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A very accurate fun fact about projectors is that they come in every price point. Consumers love options, but an overload of options is just as awful as there not being enough options. An easier way to walk through the clutter is to match the prices with relevant specifications. This way, you are able to know which is fair for the price and which is a bargain for the price (you should not be interested in models that are not worth the price tag at the very least).
In this best projector under $200 write-up, we uncover the market leaders that offer more than the sub-$200 price tag suggests. Scroll past our top picks for more information as to what you should be looking for when shopping for a projector.
Our Top Picks
The Best Projectors
Before we continue, it is important to have an overview of the categories of projectors per current trends. Although, there are various categories, one category that stands out and particularly relates to our subject matter is mobility.
By virtue of their dimensions, projectors may be either stationary or mobile. Projectors that are mobile in nature are either portable or pocket/pico projectors. In general, projectors that can be bandied about abound in this category than those that are stationary because it is not convenient to move the stationary projectors about. All the same, mobility depends on what purpose the projector serves. A portable projector may be kept as a stationary/permanent setup for home entertainment uses. On the other hand, a projector that would be used both at home and the office would have to be mobile.
Important Projector Buying Considerations
Why You Should Make the Buy
Good job, you figured out you need a projector. However, do you really know why you want one aside the obvious, ‘I need to relay image on my laptop or Blu-ray player to a large plain surface for expansive viewing.’
It is important to know why, because in the world of consumer tech, it appears there is a non-written rule ingrained in the hearts of consumers that expensive is better while inexpensive is crap. To be exact, this is true in a lot of cases (Mercedes cars are more expensive and better than Subaru cars). However, this is not always the case. Identifying projectors that make a joke of that (mis-)conception is essential if you want to find the best projector under $200.
Before you begin your search, you have to become an informed buyer first. Let’s work on that (becoming an informed buyer) a tad bit.
- Projector and screen mount options. You could be creative (say paint one of your walls and make it your ad-hoc projector screen) or adopt a more conventional approach.
- Projector screen size ranges from 75 inches to 100 inches. These are measured diagonally. Projectors perform better than most television sets in how they upscale images into large sizes with high-grade detail.
- The eyes of the users of a projector will thank you because large images with lots of detail are far easier on the eyes than smaller pictures with substantial loss of details.
Before going forward to contrasting products and figuring out aimlessly which better fits your need, you have to plan your purchase. This way, you bring your personal preferences and circumstances to bear, rather than bend to the will of manipulative corporate ads.
In making your custom outline of what you want in a projector, you may want to trifle with too many details, say the build of the projector (esthetic or having certain colors). However, these are not all important. It is crucial to keep it short and definitive, only considering the factors that are of top priority. We have a short list of some points to contemplate on; it represents general validity across the consumer spectrum.
- Purpose/How you plan on using the projector: Indoors or outdoors?
- Image Clarity; any of the HD (high definition) resolution variants will do
- Media support; for example Blu-ray discs (they carry more data and better detailed images) or MHL (should you want to project data from your smartphone/tablet)
Make-or-Break Factors: Budget Micro Projectors
If you took your time, as is recommended, to do pre-purchase planning, you should have a list of what you want in a projector. It is unnecessary to keep it long: Keep it short and simple.
When we got down to sieving through the sheaves of projectors under $200, we made an important discovery. We found micro projectors to be the best performing projectors in the price range. In terms of dimensions, the maximum cut for making our list was 8 inches in length and 3 pounds in weight. In addition to size, the other factors that influenced our choice, and should influence yours as well, are:
To be realistic, at below $200, we do not keep our hopes up to find models whose image quality is on par with those under $500 or 4k projectors toting thousand-dollar price tags.
Nonetheless, decent, crisp and colorful images are a given for projectors at any price point. If the image quality is not decent enough, it shouldn’t be on the store shelf, much less our list to begin with.
Furthermore, projectors with flexibility to produce quality images at larger sizes (of up to 200 inches when measured diagonally) should be favored over those that do not offer such needed flexibility.
We had made it clear earlier that some of the best projectors under $200 are also the best budget micro projectors available. In light of that, it is easy to follow the idea behind us rooting for this factor.
