Best projector under $500

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Everyone will find something suitable among new models of projectors: both a compact projector for a small room and a portable model for presentation at office

Our experts have tested the best new models of projectors on the market for $300-$500; they compared their main operating characteristics and operational parameters.

What you should pay attention to

When buying a projector, it is important to pay attention to the following parameters:

  • Operating conditions. The projector should best meet your needs.
  • Brightness and contrast. These indicators affect the clarity and the quality of the image in rooms with different lighting.
  • Native resolution. This is one of the most important indicators – it affects the ability to receive different formats of the signal (HD, Full HD) without the loss of quality.
  • Method of installation. It should be possible to mount the projector on the wall as well as to install it on a horizontal surface.
  • Connectors and interfaces. A projector should have a lot of these – and the more connectors it has, the more types of equipment it will support.
  • Lamp life is another important indicator – the bigger this indicator is, the longer your lamp will serve.
  • Finally, each model should be user-friendly and simple in operation, it shouldn’t require any special knowledge from the owner, and it should guarantee a high level of reliability and durability.

How to choose the right projector

The customers who never had to choose a projector before often need professional advice. After all, the stores offer a truly impressive range of models and each of them is suitable for their own specific purposes.

Let’s review top five projectors according to customers’ feedbacks that you can find on the Amazon.

TOP-5 projectors 2018 for $300–$500

  • Nebula Capsule By Anker.
  • Optoma ML750ST Ultra-Compact 700 Lumen.
  • BenQ MH530FHD 1080p 3300 Lumens.
  • WOWOTO H8 Video Projector DLP LED.
  • Epson VS355 WXGA 3,300 lumens.

Table of main characteristics of models

Picture Product name Main characteristics Amazon Price
Nebula Capsule By Anker Nebula Capsule By Anker Native Resolution: 854*480.
Image Brightness: 100 lumen.
Contrast Ratio: 400:1.
Display Technology: DLP.
Projection screen: 20-100 in.
Item Dimensions: 2.67*2.67*4.72 in.
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Optoma ML750ST Ultra-Compact 700 Lumen WXGA Short Throw LED Projector Optoma ML750ST Ultra-Compact 700 Lumen Native Resolution: 1280*800.
Image Brightness: 700 lumen.
Contrast Ratio: 20000:1.
Display Technology: LED.
Projection screen: 25-200 in.
Item Dimensions: 4.1*4.2*1.5 in.
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WOWOTO H8 Video Projector DLP LED WOWOTO H8 Video Projector DLP LED Native Resolution: 1280*800.
Image Brightness: 2000 lumen.
Contrast Ratio: 2000:1.
Display Technology: DLP.
Projection screen: 20-300 in.
Item Dimensions: 4.72*6*1.22 in.
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Epson VS355 WXGA 3,300 lumens Epson VS355 WXGA 3,300 lumens Native Resolution: 1280*800.
Image Brightness: 3300 lumen.
Contrast Ratio: 15000:1.
Display Technology: 3LCD.
Projection screen: 33-320 in.
Item Dimensions: 3.2*11.9*9.3 in.
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  1. Nebula Capsule By Anker

Anker Nebula Capsule is a projector and Bluetooth-speaker hybrid. The device is embodied in a 4.7*2.7 inches cylindrical body. This projector enables to display 20 to 100” image from a distance of 2 to 10 feet to the screen. The image resolution is 854*480 pixels. The brightness is 100 lumens.

The gadget is equipped with a mobile Qualcomm processor with four Cortex-A7 cores and Adreno 304 graphics accelerator. The RAM is 1 GB. It also has a flash module with 8 GB memory.

The device works on Android 7.0 Nougat operating system. It can serve as an omnidirectional wireless speaker with a power of 5 watts. It supports HDMI and Micro-USB interfaces.

Nominal battery life on single battery charge is 2.5 hours of video playback and 40 hours of music playback. The projector provides 360 ° all-direction sound.

Pros
  • Compact, light, easy to transport;
  • Displays picture up to 100 inches big;
  • 360 ° sound;
  • Enables to download applications in one click.
Cons
  • The power is a little weaker in compare to similar projectors used as a component of a home theater;
  • Relatively small charge of autonomous work in video playback mode – 2.5 hours.
Summary

It is an excellent model for everyday use in “the field”; the device is easy and convenient to use, reliable.

  1. Optoma ML750ST Ultra-Compact 700 Lumen

The Optoma ML750ST is an ultra-compact portable LED (LED) projector for home and office use. Extremely handy for mobile presentations and business trips: it weighs just 1 pound and is offered with a cozy bag in the kit.

Photo, video, Microsoft Office and Adobe PDF files can be played directly from the internal memory, micro SD card or USB drive without connecting the projector to a laptop or DVD player.

ML750ST supports 3D image and most popular video and audio file formats.

Due to the short-focus lens, the projector has become even more simple and convenient to install and use. The Optoma ML750ST displays an image with 100” image from a distance of 3 feet to the screen.

