Screens surround us in our daily lives: from increasingly larger ones like televisions, to the smaller screens of our mobile phones and smart watches. Against this backdrop, a projector can be a fantastic alternative if you’re in need or want of a bigger screen.
These products have become incredibly popular over the last few years. This has led more and more manufacturers to develop new models, some of these being sold at very affordable prices. With an ever increasing number of options on the market, selecting the device that is most suited to your needs can result to be a challenge.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best projectors on the Australian market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about projectors
- 3.1 What is a projector exactly?
- 3.2 What are the advantages and disadvantages of projectors?
- 3.3 Is buying a projector worth it?
- 3.4 What are the main uses of a projector?
- 3.5 What kind of projectors are available out there?
- 3.6 Do I need a screen for my projector?
- 3.7 Where and how should I place my projector?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- Nowadays, video projectors can be used in a multitude of ways, the main ones being within professional and educational environments. That being said, their presence in our homes has widely spread in recent years; indeed, they can provide an incredible home cinema experience.
- We currently identify three main types of video projector technologies: LCD, DLP or LCoS. Each of these presents different features and therefore has its own advantages and disadvantages.
- There are several key aspects that you should consider before buying your own projector; these include contrast, he brightness and maximum resolution.
Ranking: The best projectors on the Australian market
The following section is our very own ranking of the five best projectors currently available on The Australian market. We have tried to create a varied selection with distinct products, while ensuring that each one of them offers great value for money.
No. 1: ELEPHAS YG600 1080P LCD Video Projector[amazon box=”B07F1Z1NVR” description_items=”0″]
Chinese companies are greatly responsible for the increased accessibility of projectors to the general public, and ELEPHAS by Alphas has become a very popular brand in the industry. As a matter of fact, this very model is Amazon’s Choice in the category; past customers have even gone as far as saying that it was “the best budget projector on the market”.
With a native resolution of 1,200×800 pixels, a contrast of 3,000:1 and manual Keystone correction, it’s indeed incredible that it comes at such an affordable price. Its connectivity options include HDMI, USB and VGA, but no wireless connection. The 3,600 lumens will allow you to create a fantastic cinema experience right from your living room.
No. 2: QKK AK-80 1080P Full HD Projector[amazon box=”B078JYXFWS” description_items=”0″]
This very economical LED projector by QKK is none other than Amazon’s Best Seller in the category. It is ideal for playing movies and broadcasting sport, or even to play your favourite video games. Its brightness level of 2,400 lumens is much higher than that of other similarly-priced projectors. The size of the image can reach up to 176 inches (approximately 450 cm).
Its maximum resolution of 1,080P means you can enjoy content in Full HD, and it features a contrast ratio of 2,000:1. According to the manufacturer, the LED lamp has a life of up to 50,000 hours. HDMI, VGA and AV connections, as well as two USB ports and a SD card slot, are available. This product also integrates a noise reduction system. Past buyers have loved the value for money of this projector. 3-year warranty.
No. 3: Epson EH-TW5600[amazon box=”B077PKKGVH” description_items=”0″]
Japanese company Epson is a world leader in the electronics industry, so there’s no need to ask yourself why this projector made it to our top 5. This powerful and flexible 2,500 lumens 3LCD projector features an incredible contrast ratio of 35,000:1. The image quality played in Full HD and 3D is enhanced by the Frame Interpolation technology.
Note that a completely dark space is recommended to fully enjoy 3D. It allows connections through HDMI 1.4 (1 x MHL), VGA, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and has a USB 2.0 type A port and a USB 2.0 type B port. This projector also features a built-in 10W speaker. The price is unfortunately very steep. This product comes with a 2-year warranty.
No. 4: ABOX T22 Projector[amazon box=”B072C5MKS5″ description_items=”0″]
Massachusetts-based brand ABOX develops quality electronic products at very affordable prices. With specs similar to that of the QKK AK-80, their T22 LCD video projector also features interesting additional options: the focus and Keystone correction can be adjusted manually. A remote control allows you to control your projector from the comfort of your couch. The dual stereo speakers built in further enhance your home cinema experience.
No. 5: Toumei C800S Mini Projector[amazon box=”B0776VZLW7″ description_items=”0″]
Don’t let the size of this little bad boy by Chinese company Toumei fool you: this DLP projector is as versatile as it is compact. And it is indeed compact, barely bigger than a smartphone. However, that doesn’t mean its qualities are hindered. It has a maximum projection size of 150 inches – approximately 380 centimetres.
