Home cinema for many people is a dream dating back to childhood, well, who hasn't dreamed of watching their favourite cartoon or a new superhero blockbuster on the big screen in their own living room lying on a comfortable couch? And our time has its own rules, which often consist of quarantine restrictions and closed public cinemas. In such circumstances, the purchase of the best home projector becomes even more desirable. Our article will help you choose the best projector for your home.
A bright, in the truest sense of the word, representative of the budget segment of projectors, which is equipped with a lamp with a light output in maximum mode at 3600 lumens. The service life of the lamp makes up to 15 thousand hours when you use the energy-saving mode SuperEco, in the same mode the manufacturer promises the maximum contrast ratio at 22000:1. The device is equipped with a DLP matrix with XGA resolution, 1024×768 pixels and support for 3D content. The projection distance varies between 1.19-13.11 meters, with a projected image diagonal of 100 inches being reached at a distance of 4 meters. You can connect sources via HDMI or one of two DVI interfaces.
Dimensions of the device: 294×218×110 mm, weight 2.12 kg.
The model has a pretty modest specification, but unlike its competitors very attractive price. In addition, the projector boasts a LED light source, and of course, in consequence of this small size and low power consumption. The manufacturer promises up to 50,000 hours of operation of the "lamp. The image can be adjusted up to ± 30° vertically and ± 15° horizontally to correct keystone distortions. For TikTok enthusiasts, vertical operation of the projector is available.
The downside of the attractive price is a modest brightness of 200 lumens, which will allow you to use the projector only in fully darkened rooms. You can set the screen diagonal size in the range from 32 to 80 inches, with the distance from the screen to the projector 71 - 176 cm. To connect to the gadget, you can use HDMI or wireless WiFi connection, you can also use USB memory sticks or microSD cards.
Dimensions of the device: 232×168×92 mm, weight 1.3 kg.
This projector, like many LED models can safely be called compact: the dimensions of the device only 115×150×150 mm, weight - 1.3 kg. The case is made of white plastic, the front side is covered with a dark cloth. On the back side there are power and headphone jacks, USB 2.0 and HDMI.
The device hardware consists of Amlogic T968 processor, Mali T830MP2 graphics accelerator, 2 Gbytes of RAM and 8 Gbytes of storage. The firmware is the official Android TV familiar to many people from Xiaomi TV boxes.
The projector is equipped with the LED of the German company Osram with a lifetime of 30000 hours, its brightness is 500 lumens, the image contrast is up to 1300:1. Focusing and correction of vertical keystone distortion is automatic. Two 5-watt speakers are responsible for sound, and the Mi Smart Compact Projector can also be connected to a Bluetooth speaker.
Epson EH-TW5820 projector has everything at once: FullHD resolution, brightness up to 2700 lumens, UHE lamp, which life can be up to 7500 hours in Eco mode. The dynamic contrast ratio is 70000:1.
Smart functionality is realized with the help of a small stick plugged into one of two HDMI connectors (located on the back panel of the device under the cover). Android TV 9 is installed on the smart-adapter.
The gaming component of the projector is implemented by means of fast image processing mode, latency in which is only 26 ms, high brightness is also not superfluous and will make visible all the details of the games.
Besides, the model is notable for its rather modest, as for its capabilities, dimensions: 315×309×122 mm, weight 3.8 kg.
LED lamp, brightness 1350 lumens, contrast 10000:1
projection ratio 1.2:1, distance 1-7 m
XGiMi H2 is a device running Android 6.0 with its own shell GUMI, which gives the user a full-fledged smart TV.
The projector uses DLP technology and has a physical resolution of 1080P. The LED lamp has a brightness of up to 1350 lumens, which makes it possible to comfortably use the projector in the dark or with a minimum backlight, a good contrast level of 10000:1 as a positive impact on the final result. The front-facing camera also has automatic focusing and keystone compensation. The gadget has 3D support, DLP-Link glasses will be needed for this.
XGiMi H2 has a wide range of interface connectors: two HDMI 2.0, one USB version 2.0 and two USB version 3.0, S/PDIF, LAN and 3.5mm headphone jack. For wireless connections, the projector features a dual-band WiFi adapter and Bluetooth 4.0.
UHE lamp, 3400 lumens brightness, 16000:1 contrast ratio
Projection ratio 1.02-1.23:1, distance 1-7 m
A mid-range model that focuses on image performance. Which is actually more important for projector, after all, when we connect Smart-TV box to the device we get full-fledged smart device. But we can not forget to mention that the projector is equipped with a WiFi module with Miracast video transmission technology to transmit the image from the laptop or smartphone screen.
Wired connection can be done via two HDMI, VGA or composite inputs. Audio output is in the form of a 3.5mm jack.
The projector is equipped with a UHE lamp with a rather high level of brightness - 3400 lumens and a lifetime of 6000 hours in normal mode or 12000 hours in Eco mode. The maximum image contrast reaches 16000:1. This device has a function of automatic correction of keystone distortion horizontally and vertically ± 30 °, focusing the image is done manually.
