Projector Reviews

Home Theater Projectors $1000 to $2000

In this section, you will find other projectors in the $1000 – $2000 price range (in addition to the section within the report at the same price point but for Smart projectors). The projectors in this section are still very affordable and offer you several options.

BENQ HT3550 / HT3550I

BenQ-HT3550

PROJECTOR SPECS

SpecificationDescription
Price$1549 / $1649
TechnologyDLP
Displayed Resolution3840×2160
Native Resolution1920x1080x4
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim)2000
Contrast30,000:1 (Dynamic)
Throw Ratio1.13:1 – 1.47:1
Zoom Lens Ratio1.3
Lens ShiftYes
HDRHDR10 / HLG
Lamp Life15,000 hours (Eco)
Weight9.3 lbs
Warranty3 Year

AWARD WINNER

Hot Product Award Badge

The HT3550 was designed for dark theater environments where black level and accurate colors are more important than maximum brightness. It is one of the least expensive 4K DLP projectors equipped with a dynamic iris and ships color calibrated from the factory.  Performance-wise, the HT3550i is identical to the older HT3550 but is equipped with an Android OS, which adds tons of smart features. The HT3550 won one of our Hot Product Awards in 2019 due to its good black levels and accurate color reproduction at an affordable price.

PROJECTOR OVERVIEW

The BenQ HT3550 ($1549 SRP) is a 4K DLP projector part of BenQ CinePrime series projectors designed for home theater applications where deep blacks and accurate colors are more important than maximizing brightness.  It is one of the least expensive projectors equipped with a dynamic iris, giving The HT3550 an advantage in black level compared to most projectors in its price point. The projector’s six-segment RGBRGB color wheel combined with a built-in cinema filter can reproduce 100% Rec.709 color gamut and 95% DCI-P3. The HT3550 supports both HDR10 and HLG, using auto HDR tone mapping to maximize the projector’s brightness.

Some of the most notable features of this projector are:

  • Dynamic Iris – This may be the most significant feature of the HT3550 because it noticeably improves black levels. None of the 4K UHD competition, anywhere near the HT3550 price point, offers an iris.
  • 4K UHD Capable – While the HT3550s DLP (0.47″ DMD) chip isn’t native 4K, rapid pixel shifting gives the DLP chip the ability to deliver a perceived resolution 8.3 million pixels. This system works so well that it would be difficult for any viewer to notice a difference in resolution from a native 4K UHD (8.3 megapixels) imager.
  • Cinema Filter – When the filter is slid into the projector’s light path, the unit can reproduce a claimed 95% of P3 color with HDR in D. Cinema Mode. Note when engaged, like other projectors with this feature, there is a noticeable reduction in brightness.
  • Six Segment Color Wheel – BenQ’s CinematicColor™ technology combines an RGBRGB color wheel with light source management to more accurately reproduce the Rec. 709 color gamut.
  • Factory Color Calibrated – Each HT3550 is tested and adjusted to ensure accurate white balance and color reproduction. Included in the box is a factory calibration report guaranteeing accurate playback of Rec.709 content right out of the box.

The HT3550 is geared toward serious movie enthusiasts who care about picture quality enough to optimize their rooms for the best picture. The HT3550 is a home theater projector that works best in rooms with little or no ambient light. The unit’s cinema filter expands the color gamut at the expense of some brightness, but the HT3550 can project some colors that other projectors in its price point simply cannot. It is also one of the least expensive 4K HDR compatible projectors to sport a dynamic iris to improve black levels. The HT3550 won one of our Hot Product Awards due to its good black levels and accurate color reproduction at an affordable price.

BenQ has introduced a “Smart” version of the HT3550 called the HT3550i (the “i,” moniker denotes “intelligent”) which retails for $1649 SRP. The HT3550i offers the same outstanding performance but is equipped with an Android TV OS, which adds tons of streaming apps and voice control.

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VIEWSONIC LS700HD

ViewSonic-LS700HD

PROJECTOR SPECS

SpecificationDescription
Price$1499
TechnologyLaser DLP
Native Resolution1080p (1920×1080)
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim)3500
Contrast3,000,000:1 (Dynamic)
Throw Ratio1.13:1 – 1.47:1
Zoom Lens Ratio1.3
Lens ShiftNo
HDRNo
Lamp Life20,000
Weight15.7 lbs
Warranty3 Year

PROJECTOR OVERVIEW

The ViewSonic LS700HD is a lamp-free 1080p laser home projector featuring 3,500 ANSI lumen high brightness.Thanks to laser phosphor technology, this projector offers up to 20,000-hour life span and makes lamp replacement a thing of the past. The LS700HD features what ViewSonic calls a 3x Fast input for gaming.

