Tech makes great gifts. For yourself or your special someone. Your brother or your cousin. Holidays or birthdays – or just because. You name it, tech gifts impress.

Considering a projector but hate wading through loads of technical info? Love the feeds & speeds but don’t have the time? Then this Projector Buying Guide is for you.

There’s a huge world of projectors out there. The options can be dizzying. For one thing, there are several projector technologies. All ViewSonic projectors use the popular DLP projection technology. It’s the number one tech in digital cinema – used in about 85% of all commercial theaters.

Wondering which type of projector is best for you? We’ve got the latest on what to look for to satisfy your home entertainment, gaming and on-the-go projection desires.

Why Buy a Projector?

Sure, TVs are nice. They have their place. But for projection enthusiasts, nothing beats a really big image – at a really great value. Here lies the heart of the projection advantage. Inch-for-inch, TVs can’t compete.

home projector buying guide

Projectors deliver the biggest images with the lowest per-inch price tag. They’ve got other great advantages as well. Compared to TVs, projectors offer:

  • Best value – Projectors offer the best value in cost per screen inch. Even factoring in the cost of replacement lamps and a projection screen. LCD TVs are much more expensive.
  • Bigger images – Projectors deliver much larger images than flat screen TVs. Projectors are also adjustable. They don’t limit you to one screen size. How much bigger, you ask. Many projectors can project an HD image up to 300 inches diagonally. HDTVs have a fixed screen size that currently maxes out at 80 inches.
  • Better viewing at more angles – Flat screen TVs look great when viewed from the sweet spot. Sit at an off angle and the image on TVs can be compromised. Projected images stay true regardless of the viewing angle.
  • Easier portability – Projectors can be mounted or used freestanding. Ditto TVs. The difference? A freestanding projector can be easily transported to liven up a backyard barbeque. Enjoy an epic game day at a friend’s house. Pitch your latest entrepreneurial idea to investors. All with a big, cinema-style image. 
  • True HD image enjoyment – Due to the constraints of human eyesight, many users won’t experience the visual clarity of Full HD 1080p content on an LCD TV. At the average viewing distance of 9 feet, the benefits of Full HD will only begin to become visible with a 55” screen, and the full visual benefits won’t be achieved until reaching a 75” screen.1 With a projection system achieving an image size at which high definition viewing can be fully enjoyed is both easier and more cost effective.
  • Compelling entertainment experience – Big! Bold! wall-covering images! Lovers of projection swear by projectors’ ability to deliver a truer, more cinema-like experience.
  • Easy flexibility – Projectors with HDMI connectivity easily connect PCs for streaming content and big-screen gaming.
  • Aesthetics and space-savings – Projection reduces visual clutter. It’s a great choice for minimalist decor. Consider the space consumed by paper-thin projector screens or a painted-on projection surface. Add a portable or ceiling-mounted projector. Combined, these take up less space than a TV and its components. Projector screens and portable projectors can be easily stashed and removed from view. Color-matched ceiling-mounted projectors are camouflaged and discreet. 
  • Durability – Breakable LCD TVs and active children are often not a wise mix. Especially when your media room doubles as a rec room or family room. Retractable screens paired with a ceiling mounted projector stay safely up and out of the way when the room is used for other purposes.
  • Reduced eyestrain – Small, bright focal points can cause eyestrain and visual fatigue. TVs, being smaller and brighter than projection, tend to be harder on the eyes. Projected images, with lower brightness and larger image sizes, can help reduce eyestrain and eye fatigue.2

Which Projector to Buy? 

Projectors offer a wide range of features. If you want to keep things easy, your best bet is to start with this question: How will the projector be used? Your second question should be: what will the lighting conditions be like? 

Projector Buying Light or Dark Room

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all projector. Features may overlap. But different combinations best meet specific needs. Below, the key things to keep in mind when shopping for a home entertainment, gaming or portable projector. 

Home Theater / Media Room 

Buying for a movie buff? (Yourself perhaps.) Live for weekend binge-watching? Projection boosts home-viewing enjoyment with a big screen, cinematic experience. 

