1080p Projectors

Optoma HD27 Review

If a stringent budget is hampering your ability to have a big screen entertainment system in your home, then the Optoma HD27 is what you need. It is a budget-friendly alternative to the high end projectors that will cost you an arm and leg to own one. This 1080p single-chip DLP projector produces bright crystal clear images like the highly rated projectors and at a fraction of their price. The fact that the HD27 is very simple to use makes it the perfect entry level projector when you are making the transition from TV to the cinematic experience of a projector.

The Optoma HD27 is designed primarily to cater to the home entertainment market niche. So, if you are into large screen 3D gaming, movies, and sports, then this projector will provide the home entertainment experience you seek. You can also connect it to your smartphone and use the large screen to stream videos, play games or share digital media content with family and friends. It is worth noting however that it is a long throw projector, which means that it can only work in large rooms. Therefore, if you have a small room, then this projector is not the right choice for you.


  • Resolution: 1080p, Full HD – 1920 x 1080
  • Brightness: 3200 ANSI Lumens
  • Contrast: 25,000: 1
  • Maximum Lamp Life: 8000 Hours
  • Throw Ratio: 1.48 – 1.62: 1
  • Speaker: 10 Watts
  • Weight: 2.38kg
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9, Native, 4:3, Auto
  • Screen Size Projection: 27.88”- 305.3” (0.71 – 7.75)
  • Displayable Colours: 1073.4 Million
  • Noise Level: 26dB
  • Maximum Projection Distance: 10m
  • Dimensions: 11.7 x 3.7 x 9 inches

Key features

Small, compact alluring design

Measuring just 11.7 by 3.7 by 9 inches and weighing around 5.2 pounds, the HD27 is a relatively small projector. Owing to its lightweight and compact design, it can be easily carried to any destination without a fuss. Have a night out with friends? Why not carry the HD27 for a perfect night of large screen entertainment?

It is also very easy to store, since it can basically fit in any cupboard or socks drawer. In addition, it has a white glossy finish with grated plastic at the front that gives it an alluring appearance, which will blend in well with any type of décor in your living room.

Crystal clear visuals

This projector utilizes the single DMD-Chip DLP, which displays images at full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080. The Full HD 1080p produces very sharp, detailed and crystal clear images, without the need to downscale or compress the screen size.

Although it does not support 4K signals, it still has a relatively high contrast ratio of 25,000:1 and a maximum screen size projection of up to 305.3”. Therefore, this DLP projector is still perfect when it comes to watching movies, playing games, viewing photos and even perusing through documents.

This is very rare for projectors within this price range, which makes the HD27 far above its peers. It can also work at a safe distance of up to 32 feet, which makes it very convenient in a large room as you can just place it at the back and not worry about interferences or accidents.

Multiple connection ports

With this projector, you can kiss all analog connections goodbye. The digital connection ports include two HDMI input ports, one supports MHL connectivity that allows you to connect to a compatible smartphone or streaming stick. Another connection is a 3.5mm audio output that allows you to connect an external audio device to capture all the great sound effects in movies and games for the ultimate experience.

Then, there is a 3D sync VESA port that allows you to use 3D glasses. It also includes a USB port that supplies power to a wireless WHD200 HDMI receiver, which takes away the need of purchasing long cables. With the WHD200 receiver, you can basically connect digital set-top boxes, Blu-ray players, AV receivers and game consoles without the extra cables, which is both cost efficient and convenient. Lastly, the HD27 comes with the 12-volt trigger that allows you to control a motorized screen.

REC.709 Colour Spectrum

Now this is definitely the highlight of this projector. Utilizing a 6 speed colour wheel, it produces a wide range of stunning colours, which is almost identical to the REC.709 colour spectrum. REC.709 is basically the international standard for HDTV viewing. Most of the projectors in this price range do not even come close to the REC.709 colour spectrum.

