Projectors have become much more mainstream in both the home and workplace in the last few years. Directed at a large screen, they offer a full-size experience that TV screens just can’t match – perfect for movie nights, gaming, and giving business presentations and slideshows.
Choosing the right projector for you comes down to what you plan on using it for. If you want a premium home cinema experience, you will want a different model to one that you would use to give clear, professional presentations involving lots of spreadsheets or graphs – they simply have different qualities. Therefore, most projectors are geared towards one or the other, and it’s important to choose one that has been optimised for the right activity.
Here is our guide to buying the best projectors for your needs, including our two favourite home cinema projectors, business projectors and one handy portable-projector.
|Epson EH-TW6100 3D Home Cinema||2300 lumens||1920 x 1080||HDMI & USB||£££|
|Optoma HD151X 3D Home Cinema||2800 lumens||1920 x 1080||HDMI & USB & VGA||££££|
|Epson EB-X27 LCD Projector||2700 lumens||1024 x 768||HDMI & Ethernet & Wi-Fi||£££|
|Optoma ML750e DLP Projector||700 lumens||1280 x 800||MHL||£££|
|Philips PicoPix PPX3414 Portable Projector||140 lumens||854 x 480||HDMI & USB & Memory Card||££|
Our Top Pick
A projector for the full home cinema experience
If you’re looking for the best quality home cinema experience, you could do a lot worse than this sleek EPSON EH-TW6100 3D Home Cinema from Currys. Whether you want it to enhance your gaming experience or to watch sports, films and TV shows, the Epson offers Full HD picture quality and the option to view in 3D as well as 2D, using the 3D glasses included as part of your purchase. To switch from 2D to 3D, you simply press a button. This also has fair sound quality from its two 10W speakers, but for the full booming cinema experience, you might want to consider investing in speakers separately.
The picture quality and colour that you get from this model are very sharp and bright – just what you want from a cinema model. The internal fan keeps the machine cool while playing, but it’s one of the quieter models available. In fact, you barely notice it. We also like how easy this projector is to set up, as they can sometimes be a little fiddly. It’s simple to align the projectors image to the screen by using its in-built horizontal and vertical keystone correction.
Another neat feature of this model is its split-screen function, which means you are able to view content from two different sources at the same time, should you need to.
- Perfect for all types of viewing including gaming
- Viewable in full daylight
- Fan can sometime be noisy
Our Verdict: We think this is the best projector for the money and ideal for those who are looking for a high-impact viewing experience at home. Bonus – it’s cheaper than getting a huge TV.
Epson EH-TW6600 Rating: 10/10
- Brightness: 2300 lumens
- Resolution: 1920 x 1080
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Contrast Ratio: 40000:1
- Connectivity: HDMI & USB
- Manufacturer’s Guarantee: 2 Years (Main Unit) 3 Years (Lamp)
Epson EH-TW6600 user manual
Best 3D Projectors
A lighter, cheaper home cinema projector
If the Epson feels a little on the pricey side for you, then for slightly less you can get this perfectly good Optoma HD151X 3D Home Cinema. Small, light and portable, the Optoma offers sharp Full HD projection ideal for use in the home, with bright images, built-in sound and 3D functionality.
The 30W speakers built into this model give it a slightly more powerful sound than the Epson, but again, it is usually worth investing in separate speakers for the very best sound quality. This model lets you watch all of your favourite sports, HD TV shows and Blu-ray disks at whatever screen size works for the room – between 30-300”. It also has a specialist gaming mode, which increases the response time and contrast while you undertake virtual missions!
- Produces fantastic 3D when used with 3D glasses
- Great picture
- Fantastic value for money
- No lens cover supplied – be careful not to scratch it
- It’s quite larger
Our Verdict: At 1.5 kg lighter in weight than its Epson cousin, this option is much more portable and therefore likely to be a better option if you plan on moving it around, rather than keeping it set up in one place. However, it is not light enough to qualify as a true ‘portable’ projector – more on those later. 3D glasses do not come supplied with this model, so if you plan on enjoying its 3D functionality you should consider investing in some pairs of 3D glasses for you and your family.
OPTOMA HD151X 3D Rating: 9.5/10
- Brightness: 2800 lumens
- Resolution: 1920 x 1080
- Aspect ratio: 16:9
- Contrast ratio: 28,000:1
- Connectivity: HDMI & USB & VGA
- Manufacturer’s guarantee: 1 year
OPTOMA HD151X 3D user manual
Best Presentation Projectors
A projector for glossy, professional presentations
If you’re looking for a great projector that can be used to deliver stunning presentations in your business or classroom, then this Epson EB-X27 LCD is a high quality, cost-effective option. One of the key selling points of this business model is that it’s relatively small and light, so it can easily be moved and set up in different rooms, wherever it’s needed. It comes with a carry bag included, so it’s easy to transport safely and keep stored away when it’s not needed. It’s the ideal size to use in large spaces such as meeting rooms and classrooms, allowing everyone to get a good view of what’s on display.
Using this projector’s horizontal and vertical keystone correction and optical zoom, you can position the image exactly where you want it on your screen. In terms of picture quality, what you get is bright images and colours, perfect for displaying your presentation to best effect.
- Very portable
- Flexible placement
- Superb quality
- Perfect for transporting around
- Good for presenting to audiences, bad for home movies or gaming
Our Verdict: This is a solid purchase for a business that’s looking for a high quality presentation and slideshow projector.