Some of the most notable features of this projector are:

  • Laser Light Engine – Thanks to its laser/phosphor light engine, the LS700HD achieves a peak brightness of 3500 ANSI lumens, and a lifespan of up to 20,000 hours. ViewSonic claims a dynamic contrast ratio of 3,000,000:1, which is achieved by dynamically modulating the laser power
  • IP5X Moisture and Dust Resistant – T he sealed DLP engine and improved construction make the unit IP5X certified. The laser/phosphor light engine is also sealed to prevent dust and moisture from interfering with the projector’s key components. The IP5X rating means that LS700HD is virtually maintenance-free in dusty environments.
  • Low Input Lag – ViewSonic LS700HD features a 3X Fast input for gaming. When enabled, ViewSonic rates the input lag of the LS700HD at 16ms.When it’s turned off, the projector measures at 33ms input lag which is still an excellent input lag rating for all but the most hard-core gaming enthusiasts.
  • 3D Ready – The LS700HD can project 3D content directly from 3D Blu-ray Disc players and HDMI-enabled devices such as laptops, tablets, and 3D compatible media players via HDMI connection. Appropriate optional 3D glasses are required.

The ViewSonic LS700HD is a 3,500 lumen Full HD (1920 x 1080) DLP laser projector with a rated lamp life of 20,000 hours in Eco Mode. ViewSonic extolls their exceptional picture quality because the laser light engine can reproduce over 90% of the BT.709 color gamut which is the standard for HD video.

By dynamically modulating its laser light output, the LS700HD has a dynamic contrast ratio of 3,000,000:1. The LS700HD delivered acceptable picture performance, more so in brightness than color accuracy. This is in line with our past experience with laser DLP projectors.

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EPSON HOME CINEMA 3200

Epson-Home-Cinema-HC3200

PROJECTOR SPECS

SpecificationDescription
Price$1499
Technology3LCD
Native Resolution1920×1080
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim)3000
Contrast40,000:1
Throw Ratio1.32:1 – 2.15:1
Zoom Lens Ratio1.62:1
Lens ShiftYes
Lamp Life20,000
HDRYes
Weight14.6 lbs
Warranty3 Year

AWARD WINNER

Hot Product Award Badge

The Epson Home Cinema 3200 is a 4K HDR compatible 3LCD home theater projector rated at 2,900 lumens which is more than enough to produce a good HDR picture on screens up to 120” and an excellent SDR image on screens that are much larger.

As with all Epson 3LCD projectors, The Home Cinema 3200 produces as many color lumens as it does white lumens, which ensures bright, vibrant color which is critical for good HDR picture quality.

The Home Cinema 3200’s native resolution is 1080P (1920 x 1080). To provide a crisp and clear picture, the projector can accept 4K60p content and is equipped with Epson’s PRO-UHD chip, which pixel shifts the image for 4K enhancement.

PROJECTOR OVERVIEW

The Epson Home Cinema 3200 is a 4K HDR-compatible home theater 3LCD projector with a rated brightness of 2,900 Lumens. Epson claims that when the Auto Iris is enabled, the HC3200 has a dynamic contrast ratio of 40,000:1.

Epson has been a leader in projector technology for some time, and they offer a wide variety of projectors to fit nearly any application. The Home Cinema 3200 is part of their Home Cinema Series line-up designed to deliver great home theater performance at an affordable price point.

The Home Cinema 3200 is a native HD projector, but it is equipped with two 18 Gbps HDMI 2.0 (HDCP 2.2) to accept 4K HDR content up to 60 frames per second. Epson’s proven E-Shift technology delivers a clearer, crisper image than a traditional 1080P projector, and the Home Cinema 3200 is also compatible with both HDR10 and HLG content.

Some of the most notable features of this projector are:

  • 4K Pixel Shifting – While pixel shifting can’t match the resolution of a true 4K projector, it does increase sharpness and detail compared to a standard 2K projector. The Epson Home Cinema 3200 projector can accept up to a 4K@60P signal and uses pixel shifting to fine-tune the image to more closely resemble 4K.
  • HDR10 / HLG Compatible – The Home Cinema 3200 supports both HDR10 and HLG. Since most HDR10+ and Dolby Vision content is either backward compatible with or available in HDR10, you can enjoy 99% of HDR content available on the market now and in the future.
  • 3D Ready – Epson Home Cinema 3200 is 3D ready. It is nice that Home Cinema 3200 still supports 3D because users can still take advantage of the content they paid for.
  • AptX Bluetooth Transmitter – You can wirelessly connect a speaker, sound system, or pair of headphones to the Home Cinema 3200 via Bluetooth. Also, the Home Cinema 3200 utilizes aptX™ HD, which is designed to deliver high definition (HD) audio over Bluetooth, so you don’t have to sacrifice performance for wireless convenience.