Key considerations

1. Environment

  • Consider how the space will be used. Is it a true home theater or a multi-purpose media room?
  • Can it replicate theater-level darkness? If so, brightness can be as low as 1,000 lumens.
  • If there will often be some ambient light, then brightness should be higher.

2. Room size / throw ratio

  • How big is the room? How far from the screen can you place the projector?
  • Throw ratio is the key spec for determining where a projector can be placed to create certain image sizes.
  • The keep-it-simple guideline: The smaller the space, the shorter the projector throw you’ll want.
  • To deep-dive into room set up, check out the ViewSonic distance calculator.

3. Resolution

  • Full HD 1080p resolution delivers terrific image clarity and detail. Most of today’s content will be compatible.
  • 4K resolution offers added image detail and is a more future-proof option as content moves to 4K.
Home-Theater-Media-Room-Projector

Best Uses

  • Movies
  • Sports
  • Binge watching TV shows
  • Pay-per-view events
  • Big-screen internet browsing
  • Snow-day snuggling 

Ideal Environment

Strictly defined, home theaters have cinema-like seating and a mini movie-theater feel. Realistically, any dedicated room with well-controlled lighting can be a great home theater space. The defining factor is the ability to achieve pitch-black viewing. Multi-purpose media rooms are also great for movie night. If some light sneaks through when the curtains are drawn, you’ll simply need to opt for a higher-brightness projection option. 

Home Theater Projector Bottom Line

Look for high resolution – Full HD or Ultra-HD 4K – combined with features that deliver vibrant, accurate colors. Make sure the projector has enough HDMI ports for easy connectivity to your other home theater components.

Quick Picks: Home Theater

GOOD

ViewSonic PX725HD 1080p Projector with 2,000 lumens – MSRP $779.99

Full HD 1080p resolution, Rec. 709 color accuracy and advanced color-optimization features deliver an outstanding cinema-like experience in any home theater. Amp up the immersive experience with 3D display from any 3D Blu-ray player, viewable with optional ViewSonic PGD-350 Shutter Glasses, or any other compatible 3D glasses.

PX725HD

Best for: larger rooms, ceiling mounting

Mounting distance for 100” projected image – 10.89 feet  

BETTER (option A)

ViewSonic PX727-4K Ultra HD Projector with 2,200 lumens – MSRP $1490.99

Step up to 4K for stunning images and content compatibility for the long haul. HDR compatibility further enables brighter, more vivid colors, richer contrast and crisper detail. Dual 3D Blu-ray ready HDMI inputs add connectivity and viewing options.

PX727-4K Home Projector

Best for: larger rooms, ceiling mounting

Mounting distance for 100” projected image – 10.38 feet 

BETTER (option B)

ViewSonic PX747-4K Ultra HD Projector with 3,500 lumens – MSRP $1,261.99

Enjoy the beauty of 4K images in any lighting conditions. ViewSonic SuperColor adds brilliant color accuracy. Amped up brightness lets delivers stunning home entertainment around the clock: day or night, in bright rooms or dark. 

Best for: larger rooms, ceiling mounting

Mounting distance for 100” projected image – 10.38 feet 

BEST

Laser LS820 Short Throw Projector with 3,500 lumens – MSRP $3,210.99

The ultimate in home entertainment. 20,000 hours of laser light for superior color uniformity. Stunning brightness. And reduced maintenance. (No lamps to change, ever!)

Add a black diffuser screen like the ViewSonic BrilliantColorScreen™, and this is the best home theater picture you’re going to get.

