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Best projector 2022: The best 1080p and 4K-ready models to buy in 2022

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Looking for the ultimate big-screen thrills? These are the very best projectors

Big-screen TVs are ten a penny these days, but what if you hanker after something greater, something bigger and better? A projector might be just the box-office ticket.

Modern models are cheaper and better than you’d think and can create huge images far bigger than the equivalently priced LCD or OLED TV. But which one should you buy?

Here you’ll find our selection of the best projectors you can buy in the UK, from portable marvels to home theatre beasts, all tried and tested – and if you're not sure what features you should be looking for, read on to get the lowdown with our handy buyer's guide.


Yaber V7 Pro | Save 35% | Was £299.99, now £194.99

Affordable projectors don't get much better than this. The Yaber V7 Pro presents a surprisingly crisp, vibrant 1080p image and, while you need to take the claimed 9,500 lumens brightness with a whole bag of salt, it's bright enough to produce very watchable images in a darkened room.
Amazon
Was £299.99
Now £194.99

Best projectors: At a glance


How to choose the best projector for you

To the untrained eye, one projector looks very much like another. However, there’s a whole world of technology inside these plain-looking boxes you need to be aware of before making your purchase.

First, resolution. If you’re looking to buy a projector for watching movies, make sure you’re buying a Full HD projector (with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080). Data projectors tend to be cheaper, but typically have resolutions of 800 x 600 or 1,024 x 768, which won’t display Blu-ray movie content at native resolution.

If you want 4K, expect to pay more. True 4K projectors are becoming more widespread but projector tech is lagging behind TVs and even the more affordable options come in at north of £4,000. “4K-enhanced” projectors such as the BenQ W2700 or Optoma UHD38 are the “cheapest” way to get your 4K thrills – for less than £1,500 – and they’re improving all the time. They’re not true 4K machines, relying on pixel shift upscaling to deliver an approximation of 4K resolutions, but you have to look very closely to tell the difference.

What's the difference between DLP and LCD projectors?

Most modern home-theatre projectors are based on one of two technologies: DLP and LCD. Of these, DLP projectors are the most common, the most compact and tend to deliver the most bang per buck, while LCD projectors tend to be bulky and slightly more expensive.

DLP projectors do have a downside, though. As most display colours sequentially use a spinning, segmented colour wheel (there’s the odd exception to this rule), they suffer from what’s called the “rainbow effect”, where small areas of the image appear to splinter into small rainbows when you shift your gaze from one side of the screen to the other. Some people are less sensitive to this than others, though, so if you haven’t experienced a DLP projector, make sure you get a demo before spending your money.

If you want the very best quality, however, a laser light source projector is what you want. Laser light source projectors – typically combined with a three-LCD image engine – deliver the best contrast and brightness but cost anywhere upwards of £2000 and often significantly more.

Do I need optical zoom and lens shift?

After resolution and technology, the most important consideration is your room and how you’re going to set up and connect the projector. Here, you need to consider throw distance (how far you place the projector from the screen for a given screen size), optical zoom and lens shift capabilities, all of which will have an impact on projector placement.

Optical zoom allows you to enlarge or reduce the screen without moving the projector, while lens shift lets you move it up, down, left and right without losing quality – or moving the projector physically. The cheaper the projector, the more limited these options will be.

If space is really tight, you might want to consider a short throw or ultra-short throw projector, which can create big images on your screen or wall from incredibly short distances – as little as 10cm for a 50in image in some cases. The downside is the projected image tends to suffer more from geometric distortion.

