrame can do with both hands tied behind its velvety-black back.

View on Amazon – $1198.49

#3 Pick Best Choice Products Manual 119″ Projector ScreenBest Choice Products Manual

Sure, it may not be the “best” as its name suggests, but it’s definitely the best bang for your buck bar none

Award: Best Budget Projector Screen

Price: $52.99 | Features: 84″ x 84″ white material viewing space, manual pulldown, non-tensioned

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: No-muss, no-fuss performance at a price that’s too good to pass up.

Sometimes, products don’t make it on to our list because they’re objectively the highest quality, but simply because you can’t beat their insanely low price. The “Best Choice Products Manual Projector Screen” may not have a flashy name or the best features on the block, but it’s still a great choice if you have a low-tier projector setup and don’t mind a few wrinkles around the furthest edges of the screen.

By no means is the Best Choice Products Manual Projector Screen the best choice if you have a projector that inches over the $1,000 mark, but for anyone who’s in the starter market and wants to dip their toes into home theater bliss without diving in full-force, this $52.99 pick ticks off all the minimum requirements with a no-muss, no-fuss setup and decent color reproduction all around.

View on Amazon – $52.99

Mistakes to Avoid

Going to big/small for your setup: While it may seem obvious, you’d be surprised how many people forget to actually measure the space they plan to mount their projector movie screen on before making a purchase. Set up your projector where you think it will fit, and then display the image against the proposed mounting wall. Measure how big the image can go at its maximum width/length, and then once you have that locked in, buy a screen size that fits the display size at its widest point. If you end up with a space that’s the wrong size, the picture quality from the projector will suffer. Projectors range from as small as 4:3 to 16:19 and larger. Following this guide should make it possible to find a projector for your home that fits your needs.

Not buying mounting brackets: One mistake that many first-time projector screen buyers make (including yours truly), is thinking that the screen they buy is a package deal, complete with everything you’ll need to get up and running right out of the box. While some of the choices on this list do come with brackets designed to help you mount the screen onto your wall, others may need a separate kit to get everything set up properly. Be sure to check and see if your screen comes with brackets first, and if not, throw them into the cart alongside the unit you want.

Ignoring viewing angles: Just like regular HDTV displays, the viewing angle on a projector screen can differ wildly depending on quality, performance, and price. Optimally, you want to look for a screen that has anywhere from an 80° – 160° viewing angle, as these will be the best for large living rooms with more than a few seating locations that wrap around the screen, rather than one couch that stares at it dead-on. Before purchasing your screen, make sure to sit in the space where you’ll be viewing content. Take a look and see if you have the angles set up for a projector screen, and room for all of the projector setup. If your room has the space for wide viewing, this would be something to consider when purchasing your projector.

Best Projector Screen Features to Look Out For

Color Accuracy/Gain

  • Perhaps one of (if not the most) important factors you should consider before picking up your next projector screen, is how accurately it reproduces the colors shone out by your companion projector.
  • Though you might not realize it just by looking at pictures of them online, the color profile of all projector screens are not created alike.
  • Without getting bogged down in the technical details of what makes good color gamut, all you need to know is that the gain of a solid screen is “1:1”, which refers to how much light the screen reflects when compared to a uniform reflecting surface known as a “Lambertian surface”. It’s important to consider the gain screen as well when considering the quality of a projectors brightness. When looking at the best projector for your home, it is also important to consider the aspect ratio.

Electric or Pull-Down?

  • Another choice you’ll have to make when selecting your next projection screen is whether or not you want to drop the extra coin on an electrically powered screen that moves on its own, or one you’ll have to pull down manually instead.
  • In general, electric screens cost about twice as much as their manual counterparts due to the extra parts required in their manufacturing process.
  • Electric screens also have the added benefit of giving your home entertainment setup that “professional theater” feel when they slowly descend from the ceiling, but this is all personal preference, of course.

Tensioned vs. Non-Tensioned

  • If you can spring for it, you should almost always go for a “tensioned” screen over non-tensioned.
  • This feature refers to a set of wires that are embedded along both edges of the projection screen, and are pulled taught in order to prevent the screen from getting those “wavy lines” that can form over time.
  • If you want a fully flat image and plan on keeping your projector setup around for a year or more, spending a little extra on a tensioned setup is the way to go. It’s important to consider the build quality when thinking of a projector that was going to work for your home long term. You may want to also consider a motorized projector screen for your home.