Laser Projector for Home Theater

Best for: small-to-large rooms, ceiling mounted or freestanding

Mounting distance for 100” projected image – 1.74 feet 

Home Theater Match-Up

 GOODPX725HD GREAT (darkened rooms)PX727-4KGREAT (all lighting)PX747-4KBESTLaser LS820
ResolutionFull HD (1920 x 1080) 1080pUltra HD (3840 x 2160) 4KUltra HD (3840 x 2160) 4KFull HD (1920 x 1080) 1080p
Brightness2,000 ANSI Lumens2,200 ANSI Lumens3,500 ANSI Lumens3,500 ANSI Lumens
Throw typeNormalNormalNormalUltra-Short
Throw ratio1.5 – 1.651.5 – 1.8 0.23
Throw distance3.3 – 32.8 ft / 1.0 – 10.0 m3.2 – 38.4 ft / 1.0 – 11.7 m3.2 – 38.4 ft / 1.0 – 11.7 m1.21 – 2.62 ft. / 0.37 – 0.8 m
Display size   70 – 150 in. / 1.78 – 3.81 m (diagonal)
Lens1.1x Manual Optical Zoom 1.2x Optical Zoom1.2x Optical ZoomDigital optical focus
Speaker8W internal10W internal10W internal8W internal
RGBRGB, Rec. 709YesYesViewSonic SuperColor wide color rangeViewSonic SuperColor wide color range
HDR content supportNoYesYes?
Reduced input latencyYes 16msNoN0NO
Dynamic contrast ratio22,000:112,000:1 12,000:1 100,000:1
Inputs:HDMI 1.4 (HDCP1.4), USB 2.0 Type A, Mini USBHDMI 1.4 (HDCP1.4), HDMI 2.0 (HDCP2.2), USB 2.0 Type A, Mini USBHDMI 1.4 (HDCP1.4), HDMI 2.0 (HDCP2.2), USB 2.0 Type A, Mini USBHDMI 1.4 (HDCP1.4), 1 HDMI MHL, USB 2.0 Type A, 2 VGA In, Mini USB

Gaming Projectors

Got a gamer on your gift list? Projection takes the action to a new level of big-screen intensity. Great for solo gamers. Even better for split screen with friends. Always cooler than your typical TV. 

Gaming Projector Buying Guide

Key Considerations

1. Lag time (aka input latency)

  • This is the time it takes for a projector (or TV) to produce an image. It’s a no-compromise spec for enthusiasts as well as serious gamers.
  • Too much lag can make the difference between survival and defeat. Relaxed fun and mega-frustration.
  • Look for lag time lower than 40ms.
  • HDMI 2.0 is a critical port for reducing lag time…

2. Resolution

  • Full HD 1080p is the most popular gaming resolution. It delivers beautiful clarity and detail while enabling superb in-game performance.
  • Higher resolutions require beefed-up hardware to support decent game-play performance.

3. Contrast ratio

  • This spec is the difference between the whitest white and darkest black a projector can produce.
  • For gaming, higher is better. High contrast ratio ensures visibility in dark scenes. Clarity without washout in brighter scenarios. 

Best Uses

  • Gaming
  • Gaming
  • Gaming
  • More Gaming

Ideal Environment

Multi-purpose media rooms with variable lighting make great gaming environments. Just make you’re your projector produces >2,500 lumens. For the most immersive action, block out as much light as possible. 

Gaming Projector Bottom Line:

Low lag time is a gamer’s best friend. Ultra-low lag time? Even better. When it comes to contrast, more is better. Go for high contrast ratios, ideally >10,000:1. For all but the most high-end hardware setups, 1080p is an ideal resolution. 

Quick Picks: Gaming Projectors

GOOD

ViewSonic PX700HD 1080p Projector with 3500 Lumens – $573.99

Everything gamers need. 3,500 lumens shine bright for great gaming, day or night, in any environment. Smooth, frame-by-frame action. Accurate color and crisp images. Plus, cut power costs – and keep the play going longer between lamp changes – with energy-saving SuperEco® for extended lamp life up to 15,000 hours. 

Best for: larger rooms, ceiling mounting

Mounting distance for 100” projected image – 10.89 

BETTER

ViewSonic PX706HD 1080p Short Throw Projector with 3000 Lumens – $785

Short on space? This projector delivers big, bold images up to 100” from just two feet away. Shines bright in any type of lighting. Delivers fast frame-by-frame action and smooth, delay-free gameplay. Not to mention, eye-pleasing color, contrast and detail.

