Projector Reviews

2022-2023 Outdoor & Portable Projector Buyer’s Guide – Moveable Projectors

BRIGHT AND COST-EFFECTIVE MOVEABLE PROJECTORS

First, let’s talk about “moveable” projectors. If you feel comfortable taking your projector outside and it’s bright enough to overcome outdoor ambient light, well, you have a movable projector. In this section of our buyer’s guide, we are going to concentrate on bright, cost-effective models that can be conveniently carried…at least short distances.

For a projector to be considered movable at Projector Reviews, it must have the following features:

  • Substantial brightness
  • Affordability
  • Relatively compact size

BenQ TH585

BenQ TH585 Hot Product Award

The BenQ TH585 won our Hot Product Award and is an ultra-bright projector, perfect for outdoor use
Price$599
Brightness3500 ANSI lumens
Resolution1920 x1080
Light SourceLamp
Light Source Lifespan15,000 Hours (Lamp Saving Mode)
InputsHDMI x 2, computer in, USB Type-A
GamingInput lag 17ms
Portability – size6.2 lbs
Portability – powerNo battery
Portability – smartNo smart features
SoundBuilt-in 10-watt speakers

The BenQ TH585 is also a 1080p unit with dual HDMI inputs and a USB input. It is a lamp-based DLP projector that offers excellent brightness at 3500 lumens. If your goal is to project outside on a very large screen, the BenQ TH585 has the power to produce a vibrant picture, even with some ambient light.

BenQ says the TH585 can produce 95% of Rec709 due to its RGBW color wheel. It has 8 preset picture modes and several delivered good color reproductions out of the box including the CINEMA, LIVING ROOM, and two USER modes. While most new panel TVs do not support 3D, many projectors are still 3D capable. It is nice that Benq TH585 supports 3D at its low price point because there are some users who still want to take advantage of the 3D movie and gaming content that they already own.

If you are into outdoor gaming, you will want the lowest input lag possible. With projectors, most TVs, and many monitors, there is some level of delay. The highest acceptable input lag for serious gamers is about 55ms. Input lag refers to the amount of time, measured in milliseconds, that it takes for a signal from your source (PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, etc.) to travel to the projector and end up on your screen. We have a scale of input lag speeds ranging from acceptable, to excellent.

Acceptable: 41ms to 50ms
Good: 33ms to 40ms
Great: 21ms to 32ms
Excellent: 16ms to 20ms

In our own tests, the BenQ TH585 measured in the 16-17ms range, which is really outstanding. Time to invite the neighborhood kids over for epic pawnage, gamers are going to get smooth gameplay in even fast-paced games.

The BenQ TH585 is relatively compact, measuring 4.33” high and 12.38” wide. It weighs about 6.2 lbs. This projector will sound better when connected to a larger sound system, but it does have 10-watt built-in speakers for a fairly decent sound out of the box.

READ THE REVIEW

EPSON HOME CINEMA 880

Epson Home Cinema 880 with Value Leader Award
The Epson Home Cinema 880 won our Value Leader Award and is a great movable projector option for your outdoor theater
Price$499
Brightness3300 ANSI lumens
Resolution1920 x 1080
Light SourceLamp
Light Source Lifespan12,000 hours (Eco)
Inputs1 HDMI, 1 USB Type -A, 1 USB Type-B, Miracast
Portability – sizeWeighs less than 6 lbs
Portability – powerNo battery
Portability – smartNo smart features
SoundBuilt-in 2-watt mono speaker

The Epson Home Cinema 880 is the manufacturer’s least expensive Home Theater model. With a suggested retail price of just $499, The Home Cinema 880 can produce up to a whopping 3,300 lumens of brightness., While most of the projectors in its price point are single-chip DLP models, the Home Cinema 880 uses Epson’s 3-chip 3LCD technology to deliver bright accurate colors.

You can easily connect a cable box, Blu-ray player, gaming console, or streaming device to the HC880 via its HDMI input. The HC880 has a USB-A input that can be used to display content stored on a USB memory device. The Epson Home Cinema 880 projector can also support Mira casting with mobile devices such as laptops, smartphones, or tablets. The Miracast feature lets you project or mirror a device wirelessly without any additional software.

This projector does have a built-in 2-watt mono speaker, located on the left rear side of the projector. However, the speaker is not very powerful and lacks bass. If you are using this projector in a large, outdoor area, you will likely want to use the Audio Output connection to connect a more advanced /powerful sound system.