Therefore, with the HD27 you will enjoy virtual reality broadcasting, which is as close to real images as possible. In addition, this projector also offers a wide range of colour settings to help you get the best output. They include: 4 colour temperature settings- warm, cool, cold and standard; RGB gain or bias settings; 7 level colour management system for saturation, hue and gain adjustments for all colours, including white; 7 gamma controls; Dynamic Black, which is turned either on or off; and lastly, Optoma’s 10-step Brilliant Colour adjustment.

Long throw ratio

The Optoma HD27 is a long throw projector with a throw ratio of 1.48 – 1.62: 1, which works perfectly in a large room. In addition, it has Focus and Zoom functions, which are adjusted manually via easily accessible knobs on top of the lens for more clarity. The maximum zoom level is only 1.1x, which is a bit low. However, it also includes various aspect-ratio options that will fit well with your screen size. You may opt for either Auto, Native, 16:9, 4:3 or LBX (letterbox zoom). The lens is also cleverly inserted inside the chassis to prevent it from getting damaged during transportation.

There is a catch to this however, the lens cannot be shifted vertically or horizontally, which can pose a problem when trying to find the right angle to project on to the screen. To rectify this drawback, it comes with three adjustable feet that you can manually adjust with a screw to raise the height of the projector. It also includes vertical keystone correction at +/- 40 degrees, which helps eliminate the trapezoidal shape that occurs when the projector is either kept too low or high in relation to the screen.

3200 ANSI lumens of brightness

At 3200 ANSI lumens, this projector produces a good amount of brightness. It boasts of six picture modes that work hand in hand with the high level of brightness: Cinema, Game, Reference, User, Vivid and Bright. There isn’t much difference between them and they all work well with the right colour settings. For instance, the Bright mode works exceptionally well in darkness; while the Vivid mode is the best mode for brightly lit rooms.

With the Vivid mode, you can still watch your favourite show even when there is some light in the room. In fact, the HD27 will still produce bright and highly saturated images during the day with window blinds open, without exaggerating the colour schemes. It is also an ISF certified projector, which means that it can be set up to ISF Day or ISF Night picture modes for the perfect picture output.

Remote controlled operation

The HD27 comes with a well-designed remote controller with a lightweight ergonomic design that fits well in the hand and is very easy to handle. It also has an aesthetic design with backlit bright blue lit buttons, which illuminate in the dark to prevent you from straining. The projector is fully operated by the remote controller and you can easily toggle from one mode to the other without the need to go to the projector itself.

For instance, you may switch from the Blu-Ray to the gaming console with just a simple press of a button. This is very convenient and stress-free, especially during movie marathons when you are too lazy to get up from your warm and comfy seat. What happens however when you misplace the remote controller? Don’t worry, the Optoma HD27 has got you covered. Nicely placed on top of the machine are access controls that you may use instead of the remote control.

3D performance

This projector also supports 3D playback from any 3D source, including new generation game consoles and 3D Blu-ray players. The 3D function works well and you will be able to reap the benefits of watching movies and playing games through the 3D playback. However, you have to invest in DLP Link and VESA glasses, as they are not included in the packaging. It also features the 144Hz rapid fresh rate that provides smooth and flicker-free images, which is very convenient when watching 3D movies for a long time.

Extended lamp life

The Optoma HD27 is among the few projectors in that price range with a long lamp life. It is estimated to be around 8,000 hours, which according to the manufacturer’s estimation will last you at least 10 years if you watch one 2-hour movie every single day. It is worth noting however that the lamp life is just an estimation and the lamp may outlive or fail to reach the postulated period.

The HD27 lamp supports two lamp modes, Eco and Bright. With the Eco mode, you are more likely to increase the lifespan of the lamp than with the Bright mode. Even with the Bright mode, the HD27 lamp will still outlive most of its peers. This is very convenient and economical, as you will be able to cut down on replacement costs.

Built-in 10W mono speaker

You can also enjoy the convenience of a built-in 10W Mono Speaker. The sound is loud enough to fill the room, but unfortunately it is not of the best quality. You may want to purchase a better audio output device to full enjoy your home theatre experience. However, it is all a matter of preference. Some people can work with the 10W speaker without the need for an external speaker.