Best Gaming Projector

Best for: small-to-large rooms, ceiling mounted or freestanding

Mounting distance for 100” projected image – 5.01 feet 

BEST

ViewSonic PX800HD Ultra-Short Throw Projector with 2,000 Lumens – $1,407.99

Get big-screen gaming in the smallest spaces. Achieve huge gamescapes of up to 150” from just inches away. Best-in-class ViewSonic SuperColor™ with TruCinema RGBRGB tech and Rec. 709 color accuracy deliver brilliant, lifelike images. For an even more immersive experience, gain 4x greater contrast than a typical screen with the ViewSonic BrilliantColorPanel™ screen.

ultra-short-throw-gaming-projector

Best for: small-to-large rooms, ceiling mounted or freestanding

Mounting distance for 100” projected image – 1.74 feet 

Gaming Projector Match-Up

 GOODPX700HD BETTERPX706HDBESTPX747-4K
ResolutionFull HD (1920 x 1080) 1080pFull HD (1920 x 1080) 1080pFull HD (1920 x 1080) 1080p
Brightness3,500 ANSI Lumens3,000 ANSI Lumens2,000 ANSI Lumens
Throw typeNormalShortUltra-Short Throw
Throw ratio1.5 – 1.650.69-0.830.23
Throw distance2.5 – 25.0 ft / 0.7 – 7.6 m3.0 – 7.2 ft / 0.9 – 2.2 m3 0.33 – 0.75 ft. / 0.10 – 0.23 m 
Display size   
Lens1.1x Optical Zoom 1.2x Optical ZoomManual Optical Focus
Speaker2W internal5W internal10W internal
RGBRGB, Rec. 709ViewSonic SuperColor wide color rangeyesViewSonic SuperColor wide color range
Reduced input latencyYes 16msYes 16msYes 16ms
Dynamic contrast ratio12,000:122,000:1 100,000:1
Inputs:Dual HDMIUSB 2.0 Type AMini USB Type BDual HDMI 1.4USB 3.1 Type CMini USB Type BHDMI 1.4 (HDCP1.4), Mini USB Type 
Special FeaturesFull HD 3D compatibility lets you enjoy 3D movies and games. PortAll® compartment for wireless streaming devices and PC sticks.  

Portable Projectors

Provided they’re not mounted to the ceiling, most projectors qualify as reasonably portable. For the ultimate in portable ease, nothing beats an ultra-mobile pico projector. Tiny projection powerhouses, they’re the ultimate in versatility. Camping. Backyard barbeques. Driveway movie marathons. Your best friend’s basement. You name it. These projectors like to go on the road.

Key considerations

1. Design

  • There are many types of pico projectors. Many need external components to deliver content.
  • For the ultimate in ease look for a complete projection system with internal memory, ports for USB micro SD cards that can access content without connecting to an external system

2. Battery life

  • The longer the battery life, the more trusty the travel companion. Watch out for models that get good reviews but only last an hour or two away from a power source.

3. Features

  • Many portable pico projectors offer bare-bones design and few features.
  • Smart add-ons to look for include: integrated stand; 360-degree rotation; and instant on-off.
  • Versatile connectivity options are always a good thing. 

Best Uses

  • Camping
  • Visiting friends and family
  • Holiday light displays
  • Quiet travel companion

Ideal Environment:

Anywhere your heart desires. The less ambient light, the better. 

Portable Projector Bottom Line:

Look for a slim, lightweight exterior design plus robust internal components that eliminate the need for external hardware support. The longer the battery life, the better. Smart design features add ease, function and the wow factor. 

Quick Pick: Portable Projector

ViewSonic® M1 ultra-portable LED projector – MSRP $337.99
Loaded with smart design features, this small but mighty projector is perfect for taking your entertainment with you. Lamp-free solid-state tech delivers over 30,000 hours of enjoyment. The built-in battery provides up to 6 hours of gameplay, movie marathons and holiday décor. The integrated smart stand enables easy 360-degree setup and doubles as a lens cover. Powers on automatically by uncovering the lens for instant full-brightness entertainment. Dual Harman Kardon speakers provide crisp and clear sound. The short throw lens displays large images in small spaces. Versatile connectivity options include a MicroSD card slot, USB Type-A, and USB Type-C.

