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.


Review of the AMAZ-PLAY mobile pico projector

by Jane on October 17, 2016

If you are thinking of buying the AMAZ-PLAY mobile pico projector here we will review the specifications and performance as well as answer some of the most common questions asked about this model.

Comparable in size and performance to: AAXA P450 and P300 LED Pico Projectors, Rif6 Cube, NeoJDX Vista HDMI LED, Philips PPX3614 Pocket Projector, Ivation Portable Rechargeable HDMI Projector, OU Smart Laser.

Need to know about AMAZ PLAY Projector?


Why do most people buy this model? What do they want?

This model is most spoken of as being a portable (fits in your palm and weighs only 8 ounces) gaming projector. We believe it performs marvelously well for the purpose of gaming. It provides the needed ports (HDMI) to connect to your favorite gaming console. It can also connect to laptop, tablet, desktop or smartphone. No matter what device you use for gaming you will be able to connect through the HDMI port. *HDMI cable is included with purchase.

We were interested in whether or the AMAZ PLAY projector could handle the fast moving frames per second speed of first person shooter games so we connected the PS4 to test a few of the most popular games (Call of Duty, Doom, Battlefield 1 and OVERWATCH).

Our experience: We did not experience any significant lag and the colors and contrast were outstanding for a projector at this price range.

Amaz-Play Mobile Pico Projector WIFI review

Just so you know, while the AMAZ-PLAY is capable of producing a viewable image of 120 inches in size, it is our opinion the image looks best when decreased to between 90-100 inches. We would recommend testing the image quality at different distances from the screen to find the highest quality image for your room environment.

Home movies and business presentations 

If you were wondering whether or not the AMAZ-PLAY would be viable for home movies and/or use in business or school presentations with software like PowerPoint, the video below provides another person’s opinion on this topic.

We will not say this would be our first choice, however, yes, this model can work for home movies and also PowerPoint presentations.

For the price, it compares well to the competition. We were especially impressed with the colors and contrast levels for home movies. Testing it with a PowerPoint template it provides excellent text on a white background even with small fonts.

Main disadvantages for home movie use

Although the AMAZ-PLAY performs well against other pico projectors in its price range This is not a 1080p high definition resolution model. While it can be connected and play content from 1080p external devices the native resolution of this projector is 854 x 480.

Not that this is a terrible resolution. This is about the standard level of resolution you will find in most all projectors at this price point. However, if you are a person wanting to watch movies in high definition this would be a disadvantage. If this describes what you want you and you are looking for a recommendation on an affordable 1080p projector for home movies then you might want to read our review of the Optoma HD142X projector.

A second disadvantage. This is not the brightest projector you can buy. Don’t expect to use this in a room with the lights on. Brightness levels (or lack of) is a very common weakness of all small pico projectors.

Main disadvantages for business and school presentations

As we already mentioned, viewing an old PowerPoint presentation with black text on a white background, the text looked excellent even when the font was reduced and increased.

Again, this is not a super bright projector so if you plan on using this to make presentations then be aware you will need to use it in a dark room environment. With a maximum screen size of 120 inches, we wouldn’t recommend its use for presenting to large groups.

Give and take – the advantages and specifications

No product or projector is perfect the best you can do is find what best fits your needs for the amount of money you are willing to spend.

Above, we just finished mentioning what we believed were the main disadvantages of the AMAZ-PLAY mobile pico projector: brightness and resolution.

It’s not that these are inherited weaknesses of this model. Compared to larger more expensive models, all smaller pico projectors at this price point will be less bright and not capable of providing the higher 1080p and 4K resolutions.

But there are advantages

If you want a truly mobile projector the AMAZ-PLAY fits the bill. Not only is lightweight (8 ounces) and small enough to carry in the palm of your hand, it also has a built-in rechargeable battery which provides 120 minutes (2 hours) of life when fully charged. This is enough charge to watch most standard movies.

Another thing to mention about the battery. It also doubles as a charger. You can use its charge to charge your iPhone, laptop, tablet, etc.

On top of this, it also has built-in WIFI. So whether you are using it for gaming, movies or presentations, this will allow you to conveniently connect wirelessly to your laptop and other mobile devices.

Another advantage is the lifetime of the light source. This runs on a LED light source which provides 20,000 hours of life. This is HUGE compared to projectors running on traditional lamps. Some of these traditional lamp/bulb sources provide a life of 4,000 hours or less. Then you need to go buy a replacement which could run you $50 or more.

About LED and brightness. We have mentioned more than once in this review that this projector isn’t exactly the brightest model. And this is true. But we do want to make something clear if you have already looked at the specifications of this model.

Brightness is measured in units of lumens. If you have already read through this model’s specifications you may have come to would find AMAZ-PLAY provides 100 lumens of brightness. And this may have caused you to think the brightness of this projector is very weak compared to many other models you have looked at.

