This article is contributed by Jos Boselli
Do you want to purchase a new video projector for your living room, school or work office? Do not worry if you have a limited budget: nowadays, you can find excellent products for less than 500 dollars. This comparative guide is here to help you choose the best video projector in the $500 price range.
Beside the price, many criteria are taken into account to propose you the very best models on the market, such as:
- Image quality (full HD resolution, brightness, color, contrast, image size)
- Sound quality (internal speakers, audio inputs and outputs, noise reduction)
- Connectivity (HDMI, USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth…)
- Lamp lifespan (at least 10,000 hours, which corresponds to about 10 years of daily use)
- And extra features (Smart OS, screen mirroring, auto-focus, keystone adjustment, low latency, 3D support, …)
Let’s get started!
The best home theater projector: Wemax Dice
For a budget of half a thousand dollars, the Wemax Go Dice definitely has the most interesting overall characteristics: Its image quality (4K support, 700 ANSI Lumens, 4-channel LED, HDR10) is ideal for watching movies, playing games or working in the best possible conditions. It also has a very discreet ventilation and outputs a high-fidelity sound (DTS-HD + Dolby quality). Its connectivity is complete with both HDMI, USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and even optical audio. The qualities that make it outrun the competition are its gigantic 30,000 hours lifespan, the included 3-hour battery to transport it anywhere, as well as Android TV with Play Store and ChromeCast capabilities. It can even act as a power bank for your smartphone or tablet!
The brightest 2D/3D projectors: ViewSonic PX701HD and Acer H6523BD
If you have a home-cinema, you may be tempted to watch 3D movies with active glasses, while enjoying the comfort and big image size of a video projector. This technology is becoming affordable today, although it’s important to invest in a projector with an important brightness, because active glasses (sold separately) divide the ambient light by two. We’ve selected two models with both native 3D support and a brightness of 3500 ANSI Lumens: the ViewSonic PX701HD and Acer H6523BD. These contenders are so bright and contrasted that they are also great for 2D video (movies, video games or work meetings), even in rooms that have ambient daylight. The downsides of these models are the lack of Wi-Fi connectivity and the very limited lamp’s lifespan in the optimal video settings (5,000 hours only). If you don’t know which one to choose between the two models, keep in mind that Acer’s H6523BD has the most renowned brand and is the only model with full 4-point keystone correction, while the ViewSonic PX701HD has better overall characteristics (10W speakers, 12,000:1 contrast, lens-shifting, lower noise and only 16ms input lag).
The best multimedia projector: Philips NeoPix Ultra 2 TV+
For a very small budget (under 400 dollars), the Philips NeoPix Ultra 2 TV+ has an impressive set of multimedia features: It’s the only model with this amount of connectivity: HDMI, USB, USB-C, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3.5mm audio and a microSD slot. The software is also very good with Android TV, ChromeCast and a built-in media player. On the image side, it proposes a good contrast, full HD resolution, auto keystone adjustment and a projection size up to 120 inches. When it comes to the sound, it’s also very good with its 2 x 10W speakers and reduced noise. The lamp’s lifespan is also one of the best on the market (30,000 hours) and the latency is ideal for gamers: only 5ms. However, you should pay attention to its main drawbacks: the weight (14.1lb) and the limited brightness (200 ANSI Lumens), which will only be suitable in a perfectly dark room.
The best gaming projector: BenQ TH585
If you are an exigent gamer, the BenQ TH585 will be a powerful ally. First of all, it has excellent video capabilities, with impressive brightness (3500 ANSI Lumens) and contrast (10,000:1). You can connect any gaming PC, video game console or movie player with its double input (HDMI and VGA) and low input lag (16ms). It also benefits from a good sound system as well as a comfortable 15,000 hours lifespan. Its Wi-Fi support and exclusive game mode are also a big plus. Nevertheless, this model is a bit behind its competitors on other features such as noise, color gamut, and a vertical-only keystone adjustment.
The longest lifespan: Xiaomi Mi Smart Projector 2
The Xiaomi Mi Smart Projector 2 has a very good overall score, and even surpasses other models on the 500 dollars price range with its great colorimetry, low noise and very high lifespan: 30,000 hours, similar to the Wemax Go Dice. It also has a very interesting set of features such as great sound, big image size, Android TV, auto-focus and auto 4-point keystone correction. Though, unlike the Wemax Go Dice featured on top of this guide, it suffers from a very feeble light source (500 ANSI Lumens, which is not great under some ambient daylight), bad contrast, and a very limited wired connectivity: nothing more than one HDMI port and one USB port.
The best portable projectors: Wemax Go and Wemax Go Advanced
Crowdfunded last year, the Wemax Go series is a true revolution if you want the most advanced video projector technology with ultra-portable capabilities. With a 1-inch thickness only, Wemax Go is the world’s thinnest ALPD smart Laser Projector, with a price tag well under 500 dollars. The laser system allows a very detailed, colored and contrasted image, while offering a great comfort for the eyes and a ultra long lifespan (25,000 hours). The connectivity and extra features are not left behind as this pocket model has HDMI, USB, 3.5mm audio and Wi-Fi inputs, and supports 4K video, screen mirroring, auto-focus and auto keystone adjustment along with object avoidance. If you can invest a couple extra hundred dollars, you can also purchase the Wemax Go Advanced with twice the brightness, a battery and a Smart OS. The Wemax Go video projectors are a perfect choice for nomad users who want to watch movies, play video games or work on-the-go!
Whether you’re a gamer, student, office worker or movie enthusiast, settled or on the go, this guide has you covered if you want to find your ideal video projector under 500 dollars. Remember to use coupons and limited-time promotions to pay them at the lowest price: for example, Wemax is currently offering a -20% discount on any order above $100. For higher budgets, do not miss my other guides: The best Video Projectors under $1000 and The best Video Projectors under $1500.