Which Best Projector Screen Is Right for You

Ultimately, the best projector screen that’s going to be right for you is going to depend on how much budget you’ve got left over to spend after you’ve purchased your new projector, speakers, and receiver to complete your new home theater. Image quality is important, but it’s possible to find a high-quality projector that won’t break the bank. It’s also important to consider a projector screen that is easy to set up too.

If you have a lot to splurge and demand the highest quality for the upcoming 4K Blu-Ray revolution that’s waiting just over the horizon, the EliteScreens ezFrame Series will be the pick for you. Conversely, if you’re going for the mid-range level of quality you can’t go wrong with the Silver Ticket, and for the budget home theater connoisseur, there’s always the Best Choice Products Manual 119″ to round out our annual lineup.

Also, if you haven’t already, before making your final pick on a screen you should mosey on over to our list of the best projectors of [year] to find the perfect projector combo that will raise the bar of your home theater experience to levels never seen or heard before!

Categories
Best Projectors

Best 4K Projector for [year]

4K is here to stay, and you’re likely looking to update your current home theater setup with one of the best 4k projectors on the market today. However, buying a new 4K projector can be a little intimidating, especially considering the average price tag, but here at GadgetReview, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you.  For something a bit more budget friendly, consider the best cheap projector. We purchased the top 15 4K ultra HD projectors to put them through the movie and gaming test to see which one is the best for you and your home theater. During our testing, we tested specifically for image quality, HDR compatibility, color ranges and more. We watched countless movies and played our share of video games to find the best projector. Plus, one of these projectors will completely eliminate the need for a big screen in your home.

After over 100 hours of testing and eliminating the 5 projectors that didn’t meet our expectations, we can confidently say that the Optoma UHD60 is the best 4K projector of 2020. With its ultra-high contrast ratio, brightness and long-lasting bulb, this 4K projector will run strong in any kind of lighting and entertainment scenario. Keep reading to learn more about the UHD60 and the other 9 4K projectors on our list. By the end of this list of best projectors on the market, you’ll have the perfect fit for your home.

Top 3 Best 4K Projector Compared

 #1  Optoma UHD60 Projector

Award: Best 4K Projector

Features: Native 4K resolution, 15,000-hour lamp life, HDR10 compatible

WHY WE LIKE IT: When writing this list, we were on the lookout for the best 4K projector that struck a nice balance between cost, features, portability and performance.

Pros
  • Super bright picture/3000 lumens
  • Native 4K resolution
  • Quiet operation
Cons
  • Struggles with HDR image quality
  • Input lag is high
  • Top panel isn’t very durable

Even though the UHD60 may not have all the bells and whistles of super high-end projectors, it’s able to pack in most of what we love all while coming in at around $1,600 at the time of this review. This is definitely one of the best home theater projectors on our list.

The Optoma UHD60 packs in all the features you could want out of a 4K projector. This 4K ultra HD projector features an awesome 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, which keeps bright scenes clear and dark scenes detailed, all while boasting an impressive 3000 lumen brightness rating. This ​is plenty of brightness for both dark and light viewing environments, which ensures you’ll have the best experience no matter what time of day it is. Set this projector up in your living room, or set it up in your bedroom. Either way, you’ll have a high-quality image.

For these reasons and so many more, we’re naming this our best 4K projector of 2020. Your living room will rival any movie theater in no time.

 #2  ViewSonic PX747-4K 4K Projector

Award: Best 4K Projector for the Money

Features: Native 4K resolution, HDR content support, 3500 lumens

WHY WE LIKE IT: The ViewSonic 4K projector beats the lumen rating of the Optoma UHD60 at 3500, however in tests the blacks were shown to come off just a little bit lighter than we liked due to its weaker contrast ratio.

Pros
  • Super affordable price
  • 3500 lumen rating
  • HDR support
Cons
  • Contrast ratios could be better
  • Out of box color may need some tweaking

All that aside, when you consider it’s sub-$1000 price tag, it’s easy to forgive those slight missteps to make this the best budget 4K projector you’ll find on shelves. The ViewSonic projector is the perfect entry point for the budding 4K projector enthusiast on a budget. This could also make a fairly good portable projector as well.

Sure, the ViewSonic may not have the best contrast ratios or deepest blacks, but when you consider the price all those minor sins are easily forgiven. This ultra high definition projector is a solid all-arounder for the beginner in 4K projection, someone who isn’t sure that they’re ready to drop an arm and a leg but still want to become a part of the 4K projector elite.

