In the projector industry, there is a device at every price point. From the very expensive sporting next-gen innovations to the very cheap variants that are barely functional. Cost range from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars.
Nonetheless, there is a dicey relationship between performance and price. It is not exactly linear. Although, price/contrast ratio and price/resolution exhibit fairly linear relationships, both are not the only factors affecting picture quality. Brightness output does too; however, it does not exhibit a linear relationship with price. Some devices offer a higher brightness rating than projectors that cost three to five times as much. Additionally, a price tag does not guarantee more features, or more importantly, better implementation of spec sheet features.
The bottom line is that there are gems at precise price points that offer top-grade performance. Therefore, it should not be about going with a more expensive purchase hoping to realize exquisite functionality and performance. Rather it is preferable to find the top performers in the various price brackets, and go with a pick that fits your budget. In this buying guide, we unveil the gems best projector under 1000 mark. We have similar guides at many other price brackets here.
Best Projector Under $1000 Complete Guide
BenQ HT1075 1080p 3D DLP Home Theater Projector
Optoma HD37 1080p 3D DLP Home Theater Projector
Optoma HD26 1080p 3D DLP Home Theater Projector
Epson EX9200 Pro WUXGA 3LCD Projector Pro Wireless, Full HD, 3200 Lumens Color Brightness
Optoma DH1011 1080P 3500 Lumen Full 3D DLP Projector
Important Buying Considerations
When shopping for the best projector under 1000, there are a few aspects to consider to ensure you get the best value for your money.
In simple terms, contrast ratio refers to the difference between the brightest part (white aspect) of an image to the darkest (black aspect). It is expressed as a ratio and is one of the cardinal factors that influence image quality.
This refers to how bright an image can get. It is just as important in influencing image quality as it is in performance. Therefore, it is just as important as the contrast ratio. In improving performance, the brightness level influences the size limits of an image projection. It also determines if a projection can be made under challenging background lighting.
In projectors, the resolution is the number of pixels that the device can project out. Resolution matters a great deal and can dramatically affect your viewing experience. However, within a precise price bracket, not much change is recorded. Accordingly, the resolution shared by top-performers in the sub-$1000 bracket is 1080p. Although 4K is increasingly making inroads into the projector industry, 1080p Full HD is the current resolution standard. Image quality is excellent on this resolution and is a substantial step ahead of 720p HD resolution found in projectors far below this price point.
Color accuracy is a factor that can enhance or devalue your viewing experience, just as well as resolution can. Accurate color production is important to ensure the images appear more realistic and natural; rather than appearing as poorly designed animations with color washout and other color discrepancies that often plague low-cost projectors.
Another far-flung factor that affects picture quality and can be improved by a top-grade projector is color temperature. However, like color accuracy, it is difficult to ascertain the color temperature capabilities of a projector from the spec sheets. Nonetheless, as often as you can, try to define the color accuracy and color temperature capabilities of a projector making a purchase.
What is the Best Projector Under $1000?
1. BenQ HT1075 Review
Design and Setup
The HT1075 ups the competitor on size. It is compact and lightweight, with dimensions of 4.1 (H) by 12.2 (W) by 9.6 (D) and weight of 6.3 pounds so if you are in the market for portable projectors, this unit should be a great option for you. To complement these impressive build stats, the HT1075 is equipped with 1.3x zoom, and manual focus, and a vertical lens shift for a more versatile but easy setup. PricenFees | BenQ HT1075 1080P 3D DLP Home Theater Projector (2014 Model) under $1000.
Features and Functionality
We will stick to the facts, and to do so, we will reference the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) recommendations on brightness levels. The Brightness rating of the HT1075 is 2,200 lumens and it is capable of displaying 1080 pixels. According to the SMPTE, this is sufficient for an image size of 183 to 248 inches, measured diagonally, with a 1.0 gain screen, under dark lighting conditions.
If lighting is introduced with moderate intensity, the maximum suitable image size is between 120 and 130 inches. Considering that the most common projector screen size bought is between 90 and 100 inches, it is easy to see how well the brightness rating of the HT1075 is sufficient for usual home entertainment application. Several brightness modes are available for hassle-free control of brightness levels so you never have to worry about using it in bright rooms, projecting it on a white screen or against a white wall.
HT1075 handles images decently, and image details reflect the top-grade performance in this respect. Shadow detail is handled impressively and posterization is eliminated. Moving on, color accuracy and saturation are more than acceptable for an exciting viewing experience. It is noteworthy to point out that image quality was just as terrific with 2D images as with 3D images; a perfect deal for a projector in this price range.
Staying true to its proud home entertainment roots, the HT1075 is equipped with an in-built inbuilt 10-watt mono audio system. We found this internal audio setup to be suitable in virtually all aspects—quality, volume—for a living or family room.