Dimensions of the device: 302×252×92, weight 2.8 kg.
compact size and weight make Acer B250i not only a good choice for home, but also for traveling out of town or even for vacation (unless you like to travel "lightweight"). To be more precise, the dimensions of the device are 205×205×84 mm and its weight is only 1450 grams.
But this device is attractive not only for portability, the characteristics are also quite good: brightness - 1000 lumens in standard and 1200 in maximum modes, contrast up to 5000:1, FullHD 1080p resolution, the maximum 100″ diagonal. Lamp life is up to 30,000 hours when used in economy mode or 20,000 hours in normal mode.
Not only HDMI, but also USB Type C, which supports video signal transmission, are located on the rear panel of the device for connection of video source. Using USB Type A you can connect a removable storage and play back the content stored on it. With built-in WIFI adapter and support for Miracast technology can be streamed to the device "over the air.
BenQ TK850 - top 4K projector
DLP, 3840x2160 physical resolution
Lamp, 3000 lumens brightness, 30000:1 contrast ratio
Projection ratio 1.13-1.47:1, screen up to 300"
HDR10, HLG, 3D
If you need a projector with 4K resolution and HDR 10 support, then BenQ TK850 is your choice. It features a 0.47" DMD matrix with a resolution of 3840×2160. The lamp of the device has a brightness of 3000 lumens, which gives the device a good "margin of safety" for working in a lit room and for watching 3D movies. The contrast can be as high as 30000:1.
Lamp life is 4000 hours in normal mode, up to 15000 hours in SmartEco mode.
Two HDMI 2.0 connectors and one audio output are located on the rear panel of the projector for connecting devices; with USB 3.0 you can play files from removable storage devices, moreover, USB is available for power supply of smart devices or charging smartphones with current up to 2.5 amps. There is also 12 volt trigger output for projection screen opening and RS232.
Dimensions of the device: 380×263×127 mm, weight 4.2 kg.
Laser, brightness 1600 lumens, contrast ratio 3000:1
Projection ratio 0.233:1, distance 0.05-0.5 meters
Android TV, 3D, HDR
This projector is a hit for a reason. The projection diagonal of 150" at a distance of half a meter from the screen creates a real wow effect. Installation and mounting is very simple - you just need to put the device on the cabinet under the screen. The built-in speaker system is located on the front of the projector and consists of four speakers: two bass and two treble.
The source of light in this device is a laser, 0.47" DMD matrix, the brightness is 1600 ANSI lumens and the maximum contrast is 3000:1.
The Android TV 9.0 is powered by the quad-core Amlogic T968 processor, Mali T830 graphics, 2 Gb of RAM and 16 Gb of fixed memory.
The device is equipped with a good set of interfaces, connectors are located on the back panel: three HDMI 2.0, one of which supports ARC protocol (required to connect the projector to the audio receiver), USB 2.0 and 3.0, S/PDIF, 3.5mm audio output and 3.5mm combined composite audio-video input.
Dimensions of the device: 410×291×880 mm, weight 6.9 kg.
Laser, brightness 1688 lumens, contrast ratio 3000:1
Projection ratio 0.233:1, distance 0.05-0.5 meters
Android TV, 3D, HDR
Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector 4K 150 has an updated DMD matrix with a resolution of 3840x2160, maximum brightness has also increased slightly compared to the previous version and is now 1688 Lumens, contrast is still the same - 3000:1.
The housing of the upgraded model became entirely black, but its layout and dimensions are the same: there is an audio system with 30 watt power on the front panel and a projector lens on the top one. Peripheral connectors are on the back, along with the power jack.
As in its predecessor, ALPD 3.0 technology is used here. This is a development of the Chinese company Appotrinics, a major manufacturer of laser projectors for theaters. In the projector, light from a laser passes through a rotating ring of phosphor to produce primary colors, then it disappears onto a DMD matrix and is projected onto a screen using optics. According to the manufacturer, ALPD 3.0 has achieved more accurate color reproduction while increasing the life of the light source.
The device is equipped with a dual-band WiFi 2.4/5 GHz adapter, Bluetooth 4.0. For wired connection, HDMI 2.0, two standard and one ARC are available. Two USB sockets, one version 2.0, the second - 3.0.
The device dimensions are the same as the younger version 410×291×880 mm, and the weight has increased slightly to 7.2 kg.
Buyer's Guide - Best Home Projectors
How to Choose the Best Home Cinema Projector
We have already described the main features of popular models of home projectors, now it is worth to examine in detail what these or those features mean and where you should pay attention.
UHP lamp, a high performance discharge lamp, is the most common option today. These lamps have good brightness, high color rendering and, in modern versions, a good service life, up to 10,000 hours. The flip side of the coin is the level of power consumption, about 200-300 watts.