Personally, I found the speaker a bit irritating and could not sit through it. The speaker is definitely the biggest drawback of this projector, but it does not in any way affect how I feel about it. It still is a great projector, but definitely needs improvement in that area. Fortunately, it also includes a 3.5mm audio port for an external speaker, which I very much encourage you to fully take advantage of.

MHL v1.2 connectivity

One of the best features of the Optoma HD27 is that it supports both android and apple smartphones and tablets. With just a single cable, you can convert the HD27 into a smart display for your smartphone. You can therefore stream videos, play games and even share photos on the large screen. How cool and convenient is that?


  • High quality pictures with high contrast and rich colours
  • Bright enough for illuminated rooms and daylight viewing
  • Vertical keystone correction
  • Full HD
  • 3D capabilities, supports DLP-Link and VESA glasses
  • 8,000 hours of lamp life
  • Smartphone connectivity
  • Great for movie watching and playing games


  • Limited zoom capability at 1.1x
  • Lacks lens shifting
  • Low quality built-in speaker
  • The fan can be noisy
  • Limited black level
  • Remote control has to be pointed at the projector (no bounce back effect from the screen), making it hard to configure


BenQ HT2050A

This projector will set you back an extra $100, but the BenQ HT2050A projector performs at equal footing as the Optoma HD27. Apart from the fact that this projector is a short throw projector, it is very similar to the HD27 in all aspects. It also includes a 6 speed RGBRGB colour wheel with REC.709 colour accuracy, 2 HDMI ports, built-in 10W MaxxAudio speakers, 1.3x zoom, 2D keystone correction and 3D capabilities. When it comes to picture output, the HD27 pales in comparison, despite the fact that the HT2050A registers lower brightness level at just 2200 lumens. With Full HD resolution of 1080p, it produces superior colour calibration with very accurate skin tones.

The HT2050 does not suffer from washing out effect or over reddening, which is very common in HD27. Where the HT2050 excels most above the HD27 (and most of its peers) is its black levels. It produces the darkest and truest blacks, which makes its images more vibrant with brilliant colours. The Optoma HD27 has poor black levels and even with Dynamic Black features, its blacks are not as visible as HT2050A’s blacks. The BenQ HT2050A is also among the few projectors in this price range with a lens shift feature that allows you to move the image up and down, without image distortion. It can also project up to 100” from just 8 feet away.

Check out our full BenQ HT2050A Review here

Optoma HD142X

The HD27 is modelled in the same fashion as the HD142X. Aside from minor differences, the two projectors are basically one and the same. The HD142X also features a maximum display resolution of 1920 x 1080 with a maximum throw distance of 32 feet and maximum screen size projection of 305.3”. However, it has a lower contrast ratio of 23,000: 1 compared to HD27’s 25,000: 1. Its brightness level is also a bit lower at 3000 lumens compared to HD27’s 3200 lumens.

It should be noted however that these differences are quite negligible and you may not be able to tell the difference between the two. Although the HD27 is slightly priced higher, there is no added value you will be getting from it, as opposed to the HD142X. The Optoma HD26 is also similar to the HD27 in all aspects. The only difference is that it has a slightly lower lamp life at 6,500 hours compared to HD27’s 8,000 hours.


The Optoma HD27 is a great projector that you should definitely check out. It performs beyond expectations and you will be surprised by how cheap it is priced, due to its high performance. So, instead of going for the overpriced high-end projectors, we would recommend you go for the HD27. You will still enjoy the same level of brightness, high resolution and a wide range of colours for a fraction of the price.

It also has its own weaknesses, but if I were you I wouldn’t delve much on the negatives. They are not ‘fatal’ to warrant so much attention from you. In fact, you can easily rectify the problems. For instance, to rectify its inability to render perfect blacks, you can use a high quality grey projector screen. This will fix most of its deep black rendering problems.

It is a budget friendly choice that we highly recommend. Trust us, you will get more than you pay for.

