If you want the best picture quality you can find, you want 4K ultra HD. Resolution is only part of the story, of course, but the truth is the best 4K projector will also usually have other key features, like a good brightness, a high contrast ratio, and accurate colors.
Not too long ago, getting 4K picture quality meant spending thousands of dollars on a projector. While many do still carry a hefty price tag, you can also find models in the $1,000-$2,000 price range with true 4K resolution, bringing the technology into the reach of the average movie watcher.
If pressed to pick a single winner, the Optoma CinemaX P2 comes out on top (>>> Check on Amazon), with a high-quality image based on true 4K resolution and convenient all-in-one operation. The truth is, though, each of the projectors on this list has its strengths, and each one will be the right choice for a certain kind of user. Let’s look at the most important features we considered before we dig into the full reviews.
Best 4K Projector – Top Picks for 2021:
|Optoma UHD38||Optoma CinemaX P2||Samsung Premiere LSP7T||Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS500||BenQ TK700STi||BenQ V7050i|
4K w/pixel shifting
|Brightness (Lumens)||4,000 ANSI||3,000 ANSI||2,200 ANSI||4,000 ANSI||3,000 ANSI||2,500 ANSI|
|Throw Distance||4.0′ – 32.7′||1.5′ – 2.2′||0.8′ – 1.4′||0.7′ – 1.9′||2.4′ – 19.6′||0.2′ – 1.1′|
|Screen size||33″ – 300″||85″ – 120″||90″ – 120″||70″ – 130″||30″ – 300″||70″ – 120″|
|Internal Speakers||10.0 Watts Mono||20.0 Watts × 2||30.0 watts||10.0 Watts × 2||5.0 Watts Mono||5.0 Watts × 2|
|Price||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon|
A longer throw distance means you need more space to get the same size of image. That can be a problem for small rooms and can make installation more difficult even in larger spaces. Projectors with an ultra-short-throw (lower than .5:1) spare you the need to ceiling-mount the projector, making them a far more flexible and user-friendly choice.
Projector with the shortest throw distance: BenQ V7050i
Measured in lumens, a projector’s brightness is an indication of how powerful the internal light source is. If the projector is too dim, the picture will become washed out by other lights in the room, limiting your use of the projector to spaces that are completely dark—not always practical for everyday life.
In a completely dark room, a projector of 1,500 to 2,000 lumens is enough. The brighter the room, though, the more lumens you’ll need. For most moderately lit spaces, a projector with a brightness of 3,000-3,500 lumens is often ideal.
Brightest Projector: Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS500, Optoma UHD38
More and more people are setting up smart home theaters that integrate voice control and other helpful functions. Most 4K projectors offer some level of smart home support, including built-in smart TV interfaces and compatibility with Alexa or Google Assistant. Only one projector on our list offers comprehensive smart home integration through IFTTT, however: the Optoma CinemaX P2. This allows a more sophisticated use of the projector’s smart features beyond simple voice commands.
Projector with the best smart features: Optoma CinemaX P2
The Optoma UHD38 represents an exceptional value for home theater owners. It offers an exceptional picture quality, with Dynamic Black contrast and UltraDetail color and sharpness to enhance the native 4K resolution. The powerful lamp generates up to 4,000 lumens, plenty bright enough for you to get a vibrant image in any light level.
Gamers will be equally enamored with the Optoma UHD38. Putting it in Enhanced Gaming Mode drops the input lag as low as 4.2ms in full HD, and a quick 16ms gaming in 4K. The 240Hz refresh rate brings the same precision and speed to on-screen movement, letting you just enjoy your game with no distractions.
The main thing you’ll sacrifice for the lower price of the UHD38 is built-in streaming. Since there’s no streaming interface, you’ll need to use external content sources. On the plus side there are a good range of input options, including dual HDMI ports and a VGA connection. It can also be trickier to set up than other models since it has a long throw distance and relatively limited alignment options.