Other things to consider:

  • Lamp life: Most cheaper projectors rely on UHP or metal halide lamps. These have a limited lifespan and their brightness deteriorates over time, so need to be replaced. LED light-sources last the whole lifespan of the projector, but projectors that use them often can’t deliver the same brightness levels as projectors with traditional lamps. Laser projectors give you the best of both worlds, with high brightness levels, excellent contrast and LED-like lifespans.
  • Brightness: This is rated in ANSI lumens, with typical home cinema projectors hitting between 2,000 and 4,000 lumens. Projectors are now increasing brightness levels in order to do a better job of covering the wider colour gamuts used in 4K HDR content, and produce more convincing HDR effects. Bear in mind, however, that boosting brightness levels often comes at the expense of black-level response and darker tones, increases energy consumption and decreases lamp lifespan.
  • Noise: Most projectors have fans inside and not all are particularly quiet. How quiet a projector is should be a major consideration, especially if you’re going to position it near to where you sit.
  • Streaming features: Lots of projectors now ship with built-in media streaming features, allowing you to watch content from the likes of Netflix, Disney+ or Amazon without connecting up a streaming stick or box. However, the hardware and software isn’t always as powerful or up-to-date.
  • Gaming features: Projectors are embracing the latest gaming consoles in a big way, with support for 4K resolutions, high 120fps or 240fps refresh rates, low latency gaming modes and more. If you’re massively into gaming, playing through a projector can make the experience incredibly immersive.

The best HD and 4K projectors to buy

1. Sony VPL-XW5000ES: The best 4K Projector

Price: £5,999 | Buy now from AV.com

You’ll note that, at nearly £6,000, the VPL-XW5000ES is at least twice the price of any other 4K projector on this list. The reason why is its superlative image quality and native 4K resolution. When other similarly-equipped projectors can cost north of £10,000, you could even see the Sony as a bargain.

The VPL-XW5000ES combines Sony’s 4K SXRD panel and a 2000 Lumens laser phosphor light source, which, along with wide dynamic range optics and its Triluminos Pro colour processing, gives a 4K image so crisp and colour-rich that you could soon forget about the price tag. Throw in the X1 Ultimate Processor, with HDR Remaster and Dynamic HDR Enhancer processing, and you get the kind of picture quality that wouldn’t disgrace your local cinema.

In fact, there’s a good chance that it’s better – the image is exceptionally clean and detailed, with accurate colours, deeper blacks, and better contrast than you’ll find on any comparable DLP or LCD projector. Brighter HDR content looks particularly punchy, and it’s a fine choice for games as well as movies, with support for 120Hz frame rates at 1080p and impeccable motion handling. If you’re ready to step into the world of serious home cinema, this is the ideal way in.

Key specs – Resolution: 4K; Brightness: 2,000 lumens; Contrast ratio: Infinity:1 (dynamic); Throw ratio: 1.38:1–2.21:1; Zoom: 1.6x; Technology: 4K SXRD panel; Colour: N/S; Lamp type and life: Laser diode, 20,000 hours

Buy now from AV.com


2. BenQ W2700: The best affordable 4K projector

Price: £1,500 | Buy now from BenQ

Projectors typically aren't very good at reproducing HDR content due to their limited black and brightness levels. However, what this projector does well is recreating colours at close to HDR levels. Indeed, if you feed it a 4K Blu-ray, it will lap it up and project an image that's as close to a movie screen in your own home as anything this side of five grand.

It may not be the brightest projector around with a peak of only 2,000 ANSI lumens, but it has a short throw lens that allows it to create a large display from relatively close up. It also has all the connectivity you need without any frivolous extras, plus adjusting the image to suit your screen and room setup is a doddle thanks to zoom and vertical lens shift capabilities.

Quite simply, the BenQ W2700 is a stunning projector. If you're looking to recreate a movie theatre vibe in your living room and don't have many thousands to spend, this is a very good place to start.

Read our full BenQ W2700 review for more details

Key specs – Resolution: 4K; Brightness: 2,000 lumens; Contrast ratio: 30,000:1; Throw ratio: 1.13:1–1.47:1; Zoom: 1.3x; Technology: Single-chip DLP; Colour: Six-segment colour wheel (RGBRGB); Lamp type and life: UHP, 4,000 hours (normal mode)


3. Yaber V7 Pro: The best budget projector

Price: £250 | Buy now from Amazon

If you're after a cheap and cheerful projector for watching occasional films, sport or TV programmes with the family, the Yaber V7 Pro is an excellent choice. It's very bright at a claimed 9,000 lumens and outputs a decent 1080p image that you can adjust via the menu. The image correction feature is also handy for households with children: if the projector is moved or knocked slightly, it will automatically adjust the picture.

