The following review list was put together in 2016, prices can and do change but our goal is to provide the best projector choices in the under $400 price range. There will also probably be at least a couple models that exceed $400. To provide the best possible choices we thought it would be silly to excluded a very good model only because it may cost $425. You get the drift.

Here, you will find top suggestions in 2016 in the areas of home movies and entertainment, business and classroom presentation, mini and pico projectors etc, etc.

The models that are included here were decided on by our own personal use, customer reviews, reviews and conversations we have read on online forums and lastly, the different qualities and ratings such as resolution, brightness, colors, contrast and input ports and connectivity such as HDMI, all of which can be learned from the specifications of each model.

Home movie and entertainment projectors in the $400 price range

The common theme of our list will be to start with the most expensive model in each category and work our way down in price.

ViewSonic PJD5555W WXGA DLP 

As we said at the start, this list will probably also include models just over $400. The PJD5555W is an example of being just over this price. This is a fairly newer model, hitting the market in the Winter/Spring of 2015. For the price range this model does a very good job in the areas of colors and contrast levels.

 

Best home movie projector in the $400 price range

ViewSonic PJD5555W WXGA DLP Projector

See price and customer reviews at Amazon

Our experience with it? We do not own this model but over the summer in 2015 we did experience watching more than one movie with this model. These movies were shown outdoors at my neighbors place on the lake. Overall, the brightness of this projector (3200 lumen) is very good.

BenQ MW256 WXGA 3200 Lumens with 3D

This BenQ model is very similar to the ViewSonic PJD5555W both in price and in picture quality and capabilities. They are both DLP projectors with 3200 lumens of brightness. There are minor difference but in comparing the overall picture quality to select a clear winner.

Inexpensive BenQ home movie projector

BenQ MW526 – 3D Ready

See price and reviews at Amazon

Since the ViewSonic model is listed first this may indicate we think its the better projector. Well, sort of. The reason we listed it first is because we spent more time watching movies with that this model. As for the BenQ MW526 are only hands-on experience with it was in a short in-store demonstration.

The one advantage we will give the BenQ is the lamp life provides 10,000 hours. Having seen the image quality of both models it’s very hard to declare a clear cut winner.
 Acer H5380BD 720p Home Theater Projector

This is an entry-level 720p resolution model that can be used to view movies in either 2D or 3D and is a little lower in price compared to the models listed above. It also includes HDMI and mobile link connectivity so you will be able to connect with just about any external device.

Although not a huge deal, one negative we can say is it does not come with 3D glasses so you will need to buy these separately.

Acer H5380BD 720p Home Theater Projector

Acer for Home Cinema

Learn more and see Amazon price

While we are not going to claim this model provides an absolutely amazing image quality but for the price we do recommend it and if you look further into this model you will find it has received some overall good ratings and reviews from current owners.

Read our full review of this Acer model.

Epson Home Cinema 640

OK the Epson 640 is our 4th selection in this price range, compared to the 3 models already listed above this is the cheapest option. There’s no doubt, Epson produces high quality and they are one of the very best companies to buy from. If you have already checked out the price tags on the models listed above and need something cheaper in price this Epson model is one you might want to consider in 2016.

Epson Home Cinema 640 under $400

See the listed price at Amazon

If you are looking to buy a home theater projector in the $400 price range the truth is there’s an enormous number of choices Narrowing the choices down, especially if this is the first time you have bought a projector can be difficult.

Some might disagree with our recommendations above. Mainly because an enormous number of choices in home theater exist in this price range so you there’s opportunity for many different opinions.

And the truth is we agree, there are many different choices that are very comparable in quality to the four we listed above. But we are also quite confident the models we listed here provide equal to superior quality compared to other models that are similarly priced.

Classroom and Business Presentation models – $400 and under price range

Epson VS230 SVGA 3LCD Projector

Without a doubt Epson is the overall leader in presentation projectors for business and classroom educational purposes. One thing they do exceptionally well and this can be seen in their VS230 is produce models that include essential features for people on a budget.

Featuring: Portable design, fast and easy setup, three times brighter colors than the competition (2800 lumens) of brightness.

 

Presentation projector under 300

Epson VS230 presentation projector

See information on pricing at Amazon

In our opinion, the Epson VS230 is one of, if not the very top presentation projector you can buy in 2016 in the 400 dollar price range. Opinions will very but that’s our opinion. If you research this and read other sources before you buy, we are confident you will find many others who agree with our opinion.