The unit is fairly compact – Width: 11.9 inches (302mm) Height: 3.4 inches (87mm) Depth: 9.8 inches (249mm), weight 5.95 lbs (2.7kg).

The Home Cinema 880 is a very basic projector, it utilizes a lamp-based light source, and it doesn’t have many smart features. However, at $599, it is very affordable and produces good picture quality for its price. With an ANSI Lumens rating of 3,300 and a lamp life of 6,000 hours (12,000 hours in ECO mode), you will get years of outdoor enjoyment.

The HC880 walks a fine line between convenience, performance, and value. The projector delivers a bright picture with accurate colors. With a resolution of 1920×1080, combined with 3,300 lumens, it is a great addition to a home entertainment system or backyard theater.

READ THE REVIEW

ViewSonic PX706HD

ViewSonic PX706HD
The ViewSonic PX706HD is a short-throw projector and is designed specifically for gaming
Price$785
Brightness3000 ANSI lumens
Resolution1920 x1080
Light SourceLamp
Light Source Lifespan4000 hours (Lamp Saving Mode)
InputsHDMI x 2, USB Type-C
GamingInput lag 16ms
Portability – size5.9 lbs
Portability – powerNo battery
Portability – smartNo smart features
Sound5-Watt mono speaker

If you are a gamer looking for a brighter projector that you can easily move from place to place, the ViewSonic PX706HD might be a great option for you. ViewSonic claims the PX706HD has an input lag of 16ms, and it measured close to claim – 16.4ms. This is about as good as it gets with projectors!

Acceptable lag times range from 16ms to 50ms, with 50ms or a little bit higher being acceptable to all but the most hardcore, high-speed gamers. 33ms to 40ms is pretty good. The ViewSonic measured at 33ms without 3X Fast Input on, which translates to just over one frame behind on a 30fps game, and 2 frames on a 60fps game. That’d be fine for most people, but if you’re a serious gamer, you’ll want to turn on 3X Fast Input before starting up your gaming session to get that 16.4ms lag.

In addition to being ideal for gaming, the PX706HD has some other notable special features. It weighs less than 6 lbs and would easily fit in a backpack. This is useful if you want to pack up your projector and bring it over to a friend’s place for gaming or movies so that they can enjoy the big screen experience. It’s also 3D-ready, so if you want to pop in a 3D movie, you can do that, too. You’ll just want to pick up a couple of pairs of DLP Link Active Shutter 3D Glasses, which can be found online for under $30 a pair. The projector has PC-free presenting via PCs, Macs, and smartphones, so projecting your vacation photos and videos, or even a presentation at school or work, will be super easy on this ViewSonic.

READ THE REVIEW

AAXA 4K1

AAXA 4K1
AAXA 4K Mini Projector
Price$999
Brightness1500 LED lumens 520 lumens (measured in ECO mode)
Resolution4K (3840 x 2160)
Light SourceOSRAM Quadcast LED
Light Source Lifespan30,000 hours
InputsHDMI x 2, USB-A, SD slot
Media PlayerOnboard
Portability – size3.8 lbs
Portability – powerNo built-in battery
Portability – smartNo smart features
Portability – durabilitySolid-state light source resists shocks
Sound2 x 2W speakers

The AAXA 4K1 was a tough projector to fit into our buyer’s guide. It’s a little more expensive than other projectors in the movable category and definitely not as bright. It is very compact and has dual 2-watt speakers but it lacks smart features and the ultimate convenience of a built-in battery. However, the AAXA 4K1 is a 4K (3840 x2160) DLP projector. This additional resolution really lets you see the detail that would be missed or less crisp at 1080p.

The brilliant LED color saturation makes nature scenes glow with vibrancy. The 4K1 mini projector really takes advantage of the 4K resolution and LED light source. There is also the bonus of no moving parts. LED projectors don’t use a color wheel. As with other DLP projection systems. This allows for fewer parts to break over time. 

At a retail price of $999, the AAXA 4K1 mini projector offers a good value for 4K home entertainment. I was able to easily project a 200” diagonal with brightness and clarity to spare. I chose to use the 4K1 mini projector in eco mode. It was still completely able to fill my screen and provide a good viewing experience. The color saturation of the LED light source really put a rich image on the wall.

There is a media player is also on board the 4K1. You can view video files, music files, and text files from a USB thumb drive or SD card (32GB cap). The media player only supports video files up to 1080, so no 4k from the onboard player.

