A projector-based set-up can be ideal for gaming, giving you a big screen where you can get fully-immersed in the world. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that not every projector is going to be the right choice for hooking up to your Xbox or PlayStation.
So what does make a good gaming projector? The short answer is a low input latency, a high frame rate, and a high contrast ratio. A projector with a bright lamp and flexible installation options is also helpful for making sure it’ll work right in your gaming room.
We’ve picked out our 5 favorite 4K projectors for gamers and reviewed them here. If pressed to pick a winner, we’d say the BenQ TK700STi is the best overall choice based on its responsiveness, dedicated display modes, and installation flexibility (>>> Check how much it cost on Amazon). That said, each of the projectors below has its strengths and could be the ideal projector for the right kind of user. Let’s take a deeper look at the features so you can see the difference.
Best 4K Projector for Gaming 2021 – Top 5 Options:
4K w/pixel shifting
|4.0′ – 32.7′
|4.0′ – 26.6′
|4.2′ – 33.0′
|1.3′ – 10.9′
|2.4′ – 19.6′
|33″ – 300″
|34″ – 302″
|34″ – 302″
|36″ – 301″
|30″ – 300″
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This is the most important stat for gamers. A high input lag can make a projector functionally useless for gaming, creating a noticeable delay between your input on the controller and what you see on the screen. For casual gaming, anything under about 60ms is acceptable. Serious gamers will want an even lower lag, something around 30ms or less.
All 5 of these projectors can get an input lag as low as 16ms with the right picture settings. That said, the input lag of the Optoma UHD35 and BenQ TK700STi registers as low as 4.2ms in full HD, and meet the 16ms lag of the others at 4K.
The contrast ratio is a measure of how much difference there is between the light and dark areas of the screen. It’s the most important picture stat for gamers because it determines how much detail you’ll see in shadowed areas of the picture.
Optoma projectors that use their Dynamic Black technology are the strongest in this regard. The rich black levels you get from these projectors match the brighter screen areas in detail and clarity, helping you catch every clue in RPGs and every enemy in first-person shooters regardless of whether it’s day or night in-game.
In a home theater, you have the option of watching with the lights off and can get away with a projector brightness as low as 1,500 lumens. While some people don’t mind gaming in the dark, though, most prefer to keep a few lights on. This means you’ll need a brighter lamp, especially if you want to play during the daytime in a room with lots of windows.
For the average light levels indoors during the day, you’ll want a projector that produces at least 3,000 lumens. Those who want to take the projector outside or have especially bright spaces should kick this up to 3,500-4,000 lumens. Keep in mind the brightness is adjustable on all these projectors. You can dial it down if it’s too bright, so your best bet is to err on the side of a brighter lamp if you think you’ll need it.
Brightest lamp: Optoma GT1090HDR
Most people aren’t getting a projector to use with just one gaming system, either because they also want to use it for movies or because they’re multi-platform gamers with multiple consoles to connect. All of these projectors have at least 2 HDMI ports for content sources. Whether or not that’s enough depends on your set-up.
The Optoma GT1090HDR does deserve a shout-out here for its robust rear panel, which includes VGA and composite inputs. This makes it a better choice for players of older systems or PC gamers (though you’ll find VGA inputs on all Optoma projectors on this list, too).
For more modern home theater set-ups, the Android TV streaming and device mirroring of the BenQ TK700STi is a big plus, saving the HDMI ports for your gaming systems.
Most modern connectivity: BenQ TK700STi
The Optoma UHD35 would be an excellent 4K gaming projector at any price, so it’s especially impressive that it’s also one of the most affordable options on the market. Using Enhanced Gaming Mode drops the input lag down to just over 4ms in full HD (16ms in 4K). That’s as close to instant as you’re likely to find from a projector. Paired with the high frame rate, this make it a suitable option for even pro-level gamers, with no worry of lag or frame tears interrupting your flow.
The picture quality of the UHD35 is on par with other Optoma 4K projectors, and it utilizes much of the same technology. This includes Dynamic Black contrast enhancement, delivering rich black levels and full detail in shadows. The colors are vibrant, too, with an 8-segment color wheel and a bright lamp that keeps those hues saturated in any light level.
Now you will need a good amount of space to use the Optoma UHD35—about 11-12 feet for a 100” screen. You’ll also need to be fairly precise if you’re ceiling-mounting it. It does have some installation flexibility, working in table-top or mounted set-ups and with a 2D keystone correction, but the zoom is narrow and there aren’t options like rotation or lens shift to fine-tune the alignment.
- Super-low input lag in Enhanced Gaming Mode
- True 4K resolution with HLG and HDR10 support
- Dynamic Black contrast for sharper on-screen detail
- Bright lamp can be used in any indoor light level
- Excellent value for the image quality
- Long throw distance
- Limited alignment options
Here’s the first of many options we’ll look at from Optoma. Optoma is a leader in the projector market for a reason. Their projectors are reliable and durable, and represent a great value for the specifications they offer. In the case of the Optoma UHD50X, it’s one of the best 4K projectors for gaming period, and certainly one of the strongest contenders in the under-$2,000 price point.
The Optoma UHD50X has a true native 4K resolution, with 8.3 million on-screen pixels. You can game in either 1080p or 4K and the input lag will be unnoticeable regardless. Along with this, it offers a 240Hz processing speed for unmatched on-screen smoothness. We also love the use of Dynamic Black contrast technology for gaming. Dark areas and shadows have the same depth and clarity as bright, colorful areas of the screen, allowing you to get immersed in your game with no annoyances.