Portable Projector

Tech makes great gifts. For yourself or your special someone. Your brother or your cousin. Holidays or birthdays – or just because. You name it, tech gifts impress.

Considering a projector but hate wading through loads of technical info? Love the feeds & speeds but don’t have the time? Then this Projector Buying Guide is for you.

There’s a huge world of projectors out there. The options can be dizzying. For one thing, there are several projector technologies. All ViewSonic projectors use the popular DLP projection technology. It’s the number one tech in digital cinema – used in about 85% of all commercial theaters.

Wondering which type of projector is best for you? We’ve got the latest on what to look for to satisfy your home entertainment, gaming and on-the-go projection desires.

Why Buy a Projector?

Sure, TVs are nice. They have their place. But for projection enthusiasts, nothing beats a really big image – at a really great value. Here lies the heart of the projection advantage. Inch-for-inch, TVs can’t compete.

home projector buying guide

Projectors deliver the biggest images with the lowest per-inch price tag. They’ve got other great advantages as well. Compared to TVs, projectors offer:

  • Best value – Projectors offer the best value in cost per screen inch. Even factoring in the cost of replacement lamps and a projection screen. LCD TVs are much more expensive.
  • Bigger images – Projectors deliver much larger images than flat screen TVs. Projectors are also adjustable. They don’t limit you to one screen size. How much bigger, you ask. Many projectors can project an HD image up to 300 inches diagonally. HDTVs have a fixed screen size that currently maxes out at 80 inches.
  • Better viewing at more angles – Flat screen TVs look great when viewed from the sweet spot. Sit at an off angle and the image on TVs can be compromised. Projected images stay true regardless of the viewing angle.
  • Easier portability – Projectors can be mounted or used freestanding. Ditto TVs. The difference? A freestanding projector can be easily transported to liven up a backyard barbeque. Enjoy an epic game day at a friend’s house. Pitch your latest entrepreneurial idea to investors. All with a big, cinema-style image. 
  • True HD image enjoyment – Due to the constraints of human eyesight, many users won’t experience the visual clarity of Full HD 1080p content on an LCD TV. At the average viewing distance of 9 feet, the benefits of Full HD will only begin to become visible with a 55” screen, and the full visual benefits won’t be achieved until reaching a 75” screen.1 With a projection system achieving an image size at which high definition viewing can be fully enjoyed is both easier and more cost effective.
  • Compelling entertainment experience – Big! Bold! wall-covering images! Lovers of projection swear by projectors’ ability to deliver a truer, more cinema-like experience.
  • Easy flexibility – Projectors with HDMI connectivity easily connect PCs for streaming content and big-screen gaming.
  • Aesthetics and space-savings – Projection reduces visual clutter. It’s a great choice for minimalist decor. Consider the space consumed by paper-thin projector screens or a painted-on projection surface. Add a portable or ceiling-mounted projector. Combined, these take up less space than a TV and its components. Projector screens and portable projectors can be easily stashed and removed from view. Color-matched ceiling-mounted projectors are camouflaged and discreet. 
  • Durability – Breakable LCD TVs and active children are often not a wise mix. Especially when your media room doubles as a rec room or family room. Retractable screens paired with a ceiling mounted projector stay safely up and out of the way when the room is used for other purposes.
  • Reduced eyestrain – Small, bright focal points can cause eyestrain and visual fatigue. TVs, being smaller and brighter than projection, tend to be harder on the eyes. Projected images, with lower brightness and larger image sizes, can help reduce eyestrain and eye fatigue.2

Which Projector to Buy? 

Projectors offer a wide range of features. If you want to keep things easy, your best bet is to start with this question: How will the projector be used? Your second question should be: what will the lighting conditions be like? 

Projector Buying Light or Dark Room

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all projector. Features may overlap. But different combinations best meet specific needs. Below, the key things to keep in mind when shopping for a home entertainment, gaming or portable projector. 

Home Theater / Media Room 

Buying for a movie buff? (Yourself perhaps.) Live for weekend binge-watching? Projection boosts home-viewing enjoyment with a big screen, cinematic experience. 

