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The 4 Best Projectors - Spring 2024 Reviews

Updated Jun 06, 2024 at 11:06 am
Best Projectors

If you're searching for the best overall projector, there are many options, from budget portable projectors to high-end home theater products. When shopping, ask yourself a few critical questions: are you specifically seeking a home theater projector? Do you desire a versatile unit equally adept at handling the latest movies and gaming sessions? Do you want the projector to be easy to carry around? When it comes to portable products, you sacrifice image quality but gain portability. Inversely, the more expensive products offer great image quality but tend to be bulky. Many compact models come equipped with smart features, eliminating the need for an external streaming device. However, some larger units may require an external streaming dongle if you want smart functionality. Ultimately, the right choice depends on your needs and budget.

We've bought and tested over 40 projectors, and below, we list the best overall projectors for a few critical uses. We only cover consumer models, not high-end products meant for enthusiasts. If you're specifically looking for a home theater projector, explore our recommendations for the best models for home theater use. If you'd rather want a list of the best budget and cheap projectors on the market, look up the best cheap projectors. Want to take your projector outdoors? Consider our picks for the best outdoor projectors. And don't forget—you can even vote on which projectors you'd like us to acquire and put to the test!

  1. Best Projector

    If you're looking for the best projector overall, get the BenQ X3100i. This projector excels in its versatility, delivering advanced home theater features while catering to gaming enthusiasts and content streamers through its integrated Android TV 11 QS02 dongle. With the help of pixel-shifting technology, it projects a crisp image that shines in various lighting conditions. It's bright enough to look great in moderately-lit rooms, and its good contrast and wide color gamut provide a pleasant viewing experience in dark rooms. It's also very accurate out-of-the-box; even color accuracy perfectionists will be mostly satisfied with this unit's performance without needing to calibrate the projector. HDR10+/HDR10/HLG compatibility adds another layer of versatility, making it a truly adaptable product.

    Not only does it impress with its display capabilities, but it also excels in streaming content. The included QS02 dongle supports Google Cast and Apple AirPlay, making it fully cast-capable, and offers Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 support. The projector is fantastic for gamers with two HDMI 2.0b ports capable of accepting 4k @ 60Hz, 1440p @ 120Hz and 1080p @ 240Hz signals. The third HDMI port, hidden behind the top cover, is designed for use with the bundled dongle but can also be used with any HDMI device. Ultimately, this is the most versatile pixel-shifting projector we've tested.

    See our review

  2. Best Projector For Home Theater

    If you're in the market for the best home theater projector, consider the Epson Home Cinema 3800. This model is laser-focused on delivering exceptional image quality while keeping features to a minimum. It boasts impressive brightness, making it suitable even for moderately-lit rooms. However, its true strength shines in darker environments due to its excellent contrast ratio. Out of the box, this model offers remarkable accuracy, and for perfectionists, its extensive calibration options allow for further fine-tuning. While its color gamut is decent, it doesn't quite match the projector's stellar performance in brightness and contrast. Still, it's vibrant enough to satisfy most viewers, except perhaps the most discerning color enthusiasts. It's also HDR10/HLG compatible, but unfortunately, its color gamut isn't good enough for a vibrant HDR experience, as colors look a bit washed out. However, SDR content looks great because it has excellent coverage of the Rec. 709 color space.

    As for features, it's somewhat minimalist. There's no Wi-Fi or built-in smart OS, although it does have Bluetooth with aptX support. If smart features matter to you, consider investing in an external streaming dongle or purchasing the BenQ X3100i. The projector does include a 2.0A USB port primarily for powering external dongles, addressing connectivity needs. The unit's two HDMI 2.0 ports allow seamless connection to external devices, with both ports capable of handling a 4K @ 60Hz signal, and the 12V trigger out port facilitates automated projector screen deployment. Overall, the Epson is the definitive choice for enthusiasts seeking a home cinema replacement in their basement.

    See our review

  3. Best Portable Projector

    If you're searching for a highly portable projector, consider the XGIMI Halo+. This compact unit weighs 3.7 lbs, making it easy to toss into your backpack. Aside from its size and size, what sets it apart from other models on this list is its integrated battery, which offers up to 2.5 hours of uninterrupted playback. That's sufficient for most movie sessions, whether you're in a friend's basement without available power outlets or outside during a picnic. This projector boasts several image correction features, including full auto keystone adjustment, autofocus, intelligent screen alignment, and obstacle avoidance. As you move it around, it automatically corrects its image geometry, ensuring a hassle-free setup. Additionally, it comes equipped with the Android TV smart interface, supports Chromecast and AirScreen, and offers Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0 capabilities.

