You expect bright, sharp images with a laser projector and most models deliver. You feel like you’re watching movies in a cinema instead of comfortably curled up on your couch. While this is great, don’t you want more from your home theater projector? What about gaming, especially golf? Imagine playing your golfing games on the “big screen”.
You need more than bright, immersive images to enjoy playing a few simulated holes on a laser projector. Input lag and refresh rates are crucial. Gamers won’t have any complaints about the BenQ TH658i. Its low latency and quick refresh rate keep your fast-paced games flowing smoothly frame-by-frame. If any ambient light is a concern the Optoma GT1090HDR can handle both day and night viewing, while the Optoma UHD50X boasts a flexible installation.
Finding the right laser projector for gaming is harder than you might think. There are a lot of factors to consider, especially if it’s your first time buying one. Whether you want a projector for movies, gaming, or both, the good news is you don’t need to spend $5,000 or more. The five projectors reviewed here are under $3,000.
All of these models can handle movies and games, but the best projector for a golf simulator is the Optoma GT1090HDR.
Best Projector for Golf Simulator – Top picks for 2021
|Optoma GT1090HDR||Optoma GT1080HDR||BenQ TH685i||Optoma UHD50X||Epson 5050UB|
4K w/pixel shifting
|Brightness (Lumens)||4,200 ANSI||3,800 ANSI||3,500 ANSI||3,400 ANSI||2,600 ANSI|
|Throw Distance||1.3' - 10.9'||1.3' - 11.1'||3.2' - 24.6'||4.0' - 26.6'||10.3' - 29.4'|
|Screen size||36" - 301"||36”-306”||30" - 300"||34" - 303"||50”-300”|
|Price||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon|
Just because a projector has a laser light doesn’t necessarily imply it can handle bright light. The lumens rating can still be low on home laser projectors. Anything over 2000 lumens works great in darker rooms but can’t provide enough light for golf simulators. You’ll have problems seeing the course. If you want to use the projector during the day, or with the lights on, look for 3000+ lumens.
Best Choice for Brightness: Optoma GT1090HDR
You can’t eliminate lag time, but it is important to keep it to a minimum. There is a big difference between “now” and a few seconds later”. It can mean the difference between beating a level or missing a shot. Lag time is the difference between you taking an action, and when it’s shown on the screen. Latency is measured in milliseconds and anything under 60ms is considered acceptable for most games, though lower, around 8 -10ms is best.
Best Choice for Lag Time: BenQ TH685i
Resolution refers to the number of pixels that make up the image. The more pixels, the sharper and clearer the image. Laser projectors have at least a 1920 x 1080p resolution, commonly known as HD. Projectors with 1080p resolution are classified as home theater projectors.
You can also find higher-priced 4K laser projectors with 3840 x 2160 resolution. You will pay more for 4K, but if image quality is key it’s well worth it.
Best Choice for Resolution: Optoma UHD50X
How far the projector needs to be from the screen is the throw ratio. Short throw projectors are easier to set up, and you don’t need a lot of space. If you’re worried about space or casting a shadow on the screen, look for a short-throw projector that needs less than 4 feet to cast at least 100” images.
Best Throw Ratio: Optoma GT1090HDR
With a 4,200 lumens laser light, you get bright images with the lights on. You won’t have any problems seeing where to aim your next shot. Add in HDR10 and HLG technologies, and you get bright whites and deep blacks. Full HD resolution ensures crisp images, and you also have a 4K input. With a 300,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, colors are bright and vivid.
Input lag for golf simulators is in the acceptable range. You won’t notice any lag time with most games. You’ll also love how easy the GT1090HDR is to set up. 1.3x zoom and vertical keystone correction make it easy to align images. You also only need 4’-4” of space for 120” images. Slightly over 3” and images are 100”.
