Movies, shows, and games look better with a home theater projector. The colors are brighter and more realistic. The only downside consumers often face is the price. To find an affordable projector you often had to give up some features. However, things have changed. Now you can find affordable models that come with everything you want.
The Optoma HD28HDR was created for gamers. Along with two gaming modes, you also get a bright, immersive picture. It’s hard to beat the image quality you get with the Epson Home Cinema 880. You don’t even have to worry about ambient light interfering with image brightness. If you’re looking for an easily portable projector for work, home, or school, the Epson PowerLite W49 is a breeze to set up and only weighs 6lbs.
Before you bring one of these affordable projectors home, it’s a good idea to review each model. This way you know that you purchased the best projector under 600.
Best Projector Under 600 – Top Options for 2021
|Optoma HD28HDR||Epson Home |
|Optoma HD146X||BenQ GS2||ViewSonic PX701HD||Epson
|Brightness (Lumens)||3,600 ANSI||3,300 ANSI||3,600 ANSI||500 ANSI||3,500 ANSI||3,800 ANSI|
|Throw Distance||3.3' - 32.2'||2.2' - 34.0'||3.3' - 32.2'||2.8' - 9.5'||3.6' - 21.8'||3.7' - 29.4'|
|Screen size||28" - 301"||25" - 386"||28" - 302"||30" - 100"||30" - 200"||33" - 320"|
|Included Lens||1.1x manual zoom||Fixed focal length||1.1x manual zoom||Fixed focal length||1.1x manual zoom||1.2x manual zoom|
|Internal Speakers||3.0 Watts Mono||2.0 Watts Mono||3.0 Watts Mono||2.0 Watts × 2||10.0 Watts Mono||16.0 Watts Mono|
|Price||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon|
There’s nothing like playing your games on the big screen. You’ll feel like you’re in the game. Details are sharp and images clear, even in dimly lit scenes. The only problem gamers faced was the slow input lag and refresh rates.
Projector technology has advanced to compensate for input lag. Now most models come with gaming modes that dramatically reduce lag times. While 23ms is okay for casual gamers, avid players need something faster. Some models, in enhanced gaming mode, have input times as low as 8.4ms.
Best Projector for Gaming: Optoma HD28HDR
There are several aspects to look at when you’re determining image quality. Brightness, rated in lumens, and resolution are two things to look for. The lumens also let you know if ambient light is a problem. You also want to check the contrast ratio. Lower ratios can result in faded blacks and whites.
Most budget-friendly projectors produce quality images. However, some are better than others due to higher lumens and contrast ratios. The higher the specification numbers, the better the image looks on screen.
Best Projector for Image Quality: Optoma HD146X
Ease of Use and Portability
You’ll quickly notice not all home cinema projectors are lightweight. Some weigh close to 30lbs making them difficult to move around. You also want a flexible installation. Not every room is designed the same. A lens shift and keystone correction allow you to align images even when the projector isn’t centered on the screen. You also want the projector to come with a high lumens rating to counteract ambient light.
Best Portable Projector: Epson PowerLite W49
Optoma HD28HDR Review
Get ready to see your games in a new light. The HD28HDR was designed for avid gamers. It comes with an enhanced gaming mode that drops input lag to a fast 8.4ms. Even multi-player games are smooth without interruptions. A 120 Hz refresh rate prevents blurring on fast-paced scenes. To ensure you can see everything, including foes in dark scenes, turn on the game display mode.
Images are bright and clear during the day and at night. 1080p resolution with 4K support produces realistic and vivid images. A contrast ratio of 50,000:1 produces inky blacks and bright whites. The 3,600 lumens lamp ensures ambient light won’t affect image quality.
It is a surprisingly lightweight projector at 6.2 lbs. However, you might not want to move it around once it’s installed. It does not come with a lens shift, and the manual focus is limited to 1.1x. It also only comes with digital vertical keystone correction. The HD28HDR is not the most flexible home projector to install.
- Low input lag
- Fast refresh rate
- 4K support
- Dynamic contrast
- Installation isn’t as flexible as other lightweight home theater projectors
Epson Home Cinema 880 Review
Anyone that wants larger onscreen images will want to take a look at the 880 from Epson. All you need is a blank wall or compatible screen to cast 320” images. You’ll feel like you’re at the theater when you’re watching movies at home. You will need plenty of space to throw large images. The Epson Home Cinema 880 is not a short-throw projector.
With 3LCD chip technology combined with 10-bit color processing, you’ll see bright, clear images. A 3,300 lumens rating is more than enough to balance daylight. You don’t have to close the curtains to watch a movie. The contrast ratio is a little low at 16,000:1. Whites and blacks aren’t faded, but they are lacking some brightness and depth.
You’ll love the projector’s flexible installation. It opens up the possibilities of where you can install it. Horizontal and vertical keystone correction, along with digital zoom make it easy to align images even when the projector is placed at an angle. If you’re still having problems centering onscreen pictures, the geometric correction function will make it easier.
