Projector Reviews

Home Theater Projectors Under $1,000

There are a good deal of options for you if you are looking for an entry-level projector under $1,000. You won’t get nearly all the bells and whistles of a more expensive projector, of course, but you can still get a decent picture that can be used in a variety of ways, such as for outdoor movie night, or a highly portable projector you can take just about anywhere, etc.

BenQ TH585

BenQ-TH585

Projector Specs

Specification Description
Price $599
Resolution 1980 x 1080
Technology DLP
Claimed Lumens 3,500 Lumens
Contrast 10,000:1
Light Engine Lamp
Light Engine Lifespan 15,000 Hours (Lamp Saving Mode)
HDR No
Zoom Ratio 1.1:1
Throw Ratio 1.50:1 - 1.65:1
Warranty 3 Years

While the BenQ TH585 doesn’t have all the bells and whistles found on more expensive 1080P home theater projectors, it does deliver an excellent picture for its price.

For the price of a 65” TV you could have a 10-foot projection system. Combine the BenQ TH585 with a decent screen to create a truly cinematic viewing experience for about $1,500. If you’re looking for a great entry-level projector at a truly affordable price, the BenQ TH585 should be at the top of your list.

Projector Overview

The BenQ TH585 is a Full HD 1080P DLP projector that has a rated brightness of 3500 lumens. BenQ says it can produce 95% of Rec709 due to its RGBW color wheel. The BenQ TH585 delivers good color reproductions out-of-the-box. BenQ is also promoting the TH585 as a gaming projector with a rated input lag of just 16ms. The BenQ TH585 did, in fact, measure in the 16-17ms range. The BenQ TH585 has a dedicated picture mode for gaming designed to not only reduce input lag, but improve clarity and enhance the dark scenes in video game content.

The most notable features of this projector are:

  • High Brightness – The BenQ TH585 delivered a measured brightness of 3285 lumens, which was very close to its rated brightness of 3500 lumens. It is a great solution for anyone with a larger screen or who needs to overcome a lot of ambient light.
  • Low Game Lag – TH585 as a gaming projector with a rated input lag of just 16ms. The highest acceptable input lag for serious gamers is about 55ms. Great performance would be under 18ms, so the BenQ TH585 is outstanding.
  • Good Color Reproduction – BenQ TH585 is a DLP unit that Benq says can produce 95% of Rec709 due to its RGBW color wheel. The BenQ TH585 has 8 preset picture modes and several delivered good color reproductions out-of-the-box, including the CINEMA, LIVING ROOM, and two USER modes. Like all BenQ projectors, the TH585 also has a full set of picture calibration adjustments.
  • 3D Support – While most new panel TVs do not support 3D, many projectors are 3D capable. It is nice that the BenQ TH585 supports 3D at its low price point because some users still want to take advantage of the 3D movie and gaming content that they already own.

The BenQ TH585 is a small bright portable projector and has a built-in 10-watt speaker. It delivers an excellent picture for its price. It would be a great starter projector for an enthusiast or someone looking for a better projector for a backyard theater.

Philips PicoPIx Max

Philips-PicoPIx-Max

Projector Specs

Specification Description
Price $899
Resolution 1980 x 1080
Technology DLP
Claimed Lumens 850 Lumens
Contrast 10,000:1
Light Engine LED
Light Source Lifespan 30,000 Hours
HDR No
Throw Ratio Fixed Lens (1.2:1)
Warranty 2 Years

Projector Overview

The Philips PicoPix Max is a portable DLP projector that offers Full HD (1,920×1,080) resolution. The LED light source is rated for over 30,000 hours of use. Philips describes the PicoPix Max as “the Smart & fully wireless native Full HD projector with an ultra-vivid picture made for use anywhere.” It has a built-in 3-hour battery, Android OS, a top touchpad, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth casting, and USB-C connectivity.

The most notable features of this projector are:

  • LED Light Engine -The PicoPix utilizes a LED light source, which Philips claims will last over 30,000 hours. When combined with the DLP imager, which is sealed, the result is years of maintenance-free operation.
  • Smart TV Features – The Android-based OS is an intuitive interface that’s easy to learn quickly and has over 4,000 supported apps available in the Philips store. In addition to the huge selections of available apps, there is also a built-in media player.
  • Built-in Touchpad – On top of the unit, a built-in touchpad allows the user to “easily navigate the user interface, browse the internet, or play games.” You can access and control all of the projector’s functions from this touchpad, so there is no need to fret over forgetting the remote.
  • Built-in Battery – To test the unit’s maximum battery life, we set a sample in “Energy Saving mode” and switched off its Wireless and Bluetooth functions. When fed a video signal via HDMI, this sample lasted for over 4 hours, which was better than expected.

Portability stands out as the most prominent advantage for this projector. Anyone living in a dorm, barracks, or tiny apartment would appreciate having a variety of viewing options comparable to most Smart TVs in such a compact portable package.

With an MSRP of $899, the Max is the most powerful (and most expensive) of the Philips PicoPix line of projectors. The PicoPix Max is an excellent choice for anyone who wants the functionality of a Smart TV with a paperback novel’s portability.

ViewSonic PX727-4K

ViewSonic PX727-4K Front Angled

Projector Specs

Specification Description
Price $999
Displayed Resolution 3840×2160
Native Resolution 1980x1080x4
Technology DLP
Claimed Lumens 2200 Lumens
Contrast 12,000:1
Light Engine Lamp
Light Source Lifespan 4,000 Hours
HDR No
Zoom Ratio 1.2:1
Throw Ratio 1.47:1 - 1.76:1
Weight 8.1 Lb
Warranty 3 Years

The ViewSonic PX727-4K won a Hot Product Award when it was introduced in 2018. Back then the projector delivered good performance for a $1500 projector. It delivered a sharp detailed image with accurate color right out of the box. The unit now sells for under $1000 which still makes it a performance value.