The AAXA 4K1 mini projector is a good value if you are looking for a LED light source and 4k resolution in a small form factor. There are not many projectors that can deliver a large full 4K UHD image from a package compact enough to fit in a backpack for just $999. It is small enough that you may use it as your go-to projector for football or movie night outside.

READ THE REVIEW

MOVEABLE PROJECTORS WITH SOUND AND SMART FEATURES

In the last section, we discussed movable projectors which are easy to carry and bright enough to be used in outdoor applications. In this section, we explore projectors that add built-in sound and smart features to a small and compact chassis, greatly enhancing portability.

LG PF610P CineBeam

LG-PF610P Highly Recommended Award
Price$849 MSRP
Brightness1000 ANSI lumens
Resolution1920 x1080
Light Source4CH LED
Light Source Lifespan30,000 hours
InputsHDMI x 2, USB Type-A
Portability – size3.7 lbs
Portability – powerNo battery
Portability – smartwebOS 5.0
SoundDolby Atmos 6W

The LG PF610P is an $849 MSRP, Full HD LED portable smart home theater projector. LG designed the PF610P to be transportable while delivering a high-quality image, allowing users to easily show movies and other entertainment anywhere with access to power.

The LG PF610P uses a Texas Instruments Digital Light Processing Projector (DLP) imaging chip to project a 120-inch diagonal image. You can project a larger image, but 120 inches is the maximum recommended size. LG has designed the PF610P to deliver a picture they refer to as cinematically immersive, whatever that means. I will be sure to let you know how immersive the image appears to me.

The LG PF610P uses an LED light source rated to produce 1,000 ANSI lumens of brightness which is not bad for such a portable projector. LG talks a lot about vivid shades and striking clarity in its marketing release. I’m pretty sure they are referring to color performance. The PF610P uses a 4 Channel LED Light Source, referring specifically to the projector’s discrete Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) LEDs combined with LG’s Dynamic green technology. Using these two technologies in the PF610P is designed to improve the 610P’s brightness and image sharpness compared to conventional LED projectors that use three-channel LED light sources. Because of this, LG says this new LED CineBeam projector delivers more vibrant images than conventional projectors. Eliminating the traditional DLP color in favor of LED technology overcomes conventional projectors’ defects such as discoloration of LCD and the irritating DLP rainbow effect.

The LG610P is a smart projector running LG’s most recent webOS 5.0 platform. LG webOS 5.0 provides access to popular streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV, YouTube, and many more. It is compatible with Apple AirPlay 2 and MiraCast for Android users, allowing viewers to share content from smartphones.

The PF610P features a 4-corner keystone adjustment that allows users to adjust the projected image from four different points. This helps users achieve a squared image from virtually any angle. Additionally, the PF610P features a 1.195 throw ratio, allowing large screens to be projected even from close range.

On paper, the LG PF610P seems to fit a tremendous amount of performance and features into a small (8.9-inch x 7.6-inch x 2.7-inch) body combined with a mere 3.7 pounds of weight. Using this projector as an on-the-go device should not be an issue.

READ THE REVIEW

Philips Screeneo U4

Philips-Screeneo-U4-HD- with Remote
Price$669 MSRP
Brightness400 ANSI lumens
Resolution1920 x1080
Light Source4LED
Light Source Lifespan30,000 hours
InputsDual HDMI 2.1 (One HDMI ARC) HDCP 2.2 ports
Portability – size3.0 lbs
Portability – powerNo battery
Portability – smartAndroid TV 11
SoundDual integrated 15W speakers

The Philips Screeneo U4 is a compact UST projector that retails for $669. It utilizes a single Texas Instruments (TI) DLP chip for its Full HD (1080p) displayed resolution. In addition, its 4LED light source is rated to deliver 400 ANSI lumens for up to 30,000 hours for many years of maintenance-free usage for a lower overall cost of ownership. According to Philips, their tuning of the Screeneo U4 reaches 108% of the Rec.709 color gamut.

The Screeneo U4’s integrated dual 15-watt speaker audio system means the projector does not need an external audio source. Simply select your Picture Preset and Sound Preset, and you’re all set to enjoy your favorite movies or music. The Screeneo U4’s dual Bluetooth audio functionality allows you to listen to your media audio on two different Bluetooth devices at once. In addition, the end-user can use two pairs of headphones at one time and independently control the volume of each headset.