The smaller, the better is our catchphrase in this regard (should other factors remain the same). Going on a trip should not have you worried about the safety of your projector if it is compact and lightweight. Some models are fitted with batteries, a nifty add-on you will find very useful if you’re camping out in the woods for the weekend with no traditional AC electric source around for miles.
Aside compactness and affordability, the flexibility to make different connections via widely accepted standards is an essential factor you should not turn a blind eye to. Micro budget projectors make life easier (at least somewhat) after all.
As such, you should be able to connect to any of a number of compatible consumer tech devices like a Blu-ray player, a laptop, or a smartphone/tablet.
Ease of Use
It defeats the purpose of being a high-performance budget micro projector if setting the device up is akin to arranging Lego bricks to form a building. Accordingly, the time to set up the projector should be very small. Also, the process of setup and subsequent operation should be straightforward.
1. iDGLAX Movie Projector Review
The iDGLAX Movie Projector is also referred to as the Dreamland DG-747. It doesn’t sport all the top-notched features we have come to expect from premium projectors, but it does offer decent performance at an affordable price point.
Foremost, the DG-747 offers several setup options. It can be mounted either on the front, rear, or on your ceiling. Additionally, it does well to offer extensive controls in sporting a zoom and tilt option for manual adjustment (a dual feature sometimes missing on more expensive models).
Several budget micro projectors are designed to not be durable. For example, there may not be replacement bulbs available for when the lamp reaches the end of its life span. This is not the case with the iDGLAX DG-747. Its build is sturdy, and its lamp can get you through an impressive usage time of 5000 hours. Furthermore, when that time has elapsed, replacement bulbs are available that are very inexpensive. Thus, if you maintain the unit fairly well, you would be getting several years of service out of this sub-$200 projector.
Decent performance, flexible setup options, durability, and affordability are the top reasons why you should purchase the DG-747. Another top-grade feature is its multiple connectivity options. With the Dreamland DG-747, you can connect via composite, VGA, and HDMI; offering all the basic connectivity options in a well-rounded affordable package.
Salient Selling Points
- Flexible setup
- Multiple connectivity options
2. FAVI RioHD-LED-3 Projector Review
Touting an 800 x 600 resolution and brightness level of 33 lumens, there is no doubt that there are other projectors with better capabilities. Make no mistake though; these projectors cost as much as ten times the price of the FAVI RioHD-LED-3 Projector. Additionally, seeing that this is a list of the best projectors under $200, you have to give it to the RioHD for sporting a better spec list than most of its competitors.
First off, there are lots of connectivity options including the standard options found on most pocket projectors, and other common options found on only more expensive models like component video with three-RCA connectors and S-Video.
It is substantially larger than other projectors on this list. Nonetheless, it makes up for this by featuring speakers with impressive loudness levels. The extra size also permits it to include a manual focus control, instead of a thumbwheel that is infamous for being hard to utilize. The manual focus control is much like the focus ring on larger projectors, offering a more convenient use and better adjustment results. Therefore, while the FAVI RioHD-LED-3 Projector may not be as compact as its major competitors may, it offers vital features that make up for the added dimensions.
Another interesting feature of the RioHD is that it is designed to use an LCD rather than a DLP chip. In addition, the LCD chip is paired with white LEDs (rather than red, green, and blue LEDs). Therefore, unlike is the case with several other competitors and higher-priced projectors, there are no rainbow artifacts on the images projected by the FAVI RioHD-LED-3 Projector.
3. Optoma H31 Home Theater Projector Review
The Optoma H31 is a terrific piece of consumer device with top-grade image quality and high-end brightness levels. Although, it doesn’t spot a native HD resolution, rather fitted with 640 x 480, its lamp life span can reach up to 5000 hours.
We found it to be perfect as a decent entry-level and replacement video projector with expansive connectivity options. Most standard connectivity options are supported like HDMI. Thus, if you’re looking for an inexpensive gaming projector, here it is.
Setup and Performance
Talking about connectivity, setting up the H31 is uncomplicated. Clear and detailed instructions to follow are included in the product package.
From the setup to the image quality, the Optoma H31 is an exciting budget micro projector. The price tops it all as it offers sought-after features at a very affordable price point.
Salient Selling Points
- Decent Image Quality
- Easy to Use
- Very affordable Price Point