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The 11 Best Projectors for Movies, Live Sports, and Gaming

Are you happy with your TV? You can stop nodding right now, because you shouldn’t be. Not when there are so many incredible home-cinema systems out there in the world, ready to beam blockbusters across your walls. It’s just like being in a movie theatre, but without the squelchy floors and overpriced popcorn.

Believe us when we say that sitting back in your own home and watching a movie/sports event/stupid YouTube video on a 300 inch display is a game-changing experience that everyone should enjoy. Gamers will likely never recover when they start to play Call of Duty on such a big, fast-moving screen.

So where do you begin? Read on to find out everything you need to know about buying a home cinema projector.

What You Need To Know

If this is your first foray into the premium world of cinema projectors there are a couple of things you need to look out for.

Resolution – The most important thing about getting a new projector is getting a clear image—you want to be able to see as much detail as possible. This is measured in the number of pixels it can show off. The most basic on this list has a 720-pixel image, which is a bit outdated for our tastes but good enough if you’re on a budget.

Full HD (1080p) projectors are the most common, but the modern standard is 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) which all movie aficionados should hunt for. You might find some models capable of 8K reproduction which is a future trend that “quadruples the visual quality”, though it isn’t quite ready for general consumption yet.

Contrast ratio – This is how well your projector can distinguish between blacks and whites, and will ultimately give you better clarity when watching darker content like that pitch-black episode of Game of Thrones: The Long Night. The bigger the ratio, the better the performance—at 500,000:1 and more, blacks will be inky and colors will pop; at 2,000:1, the image will look a little blurry and colors will bleed into each other.

If you’re a sports fan this won’t matter too much, as most stadiums are so bright that Jeff Bezos could see them from space, so you won’t need much contrast, but film buffs and gamers will want to see the deep shadows in distinction to lighter scenes.

Brightness – Projectors need the perfect setting to get the most out of them, and that often means closing the curtains and watching in near-complete darkness. However, some can cope with brighter environments and even work in the garden if you’re throwing a watch party.

Brightness is measured in lumens, with a higher number offering a brighter image—around 2,500 is the sweet spot. Though you only really need to pay attention to this if you plan on keeping the curtains open or taking it outside.

Screen size – The screen size will depend on how close you put the projector to the wall or screen, so have a think about where you could put one in your setup. A lot of our favorites can be wall-mounted or suspended from the ceiling, while others have a “short throw” meaning you can pop it just a few inches away from the wall and still get a big display.


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TVs are getting wider, but they can’t compete with the width of some of the more advanced projectors, which can stretch to more than 500 inches if you happen to own the world’s biggest living room wall. Most projectors will be around 100 inches though, and can go as small as 30 inches if you’re tight on space.

Connectivity – Many on this list are smart enough to be able to link up to your wifi to allow you to watch Netflix or Disney+ over the internet, but some will also have plenty of ports to connect games consoles, streaming sticks, or a laptop.

The models on our list will all have at least a USB port or HDMI cable so you can add another device to your set-up, though the more expensive options will have more ports for more gear.

You might also find built-in speakers for better audio, smart features like Alexa-compatibility, or headphone jacks for a more personal viewing experience.

Dimensions – Planning an outdoor cinema session for your mates? You’ll need a projector that is small and light enough to carry out into the garden.

The ones on this list range from half a kilo to just over 4kg and come in varying sizes. More portable ones will be roughly the size of a laptop (small enough to put in a rucksack if you need to), while the heavier ones will be about as big as a microwave.

To help you choose, we’ve broken the best projectors on the market down into three categories: the best for a cinema-like experience, sports, and for gaming. Just add popcorn.

TK850 4K Ultra HD Home Cinema Projector




Resolution: 4K Ultra HD

Contrast ratio: 30,000:1

Brightness: 3,000 lumens

Screen size: Up to 300″

Connectivity: 2 x HDMI 2.0, 2 x USB Type A, 1 x USB Type B, 3.5mm headphone jack, Built-in 5W speaker

Product Dimensions: 38 x 26.3 x 12.7 cm; 4kg

The BenQ is a brilliant all-rounder, but the dedicated sports mode—which, among other things, smooths out skin tones and makes grass look greener—will provide some much-needed live sport methadone while you still can’t get into the actual stadium. At 3,000 lumens, you can watch the Ashes without needing to lightproof your living room, while its 4K UHD display means you’ll see every bead of sweat straining from the athletes.

The built-in speaker is passable, but really you’re going to want to run this one into a dedicated set of speakers or soundbar to get audio that matches up to the picture quality.

M2 Full HD Smart Portable LED Projector




Resolution: 4K

Brightness: 2,400 LED Lumens

Contrast ratio: 3,000,000:1

Screen size: 300”

Connectivity: 2 x HDMI 2.0, 1x USB Type-C, 2x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, built-in Harmon & Kardon speakers

Product Dimensions: 26.1 x 27.1 x 16.6 cm; 4.08 kg

For the man who wants it all without remortgaging the house, the mid-range X10-4K is up there among the best for sports and movie-watching. The high contrast ratio and the solid lumen count means you won’t have to invest in blackout blinds, either; pick it up by the handle and treat yourself to the big event in the garden.