What you need to realize. More than likely you are comparing the lumen rating of a projector which runs on a traditional lamp/bulb light source. The methodology for measuring lumens or brightness does not give a true measurement of the brightness of a projector running on a LED light source. The 100-lumen rating of the AMAZ-PLAY is not an accurate measurement of true brightness.

Weight: 8 ounces

Dimensions: 3.9 x 3.9 x 0.9 inches (L x W x H)

Runs on DLP technology

Native resolution: 854 x 480 (WVGA)

Able to play content from 1080p/1080i devices

Light source: LED (20,000 hours)

Maximum image size: 120 inches

Wireless: Yes

Connectivity: USB, HDMI, WIFI

Wireless connectivity supported by Airplay

Compatible with Android via Miracast

Compatible with iOS, Android, Mac and Windows devices. Miracast support is required for Windows.
iOS Device: iOS 9
Windows: Windows 8, Windows XP

Questions: AMAZ-PLAY Mobile Projector

Is it able to connect wirelessly with the Macbook Pro? Yes. Although we have never set up the connection ourselves if you visit the companies website they have step by step directions on how to make this connection. We have heard people having trouble but the directions can be found on the companies website.

Will it work with the Nexus 6 smartphone? Yes. The Nexus 6 is an Andriod device. This projector is compatible with Andriod systems. Wireless through Miracast. Cable connection through the HDMI port.

Will you be able to connect to XBOX and PS4 gaming consoles? Yes, through the HDMI port.

Does it have built-in speakers? Does it have an audio port to connect external speakers? Yes, it does have built-in speakers but if you are wanting higher quality sound we suggest connecting an external audio source.

Can you use it when it is charging? Yes.

Can I use this with Keynote for presentations? Yes

We will add more questions and answer as we receive these. If you have a question, you can either use the comment section below or email us with your question through our contact page.


200 inch image, too big? – iRulu BL20 1080P HD 3D Projector

October 14, 2016

The iRulu BL20 1080P HD 3D Projector has become a popular inexpensive home movie projector choice in late 2016-2017. One of the major reason people are buy this model is the affordable price and because they want a larger screen image for movies and gaming compared what their current HDTV provides. We have reviewed this model […]

Read the full article →

iRulu BL20 1080P HD 3D Projector Review

October 3, 2016

Interested in maybe buying the iRulu BL20 1080P HD 3D Projector? But unsure how to judge the quality? Is it worth the money? Is this the best option After putting it through a series of tests, we will cover what we learned about the model in the following review. For people buying a projector for […]

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Brightness in a well lit room – Epson 1040 Home Cinema Projector

September 18, 2016

Why Epson projectors have brighter colors If you want a bright projector then you need to compare the Lumens ratings of your different options. For example, reading the product description or specifications for the Epson 1040 Home Cinema projector you will find a rating of 3000 Lumens for white brightness and 3000 Lumens for color […]

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3LCD vs single chip DLP – colors and Epson 1040 Home cinema projector

September 17, 2016

We write complete reviews but we also receive questions pertaining to individual attributes of specific projector models. Today, we will response to a question asked on the color display of the Epson 1040 home cinema projector and provide you with our thoughts on how it compares in color display with other projectors at its current price […]

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Image quality and resolution of Epson Home Cinema 1040 projector

September 17, 2016

We receive many individual questions about projectors. The following is our answer to a question we received about the image resolution on the Epson Home Cinema 1040 projector. Is it high definition resolution and how would you rate the image quality? Image resolution is a very important property but there are also other attributes which […]

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Optoma HD142X movie projector – bright enough for the daytime

September 11, 2016

Just want to pass along the answer to a question we were asked about the Optoma HD142X home theater projector. A person was wondering how bright this model was and if it would be a good choice to use during the daytime. How much the sunlight coming in from the windows and room lights would […]

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Picture quality and resolution – Optoma HD142X projector reviewed

September 10, 2016

We have been asked more than a few times for our opinion on the picture quality and resolution of the Optoma HD142X Home Movie Projector. To answer this question we will begin with the level of resolution provided. This refers to the number of pixels used to produce the image. The more pixels, the more […]

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ELEGIANT LED portable mini projector is it 1080p HD

September 8, 2016

Is the ELEGIANT LED portable mini projector high definition (HD) 1080P resolution? This is not a full review, we don’t own the model and the model has received high ratings from the customers who bought. However, we do want to address what pisses us off about how some (most) cheap projectors are marketed online. Resolution […]

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Affordable Optoma HD142 1080p projector reviewed and compared

September 2, 2016

For those looking to buy an affordable 1080p resolution home movie projector in 2016, a new model you will want to be aware of is the Optoma HD142X projector released this past July (2016). Before July, if you were to have asked for a recommendation on an inexpensive 1080p home movie model it’s very likely the Optoma […]

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