 #3  BenQ HT3550 4k Ultra HD Projector

Features: 2200 lumen rating, 30,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio

WHY WE LIKE IT: With a 2200 lumen rating, HDR-compatibility for true color representation, and a 30,000:1 contrast ratio, the BenQ HT3550 is a great choice for gamers and home theater enthusiasts alike.

Pros
  • Nice contrast ratio
  • Native 4K resolution and HDR support
  • Super sleek design
Cons
  • Could be brighter
  • Can operate a little noisy

The HT3550 is a sleek-looking projector with the performance to match. With a super-wide color gamut, native 4K resolution and a high contrast ratio, this projector is perfect for playing video games.

Unfortunately, the projector isn’t as bright as others on our list, which is why the HT3550 takes the third spot on this list. However, you’ll likely be playing games in the dark anyway, which eliminates this problem for you. The fan also gets quite noisy during intense gaming sessions, but if you’re rocking your gaming headset, you won’t even hear it. For all these reasons, the BenQ HT3550 takes the #3 spot for the best performing 4K projector.

So Which 4K Projector Is Right For You?

While we wished there were more models out there that we could use to crown the best 4K projector, there’s no denying that everything Sony is offering today can still project an image that’s off the charts in terms of quality, color richness, and the overall experience of seeing 4K blown up to real home theater proportions.

Whatever projector you choose on this list, you’re guaranteed to have a movie watching experience unlike anything else out there today. If you’re on a budget the ViewSonic 4K projector will get the job done, and if you want to splurge on the best of the best, the Sony VPLVW385ES is lying in wait. No matter what, the 4K revolution is here, and these are the projectors that will keep you prepared no matter what movies, games, or TV shows you throw their way. If none of the projectors on this list look right for you, take a look at the LG Cinebeam to compare.

Features to Look For

  • Display Size
    With standard 4K TVs, it can be difficult to appreciate the increased pixel count when a screen is any smaller than at least 60″ across. With 4K projectors however, the average screen size will often hover anywhere between 80″ – 140″ across, meaning every pixel has the opportunity to shine in its ultra-high resolution glory. Make sure to check the screen size-to-distance ratios on your projector before settling on your final pick. Having this aspect wrong could severely limit the picture quality, so keep this in mind.
  • Price
    Look, there’s no getting around it so we’re not going to mince words here: 4K projectors are a serious investment, reserved for only the most home entertainment-obsessed individuals out there. So think again if you’re looking for a best 4k projector under $5000. And keep dreaming if you’re looking for a best 4k projector under $2000. It’s just not gonna happen, at least not any time soon. On average a 4K projector will cost a whole heck of a lot more than its 1080p counterpart, averaging anywhere from $8,000 on the low side up to $15,000 for the premium option.
  • Throw Distance
    Just as you would with a standard 1080p projector, one of the first moves you need to make before even considering a 4K projector is to measure the throw distance to be sure there’s enough space between where you plan to mount your projector and where the screen will eventually sit. The market for 4K projectors isn’t big enough for short-throw models to be a thing yet, so all the models we’ve listed here only use standard lenses to get the image from the unit onto the screen wherever it is in the room. To make things easier, you can use a calculator like the one found here to decide which throw distance is right for you.
  • Mounting Position
    This should be a big concern for prospective 4K projector buyers, because unlike their 1080p cousins, 4K projectors can often be extremely heavy, bulky, and hard to mount. If you do intend on mounting it, be sure you’re putting it on a wall-mounted arm or shelf that’s rated to hold the poundage of the projector you want to buy. Some of the projectors we’ve listed here are just over 30lbs at stock, which means that unless you’re confident in your construction abilities it’s probably smarter to find a stable surface to place the projector on rather than hanging it from the ceiling or a wall like you would in classical setups.
  • Fan Noise
    If you thought regular 1080p projectors were loud, just wait until you hear what kind of noise a 4K projector puts out.With more four times the amount of pixels to push out, 4K projectors need heavy duty fans to cool off their bulbs and internals.
  • Screen Quality
    Last, there’s the quality of the screen you’re going to use to project the image onto. If you’re going to splurge on a 4K projector, the last thing you want is for that beautiful, crisp image to be ruined by a sub-par wavy screen made out of budget materials. So be willing to spend and get what will hopefully be the best 4k projector screen for your home theater setup. The basis of a quality 4k image comes from pixel shifting, so make sure to read further into the quality of your projector’s image before purchasing. If you can afford it, try and get an electronic tensioned screen. These screens last longer because you’re not constantly pulling them up and down every time you’re done watching a movie, and are able to stay flatter over time thanks to the tensioned wire wrapped around the edges.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

What about 4K Content and 4K devices?