For extended connectivity, the HT1075 is equipped with the standard two HDMI ports, although one has been equipped to provide support or MHL connections. Video input is also possible via composite video, component video, and VGA ports. Three RCA-phono plugs are also featured.
The MHL-enabled HDMI port and the basic HDMI port both support the HDMI 1.4a 3D formats. Therefore, it is easy to relay 3D content from video sources like a cable box or Blu-ray player, by simply connecting the projector to the video source using an HDMI cable. For connectivity to an external audio system, the BenQ HT1075 has mini-jack and RCA audio-in ports, and a mini-jack audio-out.
Salient Selling Points
- Compact and lightweight
- Terrific image quality
- Extensive connectivity
- 3D support
2. Optoma HD37 Review
The sub-$1000 price bracket has pretty much been short on innovation for the last couple of years. However, they have been doing good to keep up with the latest features like MHL connectivity and robust 3D support. Be that as it may, the Optoma HD37 is a strong contender for the best projectors under $1000 price range, although it eventually loses marginally to the BenQ HT1075.
The HD37 is a DLP-chip projector is capable of supporting a 1080 pixel display and with has remarkable brightness levels—2600 lumens—that lead to excellent image size projection in home entertainment use.
Like with the HT1075, we finally have the MHL-compatible HDMI ports and lens shift—features that just a short while ago were reserved for multi-thousand dollar projectors—gracing the sub-$1000 HD37. A 1.5x zoom lens is also built into the projector.
Functionality and Performance
The HD37 is 3D ready and projects 3D from various video sources, thanks to its extensive connectivity. You would need a pair of 3D glasses. Either the DLP-Link 3D variant or the RF emitter/RF glasses setup will do.
Image quality is superb, thanks to high brightness levels, modest vertical lens shift, and dynamic black lamp dimming to enhance black levels. Extensive control is possible using a barrage of settings. Its lag time is relatively low and so would do great for gameplay projection in addition to core home entertainment uses. With that in mind, the HD37 is not only ideal for high-end home theater use, it’s also great at providing an enhanced gaming experience.
Other noteworthy functionalities include:
- Compact and light build at under 8 pounds, such that it can be moved about with ease
- It has a 10-watt mono speaker, sufficient for use in a moderately sized room
- Backlit remote control with good range for effective use under dark lighting conditions
Salient Selling Points
- High brightness level
- Top-grade performance
- 3D support
3. Optoma HD26 Review
The HD26 DLP HD Projector is less expensive than the HD37, but it does not pack a weak punch either. At 3,200 lumens, its brightness levels are sufficient to produce decent images under moderate ambient lighting conditions, and like most HD projectors nowadays, it is able to support 1080 pixels from most devices. Furthermore, its image quality is top-notch. Its 3D support and short lag time are very interesting functionalities that make Optoma HD26 1080p 3D DLP Home Theater Projector (2014 Model) an interesting home entertainment projector that could serve as a gaming projector as well.
Also, if you are looking for a long lamp life projector that lets you and your family enjoy watching movies and playing video games for years before buying a new one, the Optoma HD26 HD projector will be an ideal choice. With a lamp life of 5,000 hours on normal mode and up to 10,000 on eco mode, the HD26 is a good pick for a high definition projector in this price range.
Design and Setup
The H26 is more compact and is lighter than the H37. Its dimension is 4.0 (H) by 12.4 (W) by 8.8 (D). It weighs only about 5.8 pounds. This small size and weight ensure that it can be moved about with ease if there is no space to set it up permanently, making the H26 an excellent choice for people looking for portable projectors.
Manual focus and manual 1.1x zoom are available on the HD26, ensuring that calibration and setting up the projector proceeds as seamlessly as possible in a short time. We found the decision to put all connectors on one side of the build of the device to ease accessibility. Two HDMI ports are available, and like with the other two devices in this list, one of the HDMI ports is MHL-compatible. This offers extensive connectivity as smartphones and streaming sticks like Roku can feed their content to the projector with ease and without loss of image quality. You can easily connect your set-top box directly to your HD projector for that added cinematic experience while viewing your favorite movies at home.
Both HDMI ports offer full 3D support from all video sources, thanks to many different connectivity options. To watch 3D with the projector, you will need to purchase either a pair of RF glasses or a pair of DLP-Link glasses. Either works well, although the former option offers better performance and consequently has a higher price tag.
Brightness and Sound
The highest brightness rating of any projector on this list is on the HD26—3200 lumens. This is simply amazing as according to SMPTE, it would be sufficient for an image of between 220 and 300 inches under dark lighting conditions. Under moderate ambient lighting conditions, the suitable image size is between 145 and 165 inches. To adjust the brightness level, a user would have to select any of the predefined brightness presets like the Eco mode/preset; certainly, more than any average high definition projector offers at this price range.
