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.


Home Theater Audio System – Buyer’s Guide

by Jane on February 14, 2018

Projectors and flat screen TV’s – finding better audio for your home theater experience.

Pretty much the most glaring weakness of all projectors is the lack of strength (loudness) of their internal speakers. Some are ridiculously weak. Others may be a bit louder, maybe, good enough for students to strain to hear parts of a presentation in a small classroom.

Truthfully, if you plan to create a great home theater experience, no projector will provide stunning audio to go along with a great video. The same can also be said about the audio flat TVs provide. We understand the frustration this brings.

You pay good money for a great picture but where is the audio? Some people think excluding quality speakers from projectors and flat TVs is done on purpose to force the consumer to spend extra money on external audio sources. We understand and sympathize with these thoughts. However, the truth is not so nefarious.

Why the internal speakers suck

You know yourself, small sells, everyone wants small display profiles.

Everything is getting smaller because that’s what people want. Small is what sells today. TVs are made ultra thin, projectors are made portable, small enough to hold in one hand. But the problem with this, powerful speakers can’t be fit into these small display profiles. So audio is sacrificed.

External Sound Solutions

You may already have a high quality audio system in your home to connect to your projector. Many people do, if you do then you are set. However, if you don’t, you might want to think about buying some type of system to upgrade the sound over those poor internal speakers. Even a somewhat cheap system will greatly outperform the internal speakers of a projector or flat TV.

The right (wrong) audio match for home movies

First, we will cover the wrong way to buy. As we mentioned, even a cheap audio system can provide better sound quality compared to weak internal speakers. For the most part this is true, however, we wouldn’t recommend buying the cheapest (generic) speakers you can find.

One year my father went around town to the dollar store and other cheap outlets searching speakers for his flat screen TV. More than once he brought home absolute generic junk. Speakers that didn’t even work or maybe he couldn’t figure out how to make them work. I think by his third try he finally got something that worked and he was satisfied with. He was easily impressed, we were not. Granted, the sound was better than what his TV provided but he could have gotten a lot better.

As he was wasting his time and money, we asked him why not just buy a brand name name soundbar? Considering how much time he wasted driving around from store to store and not being able to return one of his faulty purchases, he could have researched and ordered it online. Doing it this was, in the end, would not have cost him much more and he would have ended up with higher quality audio + minus the frustration.

Soundbar or Full Home Audio System

If you truly want a quality audio system to match the high quality video from your projector or flat screen TV, don’t do what my father did (described above).

Depending on how big and powerful of a set-up you want and how much money you are willing to spend there are two basic choices, either a soundbar or a complete home audio package. We will try to lead you in the right direction by describing the pro’s and con’s of each of these choices.

Why (why not) buy a Soundbar?

Biggest advantages of a soundbar: Easy to set-up, affordable and less wires compared to traditional speaker systems. These also take up a lot less space and can be wall-mounted.
Biggest disadvantage: Audio. Unless buying one of the top soundbars the vast majority of soundbars do not provide the same audio quality as a speaker system. With that said, even inexpensive soundbars will provide audio a step above internal speakers of a projector and flat screen TV.

If you need more detailed information visit our soundbar buyer’s guide. If you need a couple recommendations, the following list is our opinion on what we feel are the best buys at different price points:

  • On a budget: Yamaha Yas-107BL and Samsung HW-M360/ZA 2.1
  • A bit more money: Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro 7.1Ch 400W and Vizio 5.1 Home Theater Sound Bar
  • More expensive: Sonos PLAYBAR TV Soundbar Bundle and Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch DTS:X
  • Most expensive: Sonos 5.1 Home Theater System

Full home audio system (speakers)

Advantage: Superior Audio quality. Unmatched visceral sounds for action movies and sound effects. Hearing the crack of the bat in baseball or a half ton tackle in football is completely awesome for sports. Movie soundtracks as they were meant to be heard. The sound is immersive.

Disadvantages:  These systems are not cheap. Price is definitely the biggest obstacles for most people. Another disadvantage is size. Typically, these systems consist of 3-9 speakers, a receiver and a subwoofer. So if you do not have the room to spare a full audio system is not the best choice for you.

We are big fans of Bose, although both are fairly pricey, Bose LifeStyle 600 and 650 models in our opinion are great choices for home theater audio.

However, there are many quality home audio systems costing less money than these Bose audio systems. A few suggestions to check out:

Polk Audio RM705 5.1 Home Theater System
Polk Audio TSi400 5.1 Home Theater Speaker Package
Onkyo SKS-HT993THX 7.1 Ch. THX Home Theater Speaker System
Orb Audio Mini 5.1 White Home Theater Speaker System
Orb Audio Mini 5.1 Plus


Find the best image size and quality for the Tenker Q5 Mini Projector

December 2, 2017

Got questions about the Tenker Q5 Projector before buying? The following answer is on image size. Find other answers below. This inexpensive Mini LED projector has dimensions of 7.7 x 5.9 x 2.7 inch. Not the smallest you can buy but still quite small. It has become quite a popular budget choice so we decided […]

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ViewSonic PJD 5155 for School PowerPoint Presentations

October 16, 2017

We want to answer a question asked about the ViewSonic PJD5155, pertaining to, whether or not this model can be used for classroom PowerPoint presentations? And would it would a good choice?  The short answer would be YES this model is capable of handling PowerPoint presentations. While its definitely not the top projector on the […]

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ELEPHAS LED HOME MOVIE PROJECTOR is it 1080p high definition resolution

September 28, 2017

Is the ELEPHAS LED HOME MOVIE PROJECTOR the best inexpensive 1080p high definition resolution projector on the a market in 2017-2018? NO! Let us explain While many customers have left positive reviews and remarks after purchasing this model, we want to make sure you understand what you are getting if you decided to buy this […]

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Is the Meyoung Portable Projector a waste of money

September 1, 2017

After reading more than few positive reviews on the Meyoung Portable Projector and since the price was very affordable we decided it couldn’t hurt to check this model out for ourselves then share our opinion on how this budget performed. If you are wondering if this is a good choice for you, as we mentioned, […]

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iCodis CB-400 mini projector what makes it so portable?

June 29, 2017

What makes the iCodis CB-400 mini projector such a good choice for people looking to buy a truly portable projector? In recent years projectors have become smaller and smaller. They have not become quite as small as your smartphone but small and lightweight enough to easily allow you to carry in one hand. Dimensions of […]

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Image resolution and quality – Icodis CB 400 pico projector

June 27, 2017

What is the resolution level of the Icodis CB 400 mini projector? Does it provide a good overall picture quality? We were asked this question. The person was confused after reading this projectors product description. The specifications read: native resolution 720p and supports 1080p. 720p and 1080p are both levels of resolution and refer to […]

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Look at the brightness of the Epson Home Cinema Projector

May 23, 2017

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 […]

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Can text documents or only photos be printed on the HP Envy 4520 printer

April 26, 2017

The HP Envy 4520 Wireless Printer has been a popular inexpensive choice for photo printing. But some people have questions on whether this model can print text. Maybe this is because the company specifically calls the 4520  a photo printer and on top of this every picture show of this model shows it printing out […]

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Replacement bulb and lamp for BenQ w1070 projector

April 10, 2017

A question came to us from a person who needs to replace the bulb in their BenQ W1070 projector. Their original bulb exploded and now wants to know which bulb to buy and whether to buy only a replacement bulb or the entire lamp assembly/housing. Also, whether or not there are any safe generic (less […]

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