One of the biggest problems that many 4K consumers run into is jumping the gun on buying their projector (or flatscreen) before finding out whether or not they actually have a system that’s capable of displaying 4K in the first place. The more pixels an image has, the more processing power it takes to get it playing smoothly, which means that you’ll need either a 4K media player or a high-powered PC/laptop with a beefy GPU to handle anything you want to pipe into the projector itself.

There are a few ways to watch 4K content right now: Netflix and Amazon streaming, YouTube (any video with the “4K” option under resolution settings), DirecTV or DISH, and UHD 4K Blu-Ray players. Before you get a 4K projector, be sure you have at least one of the devices mentioned above that can be hooked up to the projector so you can enjoy your content at its absolute best.

What about Throw Distance?

As we mention in the next section, currently there are no 4K projectors on the market that use a short-throw lens. This means that if you want to project your image larger than at least 80″ across, be certain to double-check the manufacturer’s recommendation for the amount of space you’ll need between where you plan to mount or house your device and the placement of the screen in your home theater.

Key Factors to a Good 4K Projector

Frame Rate
With 4K every little detail of your media that might otherwise be obscured by 1080p resolution becomes a lot more vivid when you up the ante. Which means you’ll want a device that’s at least capable of displaying at 30fps (frames per second), but optimally you’ll want to shoot for 60fps if you can get it.

Brightness
This is measured in a metric known as “lumens”, and it’s important to note that most 4K projectors are still struggling in this department (the brightest we have currently is 1800 lumens). If you plan on putting your 4K projector in a room that has a lot of ambient light coming in through the windows during the day, you’d be better off sticking with a 1080p option (like the Epson Home Cinema 1440) that can handle it. But if you plan to watch at night only, this point is moot.

Brand
Last, there are now a handful of “true” 4K projectors – it was just Sony for years. JVC and Epson 4K projectors used to be“psuedo” 4K projectors, which is to say they could not accept 4K content, and the signal has to jump through a lot of hoops to be upscaled, and even then what you get isn’t an actual 4K image like you’d see on a similar flatscreen. But now that’s changed in the last few years with a number of the big brands (and small) offering affordable 4k capable projectors.

Categories
Best Projectors

Best Cheap Projector

To help you find the best cheap projector, one that is well suited to a home theater or business environment, we tested out a plethora of models, looking for products that delivered pristine HD visuals onto large canvases, erring on the side of projectors with high resolutions and just the right lumen capacity, with long-lasting bulbs. We were also looking for products that were easy to set up and easy to navigate, so easy that anyone could get it out of the box and set up to watch movies or business presentations in minutes. We are looking for the best home theater projectors that you can get for your money. With our guide, you’ll have the most high tech home entertainment, at a price point that doesn’t break the bank.

Of the seven best cheap projectors on this list, the Epson VS250 projector certainly shined (!) the brightest, with an equal 3,200 lumens of both color brightness and white brightness output, helping to create a stellar, and easy to see, picture. This projector is simply perfect for business presentations, boasting 800 x 600 SVGA resolution, HDMI compatibility, and an easy-to-use zoom function. Keep reading to learn more about the Epson VS250 and the other projectors on this list. You’ll be ordering the best home theater projector before you know it.

Top 6 Best Cheap Projectors Compared

 #1  Epson VS250 Projector

Award: Top Pick

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Epson VS250 boasts 3,200 lumens of equal color and white brightness, which helps it produce accurate, vivid color, even in well-lit rooms, with an 800 x 600 SVGA resolution, which we found to be adequate for all of the tasks we threw at it. r This is the best projector to use in a business setting.

Pros
  • 3200 lumens; can be seen even in well-lit rooms
  • Set-up is easy, as is making adjustments
  • Fan is very quiet, as low as 28 dB
Cons
  • Not 1080p, or even 720p
  • Struggles with displaying smaller font-sizes
  • Not compatible with smartphones

The Epson VS250 Projector is simply a stunning projector that is just as ideal for streaming visuals in a business presentation as it is at home watching Netflix. The 800 x 600 SVGA resolution may not be true HD, but the 3,200 lumens of equal color and white brightness allows the projected visuals to be seen in any room, no matter how brightly lit it is, a feature that helps offset the slightly lower-than-average pixel count. The included fan is also extremely quiet, with a power saving mode that spits out just 28 dB of noise, eliminating the need for a projector hush box.

