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2015 Holiday Guide To Five Great Home Theater Projectors Under $2500 - Part Three

By Art Feierman
We've got two more great projectors left, for your consideration.   Let's start with the wall melting, extremely bright Epson Home Cinema 1440, which just starting shipping in Nov. 2015!  Yep, brand new. Then we'll get small, take a look at a very cool little projector that really will fit in a holiday stocking.  That would be LG's smallest pocket projector, the PH300!

Epson Home Cinema 1440 - A light Canon of a Projector - For Any Room

I really had hoped to review this Epson Home Cinema 1440 in time for creating these holiday guides, but, alas, it was not to be.  The HT1440 arrived here just a few days before Thanksgiving, barely time to open the box.

But that doesn't dampen my enthusiasm for this projector, which I've previously seen in action.   The HC1440 is a light canon, and as far as those go, a pretty affordable one, designed to price at $1699.  Not bad, because for that kind of money, you are likely only going to get a 60 - 65" LCDTV, so why not enjoy 100" diagonal or larger?

Click Image to Enlarge

The idea behind the HC1440 is that it is built to work primarily in your living room, or bonus room, or, whatever you have handy,  Oh, you could put this 4400 lumen (yes, over twice as bright as any of the other projectors in this guide) in a home theater, but the beauty of it is that it doesn't need a great room to do great things!

About the images above:  The first 8 in this media player were taken using the HC1440 projector (sports images with a fair amount of ambient light).  The last six images are from my extremely bright living room.  The projector there (a different Epson with a lot more features that sells for almost 4X the price) is only slightly brighter than the HC1440.  All but one of those last images were taken in modes not as bright as the HC1440 can produce.

The HC1440 has lots of features, starting with all those lumens, but placement flexibility is pretty darn good thanks to a 1.6:1 zoom lens (a lot more than most under $2000 projectors offer)  and lots of fancy keystone correction.  Lamp life is really good for a high brightness projector with up to 4000 hours in Eco (3000 at full power).  Hey, 4000 hours is 20 hours a week for 4 years off a single lamp.  Before I forget, there are tons of inputs including USB and computer, and most significantly one of the two HDMI inputs has MHL, so you can even plug a streaming stick right into the HC1440, or for that matter interface with a range of phones and tablets directly.  Pretty cool?  Not done yet.  You can do side by side viewing from two sources.  Perhaps a football game on the left, and your fantasy football tracking from your computer or phone on the right?  (I've done that with my Epson.)

A dynamic iris enhances contrast for deeper blacks, but let's face it, this projector is built to do battle with ambient light in rooms you never thought a projector would work in. Of the images above, those that show my living room were taken with a similarly (but slightly brighter) Epson G series that I own.  Pretty impressive with sunlight pouring into the room!  Expect the same from this Home Cinema 1440 as in most of those shots I was using modes putting out between 2000 and 4000 lumens, which this projector can easily do as well.

Did I mention color lumens?  Not only does the HC1440 offer up to 4400 white lumens, but also the same number of color lumens, unlike most of the competition which are DLP projectors.  That means great saturation and even better ability to cut through ambient light!

Drop one of these Epsons in your living room or family room, and pair it with the right type of screen, and you too can enjoy the wonders of a really big screen, instead of suffering on some minimalistic 50" or worse! BTW if you want to go mobile, such as to the back yard for a movie night, there's a hefty built-in 16 watt speaker system.  Nice touch!

As the owner of a high brightness Epson (that costs over three times the price) I can sing the praises of projectors like this one.  Oh, mine cost a lot more primarily because this projector, and the Pro Cinema 1985 featured in the other guide weren't around when I got mine.  (Also mine is extra expensive because it offers interchangeable lenses - something I didn't need). Oh well, I guess I should have waited an extra year!

Bottom line.  The Home Cinema 1440 will deliver an extremely bright image with rich saturated colors.  Colors in "best modes" are really good right out of the box, without any adjustment, easily rivaling what you could expect from a good LCDTV.

One more time with enthusiasm:  Match this HC1440 projector with a light absorbing or light rejecting screen, (check out the two screens in our other Holiday Guide - one of each type)  and you can turn your favorite room into a great entertainment experience.  I know I sound like a broken record, but why should you have to watch a great movie like MockingJay, or Star Wars on something tiny, too small to immerse yourself and to "suspend disbelief".  You know what I mean - a 65" LCDTV, a laptop, or a phone.  Treat yourself - or your friends or family to the real thing!  Warning!  The Home Cinema 1440 has lots of great features, but does not come with popcorn.

Welcome to a new immersive reality for you, your family and friends, one you can enjoy in your living room!  Hurry, what are you waiting for?

[prsku sku="V11H813020"]

LG PH300 MiniBeam Pocket Projector - for the tiny in all of us.

Personally, I see those "Tiny" houses on HGTV and can't figure out why anyone would want to live in a 96 sq foot home, but, at the same time, I can appreciate why people get real enjoyment out of LG's recent achievement, the PH300, their smallest new pocket projector.  It's fun!

LG makes a number of these LED Pocket projectors from this PH300 with its affordable $349 list price, up to full HD models with 1000 lumens that are over $1200.

This one though is their ultimate effort where portability trumps brightness.  The one pound PH300 however, isn't without some significant brightness, as it claims 300 lumens.  Compared to big projectors that doesn't sound like a lot, but think this way.

Pairing the LG PH300 with a typical screen with 1.3 or 1.4 gain, it's bright enough in a dark room to do a full 100" diagonal image.


Built in speaker, MHL support on the HDMI port so you can plug in your favorite streaming stick for Netflix or other channel viewing.  And don't forget, with input lag just over 30ms, it's a competent little projector for serious gaming!

A two year warranty is surprisingly long for a projector at this price.  The LED light engine LG says should last for 30,000 hours.  For most people, that's more than a decade of use!

These images give you a pretty good idea of the color capabilities.  While color isn't as accurate as a really good home theater projector, all but us fanatics will be thinking - pretty darn good!  Maybe your best LCDTV has better color, maybe not.

So, take the PH300 with you, or watch it out back running on it's internal battery.  Or  just find a good wall or screen at home and enjoy.  Certainly, the PH300 is a good choice for the cord cutting millennial, who lives and dies by streaming speeds rather than having cable or satellite.  Of course you can hook up those, or a dvd or Blu-ray player as well.

Big city dweller - here's a twist - an extra feature - this LG has a built in TV tuner, so you can even pull in TV with an antenna!  Clever those folks at LG!

Check out our full review of the PH300.

Treat yourself or someone important to you with an LG PH300, and enjoy the holiday fun!

[prsku sku="PH300"]

"Wrapping it Up"

Tis the season – to move that 42” LCDTV into the breakfast area, and get serious about enjoying movies, sports and HDTV, or maybe that new game console!

That raps up our Holiday Guide to some great under $2500 projectors.  Got a bigger budget, check out our second guide, for those spending upward of $2500 for a projector.  Either way, score a projector or give one to someone special this holiday season.  And before I forget:

Happy Holidays from Projector Reviews! -art

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