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2017 Holiday Guide to Six Great Home Theater Projectors Under $2000 - Part 2

By Art Feierman

On this page, we explore three awesome projectors under $2000 and smart products for the home theater.

AAXA M5 Projector – Pocket-Sized and LED!

AAXA M5 Pocket LED Projector

The AAXA M5 is a great first projector for millennials, college students, and on the go home theater enthusiasts! The extremely portable M5 features 720p resolution and 900 lumens when plugged in – 500 lumens when operating on battery power. That’s right, this pocket projector has a removable, rechargeable battery that allows you to take the projector outdoors, or to a friend’s house – wherever you like, and will last for up to 70 minutes. The M5 comes packaged with:

  • The Projector
  • Removable, Rechargeable Battery
  • Power Brick
  • A/V Cable
  • Tripod
  • Remote Control
  • Black Carrying Case with Handles

At just $499, it’s our most affordable projector in this year’s guide. I quite enjoyed reviewing this projector (it’s currently in write up, scheduled to publish within the next week), and particularly liked pairing it with the ultra-compact NVIDIA SHIELD streaming player. The two machines are roughly the same size, completely light weight, and totally awesome for portability. I used both in my home studio while creating art, projecting onto my wall.

They’re small enough to fit easily into a backpack or carry on bag for travel, and that’s something I truly appreciate about the AAXA M5 pocket projector and NVIDIA SHIELD. That SHIELD is also a gaming unit, where you can play anything from Goat Simulator (a truly terrible game, but hilarious), to top name games like Borderlands and Bioshock. The two really do make an excellent pair.

The M5 has a built-in media player, so you can easily project photos, audio and video from a micro SD card or USB thumb drive. You can even use the projector to present PowerPoint presentations, provided that you export the presentation as ordered JPG images. Pretty cool. Its 2-Watt mono speaker is loud enough to fill an average sized room, and doesn’t sound half-bad.

The AAXA M5 has an LED light engine, which means it has a truly high light engine life rating -  20,000 hours. That means you’ll never have to replace the light engine, because the projector will be replaced for being outdated long before that happens. All in all, I really liked this pocket projector, and thought it had decent color, though a tad oversaturated. If you’ve got an extra $100 in your bank account, however, you can get the already-reviewed AAXA M6, which has 1080p resolution, 1200 lumens, and slightly better all around color.

Viewsonic Pro7827HD – Full 1080p, 3D-Capable, with Low Entry Level Price

Viewsonic Pro7827HD

Viewsonic is the low-cost leader of true 1080p resolution home theater projectors, and have been for the past six years. Their Pro7827HD is a 2,200 lumen, DLP projector with a lamp life of up to 6,500 hours in ECO mode – 3,500 at full power. It has great placement flexibility, with a 1.3:1 zoom lens and vertical lens shift! There’s also horizontal and vertical keystone correction, so if the projector needs to tilt or project slightly off-angle, correcting the image is really no problem.

Its list price is a mere $669.99, with online retailers like Amazon selling it for $599.99. By comparison, the older brother of the AAXA M6 pocket projector, is $599. For the same price, give or take a few cents, you can have 1,000 lumens more, and a 10-Watt speaker to boot (the AAXA has a 2-Watt! Viewsonic has habitually irked their competitors by offering full 1080p projectors for less than they can bear.

This is an excellent option for those who want a great 1080p projector, but don’t have $700-900 to spend on their first projector. For an entry level projector, it comes with that impressive placement flexibility, good color, and an excellent 3-years parts and labor warranty (most come with just one year). That it has lens shift is a huge plus, because that’s a feature rarely seen on projectors under $1,000.

We haven’t reviewed the Viewsonic Pro7827HD just yet – it’s scheduled to come in for review soon. We did, however, review one of its predecessors, the PJD7822HDL, and that one was well received. As such, the photos above are of the PJD7822HDL rather than the Pro7827HD, but you can expect a similar image from the latter.

The Viewsonic Pro7827HD has plenty of inputs and connectors for home entertainment, including an HDMI port with MHL support. That will allow you to plug in your streaming devices such as Roku, Google, Amazon, etc., and stream content easily. It also has 3D support! Overall, consider this projector to be an excellent value for the price and, possibly, the latest addition to your home entertainment system.

You can buy the Pro7827HD projector on Amazon this holiday season!

The Viewsonic PX800HD Projector - Game On!

The PX800HD is not your typical home theater or home entertainment projector. There are a number of features and capabilities that separate the PX800HD from the pack and all the other, rather impressive, projectors in this guide.

First of all, it is an ultra short throw (UST) projector – it sits only inches from your screen, or wall (screen, of course, is better). We won’t get into some of the advantages of that, but one of note is that you sit behind it, so no one passes between you and the projector to cast an annoying shadow.

The PX800 is very respectably bright at 2,000 lumens – bright enough to work in non-cave, non-theater type rooms, although you’ll want to pair it, in such rooms, with a light rejecting (ALR) type screen. Viewsonic has a screen called the BCP100 – a 100” screen specifically designed for UST projectors like this PX800HD!

