The Best 4K Projector Under $2,000

The Best 4K Projector Under $2,000


– TVs are in a really good place right now. I can get a really good one for under $1,000 and I can get an amazing one for under $2,000. So, why on Earth am I going to spend $2,000 instead on a 4K projector? I mean, projectors tend to either be really expensive, or they tend to have really dim lighting and a crummy picture for the price. But, in the last couple of years, projectors have actually gotten better. I can now get a really solid 4K projector for under $2,000. Now we’ve got five projectors here. All are under $2,000 and all do 4K and HDR. They’re the BenQ HT3550, the Optoma UHD60, the ViewSonic PX727-4K, the Vivitek HK2288, and the Epson Home Cinema 4010. What 4K projector on the market for under $2,000 is actually worth my money? Let’s find out. (booming) (upbeat music) Getting the projector set up and the image focused on the screen so that it looks just like a TV, is really half the battle, so for my first battle, I’m going to test every single one of these projectors and see how hard they are to set up. A projector isn’t like a TV, you can’t just plug and go. First, you have to settle on where it’s going to sit in the home, then you have to get a good screen, and then you have to point it at the screen and make a lot of adjustments so the images take up the entire screen, stays in focus, and doesn’t have weird distortions. The BenQ, ViewSonic, and Vivitek are really bare bones. You have to hover over the projector itself, making micro-adjustments. Then, to fix distortion, you have to use a keystone setting in the projector menu. The BenQ is a little nicer than the other two. That’s owing to it just being easier to use and having better labeled adjustment features. The Optoma was easier to set up, but really only if you like to pretend you’re a cinematographer. That’s because instead of using a knob somewhere, focusing requires physically manipulating the lens like a cinematographer would. But the Epson Home Cinema 4010, is in a league all on its own. It was the only projector that lets you make all the adjustments using the remote, which means I can sit on the couch, where I plan to watch, and get the picture perfect without touching a single focusing ring, and it allows me to do program presets. So if I regularly move it between rooms in a home, and use different screens, depending on the lighting situation, all I have to do is hit a single button to get ready for a movie. So the winner, Epson Home Cinema 4010. Okay, so the Epson Home Cinema 4010 is the easiest to set up, but what if the picture quality is garbage? Then it doesn’t really matter, right? So for the next test, we’re going to see which has the best image quality, which means I get to watch a whole lot of movies. Testing image quality on a projector requires two different things: first, you need to use equipment and software to test just how bright these projectors get and how accurate their colors are. Finally, we watched a whole lot of movies looking for things like shadow detail and color accuracy. We’ll also be on the hunt for weird hiccups like funky skin tones and gross color shifting. So the screen we’re using for our test is the EC Cinema 2 from Elite Screens. Really nice for a really dark room, but remember, always choose the best screen for your environment. The wrong screen and the wrong lining can mean a real crummy picture. The cheapest projectors we tested, the Vivitek and ViewSonic, really struggled to reproduce the brightest whites and deep blacks and colors that actually look the way they’re supposed to. And, because of how the color filters on them work, these projectors can have a really annoying thing called the rainbow effect. It might sound pretty, but it causes you to see different colors flashing in dark scenes and it can be bad enough to make a person nauseous. The Optoma and Epson are both a little better but there’s still a distinct color shift. Everything is simply too blue or green. When it comes to a 4K projector that’s comparable to a 4K HDR TV, the BenQ is the only one that really comes close. It’s factory calibrated, it’s got really solid accurate colors, nice bright light, and an HDR mode that doesn’t completely suck. In fact, it’s really pretty. The BenQ HT3550 is our clear image quality winner. It is very obvious they are not as easy to set up as a TV, and the picture quality is not quite as good for the price, and yes, if you have $2,000 and the space, you should just get a TV, but there is still definitely one projector that stood out. So let’s sum up the rest. The ViewSonic and the Vivitek are the cheapest projectors, but they also failed to impress in every single way. The Optoma was a step up in price, but only a slight step up in quality, ease of set up, or picture. And the Epson has a great picture and is an absolute breeze to set up, but it’s also kind of expensive. So for me, the stand out is the BenQ HT3550. Yes, it’s a little more difficult to set up than the Epson, but the picture quality is also way better. The settings are easier, it’s smaller, it looks nicer, I think, and it’s cheaper. If you have to buy a 4K projector for under $2,000, the BenQ HT3550 is the one for you. So the overall winner of this battlemodo is the BenQ HT3550.

5 Comments

  • Andrew Lai

    May 17, 2019

    When ppl buy projector they do not try to compare image quality with TV because there is really no comparison. You buy a projector because of it size a 150 inch projector provides the immersive experience that puny 50 or even 70 incher can't , hook it up with a decent audio system and you will have your own mini home theatre at the comfort of your own home.

    Reply
  • Ryan 350sx

    May 26, 2019

    Nice review but the Epson is def the projector to buy. They other projectors can’t compare to the Epson black levels color accuracy and motorized lens.
    Although the optoma is good choice with slightly better 4k native sharpness.
    Go with the Epson you won’t be disappointed I own the 5040 and then just bought the 5050
    The next level up would be the JVC native 4k
    But with all these projectors u need a dark room no matter which screen you buy.
    Seriously guys there’s a reason the Epson md optima is nearly twice the size of all those cheap 4k projectors. It’s the lens.
    Just like cameras you need a good quality lens.
    Don’t be fooled either buy a good 4k projector like the Epson, jvc, optima.
    If you really can’t afford either a 4k eshift or native 4k PJ buy the last year Sony 1080p PJ
    For less then $1800
    I do appreciate the review for sure there isn’t much out there explaining projectors.
    When buying a projector please consider the room you really need a dedicated room that’s very dark 75% of the time a oled or new qLed would be the best option.
    Bottom line if your considering a projector make sure you using it in the the right application.

    Reply
  • Josh Fletcher

    May 29, 2019

    I would get the Epson but its only LCD and I don't think it has 3d other then that It is my favorite next to the Benq I will go with the benq because it is DLP and has 3d

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  • kevin weithers

    June 9, 2019

    I really don't understand who conducted this test. There is no way that the Benq could beat the Epson. The build quality and features of the Epson are on another level vs the others. All pro review sites agree with my assessment. Had they calibrated each projector, the advantage of the Epson would have been apparent.

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  • MrNigelt

    August 31, 2019

    I take the Epson any day…

    Reply

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