Best Home Theater Projectors under $500

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Modern the best projectors under 500 dollars mostly contain LED lamps, which consume little energy and do not require serious cooling. This allowed manufacturers to create units that have the size of a book, which can do all the same as much more cumbersome models. Before a projector buying, you should understand what purposes it will be used for and in what conditions. If you plan to carry it with you, then the priority may be the device’s mass. In this case, do not forget about the cables, remote control, carrying bag, and other accessories because their total weight may be equal to the weight of the projector itself. Make sure that the desired device has sufficient luminous flux to display required scenes under various ambient light conditions.

The size of the room for the projector is a critical factor for choosing. In a small apartment and at a modest screen size (75 inches diagonally) you will probably need no more than 1000 lumens. Most new projectors with abundance provide this minimum, however, in a meeting room of medium size or in a classroom it is better to install a projector with a luminous flux from 1500 to 3000 lumens and big ones – more than 3500 lumens. Here we have four the best projectors under 500 dollars that will not take up much space in the bag and help create a home theater, entertain guests at the apartment, or show a presentation in the office/classroom.

Projectors Under $500 Reviews

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ViewSonic PJD5134: Compactness with VGA Output and 2W Speaker

ViewSonic PJD5134

The PJD5134 renders SVGA (800x600) native resolution at 4:3 aspect ratio and sufficient nominal brightness of 2800 lumens. It has a good set of connections: two VGA inputs (which can work with component video), one VGA output, audio input, and output connectors, S-Video, RCA connector for composite video, and a mini-USB type B port for the mouse remote control. All of them work seamlessly. The overall quality of the projected text is satisfactory, although the smallest size of white text on black is somewhat blurred but readable. It has a quick turn-off function and vertical keystone correction that allow you efficiently and easily manage the projector. Thanks to all these peculiarities, the device belongs to top projectors under 500 dollars for home and office usage.

Pros

  • The picture (about 55 inches diagonally) is visible enough in conditions with a fair amount of ambient light.
  • Non-filter technology and energy-saving ECO mode provide long service life and low operating costs.
  • Lightweight device (4.6 pounds) is equally convenient to use for mounting on a table or to the ceiling, in classrooms, or in office rooms.

Cons

  • The red color is somewhat muffled and the yellow looks mustard.
  • Some images have an unpleasant rainbow effect. It appears as small red-green-blue flashes, usually in bright areas against a dark background.

Epson EX3260: Bright Colors and HDMI/MHL Connectivity

Epson EX3260

It’s a wireless device with 3600 lumens of brightness and WXGA resolution (1280x800) for demonstrating colorful and vivid images. The unit not only supports the HDMI and MHL but also allows you to quickly connect the tablets/smartphones and project content. The device shows a really bright picture even against a flat wall with some lights on. The soft carrying case is compact and protects all the wires from falling down and being out of pocket. Epson’s body frame combines black and silver colors, but the light part is a fingerprint magnet, even the smallest scratches are visible. The projector is small (9.9 x 11.9 x 3.6 inches), so it’s easy to take it in a bag and use in different locations. It can’t be called the best home theater projector under 500 dollars, but the EX3260 is a decent unit for different purposes.

Pros

  • Cooling fan works rather quiet.
  • The remote control presence helps not to stay behind the computer and guide the device from different parts of the apartment.
  • In order to control the projector via iPhone, you should download the required app and follow the instructions.

Cons

  • It doesn’t have an audio output, so I can’t hook the speakers.
  • The onboard speaker isn’t loud enough.

Epson EX3210: Self-Adjustment, Compact Size, and Handy Controls Presence

Epson EX3210

The device is small (11.6 x 9 x 3.1 inches) and light weighted (5.1 pounds): it also has a firm bag for transportation. All the inputs are visible and reachable; moreover, the image shows without delay. It works with Apple gadgets, but the inbuilt speakers are rather weak, and it’s better to connect the external ones. After the position changing, the Epson EX3210 is able to adjust its angle automatically that simplifies the process of using. The cooling fan works rather loud, but it doesn’t distract the attention during the working process.

Pros

  • The unit has impressive clarity and color rendition during the movie.
  • There are handy controls on the device’s top to skew the image so that it will distribute not being directly in line with the screen.
  • It has a special lid to cover the lens, so if you want to stop the displaying at any time, you don’t have to use the book or another element, just cast down the lid.

Cons

  • The unit plays a slideshow from a USB drive in a spotty way. It refuses to display some JPEG files without reasons.
  • It doesn’t have a full-fledged manual, just a small startup guide without really important information (how to adjust, fix some problems, etc.).

LG PH550: Device with Bluetooth, Quiet Fan, and Built-in Battery

LG PH550

The projector has a spacious battery and is able to work 2.5 hours offline. The user can send content to the projector from various gadgets, using Wi-Fi Screen Share technology. It’s also easy to connect the speakers via Bluetooth. The PH550 has a brightness of 550 lumens, so colors are not really saturated and on a sunny day, it might be hard to see everything clearly. The box is white and small, but all the dust and small spots are easy to see. The cooling fan itself works quiet and it’s possible to use the projector even at night in a room with children. Among different projectors under 500 dollars, this model looks reliable due to its solid box and has a decent color reproduction, but, at the same time, it isn’t complemented with zoom, so it’s hard to see all the pictured details.

Pros

  • Quick boot up speed is rather important and such a unit starts promptly.
  • The LG PH550 has three levels of brightness, so I can easily choose the best one that conforms to conditions.
  • It works fine with minimal keystone correction.

Cons

  • Brightness declines when you switch to battery. It’s okay while using the LG PH550 at night, but during the day such a peculiarity makes the soft focus.
  • The device has solid dark lines between pixels that are very perceptible when the picture size is nearly 100 inches.

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