It’s naturally easy to carry around, and its flexibility will allow you to use it for presentations at work as well as to watch your favourite movies at home. You can plug it into a power outlet, or use the rechargeable battery for up to two and a half hours of playback. It comes with a remote control and a tripod. 12-month warranty included.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about projectors
As we mentioned earlier, there are critical factors to take into account when the time comes to purchase your projector. With so many models available out there, it is important to know which features are most interesting for you. In the next section, we’ve answered frequently asked questions by past customers to help you in your venture.
What is a projector exactly?
This optical device is designed to receive a video signal and project it onto a screen or any other surface through a lens system. A very bright light is generally used in order to project the image. The latest models have the ability to correct curves and blurs by means of a series of adjustments available.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of projectors?
Modern video projectors feature a great number of advantages that go well beyond the simply offering a large screen. On the other hand, the disadvantages they present should also be taken into account. We’ve listed them in the table below.
|They offer a much larger picture than a TV or monitor. This way, your experience is more immersive.||They take longer to turn on than a standard TV.|
|They provide a home theatre experience.||Most require a separate sound system.|
|Their size is smaller than that of TVs, making it much easier to organise interior spaces.||The lamp needs to be replaced from time to time, and it is quite expensive.|
|Their installation and use are very straightforward.||–|
|They can be used in a multitude of ways, from educational, to professional or leisure. They are easy to transport from one place to another.||–|
Is buying a projector worth it?
This naturally depends on how you plan to use it. It’s a definite yes if you’ll make professional or educational use of it. If you want to use it at home to watch series, movies or play video games, how often you use the projector will probably be a determining factor in your decision.
On the other hand, it is an incredibly viable option for broadcasting sporting events in entertainment venues; you’ll easily pay it off within a few months.
What are the main uses of a projector?
As we mentioned before, they can be used in a many different ways. These devices are commonly found in exhibition or conference rooms, in school or university classrooms, and of course as home cinema. Recently, they have also become popular in bars to display sports matches and competitions.
What kind of projectors are available out there?
As we mentioned earlier, there are currently three main projector technologies: LCD, DLP or LCoS. Each different type naturally has its own characteristics that we’ve summed up in the table below for you. It should help you identify which technology is more adapted to you and your needs.
|LCD projectors||DLP projectors|
|Image||The image is created through millions of tiny mirrors that direct and project the light towards the screen.||The are similar to LCD projectors, although the panels reflect the light rather than letting it pass through.|
|Colours||The colours aren’t so bright and are more muted. Lower brightness levels and good image definition. They also have a good greyscale.||The colours are brighter, and the images softer and more natural. Their response to moving images is fairly good. They also present a good greyscale.|
|Advantages||They take up less space and are lighter.||They tend to be quieter.|
|Price||Your investment will need to be higher.||Expensive, although some portable equipment are more affordable.|
Do I need a screen for my projector?
The answer is absolutely yes if you plan on using your device within a professional environment. It won’t be a necessity in other cases, and will also depend on your budget. A white or grey wall will do just fine in that situation, and it will be a plus if the surface is matte. Either way, keep in mind that the image quality will never be more than acceptable.
This is why we strongly encourage you to get a good screen to go along with your projector. This will actually help you make the most out of your new device. Regarding the location of your screen, please keep in mind that ambient light is a projector’s worst enemy – stay away if you can.
Where and how should I place my projector?
You know what they say: better safe than sorry. Make sure you know exactly where you’ll set up your projector before buying it. This is why we want to emphasise on the fact that you should avoid light sources at all costs, while passageways should be kept away too. The projector should be placed perpendicularly to the centre of the screen.
How far should you set the projector from the screen? Multiply the width of the screen by approximately 1.5 or 2. If you’re facing problems due to tight space, know that short distance projectors are also available on the market. These models will can provide quality diagonals at distances of no more than a metre.
There are a certain number of key aspects that you’ll have to take into account when the time comes to make your purchase. We’ve detailed the most important ones in the following section to help you make the right decision. If you use them as a guide in your purchasing process, we’re sure you’ll be satisfied with your product and get the best value for money possible.
- Personal use
- Additional options
The very first thing you’ll have to ask yourself when deciding on a specific model will naturally be the use you plan to make of it. As you can imagine, a small conference room away from ambient light won’t need the same type of projector as a bar with large windows. Your product of choice will also be influenced by whether you want to play movies or broadcast sporting events.
