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Best Projector Under $500 – Buying Guide 2018

Best Projectors You can Actually Afford

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.

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-8 Projectors 2018 for $300–$500

  • Nebula Capsule By Anker.
  • Optoma ML750ST Ultra-Compact 700 Lumen.
  • ViewSonic PA503W 3,600 Lumens WXGA HDMI Projector.
  • WOWOTO H8 Video Projector DLP LED.
  • Epson VS355 WXGA 3,300 lumens.
  • BenQ MH530FHD 1080p 3,300 Lumens.
  • Optoma HD143X 1080p 3,000 Lumens 3D DLP Home Theater Projector.
  • Nebula, by Anker, Mars II 300 ANSI lm Portable Projector.

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: 20,000:1.
Display Technology: LED.
Projection screen: 25-200 in.
Item Dimensions: 4.1*4.2*1.5 in.
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ViewSonic PA503W 3,600 Lumens WXGA HDMI Projector ViewSonic PA503W 3,600 Lumens WXGA HDMI Projector Native Resolution: 1280*800.
Image Brightness: 3,600 lumen.
Contrast Ratio: 22,000:1.
Display Technology: DLP.
Projection screen: 30-300 in.
Item Dimensions: 4.33*11.57*8.58 in.
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WOWOTO H8 Video Projector DLP LED WOWOTO H8 Video Projector DLP LED Native Resolution: 1280*800.
Image Brightness: 2,000 lumen.
Contrast Ratio: 2,000:1.
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: 3,300 lumen.
Contrast Ratio: 15,000:1.
Display Technology: 3LCD.
Projection screen: 33-320 in.
Item Dimensions: 3.2*11.9*9.3 in.
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BenQ MH530FHD 1080p 3,300 Lumens BenQ MH530FHD 1080p 3,300 Lumens Native Resolution: 1920*1080.
Image Brightness: 3,300 lumen.
Contrast Ratio: 15,000:1.
Display Technology: DLP.
Projection screen: 30-300 in.
Item Dimensions: 8.44*13.09*3.9 in.
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Nebula, by Anker, Mars II 300 ANSI lm Portable Projector Nebula, by Anker, Mars II 300 ANSI lm Portable Projector Native Resolution: 1280*720.
Image Brightness: 300 lumen.
Contrast Ratio: 400:1.
Display Technology: DLP.
Projection screen: 30-150 in.
Item Dimensions: 7.01*4.8*5.43 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.

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.

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.

  1. ViewSonic PA503W 3,600 Lumens WXGA HDMI Projector

ViewSonic PA503W features impressive audiovisual characteristics; it is an ideal option for presentations, educational purposes and for small businesses. Patented SuperColour ™ technology enables to deliver a wider color range for a realistic image projection.

With a brightness of 3,600 lumens, native WXGA resolution of 1280*800, and a contrast ratio of 22,000:1, this projector guarantees accuracy in displaying even the smallest details, regardless of the level of illumination.

PA503W HDMI port allows users to display 3D content directly from 3D Blu-ray players or HDMI-compatible devices such as laptops, tablets and media players.

SuperEco energy-saving feature reduces energy consumption by up to 70% and extends the lamp lifetime to 15,000 hours. The adjustable timer of PA503W enables to set the standby time, afterwards the projector automatically activates sleeping mode or completely shuts off.

Pros
  • Low noise level – only 29 dB.
  • 5 color modes.
  • Energy efficiency and lamp life up to 15,000 hours.
Cons
  • The main purpose is making presentations, using it for educational purposes.
  • The absence of an automatic focus mode – it has to be done manually.

This projector is ideal for making presentations in offices, lecture halls, it is a good fit for travelers, businessmen who spend a lot of time on the road.

  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 2,000 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.

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 15,000: 1, the brightness is 3,300 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.

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.

  1. BenQ MH530FHD 1080p 3,300 Lumens

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 3,200 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 4,000 hours when in normal mode nand up to 10,000 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 4,000 hours (in normal mode).

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.

Projector HD143X Full HD 1080p is ideal for watch movies, TV-shows and sports in real time any time a day on the big screen.

Projector contrast ratio is 23,000:1, brightness is 3,000 lumens and lamp service life is up to 12,000 hours.

Optoma HD143X capable to provide Rec.709 colors according to HDTV international standard to ensure accurate cinematographic image.

The 1080p resolution gives the sharp and detailed picture of HD media-content without scaling or compression, so this projector ideally fits for watching Blu-ray movies, HD-broadcast, and video games.

Optoma HD143X plays 3D content in original quality from almost any 3D source including 3D Blu-ray players and modern consoles. With 144 Hz refresh rate this projector delivers clean and smooth picture without flicker.

Game mode in Optoma HD143X optimizes projector settings to achieve the blazing-fast response, maximal contrast, and brightness, and extremely sharp details.

With MHL standard support Optoma HD143X can play content from mobile devices – to connect smartphone, tablet or laptop you will need only one cable. Perfect resolution for gaming, stream-video watching and photo browsing directly on the big screen.

If you leave this projector on and not used it will go off automatically.

It also capable to transmit Full HD or 3D content from Blu-ray player, TV box or game console to the wireless network.

Pros
  • It has full 3D which supports VESA RF glasses and DLP-Link.
  • The 3D mode is modifiable, with a User mode and one predefined color.
  • Stereo audio out meant for an external sound system.
  • It is user-friendly.
Cons
  • The 10-watt mono speaker for this projector gives great sound quality though just enough volume for a bit small family room.
  1. Nebula, by Anker, Mars II 300 ANSI lm Portable Projector

Anker Nebula Mars II – original and stylish projector, can be used as the portable cinema or for presentations.

Projector contrast ratio is 400:1, a 300 ANSI lumens brightness, lamp service life is up to 30,000 hours.

This projector is designed as “all-in-one” device. It capable to form a picture of 30 to 150 inches size with 1280*720 (HD format) resolution.

Equipped with two built-in 10 W speakers giving quite a good sound with mellow low-frequency tone.

Integrated 12,500 mAh battery ensures up to four hours of continuous operation.

This model powered by a quad-core processor with 1Gb RAM. The capacity of internal flash storage is 8 Gb. Equipped with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless communication, HDMI 1.4 and USB 2.0 interfaces.

This projector operates on Android 7.1 system. Can be paired with Android and iOS-based smartphones and tablets. Portable speaker mode for music. Carrying handle.

Pros
  • Built-in speaker.
  • Runs on Android 7.1.
  • Vibrant colors.
  • Very portable.
  • Easy set-up and operation.
Cons
  • The picture is not very sharp.

Winner

All listed models have compatible functionality and high picture quality.

Optoma HD143X – versatile projector, can be used for gaming and movies, as for business presentations. This device stands out with precise colors and sharp contrast ratio.

Original Full HD resolution, support of multiple standards and the extended interface allows using this projector in any situation.

This projector capable to provide 3D content, have minimal response time. All of these and other technical features makes Optoma HD143X the smart buy.

Optoma HD143X – light, compact projector. You will enjoy it for long!

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