What’s that? You’re still watching movies and playing video games on that puny 70 inch screen? Time to go big, people! Today’s multimedia projectors can produce HD images up to 250 inches, to give you a truly immersive theatre experience or make you feel like you are actually inside the game. We checked out six of the best multimedia projectors out there for the five P’s: price, power, portability, performance and projectoryness. OK, that last one we sort of made up, but are we here to nitpick about grammar or are we here to find the best projector? Let’s dim the lights and start the show.
The Tronfy TP-60 is great for movie night at home, but it’s limited by a 1000 lumen bulb that has a hard time competing with any ambient light in the room. If you’re looking for a projector to run a Powerpoint presentation in a dim conference room, you may want to look elsewhere, but the Tronfy will produce a sharp 800×480 (non-HD) image up to 80 inches and you can even push it to around 130 inches without sacrificing too much sharpness. The TP-60 is extremely source-versatile with ports for HDMI, AV, USB and even an SD card slot.
An interesting function of the Crenova XPE 460 is that with a wireless HDMI adaptor (not included) you can project the content of your iPad or iPhone using Apple’s Airplay. If you plan on bring the projector from place to place often, this means a few less cables to deal with and at just under 3 pounds, the XPE 460 is a breeze to pack up and carry along. This would be a good time to explain the difference between “Native Resolution” and “Supported Resolution”. The Crenova features Native Resolution of 800×400 pixels, meaning it’s internal processor can exactly reproduce images of that size. However, this projector also boasts Supported Resolution of 1920×1080 pixels, which means that HD content of that resolution is upscaled and converted to your screen. It won’t look like a MacBook Retina display, but then again, your MacBook doesn’t have a 130 inch screen.
AAXA P2 Jr Pico Projector
This is a neat little device. At about the size of a smartphone, it’s like bringing a 50 inch screen with you wherever you go and it’s internal processor will natively support 720p video content, meaning the projection is true to the source without being scaled. The AAXA’s battery will power the 55 lumen bulb for only about 90 minutes so watching a full movie is tough, but for business presentations or just sharing pictures and short videos it does nicely. It features built-in speakers and has mini-HDMI, mini-VGA, AV, mini SD and USB ports.
FAVI RioHD-LED-3T Home Theatre Projector
This is the big boy. The FAVI boasts a picture of 150 inches and “up to 250 inches” if you don’t mind giving up a bit of picture quality. This machine features native resolution of 854×540 pixels and as the RioHD name implies, it will support resolution of 1920×1080 pixels.This projector is not something you would tote around in your briefcase to make presentations with, but it is well suited to mount in your media room, offering both front and rear projection modes.
Taotaole 2400 Lumens LCD LED Video Projectors Multimedia Home Projector
This is also the kind of projector best suited for home use. With native resolution of 800×480 and supporting 720p and 1080p resolutions, your DVD’s, Blu-Rays and video games will be faithfully reproduced up to 150 inches. The 2400 lumen LED lamp is powerful and long lasting, with Taotaole promoting a 20,000 hour life. As with any projector, the darkness of the room greatly affects the quality of the picture, but we did notice this projector struggling a bit to give a sharp contrast.
ViewSonic PJD5122 SVGA DLP Projector
The ViewSonic is a very versatile projector, with unique modes for Daylight, Cinema, ViewMatch, Blackboard, Whiteboard and Greenboard. It even has an eco-mode that will quiet the fan and extend bulb life (while cutting brightness 20%). That said, the 2700 lumen bulb and 3000:1 contrast ratio produce a sharp, rich image even in semi-lit rooms. Oddly, this projector does not have an HDMI output and is probably best suited for business, school, and presentation work rather than for home entertainment.