Projector Overview

The ViewSonic PX717-4K is a 4K Capable DLP projector that can deliver 2200 lumens of brightness. It delivers a bright, accurate picture rivaling more expensive projectors. While the PX717-4K is a lamp-based projector, the SuperEco model extends the projector lamp life to 15,000 hours.

The most notable features of this projector are:

  • 4K UHD Capable – While the PX727-4K DLP (0.47″ DMD) chip isn’t native 4K, rapid pixel shifting gives the DLP chip the ability to deliver a perceived resolution of 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.
  • Six Segment Color Wheel – While brightness is not maximized, the RGBRGB color wheel’s benefit is that its accurate color reproduction. The faster color wheel also helps minimize the “rainbow effect” (color breakup)
  • HDR Compatible –  The PX727-4K has two HDMI 2.0 (HDCP 2.2) inputs so the projector supports playback of  4K@60p HDR10 content.

The PX747-4K produced accurate color reproduction along with a sharp, clear image. Even though the one is a couple of years old, its sub-$1000 price point still makes it a great value for someone looking for an entry-level projector with good performance.

Projector Reviews In Progress

In the past, most of the projectors we reviewed retailed for above $1000, but more and more notable projectors are now available at this lower price point. Over the next few months, we will be reviewing several projectors that fall into this category. Our goal is to provide that entry-level projector enthusiast or customer looking for a good portable projector with the information needed to make an educated decision.

Below is a list of models below $1000 that the Projector Reviews team is currently evaluating. Over the year, we will continue to update this section as the reviews are finalized.

Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12

Specification Description
Price $999
Resolution 1980 x 1080
Technology 3LCD
Claimed Lumens 1000 Lumens
Contrast 200,000:1 (Dynamic)
Light Engine Laser Phosphor
Light Source Lifespan 20,000 Hours
HDR HDR10 / HLG
Throw Ratio Fixed Lens (1.0:1)
Warranty 2 Years

Epson is expanding its Laser projector lineup by launching two new portable projectors. For affordable, big-screen entertainment in the home or outside, Epson introduced two new portable projectors – the EpiqVision Mini EF12 Smart Streaming Laser Projector ($1,000) and the EpiqVision Mini EF11 Laser Projector ($800).

These two models are Epson’s smallest ever 3LCD laser projectors. The EF12 weighs 4.7 lbs, and the EF11 is a featherweight of 2.7 lbs. These compact units use Epson MicroLaser™ Array Technology, which Epson says produces an exceptional brightness level while significantly enhancing black density. Light output is measured at 1,000 lumens, and Epson claims the laser light sources can last up to 10 years in Eco mode.

These mini projectors can beam images from 30-inches up to a whopping 150-inches. They are 1080p and can accept content up to 4K. The EF12 adds additional support for HDR10/HLG. The Mini EF12 is also equipped with an Android TV interface to stream directly from apps and Chromecast built-in.

Lastly, the Epson EF12  has a built-in Yamaha-designed 2.1 speaker system, which should deliver exceptional audio performance. The custom-designed system includes premium Yamaha drivers and/or a dedicated woofer powered by a discrete amplifier and tuned using Yamaha’s latest AudioEngine™ DSP and Dolby Digital technologies. Epson claims this audio system offers a deep and wide sound stage for a powerful and emotional experience that even rivals a sound bar’s performance.

ViewSonic M2

Specification Description
Price $649
Resolution 1980 x 1080
Technology DLP
Claimed ANSI Lumens 500 Lumens
Contrast 3,000,000:1 (Dynamic)
Light Engine LED (RGBB)
Light Source Lifespan 30,000 Hours
HDR HDR10
Throw Ratio Fixed Lens (1.23:1)
Warranty 1 Year

The ViewSonic® M2 is a portable Full HD LED projector that is ideal for business travelers and home entertainment applications. Since the M2 is compact and lightweight, it can be carried from room-to-room or slipped into a backpack and taken on the road.

Android-based OS included the Aptoide store, where you can download streaming apps from Netflix, YouTube, and more. For convenient content sharing, a wireless screen mirroring feature (via supplied Wi-Fi dongle) allows users to cast content from a mobile device to the projector easily.

Its LED light source can produce 500 ANSI Lumens (1,200 LED lumens) and has a rated lifespan of 30,000 hours. There are an integrated Micro SD card slot and USB Type-A reader port that allow users to display videos and photos without connecting to an external source. Lastly, the dual Harman Kardon speakers (3watts x 2) deliver room-filling sound.

Epson Home Cinema 880

Specification Description
Price $499
Resolution 1980 x 1080
Technology 3LCD
Claimed Lumens 3300 Lumens
Contrast 16,000:1 (Dynamic)
Light Engine Lamp
Light Source Lifespan 12,000 Hours (Eco)
HDR No
Throw Ratio Fixed Lens (1.2:1)
Warranty 2 Years

Epson, one of the top projector manufacturers in the world, had three of the top-selling projectors under $1,000 in 2020. With a retail price of $599, the HomeCinema 880 is Epson’s least expensive home entertainment model.

The HomeCinema 880 is the replacement for the popular Home Cinema 760HD. The biggest upgrade is the HC880 is a Full HD  (1920 x1080) model while the 760HD was a WXGA (1280 X800) model.

The Home Cinema 880 uses a 210-watt UHE bulb with a lamp life of 6,000 – 12,000 hours. Over 3000 lumens of color and white brightness should deliver outstanding image quality in a variety of lighting conditions on screens up to 320 inches. The unit houses Epson’s 3LCD technology for best-in-class color brightness and a dynamic contrast ratio up to 16,000:1, which allows for rich detail in dark scenes.