If you’ve purchased a flat-screen television in recent years, you’ve probably noticed that picture quality and ease of installation have vastly improved over the years, and that they’ve become more affordable.

Well, the same can be said for colour projectors. A product that was once reserved for professional presentations or the most advanced of home theatres has quickly become a viable option for anyone that has the space to accommodate a projection screen.

Gone are the days when having a projector meant rewiring your entire home or office and fiddling with difficult-to-understand parts and directions. Projectors can be installed easily and obtained for reasonable prices, making them far more common than they used to be in both business and personal settings.

There are many quality projectors available, but we are currently focusing on the BenQ MH535A DLP Colour Projector – suitable for home and office use. This versatile projector packs quite a punch and should impress anybody who is looking for a crisp, clear picture with great resolution and brightness.

With HDMI and USB connectivity, this projector provides quick, easy set up, and should be and running in no time for even the most inexperienced installers. The reward after your minimal-fuss installation, of course, is a brilliant, full HD 1080p picture that will stay bright for a long time to come.

Whether you’re using this to watch blockbuster action films with your family or to give stunning presentations to clients, you will likely find that this is one remarkable piece of hardware.

Who should buy the BenQ MH535A?

While this projector boasts plenty of versatility and creates an image that is great for both home and office use, there are certain people who will stand to benefit more than others.

Ultimately, this is a fantastic presentation projector that will provide plenty of functionality for businesses who rely on digital presentations for client-facing and training purposes. The sharp pictures will impress customers and co-workers alike, and the ease of use, as well as multiple ports, will keep presentations flowing smoothly and looking pleasant from start to finish.

The BenQ MH535A may be optimized for an office environment, but that doesn’t make that it can’t be part of a fantastic home theatre system in the right setting. Because it projects a 120-inch image from 11 feet, 11 inches, it is ideally suited for a large room with a clear, undisrupted viewing surface. In other words, if you live in a small apartment, this is probably not the home entertainment system for you. The picture looks best when the projector can use its full potential and forcing it into a small room will only cause clutter and degradation of picture quality.

Features and Specifications

The BenQ MH535A is the second brightest of BenQ’s HD projectors, boasting 3600 lumens of brightness and offering plenty of other features and specifications that are sure to keep any videophile more than satisfied. First, we’ll take a look at the specs and then explain what they might mean for you.



  • Height: 3.9 inches
  • Width: 13.1 inches
  • Depth: 8.4 inches
  • Weight: 5.24 pounds

The MH535A comes in a pretty standard size as far as projectors are concerned. At just over 5 pounds in weight, it is easily manageable from the beginning to end of the setup process. It also offers the advantage of being relatively portable, meaning you can transfer between offices or between the office and home with ease.

3600-Lumen Brightness

As we mentioned before, this is the second brightest of BenQ’s offerings, and at 3600 lumens, you will enjoy more than enough brightness for presentations in any atmosphere. Whether you have a windowless conference room in the centre of a building or floor-to-ceiling windows bringing hours of natural sunlight into a corner office, this projector is going to look great! Taking notes and collaborating with fellow employees will be a breeze, but this machine will also project a beautiful image in a perfectly dimmed home theatre.

15,000:1 High Native Contrast

Using DLP technology, the BenQ MH535A provides a striking 15,000:1 contrast ratio. This leads to superior clarity and seemingly impossible crispness, allowing you to read any text cleanly and clearly without straining your eyes. Graphs and charts will exhibit the deepest, brightest colours and some of the truest blacks that you can get from a projector. All of these means that your presenters and viewers alike will enjoy top-of-the-line picture quality throughout the life of any meeting.

1080p Resolution

While not quite pushing the limits that 4k can bring to picture quality, the 1080p ability still makes for a tremendous picture at an affordable price. This is Full HD 1080p with two-megapixel high resolution, so you won’t be missing on brightness, clarity, and reliability. You’ll definitely notice the quality when you zoom in on pictures or graphs in presentation, as there will be little to no degradation of quality in the picture.