- Detailed picture with vibrant color
- Super bright lamp
- Input lag as low as 4.2ms
- Exceptional contrast with HLG/HDR10 support
- Full 3D support
- Good variety of wired input options
- Long throw distance
- No built-in streaming
Optoma CinemaX P2
The Optoma CinemaX P2 is another excellent option if you want a projector that can serve as an all-in-one entertainment package. This starts with its built-in soundbar, with two dedicated woofers and two mid-range drivers backed by 40 watts of power. Both the mid-range clarity and the bass response are impressive, so you won’t necessarily need to hook up external speakers.
The Optoma CinemaX P2 also has a lot of smart features. It has an Android-based navigation interface that pairs with the Optoma Marketplace to download streaming apps. The options are limited, so most users still pair it with a streaming stick or other content source, but it opens up the potential to function independently of any accessories. It’s also easy to integrate into smart home set-ups since it supports IFTTT and multiple voice control services.
You can use the Optoma CinemaX P2 in any space, too. The lamp performs well even in well-lit rooms and it only needs a couple feet of distance to produce a massive screen. Its user-friendly installation is another perk worth noting, especially when paired with the free SmartFIT app that automatically corrects the screen geometry.
Of course, none of this is as important as the picture quality—and the Optoma CinemaX P2 delivers on that front, too. It uses a 6-segment color wheel that covers the entire DCI-P3 spectrum and pairs that with a high dynamic contrast for a picture that’s vibrant and realistic with fantastic depth and texture. The only potential issue is that the use of a color wheel can cause issues for those sensitive to rainbowing or color hotspots. For most viewers, though, it’s the ideal home theater projector. For our more detailed review of this projector click here.
- Colorful, realistic high-contrast picture
- Ultra-short throw
- Compatible with Google and Amazon voice control
- Supports IFTTT for easy smart home integration
- Hassle-free installation SmartFIT app
- Built-in soundbar has high sound quality and output
- Streaming options are limited
- May trigger rainbow effect in sensitive viewers
Samsung Premiere LSP7T
The Samsung Premiere LSP7T has similar strengths to the projectors above but sells at a lower price point. This makes it an excellent value for those who want a smart 4K laser projector with an ultra-short throw distance. In fact, it has the shortest throw on the list, producing a 100” image with just 12 inches between the screen and lens.
The smart features on the Samsung LSP7T are particularly impressive. Its smart TV interface has more options for apps than other projectors, making it a better option if you don’t want to use external content sources. Along with that, it supports voice control through three popular services (Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Bixby), giving users even more options for interacting with the projector.
High-quality built-in sound is another thing that makes the Samsung LSP7T an excellent value. With 30 watts of power and dual woofers and drivers, the speakers on this projector are on par with most Bluetooth speakers for volume and audio quality.
The main disadvantage of the Samsung LSP7T compared to more expensive projectors is that the picture isn’t as defined or vibrant. The lamp isn’t as bright and the contrast is relatively low, so while it has 4K resolution the picture may not look as sharp, especially in well-lit environments.
- TIZEN Smart TV interface is robust and intuitive
- Great color accuracy with Purcolor and HDR10+
- Ultra-short throw (100” screen from 1 foot away)
- Built-in Alexa, Bixby, or Google voice control
- 30-watt 2.2 channel sound system
- Not bright enough for well-lit rooms
- Lower contrast
Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS500
The Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS500 comes with a screen and the hardware to mount it. And not just any screen, either. This 100” ambient light rejecting (ALR) screen has a wide 178° viewing angle and resists glare while enhancing the image contrast. That makes the LS500 our top option for anyone setting up their first home theater.
The Epson LS500 uses a multi-laser array with 3LCD chip technology for the color. The result is a wide color gamut with no image artifacts like hotspots and rainbowing. Since the lamp puts out a powerful 4,000 lumens, you can watch it day or night, in any light level, with no quality loss.
If there are gamers in your household, they’ll love the EpiqVision Ultra LS500. It has a low 16.7ms input lag with a fast frame refresh rate, supporting lag-free 4K gaming on the latest generation of consoles. That responsiveness is helpful for home theater use, too, keeping the on-screen action smooth for fast-paced content like sports.