This is a 1080p resolution DLP projector, and, I should point out, it has one of the best warranties around. Three years parts and labor, and a rapid replacement program for the first year. If there’s an “official” (there isn’t) street price, it would be around $1400, best we can determine. You can find it for about that price this holiday season over on Viewsonic’s own website!


As you may have expected from the title, this projector definitely has got game! It has a 16ms input lag, which is excellent. That makes the PX800HD an acceptable gaming projector for just about everyone, including super serious gamers, including those playing team games. Sweet!  How sweet? Its input lag is about half or 1/3 of most other projectors, and that’s a huge advantage for gamers. Oh, do you like 3D (you should on the big screen)? The PX800 has that covered, too.

I couldn’t resist speaking first to gamers, because very few projectors have input lag this low, and therefore the Viewsonic PX800 is able to be considered serious gaming projectors. But, the PX800HD is more than just that.

UST projectors for the home are uncommon and never inexpensive, but this Viewsonic manages to deliver value, as well as a pretty impressive picture! You aren’t likely to find another ultra short throw for the home market at this low a price. Dealer pricing varies, but seems to be a good bit under $1500.

While we haven’t reviewed this model here at Projector Reviews, we have plenty of experience with other home Viewsonic models, and we find most to be very competitive. Let’s take that a little further – Viewsonic generally likes to price their products below any similar competition.

Viewsonic certainly wins their fair share of awards when we review them, so, with that in mind, you might just want to put this Viewsonic Santa’s short list if a UST type projector is what you need or crave this holiday season. Don’t forget to leave the bearded guy some milk and cookies though! Not doing so is frowned upon.

ViewSonic is currently running a promo through Amazon for 15% off the PX800! You can get this discount by going directly to the landing page, or entering the Promo Code "15POTA2017PR" in the Amazon search bar. Hurry, this offer ends after November 15th!

Smart Products for the Home Theater

Let's take a quick break for a minute and take a look at other suggestions for holiday gifts.

Home automation started in the home theater with motorized shades and screens. Today, we can enjoy a number of smart products throughout the entire home, but we’ll focus on those that can be used in the home theater, media room, etc. This guide features two types of smart products: two whole home controllers and two 4K capable streamers.

Disclaimer – this section contains affiliate links to Amazon. If you choose to buy from these links, we will receive a small cut which will be used to continue to create awesome content for you. If not – no worries. We’ll still keep making awesome content.

Amazon Echo and Google Home

There are two major whole home personal assistants currently battling it out – Amazon Echo’s Alexa (Echo costs $99, Echo Dot is $49), and the Google Home (Home is $129, Home Mini is $49). Both these products can control many smart devices in your home like Philips Hue and LIFX smart bulbs and LED strips (awesome when used in the home theater), Nanoleaf’s Aurora color changing light panels, thermostats like the Nest and Honeywell’s Lyric T5 (to keep your home theater the perfect temperature), the August Smart Lock, your SmartThings Hub or Wink Hub, and both even work with IFTTT (free online home automation service that links normally incompatible devices and web services).

Both are superior devices, so it really comes down to which device works with your current home automation products, or which company you’re the biggest fan of. I have the Amazon and Art has both - go figure.

One thing that’s super cool about the Google Home is that it works with Chromecast Ultra ($69), Google’s 4K streaming stick. Now that it can handle 4K streaming, this is something to think about. With the Google Home, you can tell your assistant to play your favorite Netflix show, or a video on YouTube – simply plug the Chromecast streaming stick into that MHL port on your projector, and you’ve got voice activated Netflix. Cool.


The other streaming product featured in this guide is the NVIDIA SHIELD ($199-$299), a 4K capable device that can stream from Netflix, Hulu, etc., rent movies from the Google Play store, and stream video games. That’s right. You can play terrible games like Goat Simulator, or awesome ones like Borderlands and Bioshock. Don’t worry – there’s plenty of other games like the award-winning Machinarium (an infuriating-for-me puzzle game) and first person shooters for days via the monthly $7.99 subscription for NVIDIA SHIELD Games. This device comes with Google Assistant built-in, and I’ve used it to search, hands-free, for movies. It also works with Chromecast.

The NVIDIA SHIELD works with SmartThings, if you buy the dongle for $14.99. You can control lights, thermostats, and outlets. It even has a Nest App with live camera video. Since I’ve had it in for review, NVIDIA has put out three major updates, and you can expect frequent improvements to the device. As far as music goes, it has Spotify, Pandora, Google Play Music, and Apple iTunes Music available. All around, this is one smart streaming device that I very much enjoy. As I mentioned earlier, it’s tiny and pairs well with pocket projectors, but it’s a beast of a machine that I plan to use with my Epson 5040UB when it delivers, and can’t wait to view more of the 4K content!

If you enjoyed this section, be sure to head over to our sister site, Smarter Home Automation, for in-depth reviews on some of the products mentioned, with more to come!

Also check out our 2017 Holiday Guide to Affordable Smart Home Automation Gifts

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