AV Rant’s The Current State of Projectors 2015
Looking for a projector? Here is our definitive guide of what is out there that we would recommend in descending price order:
Until the new crop gets announced at CEDIA, here’s what’s out there for under $10,000:
1) Sony VPL-VW350ES: $10,000. Genuine 4K (4096 x 2160). Motorized zoom, focus, and lens shift. Low lag for gaming. Limited to 8-bit with no WCG or HDR. So it’s just a resolution bump.
2) Epson LS10000: $8000. Laser light engine (2 blue lasers, one powering a yellow phosphor). 3 reflective LCD (liquid crystal on quartz) 1080p panels with pseudo-4K (think e-shift or “wobulation”). Powered zoom, focus, and lens shift. Has HDCP 2.2. Can do DCI-P3 color.
3) Epson LS9600e: $6000. Same as the LS10000, but 1080p only. Also has Wireless HD connection box with 5 HDMI inputs.
4) JVC DLA-X500R / DLA-RS49U: $5000. Still the black level champ. e-shift pseudo-4K, but no HDCP 2.2 support. Lots of lag, not great for gaming. Powered zoom, focus, and lens shift
5) Sony VPL-HW55ES: $4000. Close to the JVC X500R. Not quite as black, but brighter. No pseudo-4K of any kind. Manual zoom, focus, and lens shift. Great minimal lag for gaming.
6) Optoma HD91: $4000. DLP. Interesting for its LED light source. Dim. Not loud but apparently has a weirdly pitched hum that bugs some people. Awful input lag. There’s an HD91+ model coming very soon that promises to be brighter.
7) Sony VPL-HW40ES: $2500. The “little brother” of the HW55. No iris, not quite as deep blacks, not quite as bright. But pretty awesome for $2500. And the best out there for gaming – almost no lag.
NOTE: All of the above projectors have very quiet fans – particularly in “low” or “eco” modes. Everything below gets louder, some much more than others, though.
8) BenQ W7500: $2400. DLP. 6x speed color wheel. Small amount of vertical and horizontal lens shift and 1.5x zoom – all manual. Best 3D of the bunch thanks to DLP. Not great as far as lag for gaming.
9) Epson 5030UB: $2300. Been around a while now, but still a champ. Deep blacks, lots of light output. Tons of lens shift and zoom range, but all manual.
10) Epson 3600e: $1800. There’s also the 3500 for $1500, but the 3600e gives you Wireless HD. Can’t compete with “ultra black” models, but it’s super bright.
11) Panasonic AE8000: $1700. Still out there, but a lot cheaper now. Should be, since it goes back to basically being an Epson 5010UB, but with powered zoom, focus, and lens shift. Good deal if you want powered adjustments.
12) Epson 3000: $1150. Basically replaces the 8350, but adds 3D. It’s also louder.
13) BenQ HT1085ST: $1000. Interesting because it’s a short throw projector that you put very close to the screen. DLP.
14) BenQ HT1075: $800. We all know this one. Kind of impossible to beat at its price.