Key considerations

1. Environment

  • Consider how the space will be used. Is it a true home theater or a multi-purpose media room?
  • Can it replicate theater-level darkness? If so, brightness can be as low as 1,000 lumens.
  • If there will often be some ambient light, then brightness should be higher.

2. Room size / throw ratio

  • How big is the room? How far from the screen can you place the projector?
  • Throw ratio is the key spec for determining where a projector can be placed to create certain image sizes.
  • The keep-it-simple guideline: The smaller the space, the shorter the projector throw you’ll want.
  • To deep-dive into room set up, check out the ViewSonic distance calculator.

3. Resolution

  • Full HD 1080p resolution delivers terrific image clarity and detail. Most of today’s content will be compatible.
  • 4K resolution offers added image detail and is a more future-proof option as content moves to 4K.
Home-Theater-Media-Room-Projector

Best Uses

  • Movies
  • Sports
  • Binge watching TV shows
  • Pay-per-view events
  • Big-screen internet browsing
  • Snow-day snuggling 

Ideal Environment

Strictly defined, home theaters have cinema-like seating and a mini movie-theater feel. Realistically, any dedicated room with well-controlled lighting can be a great home theater space. The defining factor is the ability to achieve pitch-black viewing. Multi-purpose media rooms are also great for movie night. If some light sneaks through when the curtains are drawn, you’ll simply need to opt for a higher-brightness projection option. 

Home Theater Projector Bottom Line

Look for high resolution – Full HD or Ultra-HD 4K – combined with features that deliver vibrant, accurate colors. Make sure the projector has enough HDMI ports for easy connectivity to your other home theater components.

Quick Picks: Home Theater

GOOD

ViewSonic PX725HD 1080p Projector with 2,000 lumens – MSRP $779.99

Full HD 1080p resolution, Rec. 709 color accuracy and advanced color-optimization features deliver an outstanding cinema-like experience in any home theater. Amp up the immersive experience with 3D display from any 3D Blu-ray player, viewable with optional ViewSonic PGD-350 Shutter Glasses, or any other compatible 3D glasses.

PX725HD

Best for: larger rooms, ceiling mounting

Mounting distance for 100” projected image – 10.89 feet  

BETTER (option A)

ViewSonic PX727-4K Ultra HD Projector with 2,200 lumens – MSRP $1490.99

Step up to 4K for stunning images and content compatibility for the long haul. HDR compatibility further enables brighter, more vivid colors, richer contrast and crisper detail. Dual 3D Blu-ray ready HDMI inputs add connectivity and viewing options.

PX727-4K Home Projector

Best for: larger rooms, ceiling mounting

Mounting distance for 100” projected image – 10.38 feet 

BETTER (option B)

ViewSonic PX747-4K Ultra HD Projector with 3,500 lumens – MSRP $1,261.99

Enjoy the beauty of 4K images in any lighting conditions. ViewSonic SuperColor adds brilliant color accuracy. Amped up brightness lets delivers stunning home entertainment around the clock: day or night, in bright rooms or dark. 

Best for: larger rooms, ceiling mounting

Mounting distance for 100” projected image – 10.38 feet 

BEST

Laser LS820 Short Throw Projector with 3,500 lumens – MSRP $3,210.99

The ultimate in home entertainment. 20,000 hours of laser light for superior color uniformity. Stunning brightness. And reduced maintenance. (No lamps to change, ever!)

Add a black diffuser screen like the ViewSonic BrilliantColorScreen™, and this is the best home theater picture you’re going to get.