Displays 1.07 Billion Colours

The ability to display over one billion colours really helps your pictures to pop and your videos to stand out above the rest. The true-to-life colour ability of the projector will wow most viewers for years to come. Rich, effervescent colours will adorn the entire screen, letting your slide shows and movies alike draw in your audience.

210-Watt Power

This is pretty standard for a projector and means that you’ll be able to use it with any standard power source without having to worry about converting outlets.

Multiple Options to Save Power

  • Normal: 5,000 hours
  • Eco: 10,000 hours
  • SmartEco: 15,000 hours

The BenQ MH535A provides you with 3 options for power saving, and you can see that you’ll get plenty of life out of this little machine even if you don’t choose to maximize your efficiency. But why wouldn’t you? In SmartEco Mode, the projector analyzes your image and video content before automatically choosing a brightness level that will specify performance levels for the highest quality picture available. This saves up to 70% of your lamp power, giving you a far longer life than a projector without power-saving modes.

The machine will also save energy by activating the Eco Blank Mode after 3 minutes of inactivity with no content. So, in case you forget to turn it off or if you’re taking a break from a presentation, the machine will take care of power economy on its own. It will also shut off automatically after 20 minutes of inactivity. This is a life saver if you get called into a different last-minute meeting and completely forget that you had the projector on!


  • 2 HDMI Ports
  • 2 VGA Ports
  • Audio In/Out

This is an often overlooked but highly valuable feature of the MH535A. Say you have a meeting that is going to require multiple presentations from different people, all of whom have different machines and connections. You can plug them all in at the same time, eliminating the need for the fuss of switching around between presentations. This makes your entire meeting more streamlined and convenient for everyone involved. Simply click a button to switch between displays, so you can even bring up parts of another presentation without any hassle. Desktops, laptops, and even mobile devices with USB connectivity are all supported.

Other Features

On top of its basic specifications, the MH535A offers a variety of other features that make it intuitive and easy to use, even for beginners.

Vertical Keystone

Many projectors suffer from a trapezoidal effect when projecting from a less-than-ideal setup. This can happen when it must be placed off-centre, on top of a platform, or even if it’s just being used in a room that is considered too small or large for optimal viewing. BenQ’s Vertical Keystone feature automatically counters this effect and creates an image that is perfectly square and correctly aligned, preventing any distortion to your images and videos.

3 Adjustment Fleet

There are three adjustable feet placed around the bottom outside of the projector, allowing you full control over the angle and placement of the machine. While many other projectors only come equipped with one foot, the MH535A provides a customizable experience and superior ease of use when compared to competitors.

Accessible Top Lamp Door

You won’t have to spend time unscrewing and replacing the lamp door, because this one flips off easily, letting you get to the lamp for any sort of maintenance or replacement that may be required. Even if your projector is mounted to a platform, you won’t have to waste hours uninstalling it just to get to the lamp – you can get there quickly thanks to the sleek design of this machine.

Quick Install

The wireless remote offers a quick install button so that you can access functions and install them immediately. You won’t have to deal with the hassle of going through multiple menus just to install a display function – you can get it with the simple click of a button.

Pros and Cons

As with any high-tech machines, there are going to be some advantages and disadvantages when compared to its competition. Overall, we find that the MH535A is an excellent projector with many benefits, but we advise you to consider the upsides and shortcomings to determine if it is the right machine for you.