We had this thing out of the box and set up in minutes, hooked up to a laptop via HDMI cable and projecting onto a wall. Though it is easy to use, however, there are some limitations when it comes to functionality. As stated above, this product does not produce HD visuals, though you’d be hard pressed to notice, though it does struggle with making small font sizes readable, something we noticed at 14pt and below. Despite the images not being HD, the picture quality of this projector is still extremely high. This is proof that you can get a lot in a best projector under $1000.

 #2  VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini Projector

Award: Honorable Mention

WHY WE LIKE IT: The VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini Projector can display content up to 170” and easily connects to USB, VGA or HDMI devices ( smartphones, gaming consoles, laptops or streaming device) all the while projecting at 1080p for a promising 40,000 hours of bulb life, all at an extremely reasonable price point. This is the perfect projector for homes or offices for play and work.

Pros
  • Compatible with VGA, HDMI and USB
  • Projects from just 4.9ft (throw distance)
  • Projects up to 170”
Cons
  • Not recommended for business use
  • iPhone connection requires Lightning to HDMI adapter
  • Built-in speaker not great

The VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini Projector displays visuals in glorious HD, with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a maximum screen size of 170 inches. The projector is fully compatible with all major gaming systems and streaming devices, via HDMI, and smartphones, as long as you have an HDMI adapter that works with your device. The company also claims that the included bulbs will last through 40,000 hours of use, which means it will be years before you’ll be looking for a replacement product.

The projector is bright and well contrasted and we had no trouble seeing the visuals in a well-lit room in the middle of the day, though the picture was much better at night. The built-in speaker sounded a bit tinny, though there are plenty of output options to run it through your home audio setup. Additionally, this product is intended for home use and not recommended to be used with PowerPoint or other business applications. You could get the best 4K projector and pay a lot, but this one has enough features that you won’t have to. If this is not the best overhead projector for your home, read on to find a projector that works for you.

 #3  TOPVISION Mini Projector

Award: Best Connection Options

WHY WE LIKE IT: The TOPVISION Mini Projector is absolutely rife with connection options, with the ability to stream content via any HDMI-enabled device, USB stick and SD card, allowing smartphones and laptops to be plugged in via USB, which avoids the need for any special hookups. The extended feature set (keystone adjustments and more), and lengthy 2-year warranty makes this the best projector for folks looking for a product that will adjust to their preferred viewing habits..

Pros
  • Two-year warranty
  • Works with USB sticks
  • Company says bulbs will last 30 years
Cons
  • Can be finicky while making adjustments
  • Some blur on edges of screen
  • Best for dark rooms

The TOPVISION Mini Projector is a great entry-level product that is compatible with just about anything you can throw at it, including SD cards, USB sticks and streaming devices, with smartphones and laptops able to be connected via USB cable in addition to HDMI. The projector features a contrast ratio of 2000:1 and a 16:10 aspect ratio with a maximum screen size of 176” and a native resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. The company throws in a two year warranty and boasts that the LED bulbs are good for over 50,000 hours. Don’t forget about the best projector screen for your projector.

This projector is best, however, for dimly lit rooms, especially at night. We found the visuals to be slightly difficult to appreciate during the day, as sunlight poured in. We also noticed some blur around the edges of the screen, though the center was particularly crisp.

 #4  OKCOO Video Projector

Award: Brightest Screen

WHY WE LIKE IT: The OKCOO Video Projector boasts a maximum screen size of 200”, by far the biggest on this list, and has 4500 lumens, making for a sharp and ultra-bright image that is perfect for both home and office use. This is the projector to buy if you are in need of a seriously bright display that can be viewed in just about any setting.

Pros
  • Ultra-large display maxes out at 200”
  • Three year warranty
  • 4500 lumens helps produce bright and clear visuals
Cons
  • Requires HDMI adapter to connect to phones or tablets
  • Fan is slightly loud
  • Adjustments are limited

The OKCOO Video Projector’s main selling points are the ultra-large display, which maxes out at 200”, and the fact that the projector emits 4500 lumens, these features working together to produce some truly breathtaking visuals as you watch movies or play video games. On that note, the device boasts a large number of inputs, including HDMI, MicroSD and USB, making it fully compatible with a large number of gadgets, gaming systems and streaming devices. It also works with smartphones and tablets, but requires the purchase of an HDMI adapter.