Epson EB-X27 Rating: 9/10
- Brightness: 2700 lumens
- Resolution: XGA (1024 x 768)
- Aspect ratio: 4:3
- Contrast ratio: 10,000 : 1
- Connectivity: HDMI input; RJ-45 Ethernet; optional Wi-Fi; iProjection via QR code
- Warranty: 36 months On site service, Lamp: 12 months or 1,000 h
Epson EB-X27 user manual
A lightweight, wireless business projector
If you thought the Epson business projector was lightweight, this Optoma ML750e DLP is tiny by comparison. Weighing just 380g to the Epson’s 2.6 kg, if it’s going to be moved around a lot then this is probably the best option. This projector is ultra-compact, has plenty of video modes for optimal viewing and can be connected to wirelessly. It is also 3D ready – though you will need to supply your colleagues with 3D glasses to get the 3D experience. In a business scenario, 3D functionality may not be an essential feature for you.
- Viewable in daylight
- 3D Ready
- Fantastic image
- Fan can be sometimes noticeably loud
Our Verdict: With 1.5 GB of memory, a built-in speaker and Office Viewer and Media Player installed, this is not a bad piece of kit for giving presentations at the office. It could have more connectivity options – it only has MHL – but what you lose in certain desirable features you gain in flexibility due to its small size.
Optoma ML750e Rating: 9.7/10
- Brightness: 700 lumens
- Resolution: WXGA – WXGA (1280 x 800)
- Aspect ratio: 16:10
- Contrast ratio: 15000:1
- Connectivity: Easy connectivity – MHL
- Manufacturer’s Warranty: 2 years
Optoma ML750e user manual
Best Portable Projectors
The ultimate on-the-go portable projectors
If portability and convenience are the top features on your list when searching for your system, then consider this super handy little Philips PicoPix PPX3414 Portable-Projector. This model is light enough to carry wherever you need to take it and is ideal for displaying photos and videos where a smaller screen just won’t do.
It’s worth saying at this point that with a small projector like this, you are not going to get the same level of image quality as you do with the bigger Epson and Optima brands. It is designed for portability first, and stunning visuals second – but the LED technology does allow you to experience pretty fair quality visuals with just enough detail. However, this model is not recommended for big boardroom meetings – for that you will want one of the more robust options listed above to get the best image quality and battery life.
- Amazingly small
- Incredible A+ energy efficiency
- The most portable by far
- Internal battery for up to 2 hours run time
- Excellent image quality
- Fan quite loud but for the size, this is expected
Our Verdict: This would be best for small gatherings where you simply want more oomph for your visuals – wherever you need to go. You can display content via USB, memory card or HDMI cable, so overall it is a very flexible, pop-it-in-your-pocket option for the frequent traveller.
Philips PicoPix PPX3414 Rating: 10/10
- Brightness: 140 lumens
- Resolution: 854 x 480
- Screen size range: 12-120″
- Contrast ratio: 1000:1
- Connectivity: Mini HDMI x 1, USB x 1, SD memory card reader
- Manufacturer’s guarantee: 1 year
Philips PicoPix PPX3414 user manual
Which projector will you go for and why? Let us know in the comments below!
Projector Buying Guide
Projector brightness refers to how bright the overall image created by your projector will be, and is measured in lumens. This is where you should consider the location it will primarily be used in. The brighter the room, the higher you want the lumens count to be, in order to ensure the best image clarity.
The resolution of your projector determines how many pixels there are in the projected image. The higher the number of pixels, the higher the resolution and the sharper the image. Pixels are measured both horizontally and vertically, for example, an HD model would be 1920 x 1080 pixels – that’s 1920 pixels horizontally and 1080 vertically (the horizontal number comes first).
Choose your screen resolution based on what you’re mostly going to project. If it’s mostly for watching films or playing games, then you’re best off with Full HD. However, if you’re more likely to be displaying presentations and using it in a business context, you should opt for 800 x 600 instead. There are also variations in between, so do some research beforehand.
The aspect ratio is what determines the shape of the picture it will play. This is important when it comes to selecting a model for the right context. A widescreen TV that plays movies will usually have an aspect ratio of 16:9 or 16:10, so if you’re getting a home cinema model, aim for this. However, if you’re using it for business, then bear in mind that most PC monitors are actually 4:3. For optimal viewing, try to find a projector that has the correct aspect ratio for the content you want to display.
Unlike aspect ratio, contrast ratio refers instead to dark and light. An image with high contrast is one where the bright areas are very bright, and the dark areas very dark. The higher the contrast ratio, the better it will be at projecting dark and light images, which is ideal for movies and gaming.
When selecting your projector, give some thought to how you will transfer files across and connect to other devices. Some projectors have many connectivity options, where others are limited. HDMI ports, USB ports and SD card readers are all useful features that can save you hassle when trying to play or display your files.
Portability is a nice feature in projectors, but it’s not essential if you’re mostly going to be keeping your projector in one place. For carrying around, a projector that is compact and lightweight is going to save you a lot of hassle. However, the tradeoff is that usually the image quality suffers slightly as a result. If you’re going to be taking your projector to various different locations on a regular basis, a portable option is advised.
Hopefully this article has been helpful in providing you with some projector-buying tips. Which one will you go for and why?