  • 3600 Lumen High Brightness – This is a major advantage, whether you are giving presentations during a bright, sunny day, or screening an adventure film in your home theatre at night. You’ll have no trouble seeing what you need to see thanks to the 3600-lumen capability of this machine, making for effervescent, detailed images and videos.
  • 15,000:1 High Native Contrast – There’s just no beating this quality, which makes text readable, graphs crisp and clear, and images easy to see. Preventing strain on the eyes is a huge benefit for anybody who happens to be viewing your presentation.
  • HDMI and VGA Connectivity ­– Let’s face it, nobody wants to waste time when they are going through presentations, and this feature, while easily implemented, saves a whole lot of time. Connect up to four devices and easily switch between laptops, desktops, and even mobile phones as your meetings run smoothly and without hassle.
  • Plethora of Media Capabilities – You’ll be able to show videos, pictures, and full-length movies from a variety of media players, including Macs and PCs as well as digital cameras, iPods, and cell phones (provided that you have the proper connections).
  • Highly Versatile – As mentioned, the brightness capability and customizability of this projector make it a versatile machine that can be used in both the home and the office. Crisp, readable graphs and charts provide for great presentation material, but it also handles 1080p video with grace and clarity, making your viewing experience exceptional in either atmosphere.
  • Easy to Use – Because of its many additional features, this is an easy-to-use device that won’t require much tinkering or maintenance. From Vertical Keystone which automatically squares up the image to an easily accessible lamp for quick replacements, you won’t have to worry about spending valuable time getting this projector to work. You’ll basically just have to turn it on, and it will be ready to show whatever content you provide it with.


  • No 4k Capability – 4k is the wave of the future, and unfortunately the MH535A doesn’t reach that high. Still, you’ll be spending a lot more on any 4k projector, meaning that this is still an excellent value.
  • Speaker – The built-in speaker leaves a lot to be desired for cinema viewing. It is only 2W and will not provide a strong viewing experience if you are relying on it for home use. It is quiet, tinny, and overall just a low-quality speaker. It might work just fine for a short presentation, but if you are relying on sound and music for videos, you will need to utilize an external audio source to have an exceptional viewing experience.
  • Darkness Required for Home Use – if you don’t have blackout curtains or a windowless theatre, you may notice some degradation in quality of the picture. The projector will perform best for cinematic video when you minimize any sort of natural or ambient light.

What is an alternative to the BenQ MH535A?

While we give the BenQ MH535A our stamp of approval, you may find that it is not quite the right projector for you. If you want to a solid alternative to this projector, we recommend the Optoma HD27 Home Theatre projector.

While this projector doesn’t provide as many lumens of brightness (3400 vs 3600), it beats out the BenQ when it comes to contrast ratio (25,000:1 vs 15,000:1). This makes for excellent crispness and clarity that may be more noticeable for the home theatre user than someone using it for office presentations. However, it will still make for a great conference room projector.

Other than the brightness and contrast ratio, the specs and price are very similar between the two. We prefer the BenQ MH535A, but the Optoma HD27 is still an impressive machine and may work better for some people with different preferences.

BenQ MH535A Conclusion: Perfect Addition to Home Theatre or Conference Room

As the price of projectors continues to come down and the quality gets better and better, many people are opting to use them over standard flat-screen televisions. If you are considering going this route for your home theatre or conference room, it is hard to beat the BenQ MH535A when it comes to brightness, clarity, picture quality, and value. This easy-to-install and highly versatile machine would make a great addition for any home or office. Whether showcasing graphs and images of new products for customers or entertaining your friends with the latest popcorn flick, the MH535A is going to get the job done in a wonderful way.

The machine isn’t without its shortcomings, but we find that the advantages of the machine far outweigh the negative aspects that come along with it. It is also a highly efficient machine that maximizes its use of energy, so you’ll be getting a projector that will last for years and will continually deliver gorgeous pictures and video. It may not offer 4k video, but the 1080p powered by 3600 lumens and a 15,000:1 contrast ratio means that you’ll still be getting some of the highest-quality images that money can buy.

Overall, this is a machine that will be a perfect addition to a home theatre or an office conference room, and we believe that satisfaction levels will be high for everyone that uses it.

Best 1080p projectors under $500 (2018)

The Top 1080p Projectors that Cost Less than $500

When shopping for a 1080p projector in today’s market, it can be difficult to identify which brands offer the best value for the price you pay. This is an especially important issue to figure out, as the purchase of a projector represents a large investment in your home entertainment center setup. Sorting through the dozens upon dozens of suggested projectors on the websites of major electronics retailers can be a daunting task, and typically leaves consumers will more questions rather than effective answers.

