Does a business presentation need to be projected? Does a classroom require outfitting? Do you require projection mobility? If so, the following projectors might be of use to you, all of which have been evaluated by us. Read up on these high-quality portable projectors and their full-size variations, which include reviews of each.
Shining a Spotlight on the Greatest Projectors You Can Buy
Projectors have progressed over the years – once upon a time, weight class was the sole way of classifying them. Nowadays, you can categorize projectors into several relevant categories, such as their intended purpose (gameplay, home theater, business presentations, etc.), their base technology (LCOS, DLP, or LCD), and the throw distance (the proximity from the projector to the screen). Ask yourself these questions to obtain a projector that has the performance features you require.
What Type of Pictures Do You Intend to Display?
There are a quartet of picture types you can display on a projector: games, photos, video, and data. All projectors are capable of displaying any type of picture, however, they only have the capacity to handle one type of picture properly. You should seek out a projector that properly displays the type of pictures you intend to throw.
Many models are packaged as either business or data projectors; or as video, home entertainment, or home theater projectors. Further, an increasing amount are packaged as gameplay models.
Data projectors are beneficial for data pictures, including PDF files, spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations; full-motion video is best handled by home theater projectors. A projector that is capable of displaying video adequately must also be just as effective with pictures since they share common aspects with video, sans the extra complexity of motion (which leaves the door open for extra picture artifacts).
Games warrant several of the abilities required for data and video pictures. If you wish to utilize a projector for video games and are unable to find a demo or review about quality for them, seek out a model that can handle both data and video pictures efficiently.
Is Portability Important to You?
Think about the portability of the projector. You can browse through models with weights and sizes that vary from small to lightweight, some of which can be carried in your pocket, others so big that they need to be mounted. If you’re looking for a data projector to bring with you for a business meeting presentation, a model for a LAN celebration of some sort, or a home projector for a home theater that can be placed in storage when not in use, then you should be looking at ones with suitable weight and size aspects. If it’s frequently going to be transported or moved, then you should be looking at projectors that are lightweight and small.
What Resolution is Required?
In theory, the projector’s native resolution (the amount of physical pixels displayed) should be what is used most frequently, whether you intend to connect to a game console, video equipment, a computer, of a mix of them all. Images can be scaled down or up by projectors to their native resolutions, however, picture quality might be compromised in doing so.
If you intend to display data pictures, factor in the amount of detail the pictures will have. For a general presentation on PowerPoint, SVGA (800 x 600 pixels) might be sufficient. You’ll save some money by using an SVGA projector in comparison to using a native resolution that’s higher. The more intricate the pictures, though, the greater the resolution you’ll need. We have noticed an increasing amount of projectors offering 1080p resolutions (1920 x 1080) and higher.
1080p is the preferred option for video if you own an upscaling DVD player, a Blu-ray player, or a device that can broadcast 1080p videos. In the event that the video will be seen with resolutions much lower, evaluate how efficiently the projector manages them. There are horizontal 4K projectors with about 4,000 pixels out there, although they remain costly. Also, not very much content is out there to truly appreciate this level of resolution.
Is Widescreen Format Required?
For game and video projection, you’ll need a projector that can display pictures in widescreen format. Native widescreen resolutions for data projectors like 1080p and WXGA (1280 x 800 pixels) are more popular than ever these days. If presentations are made on a widescreen monitor or notebook, their visuals are better optimized if the same format is used for both.
How Bright Should the Projector Display Content?
There’s no universal brightness level, and brightness isn’t always important. For instance, for a home theater projector intended to be used in a dark room, 1000 to 2000 lumens can provide you with a big, vibrant picture; likewise, lumens might hurt the viewers’ eyes if they are too bright. If a compact data projector will be used in a sufficiently-lit area, 2000 to 3000 lumens is the ideal range. A brighter projector may be an option for larger rooms.
The optimal brightness level is contingent on how much ambient light is needed, the picture’s measurements, and the screen material. If a projector is being set up in a long-term area either in your workplace or residence, you’re best suited to purchase one from a reliable source who can assist you in coordinating the vibrancy to the room’s screen and lighting conditions.
If you have a couple of models to choose from, know that there is a minor percentage variation in lumens – 2000 vs. 2200, for instance, though this is of minimal consequence. The concept of vibrancy is nonlinear, meaning you’ll require more than double the amount of lumens for display purposes. A projector’s vibrancy should always be below its recommended brightness.
Is Contrast Ratio Something of Consequence?
The ratio of the vibrancy between the darkest and brightest spaces of a projector is known contrast ratio. The remaining aspects are leveled out. A high contrast ratio has more bright colors that allure the eyes, and more intricacy displayed in the screen’s dark spaces. Since there are other aspects to consider, though, contrast ratio won’t offer much insight when choosing the right projector.
What is Your Connection Plan?
Many projectors come with an analog (VGA) connector for a PC. For video equipment, a composite video connection is offered. If digital output is an option on your PC, consider getting a projector with a digital connector, since it will bypass potential issues like jittering pixels via insufficient signal synchronization.
If there are HDMI connectors on your video equipment, HDMI will be the preferred connection for video sources. Component video is the next best option. Modern projectors come with MHL (Mobile High definition Link)-supported HDMI ports. As such, you can use an Android-powered device to display your content. Most models provide Wi-Fi connectivity, typically via a wireless dongle that accommodates USB ports (optional). Thumb drive projection is also supported by these USB ports.
What Type of Technology Are You Looking For?