In addition to the Home Cinema 3200 (MSRP $1499.99), Epson has also introduced the Home Cinema 3800 (MSRP $1699.99). For an additional $200, the Home Cinema 3800 has a slightly higher claimed brightness of 3000 lumens and more than double the dynamic contrast. It also includes additional aspect ratio mode adjustments for compatibility with 3rd party anamorphic lenses along with dual rear-firing 10-watt speakers.

The Home Cinema 3200 walks a fine line between convenience, performance, and value. While it doesn’t have some of the features normally found on high-end home theater projectors like Power Zoom and Lens Shift, it still includes several desirable features, including Active 3D, Bluetooth, and wireless networking.

While Epson offers higher-end solutions for dedicated home theaters, the Home Cinema 3200 is a great option for someone who wants to enjoy movies in SDR and HDR in a family room or multi-purpose space.

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PANASONIC PT-LRZ35U

Panasonic-PT-LRZ35U

PROJECTOR SPECS

SpecificationDescription
Price$1699 (Street Price)
TechnologyRGB LED DLP
Native Resolution1920×1200
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim)3500
Contrast30,000:1
Throw Ratio1.28:1 – 1.69:1
Zoom Lens Ratio1.32
Lens ShiftNo
Lamp Life20,000
HDRNO
Weight14.8 lbs
Warranty3 Year

AWARD WINNER

Hot Product Award Badge

The Panasonic PT-LRZ35 Series is their first portable projector to use a discrete RGB LED light source. Panasonic designed this new light engine with the goal of producing superior color reproduction and enhanced picture quality, which is ideal for any application requiring precise color accuracy such as displaying artistic renderings.

The RGB LED DLP single-chip projector with WUXGA (1,920 x 1,200) resolution and a rated brightness of 3,500 lumens offers a lot of performance and features for its current MSRP of $2999 but can be found at multiple authorized sellers at $1699.

PROJECTOR OVERVIEW

The RGB LED DLP single-chip projector with WUXGA (1,920 x 1,200) resolution and a rated brightness of 3,500 lumens with a light source lifespan of 20,000 hours. While Panasonic originally designed the PT-LRZ35U for business applications due it is excellent picture quality they have starting marketing it for home entertainment as well.

The Panasonic PT-LRZ35 Series is their first portable projector to use a discrete RGB LED light source. Panasonic designed this new light engine with the goal of producing superior color reproduction and enhanced picture quality. The PT-LRW3 is the smallest and lightest R/G/B LED DLP projectors in the 3,500lm class.

A discrete RGB LED light source eliminates the color wheel and color wheel components. The elimination of these components results in fewer moving parts and increased reliability. Panasonic’s discrete RGB LED light source eliminates rainbow distortions and provides viewers an expanded color gamut resulting in better color reproduction and, ultimately, improved picture quality.

Some of the most notable features of this projector are:

  • Discrete RGB LED light source –  Discrete LEDs for each R/G/B channel reproduce an expanded color gamut. Panasonic’s selection of Discrete RGB LED’s as a light source, versus a color wheel, suppresses the rainbow phenomenon that affects those of us susceptible to it.
  • 3D Ready – The PT-LRZ35 Series is 3D-ready but it requires optional compatible glasses
  • Sealed Light Engine –  The PT-LRZ35U uses a filter-free design that, in a normal environment, shouldn’t require cleaning for up to 20,000 hours.

Colors are consistent and the images this projector produces are just pleasant to watch. Even though it’s not necessarily the primary market, the Panasonic PT-LRZ35U has been purpose-built to fit into a wide range of use cases including home entertainment rooms.

Its excellent picture quality, compact size, and overall feature set are why I am recommending you consider the LRZ35U for your business or home projector needs. It’s also why we are giving the Panasonic PT-LRZ35U a Projector Review special interest award. We really like it and think you will too.

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EPSON HOME CINEMA 4010 / PRO CINEMA 4050

Epson-Home-Cinema-4010-and-Pro-Cinema-4050

PROJECTOR SPECS

SpecificationDescription
Price$1999/$2399
Technology3LCD
Native Resolution1920×1080
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim)2400
Contrast200,000:1 (Dynamic)
Zoom Lens Ratio1.85:1
Throw Ratio1.35:1 – 2.84:1
Lens ShiftYes
Lamp Life5000 hours (Eco)
Weight24.3 lbs.
Warranty2 years / 3 years

AWARD WINNER

Hot Product Award Badge

Epson’s Home Cinema 4010 and Pro Cinema 4050 are bright, 4K Capable – 2,500 lumen – and fully featured projectors. Their native resolution is 1080P (1920 x 1080). To provide a crisp and clear picture, the projectors can accept 4K60p content and is equipped with Epson’s PRO-UHD chip, which pixel shifts the image for 4K enhancement. They offer a wide color gamut and excellent black levels. It is loaded with features including motorized zoom with lens memory.

