My friends are in the market to upgrade their old projector after the bulb burnt out. New projectors use LED lights and no longer use replaceable bulbs, so I recommended that they upgrade the entire projector instead of replacing the bulb in their old one. Depending on which one they choose, it could actually be cheaper to replace the entire unit than just the bulb.
Before starting my projector shopping, I did some research to see what the important factors to consider are.
- Light Output. Measured in Lumens, this is how bright of a picture it can cast. Basically, don’t go below 1000 lumens but aim for at least 2000.
- Contrast ratio. This is the contrast between whites and blacks. 1500:1 should be your minimum and 2000:1 and up are great.
- Resolution. This is the pixel density. Most projectors will state 1920×1080 compatible, but that doesn’t mean it is NATIVE to that resolution. Many of the cheaper options use 800×480. I have found you don’t need to jump up very far in price to get into 1280×768 resolutions. The higher the resolution, the clearer and crisper the image will be. Ideally you would want the projector to have a NATIVE resolution of at least 1920×1080 but this will greatly increase the price. It’s a cost vs reward situation for sure.
Those 3 are the major factors to consider, but there are plenty of other things to consider. Number and types of inputs, quality of speakers and portability are other factors to consider depending on your own circumstances.
At the time of writing this post, “Amazons Choice” projector is the GooBang Doo ABOX T22 Mini Portable Projector. It’s $159.99, has 2600 lumens, a 2000:1 contrast ratio and a native resolution of 800×480.
Their current “best seller” is the VANKYO LEISURE 3. It costs $109.99, has 2200 lumens, a 2000:1 contrast ratio and a native resolution that is also 800×480.
THE NAUGHTY WIZARDS PICKS
From what I’ve read online and in the reviews, a resolution of 800x400p is fine for console gaming and/or watching movies in a dark room. If this is you, than either of the above mentioned projectors should be fine.
I would be using this as a main monitor, so I would want to see a larger screen resolution to ensure that text is as clear as possible. Unfortunately, projectors that have a native resolution of 1920x1080p jump up to the starting price of $700 or so. That’s a lot higher than I would want to spend, so in the middle ground I have found this:
The VANKYO Leisure 510 Projector is the next model up from the current best seller. It pushes out 3600 lumens, has a 3000:1 contrast ratio and a native resolution of 1280×768. It is currently priced at $259.99. The review count is not very high, but all of the current 13 reviews are 5 star. This is the biggest bang for your buck that I could could find on Amazon. When I purchase this in a couple of weeks, I will post a full review of the unit itself.