Like many high-end projectors, the LS500 uses an Android-based interface with wireless connectivity for direct content streaming. It also has some support for voice control through services like Alexa and Google Assistant, though the commands are limited and we found navigation easier using the included remote. Click here for our more detailed Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS500 review.
- Excellent color and contrast
- Bright lamp can be used in any light level
- Comes with a 100” ALR screen
- Easy to install with ultra-short throw distance
- Responsive with low input lag for gamers
- Limited smart features
The BenQ TK700STi is another model that’s perfect for gamers and multi-use spaces. It has the low input lag gamers look for, with a 16ms response time in 4K. Its gaming picture presets take this a step further, optimizing the image to suit your style of play with options for first-person shooters, sports games, and RPGs.
The lamp of the BenQ TK700STi puts out around 3,000 lumens—plenty bright enough for most indoor light environments. It also has a shorter throw distance than most projectors, producing a 100” image from about 6.5 feet away. Corner Fit Correction and 2D keystone correction give it good placement flexibility within that range, keeping the image square even if you can’t install the projector head-on.
Our main complaint against the TK700STi is its connectivity. Like most projectors, it offers 2 HDMI ports. The issue is, its streaming system is a dongle, not a built-in interface, so it will take up one of those ports if you use it. That can be frustrating for gamers with multiple consoles or complex home theater set-ups. The good news is that streaming interface could be the only content source you need in some cases, with full access to the apps in the Google Play store and Google Assistant voice search support.
- Sharp picture for both movies and gaming
- Includes Android TV streaming dongle
- Flexible set up with shorter throw distance
- Corner Fit Correction expands placement options
- Low input lag
- Wireless casting through AirPlay and Chromecast
- Limited connectivity
- Built-in sound is weak
The throw distance of the BenQ V7050i is one of the shortest you’ll find. It produces a 100” image from less than a foot away, giving it a very easy and fast installation. This short throw also limits light diffusion, making the image look brighter than the 2,500-lumen rating might suggest, so while it’s not the brightest option on the list it puts out plenty of light for most homes.
The BenQ V7050i has the potential for all-in-one operation. This starts with its Android TV interface, giving you access to all 5,000 apps on the Google Play store for direct streaming. Its built-in speakers also provide a balanced sound, with treVolo virtual surround sound. Support for full surround sound means you’ll get the same high sound quality if you do choose to use an external system.
The most impressive thing about the BenQ V7050i, though, is its picture quality. Its color gamut covers nearly the entire DCI-P3 spectrum, the current professional cinema standard, which is further enhanced by HDR-PRO tone mapping that adjusts the contrast scene-by-scene. The dedicated filmmaker mode ensures the authenticity of the video signal, so you’ll see movies and shows the way they were intended. Click here for our more in-depth BenQ V7050i review.
- Exceptional image quality
- Ultra-short throw distance
- Wide color gamut (98% of DCI-P3 spectrum)
- Low-maintenance, dust reducing design
- Good built-in sound
- Android streaming interface with Google Assistant
- Not suitable for bright viewing areas
- Too much lag for gamers
The Bottom Line
All of these projectors exceed the resolution of a typical full HD TV or projector, and match this high quality with a range of helpful features. While the Optoma P2 is the overall winner across features (>>> Find on Amazon), there’s no one perfect home theater projector—and the more expensive option isn’t always the best one for you.
Consider which features are the most important for your home. Gamers will appreciate the low lag of the Optoma UHD38 or BenQ TK700STi, which also represent the best value for buyers on a budget. If you need a bright lamp, the Optoma UHD38 or Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS500 are the best fit. For small spaces, the ultra-short throw of the BenQ V7050i or Samsung LSP7T could be your answer. As you can see, there’s a great 4K projector out there for any budget and circumstance. Best of luck choosing yours!
REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING:
This Article was first published by Projector Top.