We also appreciate how easy it is to get started with the Optoma UHD50X, even if you’ve never used a projector before. It has robust alignment and adjustment options, including an optical zoom and vertical lens shift as well as 40° keystone correction. The flexibility of the installation means it will work in all but the smallest spaces, despite the comparatively high throw distance.
- True native 4K resolution
- 8-segment color wheel with UltraDetail technology
- Excellent contrast thanks to Dynamic Black technology
- Enhanced Gaming Mode gives you 16ms response time (25ms in 4K)
- User-friendly and easy to install
- Includes lens shift, vertical keystone correction, and 1.3x zoom
- Fairly long throw distance
- Some users report seeing rainbow effect or lines on screen
The Optoma UHD30 was designed with gamers in mind. It has both the low input lag and the high frame rate you want for gaming. Its fast 240Hz processor eliminates blurring and choppiness, and it’s one of the most responsive 4K projectors on the market. The Enhanced Gaming Mode enhances the on-screen contrast, boosting the clarity in shadowy areas of the screen so you’ll never miss an enemy (or the loot they drop) because of the picture.
You don’t have to sacrifice picture quality for this fast response, either. The lag stays low even at 4K resolution. The combination of a bright lamp, UltraDetail technology, and an 8-segment color wheel provide a hyper-realistic image that doesn’t blur or distort at larger screen sizes.
One thing to note is that the speakers on this model are weak, even by projector standards. When the fan is on full blast it can be hard to hear what’s going on unless you use external speakers. That minor quibble aside, it has everything we want out of a gaming projector, and is especially well-suited to ceiling-mounted installations.
- High frame rate for smooth, blur-free performance
- Dynamic Black contrast technology
- Native 4K resolution with HDR10 and HLG support
- 8-segment color wheel gives richer, more vibrant color gamut
- Fast response time at all screen resolutions
- 40° vertical keystone correction for easy ceiling mounting
- Some users report lines on the screen
- Built-in speakers are low quality
Let’s be up-front about one thing here: the Optoma GT1090HDR does not have a native 4K resolution. It does, however, accept 4K content, meaning it’s still suitable for playing 4K games. We included it on this list because it has two things you won’t find on any other gaming projector in the mid-range prince point: a short throw distance and an ultra-bright lamp.
Even without 4K resolution, the picture quality on the GT1090HDR is fantastic. It uses both HLG and HDR10 color technology and the contrast ratio is impressively high, as well. The DuraCore laser light source will put out up to 30,000 hours of illumination with no maintenance, and is bright enough you can use it in well-lit rooms without a hassle.
All-told, the Optoma GT1090HDR is the most flexible gaming projector on the list from an installation perspective. It’s easy to set up, too, with image alignment options like 4-corner correction and a 1.3x zoom that take guesswork and frustration out of the equation.
- Content has great definition without any compression
- Bright, vibrant colors
- Short throw increases set-up flexibility
- Automatic keystone and four-corner correction make installation easy
- Capable of competing with daytime natural light
- Durable lamp with high dust resistance
- No native 4K resolution
- Some users report rainbow effect issues
The BenQ TK700STi matches the single-digit input lag and 240Hz refresh rate of the Optoma UHD35. That means no delay and smooth action at both full HD and 4K. The 3 dedicated game modes (RPG, FPS, and sports) optimize the picture settings to the game style, so it’s even easier to get immersed in the action no matter your gaming style.
The BenQ TK700STi doesn’t need as much space as most options on the list, producing a 100” screen with as little as 6.5 feet of distance. Its Corner Fit Correction rotates the picture, letting it be installed on uneven or slanted surfaces, with 2D keystone correction for squaring the geometry. This flexibility is ideal for smaller spaces and unusual layouts, and it has the lamp brightness to support lights-on use.
For multi-use spaces, the Android TV streaming interface and wireless casting of the TK700STi can free up the HDMI inputs for your game systems, sparing you the need to mess with wires when you switch from one to the other. You will want to use external speakers for the sound—the 5-watt speaker on this projector can’t do justice to sound effects, and its maximum output is relatively low. This minor issue aside, the BenQ TK700STi is arguably the best 4K gaming projector out there today.
- Low input lag even in 4K
- Dedicated modes optimize picture to your gaming style
- Excellent detail, color, and contrast
- Stream content directly using Android TV interface
- Wirelessly cast through Chromecast or AirPlay
- Flexible set-up with picture rotation and keystone correction
- Will need to use external speakers for immersive sound
So What’s the Best 4K Projector for Gaming?
Any of the 5 projectors above will give you a fantastic gaming experience. Choosing between them really comes down to figuring out what you need for your space. Consider the size and ambient lighting in your gaming room. A small room will call for a short throw ratio, while a bright lamp will help the most in a room with lots of natural light.
If pressed to pick a winner, we’d say the BenQ TK700STi is the top option both for picture quality and gameplay, and has the flexibility and connectivity for multi-use spaces (>>> Check how much it cost on Amazon). On the other hand, gamers on a budget can get a similarly impressive input lag from the Optoma UHD35 for a few hundred dollars less. The truth is, any of these projectors can be an excellent option for gaming. It all comes down to your space and budget.
REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING:
This Article was first published by Projector Top.