Audio quality is exactly at par with the other two offerings in this list, with an inbuilt 10-watt mono speaker system. With that said, the audio quality is good and the system outputs enough sound to fill a moderately sized living space. For better quality sound, it will be best to plug in an external sound system through the mini-jack connectors on the projector.
In our tests, we found the image quality of the HD26 to be splendid all round. Sure, the HD37 has a very high contrast ratio for a sub-$1000 projector that beats the HD26 hands down, the HD26 relies on its high brightness rating and important quality tweaks to output visually appealing images in a large display. Always remember though that projectors perform better with a projector screen instead of simply projecting against a white wall.
The best setting on the HD26 is the Cinema mode, which offers the highest color accuracy, highest color temperature, suitably dark blacks, top-grade skin tone perception, shadow detail, and better eliminates quirks that might show up like posterization. Still, posterization can be an issue at the highest brightness levels with some media content, which will limit the image size you can produce with the corresponding level of ambient lighting conditions.
Rainbow artifacts could occasionally be seen. The HD37 does a better job of concealing rainbow artifacts, which is a common con with DLP-chip projectors. Nonetheless, motion artifacts are eliminated, which is commendable, thereby giving you a better cinematic experience at home.
3D and 2D Image quality on the HD26 are at par for common testing parameters. 3D-only testing parameters like crosstalk and 3D-related motion artifacts are admirably absent which lends for a superb viewing expensive using any of the pairs of 3D glasses. Furthermore, the lag time on the HD26 is noticeably short, making it a great projector not only for watching movies on a large display at home but for gaming as well.
Salient Selling Points
- High brightness level
- 3D Support
- Suitable for gaming
How to Choose the Best Projector
With this brief review of the best projector under the $1000 price range, choosing the best product that suits your personal needs and preferences should be much easier. In addition to the important buying considerations outlined above, it’s necessary to keep a few things in mind before heading out to buy your HD projector.
First, you need to ask yourself what you intend to do with the projector. If you intend to use it solely for your home theater, then getting a high definition projector with a considerably longer lamp life would be preferable. We all want the unparalleled viewing experience a top-of-the-line projector offers, but we need not break the bank in order to establish a high-end home theater. Based on the list we have so meticulously prepared for you, the Optoma HD26 allows you to have that cinematic experience without leaving the comfort of your home. With its superior brightness and contrast levels and higher aspect ratio, you can set up your projector screen up to 12 feet away from your projector and have a screen size of 71 inches. At 3,200 lumens, you and your family will be able to enjoy your favorite movies even in a bright room.
Getting a projector for home theater use does not require you to choose between a portable unit like pico projectors and those that weigh over 6 lbs since you would not be traveling with them a lot anyway. If, however, you need a projector for business presentations or educational purposes, chances are you would be moving it often. In this case, portability becomes an issue.
If pico projectors are too small for you, then you might want to check the Epson EX9200 WUXGA 3LCD projector, which made it to our Top 5 list. Among the types of projectors, 3-chip LCDs offer the most brightness and contrast levels, better color saturation, and therefore a more color-rich viewing experience. With 3,200 lumens for both color light output and white light output, you will certainly find it suitable for both dark and bright rooms.
It also has a longer lamp life compared to the leading DLP projectors mentioned above, and because it does not have any moving parts like DLP projectors have, it operates quietly and is therefore ideal for audio-video presentations.
To top it all off, the Epson EX9200 WUXGA 3LCD projector allows for wireless connectivity, which means you can project from your PC, smartphone, laptop or notebook without having to connect to the projector with cables. With this amazing feature, you can easily share data and move freely around the room without worrying about getting tangled in wires or whether the cables would reach your device. The product comes with remote control, user manual, and user-friendly features for easier setup and calibration.
Another essential thing to keep in mind is the type of room environment you will be using your projector in. At home where you have more control over ambient light and size of the display, a brightness of 2,600 lumens will be more than sufficient. If you constantly hold lectures in different places, however, and there’s a chance you would be doing presentations in open spaces where there is plenty of ambient light, you will need a projector with at least 3,200 lumens and a higher aspect ratio.
Lastly, you need to consider which projector works best for you. If color saturation, aspect ratio, and longer lamp life matter most to you, LCD projectors make excellent choices. If you prefer less or even zero maintenance and less energy consumption, however, you can opt for LED projectors. However, keep in mind. LEDs are the worst performers in rooms with plenty of ambient light.
Final Review of Best Projector Under 1000
Choosing the best projector under $1000 need not be overwhelming. With this comprehensive guide, you are well on your way to getting the ideal projector that suits your needs and budget.
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