    It's brighter than many direct competitors in the portable category, although it's still dim. Thankfully, its decent contrast makes it suitable for projecting pleasant images in darkened rooms. Its color gamut is impressively wide, and this model even supports HDR—although its low brightness can't fully take advantage of this feature. Connectivity-wise, it provides one HDMI port (which also serves as an eARC port), allowing you to connect it to external devices. Its eARC port lets you easily pair it with a soundbar if you want optimal sound quality. Alternatively, you can use the projector's 3.5 mm audio jack. Lastly, there's a USB port for direct video file playback. In summary, this projector balances portability and performance, making it a decent choice for users needing to take their projector out of the house.

    See our review

  4. Best Value Projector

    For a more budget-friendly option, look at the Epson EpiqVision Flex CO-W01. While it lacks HDR support, it impressively projects a bright 1280 x 800 resolution image. The vivid brightness enhances content visibility, especially in moderately lit rooms. However, its contrast falls short—blacks appear raised and somewhat gray. As a result, it performs best when a few lights are on, which isn't ideal for a dark room home cinema setup. The Epson Home Cinema 3800 and BenQ X3100i are undoubtedly the superior choices for movie enthusiasts. Out of the box, the color accuracy of the EpiqVision Flex CO-W01 is decent and suitable for most viewers. However, perfectionists can fine-tune it further using the projector's 2-point white balance calibration.

    This projector lacks a smart OS and Wi-Fi connectivity. You'll need an external streaming dongle to stream content from platforms like Netflix. It offers only one HDMI port (without ARC/eARC support), and there are no other audio-out ports, so consider investing in an HDMI receiver for better sound quality. Alternatively, use the USB-B port to connect to a compatible external audio interface. While the USB-A port supports a few file formats, overall, the projector's port selection is minimal. Despite this, it remains an affordable option for its performance, making it a solid choice for those looking to save some money.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS300: The Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS300 is a fully-featured smart projector that competes with the BenQ X3100i. The BenQ has the edge, however, due to its better contrast, wider color gamut, and more advanced gaming features. Still, the Epson is usually cheaper, so it's worth a look if you find the BenQ a bit too expensive for your tastes. See our review
  • Epson Home Cinema 5050UB: While the Epson Home Cinema 5050UB stands out as the best movie projector we've tested, it offers only a slight improvement over the significantly more affordable Epson Home Cinema 3800. Its barebone set of features means that it isn't nearly as versatile as the BenQ X3100i. See our review
  • Formovie THEATER: The Formovie THEATER's contrast is excellent, making it a top contender if you're looking for a home theater projector. It truly shines in completely pitch-black rooms. However, the Epson Home Cinema 3800 also boasts impressive contrast, and beyond that, it outshines the Formovie in brightness and overall accuracy. It also falls short of the BenQ X3100i's for sheer versatility, as the BenQ is brighter and more accurate and the better choice for gamers. See our review
  • Hisense C1: The Hisense C1 ranks among the top home cinema laser projectors and competes with the Epson Home Cinema 3800 and BenQ X3100i. They both offer better image quality and color accuracy than the Hisense, which has more features than the Epson but not nearly as many as the BenQ. See our review
  • XGIMI HORIZON Ultra: The XGIMI HORIZON Ultra is a fully-featured smart projector. It has many more features than the Epson Home Cinema 3800, matching the BenQ X3100i. Unfortunately, it can't compete for image quality with either, as they both have better contrast and color accuracy than the XGIMI. The BenQ also has way more features for gamers. The XGIMI is, however, smaller and lighter, making it an interesting option if you want to bring your high-end unit outdoors. See our review
  • XGIMI MoGo 2: If you're looking for a portable projector but don't need it to have an internal battery, consider the XGIMI MoGo 2. It's more accurate out-of-the-box than the XGIMI Halo+, which is nice, but otherwise, the Halo+ is brighter, has better contrast, and projects a sharper 1080p image versus the MoGo 2's 720p. The MoGo 2 is, however, significantly cheaper, so consider it if you're looking to save a buck. See our review

All Reviews

Our recommendations above represent what we consider the best overall projectors currently available for most consumers. We consider factors like price (we favor more affordable options unless the difference in quality justifies a higher cost), feedback from our visitors, and product availability (we avoid models that are scarce or nearly out of stock).

However, if you prefer to make your own selection, here's a list of the top projectors we've tested. Remember not to get too bogged down in the minutiae. While no projector is flawless, many perform well for most purposes. Just be cautious of the lowest-quality models to ensure a satisfactory viewing experience.