ML750ST was developed based on advanced LED technology, which allows to avoid costly procedure of replacing the lamp. The model offers exceptional color accuracy, reliability and durability.

The projector enables to demonstrate text files, photos and video materials via wireless connection to a mobile device (Android and iOS) or laptop.

Pros
  • Supports the MHL interface which enables to connect an MHL-compatible mobile device.
  • Easy and convenient to use, easy installation.
  • Digital Signage function is applicable for advertising signs and information messages.
Cons
  • Requires some skills to accurately adjust brightness, contrast.
Summary

This is an ideal projector for gaming, watching movies and making presentations without connecting to a computer. Maximum return on the work and learning process: ML750ST provides a qualitatively new level of displaying visual materials.

BenQ MH530 is the home use projector which also suits for office and educational purposes. Besides 3D support and quick response it also features USB, VGA, AV, TV and two HDMI ports.

Its own 1920*1080 resolution fits well for business presentations with high level of detalization and for HD video. It has brightness which equals 3200 lumens. It is quite enough to use this projector in broad daylight. BenQ MH530 provides 2 user and 4 embedded operating modes to watch movies, show presentations etc.

BenQ MH530 uses DLP technology which keeps the quality of color rendering during the whole lifecycle of the device, and BrilliantColor technology supports accurate representation of any hues. As a result you will have absolutely natural image.

This projector outstands for its high level of color rendering — there is almost no rainbow effect.

BenQ MH530 projector employs 3D image presentation technology (it supports 3D Blu-ray).

BenQ lamps will operate during 4000 hours when in normal mode nand up to 10000 hours in economy operation mode.

Pros
  • Small-sized and lightweight (less than 4,5 pounds).
  • Versatility — the projector may be used for watching movies and in educational process as well.
  • Easy of installation and use.
Cons
  • Lamp lifecycle up to 4000 hours (in normal mode).
Summary

BenQ MH530 is modern and multifunctional projector. It provides perfect image sharpness, high text readability and bright realistic colors during the whole lifecycle. Due to the SmartEco technology it has reduced power consumption. At that the best image contrast and brightness remain unchanged.

  1. WOWOTO H8 Video Projector DLP LED

This is a compact projector that perfectly fits into a small daily document bag. The model has excellent characteristics for such a small-scale device. WOWOTO H8 can display 20 to 150” image from a distance of 3 feet. Available image aspect ratios are 4: 3, 16: 9 (16:10).

WOWOTO H8 is an LED projector, with native resolution of 1280*800 pixels; it is designed for both home and business use purposes.

With a brightness of 2000 lumens, this projector is much brighter than most of its competitors. WOWOTO H8 images are bright and sharp, even in a slightly lit room. To achieve the best image quality, it is recommended to use the projector in complete darkness.

The projector is equipped with quad-core processor and an operates on Android OS, it has two USB ports, an SD card slot, HDMI / VGA outputs, etc. – almost any device can be connected to this model. Content download is available via Wi-Fi or via Ethernet.

Pros
  • Relatively small size and dimensions which makes it easier to transport the device.
  • Keystone correction function.
  • Multi-screen sharing function.
Cons
  • Malfunctions and errors might occur during the operation.
Summary

If you are looking for a projector to use mainly at home then the WOWOTO H8 can be a good option for you. It offers high resolution, good brightness and excellent functionality.

  1. Epson VS355 WXGA 3,300 lumens

This projector is an ideal option for classrooms and conference rooms; it can be quickly and easily moved from place to place. It was developed based on the patented 3LCD technology which – due to higher brightness and wider coverage of the color range – enables to get a clear image with authentic color reproduction even in a bright conference room or office.

The model features a compact design with dimensions of 3.2*11.9*9.3 inches, it has HDMI and USB ports, and it can playback content from external storage devices. It also offers keystone correction function.

Epson VS355 belongs to large-format class of projectors with aspect ratio of 16:10.

Dynamic contrast ratio of the model is 15000: 1, the brightness is 3300 lumens.

Epson VS355 supports all major types of connections to multimedia sources enabling to implement its various functionalities. Wireless data transmission requires the connection of optional module.

Model Epson VS355 is one of the best in its price segment.

Pros
  • Good flexibility for adjusting the image.
  • The optimal combination of price and quality.
Cons
  • The fan is too loud.
Summary

The Epson VS355 is a combination of functionality and portability. Large, clear image is guaranteed. It is an ideal option for conferences, business events and on-site presentations.

Winner

All models we reviewed have similar functionality and high image quality. It is rather difficult to single out one model since each projector has both superior features in some aspects and drawbacks is others.

BenQ MH530FHD is the most universal of all the presented models, as this projector is designed for games, movies, and business presentations. The latest DLP technology used in the projector guarantees its flawless color accuracy. Built-in media player enables to significantly expand its functionality, making it suitable for watching movies in the backyard, for on-site presentations, and for digital advertising.

The projector can be installed anywhere in the room – an even, rectangular image can be formed at any angle to the longitudinal axis of the projector.

The BenQ MH530FHD is a lightweight, compact projector that will delight you for a very long time!

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