Getting a brand new projector might look simple from outside, but the road ahead is quite tricky. LED, LCD or DLP? WUXGA,1080p or 4K projector? 3000lumens or 2500 lumens? 50000:1 or 100000:1 contrast ratio? 100 dollar Projector, 200 dollar Projector, 300 dollar Projector or 500 dollar Projector? So do you know which of these specifications will be ideal for you? We guess you must be baffled with all these plethora of specifications.
Numerous features and factors come into play when you decide to get a projector. So what would you do? Surely you will be looking for assistance, and this is the time when we come to your rescue by providing you a compact buying guide to projectors.
So take a look at our simple guide which will give you a brief idea about the projector, and it will ultimately help you make the right selection.
However, before proceeding, lets take a look at our Projector buying guide Infographics:
Considering The Need:
First and foremost, you should ask yourself why you need a projector? Is it for home entertainment, presentation purpose or any other requirement?
Suppose if you are getting a projector purely for entertainment then you should target home theater projector. It will not only cradle you with the top of the line visual quality but also loads of eccentric features that will rave up the entertainment session. This kind of projector is more about quality, vibrant color, high contrast and elevated lumens. They are mostly suitable for the closed environment with a little amount of light interference.
However, if the idea of getting a projector is for presentation in an office or classroom, then we would recommend you to hunt down a business or data projector. This type of projector is sharp and bright, and they are meant to provide high-quality data images. What’s more? They don’t allow the data images in slides to get washed out due to massive light interference.
Traveling constantly and need something pocket-friendly? Then you will have the option to get Pico projectors which is powerful enough to watch movies, TV series or images while you are on the go. They are extremely compact in size and weighs less than five pounds. They are suitable for personal use or small rooms.
Considering The Type:
Well, there is only three type of projection technology which is predominantly used, and they are 3LCD, LED and DLP. Which one would you choose? It entirely depends upon your requirement and judgment. The primary function of all these three is to offer you lifelike visual quality, but every one of them has many pros and cons.
DLP is considered as the most common type of projection technology that offers impressive clarity, sharp visuals, rich colors, decent black, good 3D output, low maintenance and smooth motion. In addition, they make the projector light in weight and enhances its longevity. But they provide poor lamp life, and it often shows banding is video frames.
Whereas 3LCD excels well in most of the section and they offer better image quality than DLP. The color saturation, brightness level, and clarity of this type are quite impressive. Moreover, they work great with home theater models, and they make a low fan noise. However, they lack in black depth, and they require frequent filter preservation. But most importantly they are expensive.
The LEDs, on the other hand, they are cheapest projector ,and they cradle you with excellent color output, image clarity, zero maintenance, low power intake and massive longevity. Not only that they offer good black depth and radiates less amount heat. Sadly, they fall short of other types in brightness level and clarity level.
Considering White and Color Brightness:
In the world of projectors, the brightness level serves as the deciding factor in the visual output of a projector. The brightness level is measured in lumens, and it always a smart move to go for a model with high lumens number. For a home theater projector, the 2000lumens serves as the minimum threshold level, but it would be ideal to grab a model offering lumens around 3000 figure. On the other hand, for business and Pico projector, the minimum threshold increases to 2500 lumens as you will require high brightness and it would be best to get something around 3500 lumens.
Considering The Resolution:
The on-screen pixel number which resonates to resolution defines the frame quality and clarity of a projector. Higher the resolution the better will be the quality, richness, and crispness. The resolution range starts from 480p, 720p and goes all the way to 4K. So if you are looking for casual entertainment 480p and 720p native resolution would be good. But if video quality and clarity is your main priority, then it is best to see for 1080p and 4K resolution models as it would mesmerize your entertainment session. For data projectors, 480p and 720p resolution are more than adequate to projector data images.
Considering The Color Production:
Would like to view a video with poor quality? Apparently no, so while choosing a model, you should scrutinize its color output as it serves as a pillar of the overall frame output. The color accuracy would matter most especially when you are getting a home theater model. It is recommended to get a projector having more than 90% coverage sRGB color space or having close to 100% color accuracy because it will reproduce all the colors in the frame. Apart from these, you should also check the color components and technology used to improve the color saturation. However, for data projector color doesn’t play a significant role but still, it would be better to get a model with an excellent color output.
Considering The Contrast Ratio:
Never ever skip the contrast ratio factor while buying a projector because it brings out the black depth and clarity of shadows in a visual. It defines the disparity between the brightest area and dark area of a frame. So always hunt for a high contrast ratio which will add depth and clarity to a projector especially for home entertainment. For home theater models, never go below 10000:1 contrast ratio but getting something between 50000:1 and 100000:1 figure which will significantly improve the dimension of the output. However, for business contrast ratio are less critical because of it almost unnoticeable due to excessive light interference.
Considering The Lamp Life:
When you are spending a good amount of money on a projector, you would apparently want your projector to live long. The longevity of a model depends upon the lamp life and on general standard lamp last for around 4000hrs. However, while buying a projector, you shouldn’t go below 6000hours as the replacement cost of a lamp is quite high. But if you are going for the LED projector, you won’t have to worry as it last around 20000hours.
Considering The Aspect Ratio:
The aspect might not seem like a crucial consideration, but without proper aspect ratio options, you will limit your movie viewing experience. When you are getting a home theater model always choose one which offers varied options like 16:9, 16:10, 2.35:1, 2.4:1, etc. It is really important because diverse options allow you to explore the cinematic capability. However, 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratio is adequate for business projectors.
Considering The Throw Ratio:
Now, let’s talk about the throw ratio which plays a crucial role during the installation time as it decides how wide an image will be when you place the projector at a certain distance. Always calculate the area for installation and then consider the aspect ratio accordingly. Ultra-short throw and short throw ratio will be the most plausible option if you are planning to install it in a small room or office space. Otherwise throw ratio around 1.5:1 or 1.8:1 would be suffice if you don’t have any space constraint.
Our lab experts picked some premium quality short throw projectors for small room or office space.
Considering Tuning Facilities:
Tuning facilities like keystone correction, lens shift, focusing and zoom is a vital part of a projector as it allows you to the get the perfect image. While installing you may not be able to fit the image in the screen, but with the help of tuning facilities, you can comfortably fit it. It is best to get +/- 40-degree keystone correction, lens shift capability and 2.0x zoom. However, for feasibility, you can also go for +/- 15-degree keystone and 1.2x zoom but never go below these figures.
Can you play any content if you don’t have proper ports? Absolutely no and for that, you should check the types of ports in your projector. On a general basis, HDMI, USB, Audio 3.5mm, VGA, S-Video, and D-Sub should be present in your projector. However, if a business model is your target then HDMI, VGA, and USB would do fine. Apart from the standard inputs, it would be great to have MHL, Wi-Fi, SD card, wireless streaming capability, Bluetooth or wireless dongle support as an option.
Considering Other Factors:
You should also look into the user-friendly and easy to installation factor while getting a particular projector. It would be a boon to get a model which is easy to install and entirely user-friendly in usage. You should also check whether the projector is offering quick setup option like play-n-plug facility or instant on/off feature.
The 3D facility should also be taken into account, and it is only applicable if you are getting a home theater projector. However, it entirely depends upon your taste whether you want to enjoy 3D movies or not. But it would be a great addition to your home theater model as it will open new dynamics. Lastly, accessory options, remote, installation service and warranty coverage option should be taken seriously because they serve as a part of buying process.