It certainly doesn't have the bells, whistles or crispness of other, more expensive projectors on this list, but the Yaber V7 Pro is a good budget option. The free carry bag is a nice bonus too. Bear in mind that it's not the quietest model around, though, and produces a noticeable fan whirr.

Read our full Yaber V7 Pro review for more details

Key specs – Resolution: 1080p; Brightness: 9,000 lumens; Contrast ratio: 12,000:1; Throw ratio: 1.50:1; Technology: BASIC Smart Engine; Lamp type and life: LED, not stated


4. BenQ W1800: The best budget 4K projector for home cinema

Price: £1,200 | Buy now from Wex Photographic

If your budget can’t quite stretch to the BenQ W2700, the W1800 makes a slightly more affordable alternative. It shares the same 4K resolution through pixel shifting, plus the same 2,000 lumens brightness level but, where the W2700 covers 95% of the demanding DCI-P3 colour gamut (the standard for 4K HDR material), the W1800 only goes as far as the older Rec. 709 colour space.

To be honest, this shouldn’t be a deal breaker. The BenQ W1800 delivers fantastic, natural-looking pictures with both HD and 4K material, even supporting Filmmaker Mode to give you the colours and tones that the film makers intended. There’s no weird, artificial-looking motion and, while you don’t get the brightest HDR highlights, or a picture bright enough for good daylight viewing, you won’t find a better projector for watching movies this close to £1,000. It’s also great when it comes to games and Netflix binges, with easy setup and a good range of connections.

Read our full BenQ W1800 review for more details

Key specs – Resolution: 4K; Brightness: 2,000 lumens; Contrast ratio: 10,000:1; Throw ratio: 1.13:1–1.46:1; Zoom: 1.3x; Technology: Single-chip DLP; Colour: Six-segment colour wheel (RGBRGB); Lamp type and life: UHP, 4,000 hours (normal mode)


5. XGIMI Halo+: The best mobile home cinema projector

Price: £749 | Buy now from Amazon

XGIMI’s beefed-up Halo projector is close to being the perfect portable projector. While it stands less than seven inches high, it packs a 1080p DLP chip and a 900 ANSI Lumens LED light source, giving you crisper, brighter Full HD images than any other projector this small can manage. What’s more, you get a built-in Android TV 10 streamer and DTS and Dolby Audio sound. You can get it up and running in minutes, and the picture quality is mostly fantastic.

Mostly, because the image has a slightly cold colour balance, along with over-zealous motion smoothing that can give your movies the dreaded ‘soap opera effect.’ You can adjust both in the settings, but it’s hard to get really warm and rich colours or completely natural movement. However, the sound is weighty and powerful, and - bar the irritating absence of a working Netflix app - the streaming features work like a charm. If you want a portable projector that can stand up to some proper home cinema use, they don’t get much better than this.

Key specs – Resolution: 1080p; Brightness: 900 lumens; Contrast ratio: N/S; Throw ratio: 1.2:1; Zoom: N/A; Technology: Single-chip DLP; Colour: Six-segment colour wheel (RGBRGB); Lamp type and life: LED, 30,000 hours


6. ViewSonic X10-4K: The best all-in-one smart projector

Price: £1,200 | Buy now from Amazon

Its image quality may not quite match that of the BenQ W2700, but the ViewSonic X10-4K is a cracking projector and has its own benefits. For starters, its RGB LED light source means you'll only have to replace it every 30,000 hours as opposed to the 4,000 hours that the BenQ's lamp lasts. That's more than 16 years of watching at five hours a day.