The PC4050 (SRP $2399) delivers identical performance as the HC4010 (SRP $1999) but has a black case instead of a white one. It is part of their Pro Cinema lineup focused on the commercial integrator market and includes a mount, extra lamp, and a more generous warranty.

PROJECTOR OVERVIEW

The Epson Home Cinema 4010 is a 4K HDR-compatible home theater 3LCD projector with a rated brightness of 2,400 Lumens. Epson claims that when the Auto Iris is enabled, the HC3200 has a dynamic contrast ratio of 200,000:1.

Epson has been a leader in projector technology for some time, and they offer a wide variety of projectors to fit nearly any application. The Home Cinema 4010 is part of their Home Cinema Series line-up designed to deliver great home theater performance at an affordable price point.

The Home Cinema 4010 is a native HD projector, but it is equipped with two 18 Gbps HDMI 2.0 (HDCP 2.2) to accept 4K HDR content up to 60 frames per second. Epson’s proven E-Shift technology delivers a clearer, crisper image than a traditional 1080P projector, and the Home Cinema 4010 is also compatible with both HDR10 and HLG content.

Epson also offers the Pro Cinema 4050 (SRP $2399) which delivers identical performance but has a black case instead of a white one. It is part of their Pro Cinema lineup focused on the commercial integrator market and includes a mount, extra lamp, and a more generous 3-year warranty.

Some of the most notable features of these projectors are:

  • 4K Pixel Shifting – While pixel shifting can’t match the resolution of a true 4K projector, it does increase sharpness and detail compared to a standard 2K projector. The Epson Home Cinema 4010 projector can accept up to a 4K@60P signal and uses pixel shifting to fine-tune the image to more closely resemble 4K.
  • HDR10 / HLG Compatible – The projectors support both HDR10 and HLG. Since most HDR10+ and Dolby Vision content is either backward compatible with or available in HDR10, you can enjoy 99% of HDR content available on the market now and in the future.
  • 3D Ready – They are 3D ready. It is nice that these projectors still support 3D because users can still take advantage of the content they paid for.
  • AptX Bluetooth Transmitter – You can wirelessly connect a speaker, sound system, or pair of headphones to the projector via Bluetooth. Also, they utilize aptX™ HD, which is designed to deliver high definition (HD) audio over Bluetooth, so you don’t have to sacrifice performance for wireless convenience.

The real strengths of these projectors include the exceptional placement flexibility (including lens memory for those that wish to go widescreen), great out of the box picture quality especially color.  Unlike the competition, it not only handles 4K HDR but gets extremely close to handling full P3 color.

Feature-wise, these projectors are loaded and even a include 2.1:1 motorized zoom lens with lens memory for supporting wide screens (and regular HDTV). The Home Cinema 4010 and Pro Cinema 4050 share our Hot Product Award.  Both projectors offer approximately the same value proposition.  The Pro does have the 3rd year warranty and 3rd year replacement program, plus the spare lamp, cable cover, and ceiling mount, for the extra $400.

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BENQ TK850 / TK850I

TK850i-Right-Angle

PROJECTOR SPECS

SpecificationDescription
Price$1549 / $1649
TechnologyDLP with XPR (0.47″ DMD)
Native Resolution1920x1080x4
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim)3000
Contrast30,000:1 (Dynamic)
Zoom Lens Ratio1.3x
Throw Ratio1.13:1 – 1.47:1
Lens ShiftYes
Lamp Life20,000 hours
Weight9.3 lbs.
Warranty3 years/20,000 hours

AWARD WINNER

Hot Product Award Badge

While the TK850i’s dynamic iris improves the units contrast, its home theater focused sibling, the BenQ HT3550i, can deliver deeper blacks. However the TK850i is significantly brighter making it a better choice for an average living room. The TK850i delivered bright accurate colors out-of-the-box which made both broadcast and HDR content look great.

PROJECTOR OVERVIEW

The BenQ TK850i ($1649 SRP) is an excellent home theater projector that sells at an MSRP of $1,699. The TK850i is a pixel-shifting projector that displays a native 4K resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels on screen.

