I'm currently looking for a projector to use in a quite small room (with RaspberryPi + NES + SNES + N64 gaming/movies setup max. 4m screen distance + the room can be (and will be) completely dark during projection).
LED is mandatory for me and so far I came to these two projectors:
the NEC L51W which have only 500lm, but all the inputs I need, should be quite silent and should just work™. It's also DLP, so as I understand it there should be no image burn in.
And then I found some no-name "LED-86" Chinese projector on EBay and Amazon. This one MAY work, but it's LCD tech (the LCD will wear out before the LED even reach 1/10 of it's life?) and it's extremely cheap. I also can't find any good info about it...
As I don't have any real experience about projectors and since I already spend four days searching about almost everything connected with this topic I'm asking here :) If anybody have better solution, please tell me.
I wouldn't recommend the NEC of course if you actually want quality, but whatever. To each their own.
4m is about 12' and that's quite often a common viewing distance for about a 110" diagonal home theater setup. Not exactly 'small', but you haven't really gotten into the details of your room, or your usage expectations or much else.
Don't look at Chinese garbage though.
OK, so the Chinese garbage is out. (What I find interesting is that I never found any real review or anything else other than just shaky camera YT video...)
Beside the NEC there are a couple of similar PJs in this price range. The BenQ GP10, Dell M115 and Acer K135. The BenQ seems nice, it even have all the inputs I need but according to Projector Central calculator it will make ~ 20" less screen size compared to the other ones.
The room have layout of 13x10ft with one small window that can be easily covered.
What I expect from the PJ is low power consumption (hence the LED), ability to use my old game systems (NES, SNES, N64) so RCA input would be nice + I would like to watch a movie on it from time to time (streamed from the Rpi, so HDMI is mandatory and line-out jack would be nice).
The room you have is quite common for home theater. 13' x 10' means you can do about a 100" to 110" screen size rather easily.
The NEC will do as good of a job as any of the cheap widescreen LCD models. Cheap optics, small size, likely whiny fans, poor focus and image uniformity, no zoom, fixed offset, barely enough light for a 100" screen, weaker contrast numbers.
It sucks 105 watts in normal mode.
The plus with it is the 105 watts during use and the fact that you don't need to replace a lamp. But, there are a lot of compromises with that.
The other option, and the one I recommend is this:
It's about $500, delivers over 2,000 lumens of brightness, has some zoom, has better optics, and larger fans.
It draws a max of 249 watts, but because of how much brighter it is, it will outperform the other model in 'eco mode' and only draws 202 watts. So, still more, but not a huge difference really.
The biggest downside is not at all power consumption, but the fact that it uses traditional UHP lamps which likely cost $200 or so to replace, but the lamp is rated to 5,000 hours+ life. At 2 hours use a day, that means it should last about 7 years before the lamp needs to be replaced once.
That's a lot more performance for not a lot more cost, but the decision is up to you.