LED lamp - a modern solution, which replaces the discharge lamp and, sooner or later, they will completely displace. LED projectors have a more compact size and are more energy efficient. Service life can be 20 and 30 thousand hours. The main drawback of this type of lamp is considered their low brightness, but now the home LED projectors are close to the brightness of 1500 lumens, and in the near future, this figure will only grow.
Laser - another semiconductor light source, which by its consumer qualities is similar to the LED: long life, low power consumption. But unlike LEDs, laser can offer much greater brightness. The downside of this technology is the price.
3LCD is a system of three liquid crystal matrices, each of which receives light from the lamp, previously divided by dichroic mirrors and filters into three spectra: red, green and blue. After passing through the matrices, the three light streams, with the help of a prism, are again combined into one, with an already formed image.
Pros: high brightness and rich colors and the absence of the rainbow effect inherent in DLP projectors.
Cons: need to replace air filters, more noticeable pixels, black tones may be less contrasty.
DLP - this technology is based on a DMD matrix, which is an electromechanical device, with thousands of microscopic mirrors located on it, each of which is controlled separately and is responsible for one image pixel. The mirror can position itself very quickly and precisely, thereby producing the light of the desired brightness.
The light from the lamp passes through a lens and a rotating color filter wheel, the mirrors on the matrix rotate and take the position required by the color that hits them at the time. Thus the sequence of changing colors and turning mirrors results in the desired picture on the screen.
Pros: smoother image with less visible pixels, fast response time, small size and weight. Cons: flickering, in some cases a rainbow effect is noticeable in contrasting scenes. The spinning wheel is an additional moving element which creates noise.
Projection Distance. Projector parameter which indicates at what distance from the screen the device can show a quality picture.
Projection Ratio. This value indicates the ratio of the projected screen width to the projection distance from the projector to the screen. For example if the projection ratio is 1.5:1, for every one meter of screen width you need 1.5 meters from the screen to the projector.
Optical Zoom. It allows you to change the size of the screen without changing the projector's position relative to the screen.
Lens Shift. It is intended to shift the image relative to the lens axis, depending on the projector model the shift can be vertical or horizontal.
Projection screens are in some situations not necessary, but still a very important part of the projection system. Especially when it comes to home theater. Although, on the other hand, a smooth wall painted in a matte white is not a bad screen, especially when it comes to a budget projector.
There are two groups of screens: stationary and mobile. Fixed, in turn, are of several types: fixed on a rigid frame, minimized and even motorized. To minimize and unfold the latter, an electric motor drive and remote control are used.
Mobile screens are more interesting solution for educational institutions or offices, where there is a need to move the screen in different classrooms or take it to mobile presentations. Mobile screens can be on a tripod, on two legs or small desktop models.
Parameters of Screens
Matte coating is the most common and budget-friendly type of screens. Light from these screens is dispersed evenly, which gives excellent viewing angles, without glare. Matte screen can be not only white, but also gray, with a gain of less than 1.0, which gives greater contrast, but at the expense of lower brightness.
Glossy coating reflects light, due to what the image appears brighter and sharper, less demanding to the brightness of the projector. However, due to this the screen has narrower viewing angles and may glare from external light sources.
CLR-screen for ultrashort-focus projectors is a cloth of special structure on the surface of the cloth formed by triangular "prisms" that reflect light from the projector located under the screen towards the viewer who is in front of the screen. At the same time, the extraneous light, especially that falling on the screen from above is absorbed by the special coating located on top of the triangular prisms.
Gain is a parameter describing how much brighter the screen reflects the light directed to it compared to a reference matte white screen which has a gain of 1.0. For example, a screen with a gain of 1.5 returns 1.5 times more light by "concentrating" the light flux, but at the same time the viewing angles are reduced.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I connect my projector to my phone?
There are two easy ways to connect your smartphone to the projector: one is connecting via Miracast wireless technology, which requires only that both devices are connected to the same WiFi network, and the other one is connecting via USB type C. Acer B250i supports both connectivity options.
How to choose a projector for gaming?
When you are choosing a projector for gaming, the lag time is a very important parameter, in the Epson EH-TW5820 projector in high-speed mode it is only 26 ms, it is two frames at 60 frames per second. You should also pay attention to the brightness so that it is enough to keep all the details on the big screen.
Which projector for a conference room?
For presentations in a bright room the brightness of the device is the most important parameter. It is also good to have several options for connecting a signal source. You can save on FullHD in this situation. ViewSonic PA503X has a brightness of 3800 lumens, HDMI, two VGA inputs and one output, composite video input.
How long does a projector lamp last?
Lamp life is up to 5000 hours in maximum mode, in economy modes some manufacturers promise up to 12000 hours of operation. For LED models, the claimed lamp life can be up to 20000-30000 hours, depending on operating mode.
What's better, TV or projector?
There is no straightforward answer to this question. The TV is easier to choose, to install, it produces the same image regardless of the lighting in the room. But projectors have a definite advantage - the size of the screen. A TV set with a screen size of 85 inches will cost several times more than a projector with a screen size of 120 or even 150 inches.
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