With this shopping environment in mind, we have taken the time to curate a list of the top projectors selling for $500 or less today. While some of these projectors may have display resolutions higher than 1080p (also known as “full high definition,” or “full HD”), each product on this list managed to pass our review process, indicating that their image quality is enough to satisfy even the technophiles among us.

Each of these projectors will be judged on three key criteria: Brightness, Image Quality, Unique Features. Our first two areas of review are self-explanatory, while the third, Unique Features, will focus on the specialized technology that sets each projector apart from its competitors. By going in-depth in these areas, it is our hope that consumers will leave our blog feeling better informed about how to go about investing in a high quality yet affordable projector. Without further ado, let’s jump into the review and see what the first unit has to offer.

Check out the Top 5 Projectors Available for Under $1000

1. ViewSonic PA503S

ViewSonic 503S

The ViewSonic PA503S is highly regarded within this price range. With a strong combination of crisp image quality and high customer satisfaction, this unit may seem like a no-brainer after a quick glance while shopping online. But how does it really measure up in terms of our specific review criteria?

Brightness: With a brightness of 3,600 ANSI Lumens and a 22,000:1 high contrast ratio, this projector is guaranteed to produce clearly visible images in almost any presentation environment. Believe it or not, this visibility also extends to rooms that have high levels of ambient light, making this a particularly good investment for those having to consistently deal with open windows or unavoidable natural lighting.

The lamp bulb utilized by this projector is also guaranteed a longer lifespan, thanks to a number of different projection modes that somehow manage to avoid compromising the overall quality of the image at the same time.  For example, when the projector’s Power Saving setting is on and there is no type of input signal detected, the projector will automatically switch to a mode that saves a significant amount of lamp bulb time – which ensures that users save a significant amount of money in the long run.

Image Quality: With the ViewSonic PA503S, a no-frills yet crisp image quality combines with a number of notable features that make this projector a great choice for those who want to combine home entertainment functionality and on the go presentation readiness in one single device. Users have raved about the image quality, with many saying that it allows for viewings that are of comparable quality to those created by far more expensive projectors.

Unique Features: The target market of presentation givers is made clear by the inclusion of capacity for up to 8 different remote controls to be utilized at once on this projector. This feature – while far from mainstream – could help teachers and professors engage classrooms with multiple choice questions peppered throughout presentations.

ViewSonic’s proprietary SuperColor Technology is impressive, to say the least. This allows for a wide range of visible colors, ensuring that users are able to enjoy more realistic and accurate video projection in both bright and dark environments without ever having to sacrifice image quality.

2. Fixeover GP100

Fixeover GP100

The FIXEOVER GP100 (formerly VIVIBRIGHT GP100) is a great choice for those looking to buy a modern, feature-rich projector without breaking the bank. Whether for video games, movies, presentations, or marathon Netflix sessions, this projector offers all of the features and amenities that consumers these days demand from their products.

Brightness: This projector has been found to be plenty bright for almost any setting in which it would be utilized. With a bulb rated at 3500 ANSI Lumens, enhanced brightness and clarity are guaranteed. Better yet, the light source utilized in this model is LED-based, meaning that it is not only low-power and eco-friendly but versatile enough to be put through its paces while still operating properly. Overall, the brightness of this unit guarantees a crisp, inviting image, regardless of the location in which it is being used.

Image Quality: Overall, the video quality of the GP100 is enough to impress even the biggest skeptics. The resolution is full 1080p and appears to bring and crisp on any wall or surface. However, there have been reports of color profiles in certain images appearing flat, which means that some images might not appear to “pop” as much as one would like. Still, the projector is powerful enough to do well even in bright rooms. While there are instances of occasional blurring on the corners, this is easily fixable by switching out HDMI cables until the problem is resolved.

Unique Features: As a no-frills projector, there aren’t any notable technical specs to point out here. However, the GP100 has arguably one of the sleekest designs on our list, which gives it extra points when it comes to product styling. While this unit does not scream “premium,” it has everything one needs to bring the movie viewing experience home, making it the perfect choice for those who don’t want to break the bank.