It looks smart, comes with an integrated carry handle to make it easy to carry around the house and picture quality is sublime. It's bright and that LED light source means it can create more vivid colours than most projectors at around this price. Combine that with a sharp 4K image, easy setup thanks to its autofocus and auto-keystone adjustment, Alexa and Google Assistant support and a good quality built-in 16W speaker system, and the X10-4K makes a solid case for itself. Overall, it's a very impressive all-rounder.

Read our full ViewSonic X10-4K review for more details

Key specsResolution: 4K; Brightness: 2,400 LED lumens; Contrast ratio: 3,000,000:1; Throw ratio: 0.8:1; Technology: Single-chip DLP; Colour: RGB; Lamp type and life: LED, 30,000 hours lamp life (normal mode)


7. BenQ TK700: A superb 4K all-rounder

Price: £1,200 | Buy now from Amazon

Not much separates the BenQ TK700 from the Optoma UHD38. Both are excellent UHD projectors that use pixel shifting to reach a 4K resolution and both have strong gaming features. Here, the BenQ has its own gaming-specific HDR mode to give you more shadow detail while you’re playing, along with low latency and a 120Hz 1080p mode for those consoles and games that support it.

However, the BenQ has a handful of features that might make it superior to the Optoma in some situations. Firstly, it’s brighter, which makes it more usable in daylight or low artificial lighting. Secondly, it has a shorter throw, meaning you can get a bigger picture even if you don’t have so much space to work with. Where the Optoma needs 3.5m for a 100in screen, the BenQ needs 2.5m.

Otherwise, the strengths are broadly the same, with superb 4K picture quality and effective HDR in games, vibrant colours and lots of detail when you’re watching 4K TV shows and movies. Even HD material looks great. What’s more, it’s easy to set up and get an optimal picture, while the built-in sound is usable if you don’t have a soundbar or a speaker system handy. It’s not the best option for anyone sensitive to the notorious rainbow effect that DLP projectors tend to exhibit but, otherwise, it’s a fantastic and affordable all-rounder.

Key specs – Resolution: 4K; Brightness: 3,200 lumens; Contrast ratio: 10,000:1; Throw ratio: 1.127:1–1.46:1; Zoom: 1.3x; Technology: Single-chip DLP; Colour: Eight-segment colour wheel (RGBWRGBW); Lamp type and life: UHP, 4,000 hours (normal mode)


8. Optoma UHD38x: The best projector for gaming

Price: £950| Buy now from Scan

If you've bought yourself one of the latest games consoles, you're going to want a display that can keep up and that's exactly what the Optoma UHD38x delivers. Not only can it project your games at huge screen sizes, but it can do so at high refresh rates: up to an incredible 240Hz at 1080p and 120Hz at 4K resolution. Games look epic on this thing.

It's also an accomplished home cinema projector, with support for HDR10 and HLG and a bright image of 4,000 lumens that means it's watchable during the day, although black level response isn't the best. Focus is manual and, as it isn't a short-throw projector, you'll also need a fair amount of space to maximise your screen size. There's also nothing in the way of smart connectivity here, as you get with some of the compact projectors on this page.

However, if you're a gamer and you want to play on the biggest screen possible, there aren't many better ways to do it than on this potent projector.

Key specs – Resolution: 4K (1,920 x 1,080 native) HDR10/HLG at 120Hz, 1080p at 240Hz; Brightness: 4,000 lumens; Contrast ratio: 1,000,000:1; Throw ratio: 1.5-1.66:1; Zoom: 1.1x; Technology: Single-chip DLP; Lamp life: 4,000-15,000 hours


9. Acer Predator GD711: The best gaming projector for features

Price: £1099 | Buy now from Acer

Acer’s 4K projector comes packed with gaming features, including a choice of gaming modes with low input lag and either more vibrant colours, or increased shadow detail. It supports refresh rates of up to 120Hz on Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, or 240Hz on PC. It’s also the first projector we’ve tested with VRR support, synchronising frame rates between your gaming system and the projector to avoid unsightly stutters or screen tearing effects.

