Some of us have a strange fear of projectors. That they’re some unknowable quantity that only AV students and master electricians can understand. But trust us, they’re not. Projectors are just as easy to set up as a new flatscreen and, guess what, they usually have a larger max screen size, too.
Summarized, the benefits of a projector include a more cinematic experience in your home with a massive image, great resolution and cost, often, less than the 65 or 75-inch screen you had in mind. There are some downsides here, too, including caring for a lamp and some input delay in some cases, but the pros far outweigh the cons.
But you knew all that already, right? That’s why you’re here looking for a the best cheap projector and not, I don’t know, perusing cheap TVs. Good for you.
So what makes a good deal on projectors?
Look we’re not going to tell you how you should spend your money. That’s not our style. But, what we will say, is that the best projectors are almost always Full HD and come with built-in speakers. If you get both those features and aren’t looking to break the bank, don’t spend more than $650 or £500. You can do better for less.
That being said, we’ve found a few great deals this month that we wanted to bring to your attention – hopefully ending your long hunt for the perfect addition to your home theater setup.
1. BenQ TH670
This is the best cheap projector we could find
You can probably stop reading right here. This is the best cheap projector you're going to find. Sure, the BenQ TH670 might be a bit more than you were looking to spend, but it's almost impossible to find a better projector in terms of quality versus price. The TH670 has a Full 1080p (1920x1080) resolution, 3,000 ANSI lumens of brightness, 10,000:1 high contrast ratio and built-in speakers. Those speakers could be a hair bit more powerful, but for the price it's hard to complain too much. The projector is capable of images spanning from 60 to 120 inches across and its lamp is rated for 4,000 - 10,000 hours depending on which modes you primarily use. Input-wise it offers Computer in (D-sub 15pin) x 2 (Share with component), Composite Video in (RCA) x 1 and HDMI. Win!
2. Optoma HD141X
Optoma's HD141X is a solid runner-up
Sometimes the things that look great on paper sometimes aren't the ones that are the best in practice. Take, for instance, Optoma's HD141X. It has a full
1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution, 3,000 ANSI lumens of brightness, 23,000:1 high contrast ratio and built-in 10-watt speakers. It even supports 3D video to boot. But unfortunately having the best specs sometimes isn't enough. It's how you use them that makes all the difference and to that end, the HD141X doesn't succeed. Still it's not all bad, and it's still worth considering if you can't find a TH670 anywhere nearby. Input-wise the HD141X offers just 2 x HDMI (1.4a 3D support) + MHL v1.2, so that's kind of a bummer. Still a deal's a deal, amiright?
3. Acer H5380BD
In third place is Acer's entry-level H5380BD
At one time, Acer's H5380BD was king of the world with its 1280 x 720 resolution and 2-watt speakers. But now there's a new king in town rocking 10-watts of audio prowess and Full HD. That doesn't mean you need to relegate Acer's entry-level home theater projector to the dustbin, however, it's still plenty capable for most folks looking for something cheap. So where did it go wrong? The H5380BD only has a 720p (1280 x 720) resolution, but at least puts out 3,000 ANSI lumens of brightness. It has a 17,000:1 contrast ratio, but only 3-watt built-in speakers. That said, the projector is capable of images spanning from 300 inches across and its lamp is rated for 4,000 - 10,000 hours depending on which modes you primarily use. Input-wise it offers HDMI, Composite Video, S-Video and two VGA ports.
Found a great deal on a projector you want to share? Let us know in the comments below!