Top 5 Budget Projectors under £400 - Broke in London


Top 5 Budget Projectors under £400

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Guide to buying a budget projector (Updated)

By Manolis

I used to think that buying a projector was outside my budget limits, and was therefore never on my mind. However, some time ago I found out that I could buy a pretty decent brand new projector for less than £400! My girlfriend and I tend to watch a movie, TV series or documentary almost every night, a routine that both of us thoroughly enjoy. However, we normally watch these through our tiny 15′ laptops – making the whole affair very unexciting. Then we thought instead of buying gifts for one another, we could buy something together that we would both benefit from! So, we agreed it would make sense to buy a home projector.

I admit that when it comes to home projectors I am a total newbie, and this post is not from an expert at all. One of my mates has a BenQ projector that we watch movies on and it’s super. However, when I asked him about the price I found out that he spent around £600 (almost double my budget). So, I had to do my own research to find one that would be suitable for our budget, and so decided to write about my experience as a first time buyer. So, think about this post as an introductory guide to buying a budget projector rather than a professional guide. Below I have mentioned some important steps you may need to consider before clicking that ‘buy now’ button.

Set your budget

Ok, so your budget is the most important factor. On the one hand, if you have £600-£700 to spend on a projector then this post is not for you, as we’re focusing on almost half this budget. On the other hand, if you type cheap projectors into Google or Amazon, you will find several options for less than £200. As you can see through projectorcentral’s article on cheap projectors, ‘you can get much better performance from the cheap business projectors made by BenQ, Epson, Optoma, and others, than you can from these products.’ That’s why we decided to set the budget around £250-£400 and go for a good quality, inexpensive projector from an established brand.

Top 5 Budget Projectors under £400

BENQ MX505 Projector available on Amazon

5 Things you should consider before buying

1. The Native Resolution (the higher the better)
2. The Brightness (ANSI Lumens)… (the brighter the projector, the higher the ANSI lumen rating)
3. The Contrast Ratio (the higher the contrast ratio the more vibrant and eye-catching the colors.)
4. The possible connections – Most of the projectors will have a basic VGA connector. However if your laptop offers a digital HDMI output then it would be wiser to get a projector with an HDMI connection as this will help you have the best image possible.
5. Your actual Space – If you have a small room/space you should try to buy a short throw projector which allows you to create big pictures in tight spaces.

**Moreover be sure to check out the life of the lamp. Most of the projectors will have an approximately 5000 hours lifetime.

The top 5 budget projectors

Amazon has a page with the most Top Rated Projectors which you may find useful. And remember.. the more the number of the reviews and the higher the rating equal the best the model. Through several websites and reviews I ended up narrowing down my research to 5 budget projectors under £400. I ended up buying the ViewSonic PJD5555W Projector which had 4.6/5 stars out of 792 reviews in total on Amazon.com. Not bad, right? I have to admit that we both feel like we took the best choice ever. We are super excited with our Viewsonic and we haven’t regretted buying it since. The quality of the picture suburb, 2 times better than my friend’s BenQ that costs double my budget.

Anyway, below I have mentioned all of my different options from 5 different manufacturers.

#1 | ViewSonic LightStream PJD5555W WXGA Projector | £349 & FREE Delivery in the UK

Native Resolution: 1280 x 800 | Brightness: 3300 ANSI | Contrast Ratio: 20000:1 | Connection: HDMI, 2x VGA in, 1x VGA out, 1x composite in, 1x S-Video in, 1x audio in / out, 1x mini USB, 1x RS232 | 3D image: 3D Ready

Find it on Amazon UK.

ViewSonic PJD5155


#2 | Acer H5380BD 720p 3D Home Cinema DLP Projector (White) | £355 & FREE Delivery in the UK

Native Resolution: 1280×720 | Brightness: 3000 ANSI | Contrast Ratio: 17000:1 | Connection: HDMI | 3D image: 3D Ready

Find it on Amazon UK.

Top 5 Budget Projectors under £400

Acer H5380BD


#3 | Optoma HD141X Full HD 3D 1080p Projector | £399.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK

Native Resolution: Full HD – 1920 x 1080 | Brightness: 3000 ANSI | Contrast Ratio: 23000:1 | Connection: 2 HDMI v1.4a digital inputs and twin D-Sub PC ports -Built-in 10W speaker | 3D image: Full 3D 1080p

Find it on Amazon UK.

Top 5 Budget Projectors under £400

Optoma HD141X


#4 | BenQ MX505 | £240.10 & FREE Delivery in the UK

Native Resolution: 1024×768 | Brightness: 3000 ANSI | Contrast Ratio: 13000:1 | Connection: HDMI | 3D image: 3D Ready

Find it on Amazon UK.

Top 5 Budget Projectors under £400

BENQ MX505 Projector


#5 | INFOCUS IN114x DLP Projektor | £348 & FREE Delivery in the UK

Native Resolution: 1024 x 768 | Brightness: 3200 ANSI | Contrast Ratio: 15000:1 | Connection: HDMI | 3D image: 3D Ready

Find it on Amazon UK.

Top 5 Budget Projectors under £400

INFOCUS IN114x

So, these are the best 5 budget projectors that I found according to my research. You can find a comparison of these 5 models (I couldn’t find the Optoma DX325 so I used instead the DX326 which has similar specs) through Projectorcentral. Obviously, there will be other good models out there at that price range. However, as I said this is my personal top 5 list and I am not an expert on projectors. In any case, all of the above-mentioned models seem to be really good for their price, so it’s your call! Have a look through Amazon or eBay (both links will direct you to budget projectors under £400). If you have other suggestions please mention them in the comment section below – and if you buy one of the top 5, don’t forget to let us know how it is!

Where to look for a budget projector

You can have a look on basic websites like Amazon and eBay. That’s how we started our buying journey. Every time I found an interesting model I would search through shopbot (I personally use idealo.co.uk) to find out  where the  cheapest place on the market would be to buy the exact model. Most of the time, Amazon and eBay were top of the list.

Websites to compare projectors

After spending a bit of time trying to find affordable projectors I realised that the 2 best websites for comparing projectors and their specifications were projectorcentral and pcmag. Try to check out reviews for the model that you like and be sure to read the negative ones in order to know the potential downfalls of your preferred model.

Top 5 Budget Projectors under £400

Budget Projectors compared at Projectorcentral

 

There is a really nice article-guide for buying a projector from pcmag which explains the things you should know before buying a projector as well as the parts that you should pay attention to. After reading this guide and spending some hours looking for blog posts and reviews on budget projectors, I concluded that I would rather go for a BenQ, an Optoma or an Infocus. However, I soon realised that most of the projectors in that price range are data or business projectors, which means that they are made mostly for business presentations and not for movies. Their resolutions tended to be around 800 x 600 pixels, which is good for images but not that good for video. For video, a good option would be to go for a 1080p, which is the current high end for high definition for projectors. So, I thought again about it and I tried to find a projector that was good for projecting movies instead of just slides and static images.



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