Part 3 of the Best Gaming Projectors of 2019 Report features our winners for Bright Room Gaming and High-End Gaming.
Bright Room Gaming – ViewSonic PX706HD
Optoma HD243X Specs
1920 x 1080
Best Mode Lumens
The ViewSonic PX706HD is a gaming machine, with one of the fastest input lag times around: 16.4ms. That makes it one of our top picks for gaming speed! It has the same input lag performance as the Fastest Input Lag winner, but, although the Optoma HD243X has a higher brightness claim, its measured lumens came in lower than this ViewSonic, making the PX706HD a clear winner for Bright Room Gaming.
Speaking of lumens, the PX706HD has a brightness claim of 3,000 lumens (the HD243X has a claim of 3,300). This ViewSonic got super close to its claim when I measured it for the review – 2,972 in its brightest mode – and the two “best modes” for color were both around the 2,150 lumen mark. That’s still enough for a living room environment with some degree of control over ambient light. By comparison, the best brightest mode for the Optoma HD243X was 1,401 lumens. Still enough for a living room with good lighting control, but not good enough to win the Bright Room Gaming award.
The ViewSonic PX706HD is a 1080p resolution (1920 x 1080) short throw projector. That means it can be placed on a coffee table, several feet back from the screen. For those of you who don’t know, a normal throw projector will typically be placed about 10+ feet back from the screen to produce a 100” diagonal image. A short throw projector usually is around 5 feet back, give or take. It’s a pretty good option for a teenager’s bedroom, a dorm room, a studio apartment, or other small spaces.
The projector has a small footprint – only 5.9 lbs, and is barely larger than a sheet of printer paper (11.5” x 8.7” x 4.5”). That makes it portable enough to pack up and take in your carry-on bag, put in a backpack and take to a friend’s place, or move it around from room to room with ease. It has a 5-watt mono speaker that’s plenty loud for gaming, movie watching, and binge-ing Disney+. It’s currently going for $628.48 on Amazon – a steal of a deal for this powerful gaming machine.
The Sony VPL-VW295ES has been a Projector Reviews favorite since we first reviewed it in 2018. This is a true 4K projector (4096 x 2160) for under $5K – the first of its kind. Sonys are well-known for their phenomenal color, right out of the box – so much so, that we don’t even bother calibrating these anymore – and their superb black level performance. The color is just that good. It features HDR, as you would expect, and also – HGL (hybrid log gamma) for HDR on broadcasts.
In our 2019-2020 Best Home Theater Projectors Report, it lost to the Epson Home Cinema 5050UB for Best Performance – not because it doesn’t perform just as well as (or better) than the HC5050UB, but because the HC5050UB performs so well, and for $2,000 less than this Sony. It did win an award, of course it did, but we saw fit to give it a new one – “Best Media Room Projector” in the $2,000 to $5,000 Class.
Why would you want this projector over the HC5050UB? For $2,000 more, you are getting true 4K resolution – no pixel shifting. The Epson Home Cinema 5050UB has 1920 x 1080 x2 resolution, which is to say, about half the resolution of this Sony. Why does it get to be called 4K capable? That is because it accepts 4K content, projects it at 1080p (but looks better than straight 1080p content due to its higher starting resolution) and shifts the pixels up diagonally to get the number of pixels on screen that meet the 4K UHD standard. The Sony VPL-VW295ES as all of those pixels naturally, making it sharper than what you can expect from the HC5050UB or the 4K UHD projectors on the market.
The VPL-VW295ES has the same input lag as the HC5050UB – 27ms! That’s great, and honestly, I’m really impressed this Sony measured so low, for being true 4K. With this projector, you get to experience truly immersive gaming, with a large screen, and the best of the best when it comes to graphics. Not only can you play 4K games on the Sony – thanks to the 18 Ghz HDMI ports – but those games will actually be, pixel for pixel, in 4K. Guys, this is as good as it gets. You get to experience the game as it was meant to be experienced, in all its 4K glory. Not only that, but your movie-viewing experience will be seriously upgraded, too.
As we always say, there’s no such thing as the “best” projector around – it will always depend on your needs. For gamers, the top need is for a good input lag speed. What “good” means to you will depend on how competitive you are. Those who game in competitions, and those who spend A LOT of time playing online, will want the lowest input lag possible, such as what we saw with the Optoma HD243X and ViewSonic PX706HD. The other two projectors, the Epson Home Cinema 5050UB and Sony VPL-VW295ES, with 27ms input lag, are excellent projectors all gamers except the most hard-care, competitive. You’ll know without a shadow of a doubt that you’re one of those people, so if you’re not feeling that full-body YES knowing that you are a hard-core gamer, 27ms will do just fine.
The room conditions are something to consider when it comes to choosing a gaming projector. What are your room conditions? Is there a lot of ambient light coming in through the windows? Can you draw the blinds, and do they help darken the room? Can you install blackout curtains, where those blinds may be leaking too much ambient light? All of these projectors will fair well in a room that has a good amount of control over the light coming in from windows, and light coming from fixtures around the room. The ViewSonic PX706HD will be your best bet if you feel like you have a truly bright room.
Resolution also plays a part in your decision. Do you care about 4K gaming? Check out the Epson Home Cinema HC5050 or the Sony VPL-VW295ES. Don’t mind playing in 1080p? Consider the Optoma HD243X or the ViewSonic PX706HD – it will cost you thousands of dollars less. Speaking of price, those 4K projectors cost $2,999 and $4,999 respectively, while the two 1080p projectors are close to – if not right on – the $500 mark. Are there other projectors that would be suitable for gaming? Tons. Many of those 4K UHD DLP projectors will be just fine for the casual gamer, but for those who consider themselves to be serious, or who game every day – look no further than the projectors featured in this report.