The Best Projectors for Gaming – November 2018
In the not-so-distant past, the very thought of using a projector while gaming seemed like absolute madness. Earlier iterations of even top-selling projectors tended to lack the definition and power that’s required for most games, and on the off chance you were able to find a projector that ticked all of these essential boxes, its price was doubtlessly through the roof.
Thankfully those days are over, and there are a large number of affordable projectors that can be used for gaming. For those of us who aren’t satisfied with the limited power, size, and aspect ratios of standard computer screens or even large televisions, a projector can allow us to game in a hundred inches of projected clarity from the comfort of our sofa.
So instead of limiting yourself to an underwhelming screen or dishing out thousands of dollars for a giant HD TV, check out these high-powered and (mostly) affordable gaming projectors.
It should go without saying that you can enjoy a perfectly good gaming experience on a standard projector that wasn’t designed specifically for gaming. But thanks to more efficient and streamlined processors, lenses, and AV connections, a string of new projectors have been crafted almost exclusively for the fast buffer times and 3D graphics rendering that most of today’s best games require.
This DR. J unit is one such projector, and it gets the job done for an incredibly low price. This newly-upgraded unit is perfectly suited for both indoor and outdoor projection, and can adjust flawlessly to a wide variety of light environments (even those perpetually obnoxious environments in which it’s neither too light nor too dark to dial in the proper settings on your screen).
This unit features professional-grade 840x480 native resolutions and supports 1920x1080 systems as well. You’ll get an aspect ratio of 4:3/16:9 and a contrast ratio of 2000:1, along with a more-than-respectable lamp life of 40,000 hours.
This projector is also supremely portable, which can be of use to gamers who frequently take their rig on the road, or perhaps just want to game in different rooms without having to go through too much hassle.
It’s fully compatible with a wide variety of smart home devices (including TV Box and Amazon Fire TV Stick), and can quickly connect to everything from laptops and tablets to flash drives and smartphones with minimal setup and no third-party drivers.
Unlike some gaming projectors, this unit is just as impressive when it comes to streaming movies in a home theater—meaning you won’t need to pick up a separate projector for different multimedia tasks.
Our coveted runner-up spot goes to the Vankyo Leisure 3, which is remarkably similar to the DR.J 4Inch Mini Projector in style, functionality, and price.
There are a few notable differences, however, which may or may not be of use to certain gamers. Much like the DR.J 4Inch Mini Projector, this unit features an advanced color engine that allows for super-realistic imaging and color—even if you’re using a game that requires fast buffering speeds and renders.
But this projector seems to be slightly superior when it comes to color definition and clarity. Although only some games will require these engines to be tweaked at this level of performance, these boosts can be handy if you’re playing games that are uniquely rich in vivid colors, which can all too often get lost when images are projected onto a distant wall.
Where this projector beats the DR.J 4Inch Mini Projector in terms of color clarity and definition, however, it seems to lack in overall projection power. You’ll need to have this projector about a foot or two closer to your projection surface in order to enjoy the same amount of definition and clarity in your image.
Again, this may not be an issue for gamers who have their projector set up only a few feet from their wall, but for gamers who prefer to have their setup a bit further back, this could be an issue.
Bottom line: If you value clarity over distance, you may prefer the DR.J 4Inch Mini Projector. If, on the other hand, you keep your projector up close and find yourself playing more than a few color-intensive games on a regular basis, we suggest picking up a Vankyo Leisure 3.
Next up, we have the supremely cool (but slightly expensive) BenQ HT2150ST 1080p Home Theater Projector. This beast boasts 1080p full HD image quality and a brightness limit of 2200 ANSO lumens—more than enough to effectively power practically any game in any lighting environment.
Veteran projector gamers will also appreciate the 15000:1 contrast ratio, as well as the 6x RGB color wheel that delivers truly lifelike color patterns that are specifically calibrated for gaming.
In fact, this projector is so powerful and so well-suited for gaming that it doesn’t make sense to pick this up unless you’re an avid gamer. Although it’s perfectly capable of showcasing movies and YouTube videos, you’ll be able to find a similarly capable projector that can carry out less graphics-intensive tasks for far less money.
If, on the other hand, you crave maximum clarity and rendering for both gaming and other media, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better projector than the BenQ. Superior short-throw projection technology lets you project up to 100 inches on any surface for a truly immersive gaming experience.
This projector also minimizes input lag and offers a slew of unique game modes to ensure that gamers enjoy an ultra-smooth and comprehensive experience—regardless of the game in question.
This unit also features to HD 10W speakers with BenQ Cinema Master Audio+ technology, so you’ll be able to enjoy unhindered sonics and rich bass. If only this projector were a few hundred dollars cheaper, it would have easily topped our list.
Brining things down to a slightly more reasonable price point, we have the Optoma HD143X, which offers an impressive amount of power and clarity in a very sleek and streamlined enclosure.
Boasting and impressive 3,000 lumens and a 23,000:1 contrast ratio, this projector delivers dazzling graphics and vibrant colors. And while these specs aren’t quite as impressive as those of the BenQ at our number-three spot, they’re more than enough for most gamers and video fanatics who don’t require (or even notice) the effects of a more high-end graphics engine.
This unit also features full HD 1080p resolution, and a 12,000-hour lamp life that ensures you won’t be scrambling to find a replacement bulb any time soon. You’ll also doubtlessly appreciate the flexible and intuitive zoom and throw ratio controls, which allow you to quickly and easily adapt the projector to a variety of unique spaces and environments.
Continuing on our quest back toward more reasonably priced projectors, we find the Epson VS250—an extremely capable and powerful projector that’s capable of delivering exceptional quality and color.
Ideal of well-lit rooms but equally well-suited for low-lighting environments, this unit delivers 3,200 lumens of equal color and white brightness, which provides for a uniquely accurate and realistic color scheme. This tends to be important for gamers (and movie-lovers) who understandably cringe when a projector either skews color or alters the fundamental tones of the projected images.
This projector also features an impressive digital zoom that’s ideal for presentations and computer mirroring, and comes packed with a wide range of image adjustment tools that make it easy to dial in the perfect aspect ratio regardless of the projector’s distance from the wall.
You also won’t find many modern devices that can’t easily pair with the VS250, since it supports HDMI connectivity (which has become the go-to display connection on most of today's most ubiquitous digital devices).
Last but certainly not least, we have the Nebula Capsule Smart Mini Projector, which sports both an incredibly powerful graphics processor and an effortlessly sleek design. As is so often the case, the only reason this truly awesome projector didn’t make it higher on our list was because of its relatively high price.
But if you have the cash to throw around, we highly recommend taking a look at this unit, which is remarkably bright at 100 ANSI lumens and can project an image at up to 100 inches.
The sound on this projector is perhaps its biggest selling point, thanks to a 360-degree omnidirectional speaker that can fill the room with incredibly accurate and robust sound.
This unit is also incredibly portable and lightweight, and can seamlessly run streaming apps from Android 7.1.
You’ll also be able to operate this projector with a special Capsule Control app that’s available on Google Play and the App Store, and a recently-updated battery lets you enjoy up to four hours of continuous video streaming on a single charge—making it ideal for those who want to enjoy a game or watch a move when a power source may not be immediately available.