- Bright laser light
- Easy and flexible installation
- Acceptable input lag
- Plenty of inputs, including 4K
- High contrast ratio
- There can be a rainbow effect
- The built-in speakers do not produce cinema-quality audio
This projector falls right in the middle of the pack on price of our reviewed projectors. Picture quality is good and colors are both deep and rich. Because this projector has a wide keystone correction feature, it doesn’t have to be mounted on the ceiling, which makes it easier to set up. Not requiring ceiling mounting makes it easy to move the projector to different rooms. >>> Check current price on Amazon (Learn how to mount projector for golf simulator here)
Its high brightness capability allows for use in rooms without worrying about blocking out all of the light. Where the Optoma GT1080HDR really shines is when its Enhanced Gaming Mode is selected. There is virtually no lag time between what you input and what you see on the screen. For a more detailed review of the Optoma GT1080HDR click here
- Bright lamp allows for use in less than dark rooms
- Enhanced Gaming Mode reduces time lag to almost zero
- Does not have to be ceiling-mounted
- Can be adjusted to account for wall color
- Can play 4K but only at 1080p levels
- Poor sound quality through projector’s built-in speakers
- No zoom function
The BenQ TH685i is a gamer’s dream home cinema projector. With a 1080p resolution, a 3,500 lumens laser light, and a high contrast ratio, you can’t complain about image clarity. What sets the projector apart is that every aspect is designed for gamers.
Low latency of 8.3ms keeps golf simulators from lagging between frames. You won’t miss any action whether you’re playing a multi-player golf game or Call of Duty. The projector is compatible with most golf simulators and gaming consoles, from Xbox and PS4 to Google Stadia and Nintendo Switch.
- Lumiexpert technology prevents eye strain
- Extremely low input lag
- Compatible with most gaming systems
- Fast refresh rate
- 4K compatible
- Brightly lit rooms can cause dimmer on-screen images
- A low contrast ratio can make darker scenes difficult to see
The Optoma UHD50X is an affordable line laser projector with something for everyone. You get a 16ms latency lag and bright images with a 3,400 lumens light source. The refresh rate at 240Hz is a little slow for some fast-paced games and some live-action sports.
When it comes to image quality, the projector jumps to the forefront. There are laser projectors with higher lumens ratings, but it’s hard to beat true 4K resolution. With HDR and HLG compatibility, you get amazingly bright whites and rich blacks. The projector also boasts a 500,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio.
- High contrast ratio
- Bright laser light
- 8-segmented color wheel
- Flexible installation
- Low latency
- Turning on the enhanced gaming mode reduces image resolution from 4K to HD
- The remote easily breaks and doesn’t always connect with the projector
The Epson 5050UB has two HDMI inputs that handle HDMI 2.0, making it super fast running high-resolution games. It supports full 4K input and does so fluidly. It has 2.1:1 zoom capability that is motorized and has a Lens Memory feature. This allows you to adjust lens zoom, shift up, down, left, or right, and focus without leaving your seat. The lens also has a protective cover that automatically opens and closes when you turn the projector on and off. >>> Check current price on Amazon
The projector uses 3LCD technology, providing brighter (2600 lumens) and more accurate color without the rainbow effect. It’s the same technology used in most TVs.
- Two HDMIs, USB, and PC connectivity
- Motorized lens capability with lens memory
- Sharp 4K resolution
- Deep blacks with excellent color and brightness
- Noisy when operating on high consumption level
- Experiences decreased sharpness when compared to other 4K DLP projectors
- Large overall size: over 20 inches wide and weighs 25 pounds
For gamers, the most important feature is the lag time. Others want a projector that’s also designed for home movie night. While the BenQ TH685i is almost everything an avid gamer can want from an affordable laser projector, it does have a few downsides. Images aren’t as bright and clear as those you get from other projectors.
The Optoma UHD50X does produce crisp, clear pictures. However, if you want the best projector for golf simulators and makes non-gamers happy, look at the Optoma GT1090HDR. The short-throw projector produces amazingly bright images in almost any lighting. It also has an input lag that will keep you happily playing your golf simulator for hours.