Few things make game night bigger than a giant screen. This is true regardless of genre: open world games become more immense, first person shooter battles become more engaging, and racing games are that much more intense. A projector is the cheapest way to get a giant screen, but not all projectors are going to be great for gaming.
The most important factors to look at — once you've decided on your budget, that is — are resolution, refresh rate, and input lag. Resolution and refresh rates are mostly solved problems, but beware of projectors that cost less than $500. There are plenty of projectors on Amazon that include "1080P" in the listing name, but that's a half truth. These accept a 1080P signal, but output at lower resolutions. For simplicity's sake, every projector on this list outputs at 1080P or higher, with a refresh rate of 60hz or higher.
This projector from Optoma may not look like much, but it will make your gaming experience so much better. It gets up to 3,000 lumens of brightness, which is bright enough to comfortably play on a sunny day. This is a short throw projector, so it can sit about seven feet from the screen. It also has built-in speakers, though you'll undoubtedly want some dedicated speakers or a soundbar. It has about 16 milliseconds of input lag, which is low enough for most console shooters. One bummer is this projector only has two HDMI ports, but that's unfortunately common.
The Optoma GT1080Darbee projector is available for $749.
If you want something that sits closer to your screen, ViewSonic has you covered. The PX800HD is an ultra short throw projector, meaning it can project a giant image while sitting on a normal TV stand. You only get 2,000 lumens of brightness, so you'll need to break out the blackout curtains. As before, input lag is at an acceptable 16 milliseconds. Also like before, there are integrated speakers, but again, you'll definitely want a dedicated set. The product is listed as having three HDMI ports, but one is inside a hatch to be used by streaming sticks. Console users will have to make due with the two HDMI ports on the back.
The ViewSonic PX800HD is available for $1,300.
"Budget" is relative: this is still a $1,500 projector. But when projectors with the same specs went for five figures just two years ago, I won't complain. This also conforms to the HDR10 standard, so your games will pop that much more. This is a standard throw projector, so it will need to be placed in the back of your room to be able to project a huge image. You get two HDMI ports again, only one of which supports the HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 standards for playing 4K games and Blu Rays. The major downside with this and other 4K projectors around the same price is input lag — 44 milliseconds in this case. That's not awful, and most players won't notice. But if you care about input lag, you'll notice.
The BenQ TK800 is available for $1,500.
Dell bills this as a business projector, and it's only available on their site. But, the projector doesn't care what business you use it for, and neither do we. This is an ultra short throw, so it fits best on a TV stand. This supports HDR10, so your gameplay will be full of contrast. There are three HDMI inputs, though again, only one supports HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2. There is also Bluetooth out for connecting wirelessly to speakers. You can either use this as a TV replacement, or in a balls to the wall desk setup. Input lag is high at 97 milliseconds though, and the screen is "only" supposed to go up to 130-inches before resolution and color reproduction take a hit.
The Dell S718QL projector is available for $5,000.
What say you?
Which projector sounds best for your gaming setup? Let us know down below!
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