- High lumens rating
- Flexible installation
- Large on-screen images
- 1080p resolution
- The dynamic contrast ratio is lower than in some models
Optoma HD146X Review
One of the reasons consumers install home projectors is for image quality. The Optoma HD146X doesn’t disappoint when it comes to onscreen pictures. Along with 1080p full-HD resolution, the projector boasts a 25,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. Whites are brilliant and blacks deep without any greying. A 3,600 lumens lamp keeps images bright and clear in daylight.
Along with impressive image quality for the low price, the HD146X also comes with a dedicated gaming mode. With lag times of 16ms, and a fast 120 Hz refresh rate, you can keep up with most fast-paced games. Multi-player ones may not run as smoothly, but casual gamers won’t have a problem.
Lightweight at 6.2lbs, the projector’s almost ready to go out of the box. You do have to be careful about where you place it. You’re a little limited on flexibility. The projector only allows for vertical keystone correction. It also does not come with lens shift. Click here if you want to read a more detailed review of the Optoma HD146x.
- Immersive images
- Low input lag
- Dynamic contrast
- The small 3-watt internal speakers are not enough to fill a room with sound
BenQ GS2 Review
The BenQ GS2 is a portable projector that comes with a travel bag. It doesn’t get any easier to take a home projector with you. It also comes with a rechargeable battery that will power the projector for up to three hours. With iOS and Android support, you can cast movies from your compatible devices.
The resolution is 720p but it supports full HD. The lumens rating is low at 500, but this projector is designed more for nighttime use outside. It’s perfect for getting together with friends and family and having an impromptu movie night. Along with the battery, the projector comes with a power cable and Bluetooth stick. Everything you need to watch movies outside.
The small projector features a durable construction. It’s designed to withstand a little wear and tear. It’s splash-resistant and semi-drop proof. Anything higher than 1.6 feet will damage the projector.
- Easily portable
- Bright images
- Durable design
- The low lumens rating makes this projector best for nighttime use
ViewSonic PX701HD Review
Whether you’re watching a movie at home or putting on a presentation at work, the PX701HD can handle both. It only weighs 5.7lbs so you won’t pull a muscle moving the projector around. Digital horizontal and vertical keystone correction ensures you can easily align images no matter where the projector is placed. Add in +/-20% vertical lens shift, and your presentations are always perfectly centered.
There are plenty of inputs to connect external devices, including a mini audio jack and USB port. 10W speakers ensure everyone in the room can hear the audio. You don’t want to turn the volume up too loud, it will cause distortion. However, the internal speakers are enough, so you don’t have to bring an external pair. One downside to its portability is screen distance. You’ll need 10’ feet of space to cast 100” images.
With 1080p resolution, movies, charts, and graphs are all crisp and clear. The contrast ratio is only 12,000:1, but you’ll still have bright whites and dark blacks. It won’t affect the image quality on presentations, but you might notice the low contrast on movie nights. Where the projector shines is with its 3,500 lumens rating. You don’t have to worry about ambient light with the PX701HD from ViewSonic.
- Easily portable
- Bright lamp
- Flexible installation
- Clear images
- The low contrast ratio can affect the image quality on shows and movies
Epson PowerLite W49 Review
Weighing only 6lbs, the PowerLite W49 from Epson is perfect for work, school, and home. It even comes with a collaborator function. Up to 50 people can connect to the projector and share content from their compatible devices.
You won’t have any problems installing the projector. Digital zoom, along with horizontal and vertical keystone correction is standard. If you’re still having problems with alignment, you can use the Geometric Correction function. Manual focus and zoom ensure everyone in the room will clearly see your presentation. It’s also great when you’re watching movies and shows.
Along with a 1080p resolution and a 16,000:1 dynamic contrast, the W49 also comes with a brilliant 3,800 lumens lamp. It doesn’t matter how bright the room is, onscreen images are still visible. 3LCD chip and 10-bit color processing technology give you accurate colors without fading or bleeding.
The PowerLite W49 comes with everything you need to put on a great presentation. Closed captioning, a blackboard mode, and Crestron roomview are all included. There’s a function for the moderator if collaborators are also using the projector. Wi-Fi connectivity makes it easy to stream content. Add in the 16W speakers and everyone in the room will clearly hear your presentation or movie.
- Bright images
- Powerful internal speakers
- Flexible installation
- Even with the 10-bit color processing technology, images aren’t as vibrant as with some comparable models
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a home cinema projector. You can find one that’s perfect for your needs priced under 600. Gamers will want to look at the Optoma HD28HDR. It comes with an impressive 8.4ms input lag and a fast refresh rate. You also can’t complain about image quality, though the Optoma HD146X does produce a better picture.
The HD146X produces one of the best pictures for a projector under 600. Colors are accurate and images bright and clear in ambient light. If you want a projector that can go to work and school with you, the Epson PowerLite W49 is your best option. It’s lightweight, comes with 10W internal speakers, and plenty of connectivity. You can even collaborate with up to 50 people on this lightweight projector.
With several top-rated home theater projectors to choose from, at affordable prices, you can find the best one no matter where you want to use it.