The TK850i projector claims 3000 lumens and it will perform remarkably well both in darkened rooms or in rooms with uncontrolled ambient lighting.

One really nice feature to note is that the TK850i supports both HDR10 and HLG HDR. The TK850i features a dynamic iris designed to enhance black-level performance. There’s an onboard speaker system featuring two 5-watt speakers that give the TK850i some decent stand-alone sound capabilities should you choose to use it without plugging into an external sound system.

Some of the most notable features of this projector are:

  • HDR — BenQ integrates software and hardware technologies in order to present an authentic HDR image with more detail and better picture quality than non-HDR systems.
  • HDR-Pro Technology — The BenQ HDR-PRO implementation is made of three different components: HDR Brightness, Tone Mapping and Dynamic Iris. These three features combined improve the TK850i’s picture by improving the projector’s dynamic range.
  • 3D — The BenQ TK850i features a 3D function that allows you to enjoy 3D movies, videos, sporting events and games in a more realistic way, by adding depth to the image when you are wearing a pair of optional compatible 3D glasses.
  • Android TV OS — The TK850i gives you access to apps and services like Google Play, Prime Video and YouTube right on the projector. Once installed, the included Android TV USB dongle acts as a streaming and media box with many channels and apps built in.
  • Wi-Fi — The BenQ TK850i streaming stick comes with Chromecast built in. Cast your favorite entertainment from your Android or iOS device, Mac or Windows computer or Chromebook to your projector, all without needing to purchase a TV stick. The TK850i’s media adaptor also supports AirPlay, with a compatible Apple device.
  • Google Assistant — Android TV with Google Assistant provides you with a smarter viewing experience. You can easily search and watch movies, stream apps and play games. You can even ask questions and see answers from Google on the big screen.

This is a projector designed to handle the latest and greatest 4K content with HDR. The BenQ TK850i stands out from the DLP pack when it comes to bright accurate color s accuracy and good black levels. BenQ also offers a non-smart version of the TK850i for a hundred dollars less called the TK850 ($1549 SRP)

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OPTOMA UHD50X

Optoma-UHD50X

PROJECTOR SPECS

SpecificationDescription
Price$1599
TechnologyDLP
Displayed Resolution3840×2160
Native Resolution1920x1080x4
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim)3400
Contrast500,000:1
Zoom Lens Ratio1.3:1
Throw Ratio1.21:1 – 1.59:1
Lens ShiftYes
Lamp Life4000 Hours (15,000 Eco)
Weight8.6 lbs.
Warranty2 years

AWARD WINNER

PROJECTOR OVERVIEW

The Optoma UHD50X is a 4K Capable DLP projector with a rated brightness of 3400 Lumens. It supports HDR in both HDR10 and HLG. The UHD50X would be a good option for someone looking for a home entertainment projector bright enough to overcome ambient light in a family room.

Optoma is marketing the UHD50X as the “world’s first 240Hz cinema gaming projector” and the unit has several features targeted toward gamers. The UHD50X supports 1080p at refresh rates up to 240Hz for blur-free gaming and it also has a very low input lag. When set to Enhanced Gaming Mode, the UHD50X has a response time of 16ms or 25ms at 4K UHD.

Since the UHD50X does not have HDMI 2.1 inputs, it doesn’t support 4K gaming at 120 frames per second offered by the latest game consoles. Next Gen console gamers can take advantage of this projector’s 120Hz refresh rate at 1080P and PC Gamers have the option of a refresh rate up to 240Hz. Combining one of these consoles with the UHD50X should result in an amazing gaming experience.

Some of the most notable features of this projector include:

  • Ultra-Low Input Lag – The Optoma UHD50X is rated 15.7ms for 1080P@ 240Hz and 25ms for 4K@60hz when the projector’s enhanced gaming mode is activated.
  • 8 Segment Color Wheel – The unit incorporates RGBW 8 segment color wheel, designed to achieve more vivid color performance with 3,400 high lumens of brightness while still reproducing the full Rec.709 color space.
  • HLR10 / HLG – When an HDR or HLG signal is detected, the projector will automatically switch to proper display mode. Optoma’s HDR color mapping and tone mapping technology is designed to optimize the projector’s HDR performance.
  • Dynamic Black Technology – Accurately and automatically adjusts the projector’s light bulb output power based on the overall brightness of a scene. This results in a noticeable boost in Dynamic contrast.

While I found the out of-the-box colors on this projector to be oversaturated, the UHD50X is capable of amazing color accuracy with just a little tweaking. Bottom line is that the Optoma UHD50X is a projector powerhouse offering you the ability to enjoy Cinema and Gaming content at high quality.

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