Laser Projector for Home Theater

Best for: small-to-large rooms, ceiling mounted or freestanding

Mounting distance for 100” projected image – 1.74 feet 

Home Theater Match-Up

 GOODPX725HD GREAT (darkened rooms)PX727-4KGREAT (all lighting)PX747-4KBESTLaser LS820
ResolutionFull HD (1920 x 1080) 1080pUltra HD (3840 x 2160) 4KUltra HD (3840 x 2160) 4KFull HD (1920 x 1080) 1080p
Brightness2,000 ANSI Lumens2,200 ANSI Lumens3,500 ANSI Lumens3,500 ANSI Lumens
Throw typeNormalNormalNormalUltra-Short
Throw ratio1.5 – 1.651.5 – 1.8 0.23
Throw distance3.3 – 32.8 ft / 1.0 – 10.0 m3.2 – 38.4 ft / 1.0 – 11.7 m3.2 – 38.4 ft / 1.0 – 11.7 m1.21 – 2.62 ft. / 0.37 – 0.8 m
Display size   70 – 150 in. / 1.78 – 3.81 m (diagonal)
Lens1.1x Manual Optical Zoom 1.2x Optical Zoom1.2x Optical ZoomDigital optical focus
Speaker8W internal10W internal10W internal8W internal
RGBRGB, Rec. 709YesYesViewSonic SuperColor wide color rangeViewSonic SuperColor wide color range
HDR content supportNoYesYes?
Reduced input latencyYes 16msNoN0NO
Dynamic contrast ratio22,000:112,000:1 12,000:1 100,000:1
Inputs:HDMI 1.4 (HDCP1.4), USB 2.0 Type A, Mini USBHDMI 1.4 (HDCP1.4), HDMI 2.0 (HDCP2.2), USB 2.0 Type A, Mini USBHDMI 1.4 (HDCP1.4), HDMI 2.0 (HDCP2.2), USB 2.0 Type A, Mini USBHDMI 1.4 (HDCP1.4), 1 HDMI MHL, USB 2.0 Type A, 2 VGA In, Mini USB

Gaming Projectors

Got a gamer on your gift list? Projection takes the action to a new level of big-screen intensity. Great for solo gamers. Even better for split screen with friends. Always cooler than your typical TV. 

Gaming Projector Buying Guide

Key Considerations

1. Lag time (aka input latency)

  • This is the time it takes for a projector (or TV) to produce an image. It’s a no-compromise spec for enthusiasts as well as serious gamers.
  • Too much lag can make the difference between survival and defeat. Relaxed fun and mega-frustration.
  • Look for lag time lower than 40ms.
  • HDMI 2.0 is a critical port for reducing lag time…

2. Resolution

  • Full HD 1080p is the most popular gaming resolution. It delivers beautiful clarity and detail while enabling superb in-game performance.
  • Higher resolutions require beefed-up hardware to support decent game-play performance.

3. Contrast ratio

  • This spec is the difference between the whitest white and darkest black a projector can produce.
  • For gaming, higher is better. High contrast ratio ensures visibility in dark scenes. Clarity without washout in brighter scenarios. 

Best Uses

  • Gaming
  • Gaming
  • Gaming
  • More Gaming

Ideal Environment

Multi-purpose media rooms with variable lighting make great gaming environments. Just make you’re your projector produces >2,500 lumens. For the most immersive action, block out as much light as possible. 

Gaming Projector Bottom Line:

Low lag time is a gamer’s best friend. Ultra-low lag time? Even better. When it comes to contrast, more is better. Go for high contrast ratios, ideally >10,000:1. For all but the most high-end hardware setups, 1080p is an ideal resolution. 

Quick Picks: Gaming Projectors

GOOD

ViewSonic PX700HD 1080p Projector with 3500 Lumens – $573.99

Everything gamers need. 3,500 lumens shine bright for great gaming, day or night, in any environment. Smooth, frame-by-frame action. Accurate color and crisp images. Plus, cut power costs – and keep the play going longer between lamp changes – with energy-saving SuperEco® for extended lamp life up to 15,000 hours. 

Best for: larger rooms, ceiling mounting

Mounting distance for 100” projected image – 10.89 

BETTER

ViewSonic PX706HD 1080p Short Throw Projector with 3000 Lumens – $785

Short on space? This projector delivers big, bold images up to 100” from just two feet away. Shines bright in any type of lighting. Delivers fast frame-by-frame action and smooth, delay-free gameplay. Not to mention, eye-pleasing color, contrast and detail.