The built-in speakers actually sound pretty good, though connecting to your home stereo is probably the better option as we thought the fan was slightly loud, though it wasn’t a huge disruption. We also found the adjustment capabilities to be somewhat limited, though it does have a keystone correction feature. It has many of the features that we also look for in the best mini projector.

 #5  Auking Mini Projector

AwardBest Value

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Auking Mini Projector offers some impressive features, including the ability to play content from a variety of sources at a maximum screen size of 170”, with 1080p support and a keystone correction feature, all at a very low price point. This is a great entry-level projector for consumers looking to get started with the hobby at a price that won’t break the bank.

Pros
  • Great price, considering the features
  • Fan is extremely quiet
  • Extremely lightweight for portability
Cons
  • Not true 1080p, though it can play full HD content
  • Works best in dimly lit rooms
  • Manual is poorly written and confusing

The Auking Mini Projector is a nifty little unit that offers similar features to the competition at a much lower price point. It boasts a maximum display size of 170”, which is on the higher end, with decent built-in speakers and a proprietary cooling technology that keeps the internal fan quiet as can be. The projector is compatible with USB drives, gaming consoles, HDMI-enabled devices, smartphones and tablets, and it is light, coming in under three pounds, making it a great product to take camping or to help host outdoor movie nights.

The project can play 1080p content, but the native resolution is actually 800 x 480 pixels, though the downgrade is barely noticeable. Like some of the other lower priced products on this list, this projector is absolutely perfect for nighttime viewing or viewing in a dimly lit room, but does not excel in brightly lit rooms or during daylight hours.

 #6  ELEPHAS Mini Projector

Award: Best Speakers

WHY WE LIKE IT: The ELEPHAS Mini Projector comes with a pair of HiFi stereo speakers built-in which, to our ears, sound absolutely great and much better than the built-in speakers found with equatable products. This is a great product for people who want good sound out-of-the-box, without the necessity to plug into a home stereo system, though that is an option.

Pros
  • Built-in speakers sound fantastic
  • Three year warranty
  • 4000 lumens makes for bright, vivid picture
Cons
  • Not HD, but supports 1080
  • Fan is not as quiet as we’d like
  • Primarily for dimly lit rooms

The ELEPHAS Mini Projector is a solidly built unit with some above average stereo speakers, along with the option to add an external speaker via a 3.5mm output. It has a maximum display size of 180” and comes with the ability to send the projection in four different directions, maximizing your living or outdoor space. The company also throws in a three-year warranty and boasts that the LED bulbs are rated to last for 50,000 uses, which is tied for the longest bulb length on this list

Though the projector is not HD, maxing out at a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, we found the picture to be excellent, especially at night or in a dimly lit room. This product has the loudest fan on this list, however, though the noise was offset by the brilliance of the stereo speakers.

How We Decided

There are many overhead projectors out there, with a ton of features and, also, limitations. Our primary concern as we ran through testing was to see how the display looked and whether or not it was watchable in both daylight and nighttime hours. Many of the above projectors are not 1080p, on paper, but if they offered a lower resolution we made sure that it would be hardly noticeable to the eyes, favoring products with suitable brightness and contrast to make up the difference. If you’re trying to upgrade your home cinema, one of these projectors will definitely do the trick.

We also wanted to make sure that these projectors could work with a variety of input sources, with most of the above products offering connectivity via HDMI and USB and some offering SD card support and the ability to stream content wirelessly from a phone or tablet. We were also looking for quiet projectors whose fans would not interrupt family movie nights or business presentations. On that note, the above list offers a nice mix of projectors suitable for home or office use, with many options able to do both equally well.

Finally, we favored projectors that would last a long time, with bulbs that were rated for extended use, in some cases for decades, and products that offer lengthy warranties, in the two or three year range.