What it lacks? Resolution. The level of resolution is SVGA. So we would not recommend this if your main and primary purpose was viewing home movies and/or gaming. But let’s be real. When making a presentation, much of it will consist of text, graphs and a coupe pictures.  High definition is not needed for this.

If you have spent time in college, conference rooms or worked at a company where projectors are used to give presentations you will not find they use high definition 1080p projectors.

If you are unsure about the resolution level you need, we want to put out a friendly challenge. The next time you are near the projector that is used to make a presentation at your school or the business that employees you, write down the name of the model and Google it. We are confident you will find it’s not a high resolution model.

If you want a little bit higher definition, Epson also produces this same model in XGA resolution, the Epson VS330 XGA.

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Beyond the native full HD 1080p resolution of the Epson 3500 Home Cinema Projector and the outstanding 70,000:1 contrast ratio, excellent inputs for connecting all types of external devices and the ability to project a picture in 3D. We should also mention this model also includes vertical and horizontal lens shift and a 1.6x zoom lens providing ease in set-up and great flexibility in room placement.

These are all great features to have in a home movie projector and are covered extensively in just about every review of the Epson 3500 projector across the internet.

However, there are other projectors available that can either: match, come close or even exceed these features. So, how do you decide which model is the best for you? Find the model that offers these features at the lowest price? This is how many people end up making their decision.

Here, we want to give you another dimension to consider when choosing a projector and why the Epson 3500 is a great choice for some people. Even above more expensive models.

For the best home movie experience

For the best experience, not only is it important to consider the intrinsic features of the projector itself but it is also important to find a good match for your specific room environment.

Do you have a dedicated room? Meaning, have you designed a room specifically to fit a projector for movies? Have you painted the walls dark? Is it your basement or another room where there is very little ambient light coming in from the outside?

Or will you be setting the projector you buy up in a room with walls painted white or lighter colors? Will there also be window(s)? Where it is hard to control the amount of light coming in?

For your situation

If the latter situation, room with walls painted with light colors, windows letting in outside light, describe what you are dealing with then the high brightness provided by the Epson 3500 projector would be an excellent choice for this type of room environment even above many more expensive models with more impressive specifications on paper.

Epson is known for brightness

Epson is the world’s leading manufacturer of projectors. With their 3LCD chip technology Epson models have become well know for providing excellent brightness.

As far as we know, Epson is the only company that provides brightness (lumen) ratings for both white and color brightness. Most, if not all companies only provide “white brightness” ratings when they say how many lumen their model produces.

The Epson 3500 Home Cinema Projector has a lumen rating of 2500 while this is quite good many reviews which have tested the brightness have concluded the number of lumen (brightness) to be in the range of 3000 -3500. This is believe since we know Epson tends to understate lumens in many of their models.

Also be aware, if you are buying a projector with a zoom lens the use of this function will decrease brightness output by some percent. The percent will vary from model to model but on average the percent decrease is usually in the 20-30% range. A review at projectorreviews.com which measured the # lumen of the Epson 3500 when the zoom lens was set at midpoint calculated the lumen at 2776.

The brightness is excellent on this model!

But there are better models

Yep, on paper, comparing specifications you can find better. More than likely, these will also be more expensive. however, greater specifications do not always equal better. Specifications do not consider specific room environments.

For example, there are many projectors with higher contrast ratings but at the same time, if these projectors have lower brightness the benefits of the higher contrast will be washed away during in a room environment effected by ambient light.

1080p HDTV or Epson 3500 projector

This Epson model is also 1080p resolution. If you are trying to decide between a high definition TV or projector, there are pro’s and con’s to both.

Projectors need to work harder to get the image to the screen. This is probably the biggest CON of buying a projector as opposed to a TV. To get the best possible image with a projector you will need to be conscientious of placement in the room and you will also need to design the room to best reduce the amount of ambient light. With a TV you don’t need to worry about room light. TVs are much easier.

The biggest positive? This is definitely the screen size a projector like the Epson 3500 can produce. Placed 8 feet away from the screen it can produce over and 80-inch image, placed 12 feet away its even bigger, around 125 inch image.

 

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