Best Gaming Projector

Best for: small-to-large rooms, ceiling mounted or freestanding

Mounting distance for 100” projected image – 5.01 feet 

BEST

ViewSonic PX800HD Ultra-Short Throw Projector with 2,000 Lumens – $1,407.99

Get big-screen gaming in the smallest spaces. Achieve huge gamescapes of up to 150” from just inches away. Best-in-class ViewSonic SuperColor™ with TruCinema RGBRGB tech and Rec. 709 color accuracy deliver brilliant, lifelike images. For an even more immersive experience, gain 4x greater contrast than a typical screen with the ViewSonic BrilliantColorPanel™ screen.

ultra-short-throw-gaming-projector

Best for: small-to-large rooms, ceiling mounted or freestanding

Mounting distance for 100” projected image – 1.74 feet 

Gaming Projector Match-Up

 GOODPX700HD BETTERPX706HDBESTPX747-4K
ResolutionFull HD (1920 x 1080) 1080pFull HD (1920 x 1080) 1080pFull HD (1920 x 1080) 1080p
Brightness3,500 ANSI Lumens3,000 ANSI Lumens2,000 ANSI Lumens
Throw typeNormalShortUltra-Short Throw
Throw ratio1.5 – 1.650.69-0.830.23
Throw distance2.5 – 25.0 ft / 0.7 – 7.6 m3.0 – 7.2 ft / 0.9 – 2.2 m3 0.33 – 0.75 ft. / 0.10 – 0.23 m 
Display size   
Lens1.1x Optical Zoom 1.2x Optical ZoomManual Optical Focus
Speaker2W internal5W internal10W internal
RGBRGB, Rec. 709ViewSonic SuperColor wide color rangeyesViewSonic SuperColor wide color range
Reduced input latencyYes 16msYes 16msYes 16ms
Dynamic contrast ratio12,000:122,000:1 100,000:1
Inputs:Dual HDMIUSB 2.0 Type AMini USB Type BDual HDMI 1.4USB 3.1 Type CMini USB Type BHDMI 1.4 (HDCP1.4), Mini USB Type 
Special FeaturesFull HD 3D compatibility lets you enjoy 3D movies and games. PortAll® compartment for wireless streaming devices and PC sticks.  

Portable Projectors

Provided they’re not mounted to the ceiling, most projectors qualify as reasonably portable. For the ultimate in portable ease, nothing beats an ultra-mobile pico projector. Tiny projection powerhouses, they’re the ultimate in versatility. Camping. Backyard barbeques. Driveway movie marathons. Your best friend’s basement. You name it. These projectors like to go on the road.

Key considerations

1. Design

  • There are many types of pico projectors. Many need external components to deliver content.
  • For the ultimate in ease look for a complete projection system with internal memory, ports for USB micro SD cards that can access content without connecting to an external system

2. Battery life

  • The longer the battery life, the more trusty the travel companion. Watch out for models that get good reviews but only last an hour or two away from a power source.

3. Features

  • Many portable pico projectors offer bare-bones design and few features.
  • Smart add-ons to look for include: integrated stand; 360-degree rotation; and instant on-off.
  • Versatile connectivity options are always a good thing. 

Best Uses

  • Camping
  • Visiting friends and family
  • Holiday light displays
  • Quiet travel companion

Ideal Environment:

Anywhere your heart desires. The less ambient light, the better. 

Portable Projector Bottom Line:

Look for a slim, lightweight exterior design plus robust internal components that eliminate the need for external hardware support. The longer the battery life, the better. Smart design features add ease, function and the wow factor. 

Quick Pick: Portable Projector

ViewSonic® M1 ultra-portable LED projector – MSRP $337.99
Loaded with smart design features, this small but mighty projector is perfect for taking your entertainment with you. Lamp-free solid-state tech delivers over 30,000 hours of enjoyment. The built-in battery provides up to 6 hours of gameplay, movie marathons and holiday décor. The integrated smart stand enables easy 360-degree setup and doubles as a lens cover. Powers on automatically by uncovering the lens for instant full-brightness entertainment. Dual Harman Kardon speakers provide crisp and clear sound. The short throw lens displays large images in small spaces. Versatile connectivity options include a MicroSD card slot, USB Type-A, and USB Type-C.

Portable Projector