Overhead Projector Buying Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Brightness
    Simply put, the brighter the room, the bigger the need for a projector with a high lumen count. For dark rooms, 1000 to 1200 lumens should be sufficient, although classrooms and conference rooms often need 2500 lumens or more. In addition, in order to project large images clearly, you’ll want a product with a higher brightness rating. The brightness of your projector will affect your image quality, so it’s important to know what you need before buying. With brightness, it’s also important the lamp life on the device.
  2. Contrast Ratio
    Contrast ratio, in its simplest form, is the ratio of light reflected from an all white image and an all black image. A projector with a 3000:1 contrast ratio means that the white image is 3000 times brighter than the black image. A higher contrast ratio indicates a greater ability for the projector to show subtle color details and help tolerate ambient light. A projector should have a contrast ratio of 1000:1, at a minimum, which is a threshold every product on the above list meets or exceeds.
  3. Input/Output Options
    Modern projectors offer a variety of input and output connections, with every above product offering HDMI and VGA ports, at the very least. Some products boast SD card slots, USB ports and the ability to stream content wireless from a smartphone or tablet. On the output end, it’s always nice to have the ability to connect the projector to external speakers.
  4. Portability
    Make sure to check the weight of the projector and whether or not it can easily attach to a tripod device, both factors ensuring that it can easily be moved about for outdoor movie nights and the like. Also, a smaller projector, like a 2:3, might be easier to transport than a larger 16:19. At the very least, look for products that allow for easy projector adjustment, with some of the above units allowing for adjustments on the fly using packed-in remote controls. If you are looking to use the projector outside, you may want to invest in a projection screen.
Categories
Best Projectors

BenQ HT2150ST 1080p Projector Review

If you are looking for a 4k UHD projector for entertainment like watching streaming content or gaming, the BenQ HT2150ST gaming projector is a good choice. If you want a projector for watching movies, you might want to consider five of the best home theater projectors instead. It has an excellent contrast rate and plenty of brightness for gamers. The BenQ HT2150ST 1080p Projector also has a super low input lag for superior gaming performance, worthy of our best projector list.

The HT2105ST is bright and beautiful.

The BenQ HT2150ST’s low input lag and an excellent contrast rate of 15,000:1 makes it perfect for movies and games. You can create a 100-inch display at a short throw distance of only 5 feet.

Is The BenQ HT2150ST Worth It?

Sale
BenQ HT2150ST Projector
This project is a great performer.

Who needs a TV when you have 4k projectors like this one for your home?

Pros
2200 ANSI lumens Low input lag Large display, short throw distance
Cons
Brightness uniformity isn’t always perfect

It isn’t always easy to play video games on projectors. This can be because the input lag is high or the brightness isn’t bright enough. There’s usually something stopping it from being a perfect video game projector. That is not the case with the BenQ HT2150ST 1080p projector. You can expect very low lag times.

BenQ HT2150ST Projector Design

For the most part, modern projectors all share the same design of being a rounded rectangle with a lens, some buttons, and inputs in the back. This projector bucks that trend by being a bit sleeker than most. The design is a step above the competition. It has the usual buttons on top for easy control and adjusting the settings.

It has builtin speakers, but like most of these projectors, it isn’t great. You will want to add your own speaker system.

BenQ HT2150ST Connectivity

So what can you connect to this projector? It actually has decent connectivity options. There are two HDMI ports, one that supports MHL for mobile devices. There’s also a VGA input, an RS-232 port and a 12v trigger, and two 3.5mm audio jacks.

Other Features

This BenQ DLP projector HT2150ST comes with a native 1080p Full HD image quality with 2200 ANSI lumens, 15,000:1 contrast ratio, a 6x RGBRGB color wheel for rich and vivid colors and details that are calibrated perfectly for movies and gaming. Short throw projection allows you to project a 100 inch screen from just 3 feet away and it will project up to 300 inches. That will immerse you in your favorite games for sure, for an amazing gaming experience.

Low input lag and unique game modes make sure that your gaming session is ultra-smooth and reduces motion blur. There’s also vertical keystone correction and a 1.2x zoom and it boasts an excellent contrast rate of 15,000:1. The quiet fan is also a big plus in this DLP projector.

Performance

This gaming projector has some of the clearest and crisp details I’ve seen from a short throw projector in some time.  And it is awesome to be able to get a very large image size from such a short throw distance. Whether you are watching movies or games, this home theater projector delivers a sharp and bright vivid picture. The brightness and color vibrancy makes it an ideal pick for entertainment.  It is near perfection when gaming, with accurate color.

Bottom Line

This 1080p gaming projector is the ideal choice for gamers, sports or movie watchers and is a great addition to your home theater. BenQ is known for its quality home cinema projectors and they have done it again. This projector for gaming will not disappoint. It delivers a superb smooth game picture with or without a projector screen. It is far better than using a gaming monitor.