While it’s HDR10 certified, its LED light source doesn’t go as bright as its rivals, like the BenQ TK700, restraining its impact. In fact, you really need a darkened room to see it at its best. However, the image quality is still fine for watching movies, and excellent for gaming, with vibrant colours and plenty of detail. As with all 4K projectors at this price point, it uses pixel-shift technology rather than a native 4K chip, but you’d struggle to know it when you’re in the middle of a game of Returnal or Elden Ring. What’s more, you won’t need to replace the lamp within the projector’s lifespan, which should last up to 30,000 hours. The Optoma UHD38x beats it on all-round image quality, but for long gaming sessions with ultra-smooth motion, this is the one to buy.

Key specs – Resolution: 4K; Brightness: 1,400 lumens; Contrast ratio: 2,000,000:1 (dynamic); Throw ratio: 1.22:1; Zoom: N/A; Technology: Single-chip DLP; Colour: Six-segment colour wheel; Lamp type and life: LED, 30,000 hours


10. Optoma CinemaX P2: The best one-box home cinema

Price: £1,700 | Buy now from Scan

Home cinema doesn’t get much simpler or much better than the Optoma CinemaX P2 – at least on a sub-£3000 budget. The one unit combines a 4K laser projector with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundbar, with an ultra-short throw so ultra-short that you can shove it under the screen or against a wall and still get a 120in picture. What’s more, that picture is sharply focused and free from distortion with the absolute minimum of tweaking, although you can use Optoma’s intelligent smartphone app to correct any remaining issues using your device’s camera.

Picture quality is excellent. The CinemaX P2 can reproduce up to 71% of the DCI-P2 colour gamut, and while brightness and contrast levels aren’t outstanding, you can still expect inky blacks, rich colours and credible HDR highlights; it’s a brilliant projector for blockbuster movies. And while it hasn’t got the hotshot gaming skills of the UHD38, the low response times and impressive definition make for a really immersive experience. What’s more, the onboard sound is clear and surprisingly powerful. You won’t get proper home cinema surround sound, but it’s hard to grumble when the enhanced stereo effects are so exciting. Get this and a big white wall or pull-down screen, and you’ve got everything you need for an epic big-screen adventure.

Key specs – Resolution: 4K HDR10 at 60Hz; Brightness: 3,000 lumens; Contrast ratio: 2,000,000:1; Throw ratio: 0.25:1; Zoom: Fixed; Technology: Single-chip DLP; Lamp life: Up to 30,000 hours


11. XGIMI Aura: The best projector for a massive 4K screen

Price: £2,135 | Buy now from Amazon

The XGIMI Aura is a rival to the Optoma CinemaX P2, with the same 4K pixel-shifted resolution, laser light source, built-in sound system and ultra-short throw. Where the Aura comes up trumps, however, is in being able to put an absolutely massive picture on your screen or wall with precious little space to work with. Placed right next to the screening surface, you can expect an image of 80 to 100 inches. Move it another 17 inches away, and that goes up to 150 inches, or more.

Just as impressively, that picture is ridiculously sharp and detailed, giving you a serious wow factor with both 4K Blu-ray discs and streaming shows and films. You’ll need to fiddle with the settings to avoid nasty, artificial motion and a clinical colour palette, and this isn’t the ideal projector if you’re after warm and earthy, natural tones, or if you want serious control over the image.

However, it handles HDR content well for a projector, and the internal sound is good enough to do your favourite blockbusters justice. It even has a decent Android TV streamer built-in. If you have a screen or a smooth wall big enough, this could be the one-box home cinema of your dreams.

Read our full XGIMI Aura review for more details

Key specs – Resolution: 4K; Brightness: 2,400 lumens; Contrast ratio: 3,000:1; Throw ratio: 0.233:1; Zoom: N/A; Technology: Single-chip DLP; Colour: Six-segment colour wheel (RGBRGB); Lamp type and life: laser light source, 25,000 hours (normal mode)


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