Nowadays, projectors are modeled on 1 of 4 imaging technologies: laser raster, LCOS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon), LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), and DLP (Digital Light Processing). Note that laser raster projectors are different from light source models that use lasers for other imaging technology (such as an LCOS or DLP chip). Laser raster projectors use actual lasers to draw the picture.
Many LCOS-centric pocket-sized (pico) projectors and cheap DLP projectors – which include both video and data versions – display their primary colors in order instead of simultaneously. This can result in a “rainbow effect,” with the screen’s light spaces separating into smaller blue/green/red flashes when movement on the screen occurs, or if a viewer’s gaze shifts. People who are impacted by this sensitivity express annoyance, especially when viewed for long periods.
There are no rainbow effects on LCD projectors, however, they are usually bulkier and larger. A popular opinion is that regular-size LCOS projectors provide the highest quality pictures, however, they are also bulkier and heftier than LCD or DLP projectors (in addition to being much more costly). There are also few laser raster projectors to choose from. One evident benefit of laser use is that focusing is not required for the picture.
Is 3D or Audio Support Necessary?
Audio capability is not an option for all projectors, and the ones who do offer it have lackluster audio quality, especially with compact projectors. If you require audio with your video or presentation, ensure that the embedded audio is loud enough and of sufficient quality. You may also want to look into utilizing a third-party sound system, such as external speakers.
Displaying 3D pictures for game, home video, business, and educational applications is a progressive aspect for projectors nowadays. Several modern projectors are advertised as 3D-capable.
There are 3D schemes out there. If a projector is labeled as being 3D-supportive, it doesn’t mean that it will be functional with your intended 3D source. For instance, one projector might be compatible with TI’s DLP-Link, which needs a PC with a 3D, OpenGL, quad-buffered graphics card, yet still function with a 3D Blu-ray player. Fortunately, many newer 3D-capable projectors are able to display 3D content using a TV set-top box, Blu-ray player, or another relevant picture source. If a 3D projector is what you’re looking for, ensure it will be compatible with the 3D picture source that it will be used for.
Will a Large Picture be Shown in a Room That’s Small?
Do you require a short throw – in other words, the capacity to display a picture on the screen from a short proximity away? Short-throw projectors allow you to display a big picture in confined areas, and the picture won’t be blocked by anyone who stands in front of it.
There isn’t one set definition for a short throw, however, for argument’s sake, as many projectors are capable of displaying about a 6’ wide picture from approximately 12 to 15’ away, many short-throw projectors require 3’ to 6’. Less than 1’ is needed for ultra-short-throw projectors.
Short-throw projectors – ultra-short ones, for the most part – are quite costly in comparison to conventional versions with long-throw lenses. Further, they are not optimal for small auditoriums and large meeting rooms. A stable and flat screen is also required for them. Otherwise, the picture might be a bit distorted.
Granular Projector Recommendations
We evaluate a number of consumer and commercial projectors annually, testing their features and having them undergo comprehensive performance assessments. The models discussed below cover aspects like brightness, portability, features, and purpose.
For specified needs, have a look at our chosen portable projectors, as well as our recommended variations for personal use.
Here are the ten best projectors out of all the options that underwent our assessments.
AAXA P7 Mini HD
Our Opinion: The small 1080p AA P7 Mini HD Projector is ideal for commercial presentations out of the office. It displays images and video quite well. Music playing quality is just as good.Buy "AAXA P7 Mini HD" on Amazon
Epson EX3260 SVGA 3LCD
Our Opinion: The tremendously compact Epson EX3260 offers strong data picture quality and impressive video quality. For educational institutes and offices, this projector will do just fine.Buy "Epson EX3260 SVGA 3LCD" on Amazon
NEC Display Solutions NP-ME401W
Our Opinion: The NEC Display Solutions NP-ME401W is an efficient LCD-centric data projector. It features a strong connection option set, the video and data picture quality is quite good, and the vibrancy is sufficiently high.Buy "NEC Display Solutions NP-ME401W" on Amazon
AAXA P2-A Smart Pico
Our Opinion: In spite of its shortcomings, the AAXA P2-A Smart Pico Projector is impressive and offers decent value for its size. The small frame features a top touchpad and a number of ports.Buy "AAXA P2-A Smart Pico" on Amazon
Anker Nebula Capsule II
Our Opinion: The Nebula Capsule II by Anker is not your average entertainment projector. It can serve as both a Bluetooth speaker and an Android TV OS.Buy "Anker Nebula Capsule II" on Amazon
Our Opinion: The trendy BenQi500 short-throw projector allows you to showcase big pictures close to the screen. It provides a variety of wireless and wired options for connectivity.Buy "BenQ i500" on Amazon
Our Opinion: The Casio XJ-UT311WN is an LED/laser combo data projector. The lamp life is long-lasting. It has decent data picture quality and an ultra-short throw proximity.Buy "Casio XJ-UT311WN" on Amazon
Epson PowerLite 1795F Wireless Full HD 1080p 3LCD
Our Opinion: Epson’s PowerLite 1795F Wireless Full HD 1080p 3LCD Projector’s audio hardly packs a punch, but the compact model does display decent data-centric media and quality video.Buy "Epson PowerLite 1795F" on Amazon
Our Opinion: The InFocus IN1118HD is a compact, flexible data projector with 1080p resolution that displays perceptible text. It is ideal for brief video clips only.Buy "InFocus IN1118HD" on Amazon
Sony MP-CD1 Mobile Projector
Our Opinion: The Sony MP-CD1 Mobile Projector is a trendy mini projector that is about the size of your phone. With a battery built-in, it offers decent picture quality overall, even though it is a bit expensive.Buy "Sony MP-CD1" on Amazon