Its short-throw tech is very useful for a portable projector, as it means you can stick it pretty much anywhere—we achieved a 90 inch display by placing it a metre away from the wall. Thanks to its unobtrusive design and the whisper-quiet fan, we completely forgot it was even there when watching Sound of Metal on Amazon Prime.

Equally impressive are the built-in Harman-Kardon speakers, which deliver crisp trebles and deep bass. They max out at 8W so are more for on-the-go than every day, but connecting a soundbar or surround sound system is nice and simple.

The inclusion of Alexa meant we could bark orders to change the volume or glide through the menus without having to hold the controller.





Resolution: 4K

Brightness: 2,000 lumens

Contrast ratio: 30,000:1

Screen size: 100”

Connectivity: 2 x HDMI 2.0, 1x USB Type-C, 2x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, built-in Harmon & Kardon speakers

Product Dimensions: 38 x 26.3 x 12.7 cm; 4.2 kg

For our money, this is pound-for-pound the best 4K projector in the world right now.

The BenQ W2700i offers incredible HDR images, courtesy of DCI-P3, the US film industry’s preferred colour standard. That means the kind of deep blacks and rich, vibrant brights that you normally only get by adding a couple of grand to your budget.

People will find much to play with in the menus, but the W2700i’s out-of-the-box calibrations and CinemaMaster Video+ mode mean you get multiplex-level performance without spending hours tweaking settings. That, alongside its integrated Android TV, makes this the perfect balance between performance and usability.

Horizon Pro Native 4K Projector




Resolution: 4K

Brightness: 2,200 lumens

Contrast ratio: N/A

Screen size: 300”

Connectivity: 2 x HDMI 2.0, 2x USB 2.0,1 x LAN, 1 x headphone jack, Dual 8W Harman / Kardon Speakers

Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 21.8 x 13.6 cm; 2.9 kg

One of the best 4K projectors we’ve used for general home movie experiences is the Horizon Pro, a top-spec device that has just been released as the flagship for XGIMI. At first glance, the specs look middling, with a low-ish lumen count and only a few connectivity options.

However, once we set up a 4K Lord of The Rings trilogy bonanza for the 20th anniversary, we were blown away by the colour reproduction and quality. Granted our 4K DVD were already crystal clear, but the projector seems to squeeze the contrast out and enhance the image just that extra bit more.

The speakers are solid, with deep bass even if you place it on a carpet that will dampen the sound somewhat. It uses Google’s OS so Chromecast is built in and you can use voice control to summon assistance in selecting shows to watch. This is a fairly pricey bit of kit, but well worth grabbing if you can.

UHD42 4K UHD HDR DLP Projector




Resolution: 4K

Brightness: 3,400 lumens

Contrast ratio: 500,000:1

Screen size: 100”

Connectivity: 2 x HDMI 2.0, 1x USB Type-C, 2x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, built-in 10W speakers

Product Dimensions: 38 x 26.3 x 12.7 cm; 4.2 kg

Optoma’s mid-tier 4K projector offers an affordable way into true cinema-quality viewing, with lightning fast image transference and silky-smooth 240Hz refresh rate to make your films blast out the projector screen or wall.

Colour reproduction is particularly good—load up one of Nolan’s Batmans to really appreciate how black the blacks get—but with 3,400 lumens of brightness, you don’t need a hermetically sealed room to get the best out of this projector. Granted, you’ll still want the curtains shut if you’re watching TV at noon, but unlike cheap projectors, it does at least work in the daytime.

Setup is super simple, with all the ports you’d expect and enough of them to take all your hardware. At 5.5kg it’s not the lightest projector, but also not so bulky that you’ll struggle to house it (or risk pulling the plaster off if you ceiling-mount it). It doesn’t, however, have a short-throw option (or much in the way of lens shift capabilities) so ideally it will need a dedicated home a couple of metres from the screen.

EH-TW7400 Projector




Resolution: 4K

Brightness: 3,000 lumens

Contrast ratio: 100,000:1

Screen size: 500”

Connectivity: 2 x HDMI 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0

Product Dimensions: 49.3 x 49 x 23 cm; 6.9 kg

It might not be the prettiest, but the EH-TW7100 is an affordable 4k projector that offers an incredible image at a very friendly price. Ironically, that’s thanks to some slightly dated tech: Epson’s 3LCD is long in the tooth compared to laser and short-throw projectors, but if what you’re looking for is brilliant colour reproduction, inky blacks and hi-def visuals, sometimes the traditional approach is best.

It helps that it comes with up-to-date extras, including in-built Bluetooth (the onboard speakers are fine, but you’ll need dedicated audio for a proper cinema experience) and all manner of HDMI and USB ports. At 3,000 lumens, it’s bright enough to replace your TV for an afternoon film session.