Two other key factors that you can’t overlook are space usage and the content you plan to display. Believe it or not, but these are essential in deciding aspects such as the format, resolution and brightness of the device you should buy. Your connection needs will also be affected by this.
This value corresponds to the ratio between the width and height of the image displayed. You might already be aware of some of the different options available, which will also depend on the content you want to play. The 4:3 format will be your pick for presentations, slideshows or classic films. The 16:9/16:10 format are better tailored to reproduce movies or TV channels in HD.
You can also find a variety of film formats, such as 21:9, 1.85:1, 2.35:1 and 2.40:1. Please be aware that these are generally adapted to 16:9 anamorphic formats for playback on TV channels, DVD players or Blu-ray. Either way, there are various settings – such as zooming – that will let you adapt the image exactly how you want it.
This other value indicates the number of pixels that your projector can display in an image. More pixels will naturally mean a higher definition and a better image quality. You can currently find many different resolutions. When it comes to Blu-Ray or PS4 consoles, Full HD or 1,080p resolution should be your go-to choice.
XGA (1,024×768) and WXGA (1,280×800) resolutions are mostly used if you’re working with a laptop for projections in meeting rooms. 4K – UHD (3,840×2,160) resolution has gained in popularity over the last years, as it allows you to play back content in Ultra High Definition.
We’ve already briefly discussed brightness, but we want to mention it again. It will be an essential aspect in choosing the right projector, as it has a key influence on image contrast. In that regard, the type of light source that the projector uses will be very important; it can be a lamp, LED or laser. The efficiency and consumption of the projector will be in part determined by this.
The brightness – also called light output – of any light source is measured in lumens. You’ll need a projector with a minimum of 1,000 lumens if you plan on setting up a home cinema in a room with low ambient light. More light will require at least 2,000 lumens, while an office will have you searching for systems with 2,500 to 5,000 lumens. Finally, 6,000 lumens should be your target if you have a bar.
|Full HD home cinema with low ambient light||Between 1,000 and 1,500 lumens|
|Home Cinema with a more ambient light||Minimum of 2,000 lumens|
|Office or classroom||Between 2,500 and 5,000 lumens depending on the size of the room|
|For presentations in small rooms with portable projectors||LED system of approximately 1,000 lumens|
|Bar||Between 4,000 and 6,000 lumens|
|Outside use with natural light||Minimum of 4,000 lumens|
The contrast – the difference in luminance or colour of the device – is something else you’ll have to look out for. In that regard, there are different types of contrast that you should be aware of. Native contrast, for instance, is the brightness ratio in brightness between the brightness colour (white) and the darkest one (black).
The dynamic contrast of a projector is designed to adjust the brightness depending on the clarity of the frame. The ANSI contrast, on the other hand, allows us to measure the black and white luminosity values simultaneously. Ideally, the native contrast of your projector should be superior to 2,000:1. Generally speaking, a high contrast will provide a better image quality.
This is naturally something you can’t forget about: you must be able to connect your product of choice with the device from which you plan on playing content. The most frequently used options are HDMI cables, USB ports and Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections. VGA connections are also available, while some projectors give you the possibility of inserting SD or micro SD cards.
HDMI input lets you play back high definition content, and you’ll also be able to connect gaming consoles and Blu-Ray players. On the other hand, connecting a desktop computer or a laptop usually requires a VGA cable. As we mentioned, another interesting feature is the ability to read files from USB ports or SD cards.
Here are some of the most important additional options you’ll be looking for in a projector: optical zooming, lens shift and Keystone correction – the latter being used to avoid trapezoidal distortion. On the other hand, the zoom will be very handy when you’re not at the minimum distance from the screen.
Finally, the lens shift is designed to move the image vertically and horizontally without tilting the projector and avoiding image distortion. Mechanical options such as mounts to set your projector on the wall or ceiling may also be of interest to you.
Home cinema experiences have become increasingly accessible in recent years. Nowadays, you can find very affordable projectors with fantastic features. This is why more and more people are turning to these devices either to replace or complement their TVs.
But it’s not always easy finding the right product for you, in particular if you’re looking to buy your projector for professional purposes. This is why you should analyse key aspects such as resolution, contrast, brightness or connectivity. Your budget and the brand of the equipment also can’t be ignored during your decision process.
We hope you found our guide on projectors helpful. If so, feel free to share this article on your social media; you can also leave us a comment in the section below!
(Source of featured image: Meeprajum: 47606945/ 123rf.com)