3. BenQ MW526

BenQ MW526

Coming in just shy of $500, this projector just barely makes it onto its list. While the audio on this model has been found to be just short of awful (which isn’t a deal breaker in most situations thanks to external speakers), the picture quality is strong and bolstered with 3D content capabilities.

Brightness: With a bulb rated at only 3,200 ANSI Lumens, one could be excused for believing that the brightness would be less than stellar for this unit. However, users have reported a high-quality projection when used for even longer periods of time, which goes to show that there is more to the brightness quality of a unit than captured in a simple benchmark rating.

Image Quality: Good, yet not great. The image quality of this unit comes in at barely full high-definition quality. With this being said, there are plenty of more affordable units out there that offer a better viewing experience. Focus and zoom settings are limited, with a modest 1.1x zoom allowing for just enough adjustment to achieve a clear picture in most situations. With image quality comes cable support, and thankfully this model has consumers covered. VGA, HDMI, RCA jacks, and S-video ports are all included, ensuring that you will be able to display your content regardless of the connector’s formatting.

Unique Features: The most notable extra feature included with this model is its widespread support for 3D content. While users will still have to buy specialized glasses to fully enable this content format, simply having the option to play movies and video games in 3D utilizing a projector in this price range is exciting. This projector is able to project 3D content from a PC over a VGA connection, or from a Blu-ray player or set-top box over its various HDMI ports. Needless to say, having the ability to project content in 3D via multiple different connection standards certainly helps to boost the versatility of this budget-minded projector.

4. Epson VS250

Epson has long been one of the industry leaders in projector technology, and it’s easy to see why this is the case with this particular model. With a simple to understand setup and a number of connections supported, this projector is a great choice for anyone in the market for an affordable, high-quality projector.

Brightness: This model is rated for 3,200 ANSI lumens, meaning that it represents best-in-class brightness as far as this metric is concerned. This means that consumers will be able to enjoy the high-quality image produced by this unit in any setting, bright or dark. A strong bulb brightness is combined with one of the best contrast ratios on our list (i.e. 15,000:1), making it very easy to get really high-quality images on screen, even with darker or less vibrant media forms, such as black and white pictures.

Image Quality: In short, this projector has the best image quality of any model present on our list. The brightness and contrast ratio mentioned above combine with a full high definition resolution to provide one of the best looking pictures available via any projector at this price point. This model is more than suitable for projecting everyday presentations and graphics and may actually provide a bit too much capability for these mundane tasks.

Gaming and full HD movies and videos look amazing with this projector. For customers most concerned about projectors being able to keep up high-intensity gaming, we strongly suggest this product, as it offers the “best of both worlds” when it comes to providing an impressive image quality for both video games and movies.

Unique Features: The interesting fact about this projector is that it does not really manage to stand on when it comes to features alone. While the setup process is specially designed to be fast and easy for all users, that is really the only special feature that we were able to denote throughout our intensive review process. Overall, we strongly suggest this projector for anyone looking to maximize their return on investment with a high quality and extremely easy-to-use projector.

Our Conclusion: The Epson VS250 Is The Best Choice For Under $500

With a strong list of technical specifications, a reasonable price point, and an attractive form factor, the Epson VS250 offers more than enough to convince casual videophiles and everyday film fans to make this projector a part of their home theater setup. Thanks to the fact that the Epson VS250 packs full HD video into an extremely affordable form factor, this will likely satisfy any cost-conscious audiophile’s urge to build their own epic home entertainment system.

This is an exciting conclusion to come to, as Epson has done a great job of ensuring that those on a budget have access to a great projector system. Known for their dependability and steady improvements, this Epson model comes close to being the best budget-minded projector that we have seen at the under $500 price point. This exciting fact combines with an impressive video quality that is enough to satisfy even the most sensitive videophile. Featuring HDMI, VGA, and RCA video inputs, multiple different source devices are supported, helping to bolster the fact that the Epson VS250 is a solid choice for any existing home entertainment system.