Projector Reviews

2019-2020 Home Theater Projectors Report – Non-Winners Under $1000 Class

This page contains comments on projectors that were considered in this year’s Home Theater Projectors Report, but did not win awards.

ViewSonic PX706HD

ViewSonic PX706HD Featured Image

The ViewSonic PX706HD is a short throw, 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution projector with DLP technology. It is a lamp based projector with an impressive lamp life of up to 15,000 hours, and a brightness claim of 3,000 lumens! This qualifies the PX706HD as a bright room projector, so it’ll be right at home in your living room, media room, or gaming cave.

This $785.99 ViewSonic is primarily positioned as a gaming projector, and for good reason. When I measured the input lag of the PX706HD, it came out about as low as it gets – 16.4ms! This is thanks to a setting called 3X Fast Input, which is designed to lower the input lag for gamers. There is also a gaming mode, which puts out some great color, as you can see from the image below.

The ViewSonic PX706HD, projecting a cutscene from the video game, Horizon: Zero Dawn.

The projector is 3D ready, and is compatible with glasses that use DLP Link. It is highly portable, making it a great projector for millennials and Gen Z’s who want to bring their projector to their friends’ places for some big screen action. The ViewSonic PX706HD is also compatible with Mac, PC, and both iOS and Android mobile devices via USB-C, which allows you to project photos, video and audio. That same port also allows for some fast charging. Nice.

Though I did like this projector for gaming, viewing Netflix content, and watching Blu-Rays, it did not win an award in this year’s report. This is simply because, when I reviewed the Optoma HD143X – which did win an award – I found the picture quality and black level performance to be superior, and at a lower price point.

ViewSonic M1

ViewSonic M1 Pocket Projector

The ViewSonic M1 is a pico projector, and as such, it didn’t really stand a chance against the other projectors in the Under $1000 range. Pico projectors are a class of their own. The M1 could likely do battle with a few of the projectors from our 2018 Pico and Pocket Projectors Report, so stay tuned for more info in that department, should Art decide to continue with this new report.

That said, the ViewSonic M1 is a WVGA (854 x 480) resolution projector. This is considered standard definition – not HD – though it can accept 1080p content. It has DLP technology and an LED light source with a lifespan of up to 30,000 hours. It weighs in at just 1.5 lbs, has a fixed focal length (as do most pico and pocket projectors), and has its own protective carrying case. Its small size makes it ultra-portable, and it can easily fit in a backpack, messenger bag, or carry-on luggage, and it has its own stand, plus 360-degree projection.

ViewSonic M1 Projected Image Zootopia

It has a $337 price tag, and a brightness claim of 250 lumens. This is hardly enough to make this your all-the-time living room projector, but as a projector used for travel, summer movie nights, or for your kids’ personal “home theater,” the ViewSonic M1 should do just fine. Our reviewer who handled the M1 mentions that animated films look better than films like The Hunger Games and The Greatest Showman, as the M1 doesn’t do a stellar job on skin tons. Oh well, that’s to be expected from a projector like this.

The ViewSonic M1 has an onboard Media Player that allows PC-free playback from internal storage or USB storage and smart devices. It comes with a whopping 16 GB of internal storage, allowing for up to 4,000 songs and 4 hours of video to be stored directly on the device. It is 3D ready – another good trait for the kiddos – as well as an Eye Protection Setting, which will temporarily turn off the light source when something gets too close.

Anker Nebula Capsule

Anker Nebula Capsule Soda Can Projector

Now, this is quite the interesting projector. Another Pico, this one would likely win a special award in our Pico and Pocket Projectors Report. This projector was crowdfunded, and is the actual, literal size of a soda can. It has a $349.99 price tag, and a lifespan of up to 30,000 hours, thanks to its LED light source.

Like the M1, the Anker Nebula Capsule has WVGA (854 x 480) resolution. Again, not HD, but suitable for viewing DVD content. Here’s another projector that’s best suited for travel, summer movie nights, and kids’ rooms. It has 100 lumens, which means your room will have to be fully darkened, or all viewing must be saved until the sun goes down.

Vivid colors in this scene from Moana, as projected by the Anker Nebula Capsule in a fully darkened room.

Onto the good stuff – this projector has Android 7.1 installed, allowing the installation of Netflix and YouTube – but you’ll have to do the installing yourself. It doesn’t come pre-loaded with anything except AptoidTV, which is like Android TV OS. It has Wi-Fi connectivity, and can mirror your smartphone screen via AirPlay or Miracast. It also has Bluetooth.

Speaking of Bluetooth, the Anker Nebula Capsule projector can double as a Bluetooth speaker. This is a fun feature to have for parties – thanks to its internal battery, you can enjoy up to 30 hours when using as a Bluetooth speaker, and up to 4 when projecting video. When it comes to video, it has reasonably good color – as good as we would expect of a projector of this caliber!