The Best Budget Projectors

Let’s be blunt – why bother with a projector over a TV? Well, there a few reasons, one of which is the that having a projector doesn’t lock you into a size that you’re not required to strategically build your room around. Your image can be as big as your screen or projection area, be that 50″ or 200″, though you are potentially limited by the capabilities of your projector and whether or not you choose a permanently-fixed screen.


1. Our Pick: BenQ HT2050A

For $749 retail, you can’t go wrong with the BenQ HT2050A. The projector blew away Tech Gear Lab with “the kind of theater-worthy images we’d only expect from a much more expensive model,” while Projector Central notes it “delivers noticeably darker blacks, higher contrast, and a better sense of three dimensionality with 2D images” as compared to other projectors tested in its price range.

AVS Forum user @dreamer commends the BenQ HT2050A’s picture, effective heat output, and noticeable lack of noise while in use, saying the projector is “no road warrior’s business projector trying to do double-duty for home use.”

For colors, the BenQ HT2050A employs CinematicColor technology. The projector boasts a 96% coverage of Rec.709, the international HDTV standard that depicts the colors the director intended, for authentic color accuracy.

The BenQ HT2050A offers 2,200 lumens of brightness with a 240W lamp that averages 3,500 hours worth of use, and a 15,000:1 (native) contrast ratio. While the projector’s native aspect ratio is 16:9 and native resolution is 1080p, it can handle 480p, 720p, 1080i, 480i, 576i and 576p. BenQ also makes mention of the HT2050A’s “Advanced Game Mode” and low input lag designed for ultra-smooth gaming.


2. Runner-up: Epson Home Cinema 2150

epson home cinema 2150 wireless 1080p miracast projector

The Epson Home Cinema 2150 is well-reviewed across the board. AVS Forum user @evilmonstertruk said the image is “detailed and sharp,” with user Sekosche later adding on that the “picture looks great out of the box.” Beyond professional reviews for media outlets, users like Amazon purchaser Born in Kansas said the Epson Home Cinema 2150 absolutely ROCKS at this price point.”

Of course, consumers aren’t the only ones who recommending it. Tech Gear Lab’s in-depth review sums the projector up as “the best model you can get in Epson’s home cinema line without verging into 4-digit price tag territory,” and backs that statement up further by commending the projector’s “superb picture.”

The Epson Home Cinema 2150 features wireless connectivity, as well as HDMI inputs, allowing you to utilize the projector to best suit your needs. The Epson Home Cinema 2150 offers 2,500 lumens of color/white brightness and can deliver full HD content up to 11 feet (132 inches diagonal).

Epson makes sure to note the vertical lens shift and 1.6x zoom, which allow for quick and easy installation in a variety of spaces. In short, the Epson Home Cinema 2150 is a versatile projector is a suitable runner up to the BenQ HT2050A. Or your main pick if you’re looking for something flexible.


3. Another Great, Cheaper Option: Viewsonic PJD7828HDL

viewsonic 3200 lumens full hd projector

Viewsonic PJD7828HDL is the cheapest projector on this list, yet still offers viewers a solid image and full HD resolution. The Viewsonic PJD7828HDL is also great for projector enthusiasts who are tight on space, as the projector employs short-throw technology. CNET commends the projector on “very impressive for the money” image quality. The elaborate, the PJD7828HDL uses SuperColor to showcase a wide color gamut for realistic, enjoyable picture.

The Viewsonic PJD7828HDL’s native quality is 1080p and projects with 3,200 lumens. It features two HDMI inputs, composite and S-video inputs, an analog RGB input and one USB input. The Viewsonic PJD7828HDL also includes the PortAll secure MHL/HDMI port that allows for streaming multimedia content from an optional wireless dongle, as well as gives the option to connect devices via HDMI.


4. The More Expensive Option: BenQ TK800

benq tk800 4k home theater projector

The BenQ TK800 is the most expensive projector on our list. The BenQ TK800 supports 4K resolution, though it doesn’t actually project at 4K. Instead, the projector uses XPR technology to duplicate a 1920×1080 image in such a way that the human eye sees it as 4K. The technology might sound like smoke and mirrors, but according to a review by Tech Radar, it “actually works, and even with test patterns the images appear to be 4K in terms of resolution.”

To dig a little deeper, the BenQ TK800 uses DMD DLP technology to sidestep alignment issues, blurring or any interference, while a precision seven-element, four-group lens aids in the perceived 4K intensity.

Like its HT2050A counterpart, the BenQ TK800 achieves a 92% coverage of the Rec.709. With the BenQ Auto HDR Natural Color Rendition technology, the projector truly delivers lifelike colors. The BenQ TK800 also handles less-than-ideal light well, handles successions of motion with a low input lag, and can output 3D.


A Quick Overview On Considering A Projector

Projectors also lend themselves to being pretty futureproof. As long as your projector is functioning, you’re paying attention to your lamp hours and your screen isn’t in bad shape, you’re good to go. The only potentially non-futureproof aspect of a projector ios the quality of your source material versus what it can project.

One aspect to heavily consider when making the decision on a projector is how much control over your room’s light you have. While TVs are good for just about any situation, projectors require a little more control over your lighting. Or at least consideration into the setup you choose based on your lighting.

It’s also worth noting one major benefit of projector images over TVs – they’re easier on your eyes, as your screen reflects light, while TV screens emit light.

Wrapping It Up

If you’re looking for an all-around great projector that won’t break the bank, the BenQ HT2050A is for you. The picture is great, the colors detail the source material wonderfully and its lack of noise overall while in use really sets it over the top. If you need a little more versatility with wireless connectivity, then the Epson Home Cinema 2150 is for you, and of course if space is an issue then look no further than the short-throw Viewsonic PJD7828HDL.


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