If you need a UST projector to replace your TV in a high ambient light environment, well then, you may need to look elsewhere. The Screeneo U4’s claimed 400 ANSI lumens is not intended to fight through high amounts of ambient light. The Screeneo U4 is best suited for watching in a dark environment with an 80-inch or smaller projected image, precisely what Philips’ recommends for the Screeneo U4 UST projector. However, the Screeneo U4 is a good option if you want a compact and transportable UST projector. Especially with its good for its tiny size integrated audio system and dual Bluetooth 5.0 capabilities.

READ THE REVIEW

XGIMI Elfin

XGIMI Elfin
The XGIMI Elfin is a 1080p Smart LED Projector
Price$649
Brightness800 ANSI lumens
Resolution1920 x1080
Light SourceLED DLP
Light Source Lifespan30,000 hours (Lamp Saving Mode)
InputsHDMI x 1, USB 2.0
StorageBuilt-in media player with 16GB
Portability – size2 lbs
Portability – powerNo battery
Portability – smartAndroid TV OS
SoundHarman Kardon 3-watt speaker

The Elfin is a Smart all-in-one Full High Definition (FHD) 1920 x 1080p portable Digital Light Processing (DLP) short-throw projector. XGIMI rated the Elfin’s brightness at 800 ANSI lumens. The Elfin features a redesigned horizontal chassis that measures just 7.5” W x 1.96” H x 7.5” D and weighing just two pounds. Tex Yang, chief marketing officer for Xgimi, says, “The Elfin delivers a fresh style more comparable to the current sleek personal electronics devices on the market and is made to slide in your bag as easily as a laptop.” During my earlier review of this product, I noted that the Elfin was the perfect size to toss into my backpack and take on the road with me. In addition, a threaded tripod socket is located under the projector to make placement even more effortless.

Neatly solving the issue of how to get content while on the go, the Elfin is powered by Android TV with 5000+ native apps. Users can play video games or stream directly from the Android TV interface. Note that while you can download the Netflix app from the Google Play store. The Elfin has a built-in media player with 16 GB of internal storage. The internal storage could be used to store music or some of your favorite movies on the projector.

The Elfin is a portable projector that comes equipped with decent sound quality. XGIMI has partnered with Harman Kardon and the single forward-firing 3-watt Harman/Kardon speakers sound great for how tiny the unit is.

READ THE REVIEW

ViewSonic M2

ViewSonic M2
The ViewSonic M2 is an LED Smart projector with Harmon Kardon Bluetooth speakers
Price$549
Brightness500 ANSI lumens
Resolution1920 x1080
Light SourceLED DLP
Light Source Lifespan30,000 hours (normal use)
InputsHDMI 2.0 x 1, USB Type A x 2,
USB Type C x 1, Micro USB x 1
Storage16GB
Portability – size2.9 lbs
Portability – powerNo battery
Portability – smartAptoide UI
Sound3W (x2) Harman Kardon speakers

The M2 relies on an LED RGBB light source designed to deliver a bright color image from a compact package. Due to its light source, the M2 can deliver 500 ANSI Lumens of brightness and reproduce 125% of the Rec.709 color gamut.

The light source also makes the projector essentially maintenance-free and offers over 30,000 hours of use. That is the equivalent of almost 3.5 years of 24/7 use, so it should be very sufficient for the average user. Along with minimal maintenance, lamp-free projection is more environmentally friendly than other options, as there is no mercury used in the manufacturing process, and the projector will consume less power than a typical LCD TV.

The M2 features dual 3 watt Harman Kardon speakers, capable of producing strong enough audio to entertain friends and families out of the house. Harman Kardon is known for their high-quality audio components, and those on the M2 are no exception. They don’t offer much in the way of deep bass, but mids and highs are impressively clear, and comparable to a small to mid-sized mobile Bluetooth speaker.

Like other projectors in this category, the ViewSonic M2 is a smart projector so that you can download popular streaming apps like Netflix and YouTube. The ViewSonic M2 also supports voice control using either Alexa or Google Assistant. The remote control has a built-in microphone so you can use your voice to power the projector on and off, adjust volume, change sources, and even autofocus.

Due to its compact size, LED light source, smart features, and built-in premium dual Harman Kardon sound system, the ViewSonic M2 is an excellent portable projector for outdoor adventures of all kinds.

READ THE REVIEW