EF-12 3LCD, Full HD, 1000 Lumens, 150 Inch Display




Resolution: Full HD

Brightness: 1,000 lumens

Contrast ratio: 2,500,000 : 1

Screen size: Up to 150 inches

Connectivity: 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x USB 2.0 Type A, 1 x USB 2.0 Type B, Stereo mini jack audio out

Product Dimensions: 28.7 x 24.9 x 24.3 cm; 2.1kg

If you’re after a Full HD projector that’s under £1,000, then look no further than Epson’s EF-12 series, which sits around the middle of their range. At 17.5cm across, and weighing just 2.1kg, it’s easy to move around from room to room or to your friend’s house for film night.

But there’s smart guts in that slim profile, to whit: 1080p resolution courtesy of Epson’s 3LCD laser projection at an enormous 2,500,000:1 contrast ratio, which offers an incredible colour reproduction and pin-sharp images that you’ll swear can’t have emerged from a box that size, as well as a 360-degree projection angle, so you can position it wherever you like.

The one downside is that, at just 1,000 lumens, this is very much a projector for a dark room with the blinds drawn, rather than a TV-replacer. But on the plus side, it also comes with a pair of 5W speakers, by audio specialists Yamaha, built in. Because a portable projector isn’t that portable if you have to lug a Bluetooth speaker around with it.

Cinemax P2




Type of projector: Home cinema projector

Resolution: 4K

Brightness: 3,000 lumens

Contrast ratio: 2,000,000:1

Screen size: Up to 120 inches

Connectivity: 2 x HDMI2.0, 1 x HDMI 1.4, 1 x USB3.5mm headphone jack

Product Dimensions: 13 x 56 x 38 cm; 0.4kg

Pro gamers might sniff at the 67ms lag time, but if you’re not playing Valorant for money then the Optoma is one of the best gaming projectors on the market, courtesy of a daylight-beating 3,000 lumen image in 4k at 60hz, so gameplay stays nice and smooth even at 120 inches.

It’s also short-throw, which means more flexibility in where you position it in your room (it’s no fun having to position all your furniture around where your projector needs to live). Throw in the excellent onboard sound and you’ve got the perfect gaming projector, in a very sleek package.

It’s also our lightest model on this list, so you can take it with you to a friend’s house to keep the gaming going.

X1300i 4LED




Resolution: 1080p Full HD

Brightness: 3,500 lumens

Contrast ratio: 20,000:1

Screen size: 100 inches

Connectivity: 2 x HDMI2.0, 1 x USB Type A, 3.5mm headphone jack, built-in 5W speaker

Product Dimensions: 22.5 x 31.2 x 11cm; 2.8kg

Some ‘gaming’ projectors are really just rebadged cinema projectors, but this BenQ model is a console-friendly specialist, courtesy of the two HDMI ports and a mere 16ms lag between the time you press a button and the action appearing on your screen, as well as a frankly blinding 3,500 lumens display that means you could probably play Fortnite outside, at midday, during the summer solstice, and still get a clear image.

That said, it will do movie night proud too, thanks to a sharp 1080p HDR display that offers deep blacks and poppy brights.

Granted, it can’t quite hit the cinematic experience of the Optoma above (its 10,000:1 contrast ratio pales in comparison to the Optoma’s 500,000:1) but the opening scene of Star Wars: A New Hope is still appropriately epic on a 300-inch screen.

Projector, GC333 Portable Projector




Resolution: 1080p Full HD

Brightness: 4,500 lumens

Contrast ratio: 2,000:1

Screen size: 180 inches

Connectivity: 2 x HDMI2.0, 1 x USB Type A, 3.5mm headphone jack, 2 x built-in speaker

Product Dimensions: 22 x 17 x 8.9 cm; 1.25kg

You don’t need to spend big, of course. Just take look at a super-cheap projector, perfectly set up for your gaming needs, from Elephas. This one is less than £100, making it one of the cheapest projectors in this list, and will get the job done with no issues. Obviously there’s a drop in quality compared to more expensive models, but for this price there can be no complaints.

PicoPix Max




Resolution: 1080p Full HD

Brightness: 850 lumens

Contrast ratio: 10000:1

Screen size: 120 inches

Connectivity: 2 x HDMI2.0, 1 x USB-c, MicroSD reader, built-in speaker

Product Dimensions:13.6 x 13.4 x 4.75 cm; 850g

Not bothered by 4K but still need a wide-screen projector for your home? Phillips has just announced the PicoPix MaxTV, which offers full HD image quality, a long-lasting bulb-life, and brilliant contrast all in a fairly affordable package.

This projector is great if you’re not into tweaking with settings, as it will automatically adjust brightness, sharpness, and display size based on the room you’re in, giving you a clear picture every time.

Oh, and the projector can double up as a Bluetooth speaker when not displaying your favorite movies, so could be a good alternative to a home speaker if you need it.

From: Esquire UK

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