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.


Why Epson projectors have brighter colors

brightness-of-epson-1040-home-movie-projectorIf 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 brightness.

Then to compare the brightness of the Epson 1040 to another projector all you need to do is look at the Lumens rating of another projector? It should be this simple, but is it? 

It should be but when comparing the brightness of Epson projector to other models you will run into a problem.

Notice above when we first mentioned the brightness of the Epson 1040 we provided Lumen ratings for both, “white and color” brightness?

The problem you will run into when comparing, other projectors will only provide a Lumen rating for white brightness.

While white brightness is important to know, it is also important to know color brightness, especially, for people who are buying a projector for movies, gaming and streaming content where bright colors will more than likely improve the viewing experience.

White brightness is probably most important when it comes to “black and white“, a good example would be for PowerPoint presentations where black font is used on a white background.

This is why we have very favorable views of Epson models when it comes to buying home movie projectors, because they provide information on color brightness.

The Epson 1040 projector in a well-lit room

We were asked if the presence of ambient room light would effect the image of the Epson 1040. Whether or not this projector could be used during the daytime in a well lit room?

home cinema projector best projector for well lit rooms

Do projectors work in well lit rooms?

We understand some people want a projector to use for movies, gaming or streaming content during the daytime with sunlight coming in through the windows.

Before giving a definite, “yes or no” answer, we want to say, projectors are machines which are made to perform best in dark environments. The more light present in the room, the greater effect this will have on the image quality projected. But some projectors do handle the presence of room light better than others.

As we already went over above, the Epson 1040 projector is rated at 3000 Lumens in both white and color brightness.

There are brighter projectors on the market but 3000 Lumens is a fairly high rating for brightness. While we aren’t going to say its the best possible choice on the market but will say if you are a person looking to buy a budget 1080p high definition projector for movies, gaming and content streaming in a well lit room the Epson 1040 is one to consider if it falls in your price range.

Other models similarly priced in 2016 you also might want to consider:

  • Optoma H141X
  • Optoma HD142X
  • BenQ W1070

Whatever projector you do decide to buy and your major use will be during the daytime in a room that will have a good amount of ambient light we would recommend buying a model that provides at least 2500 Lumens.

Epson 1040 Projector adjustments for a well lit room

The following can be applied to using any projector model in a well lit room. How big of a screen image should you project?

If you read in the specifications or, you can even find this information in the product description it says the Epson 1040 is capable of producing a 80-inch image 8 feet from the screen and a 119-inch image when the projector is sitting back 12 feet from the screen.

While it doesn’t state the room light conditions used to provide this screen image vs distance information we are confident to say the testing probably wasn’t performed in a well lit room environment. So this means for the best image quality in a well lit environment you will probably need to more the projector closer to the screen which will decrease the image size but it will decrease the effect of light has on the image being projected.

We would also recommend reading the owners manual to learn how to make adjusts to colors, contrast, saturation and any different brightness modes that may be available. More than likely the preset factory setting which it comes with when you first turn it on will not be the best for your specific room environment.


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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Can you plug the iPad into the Ivation Portable Projector

August 26, 2016

Question: Is it possible to plug the an iPad into the Ivation Portable Projector? Is it compatible, will it work? This question was asked by a teacher who was interested in buying a small portable projector to use in her classroom for PowerPoint presentations. The simple answer is Yes. Looking at the input and output ports of the […]

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How big of an image can the Crenova XPE650 produce?

August 21, 2016

Question asked: A person wanted to know the screen/image size the Crenova XPE650 projector was capable of producing. We emailed the following answer back to this person and also decided to share are views here. For the best quality image, the manufacturer recommends using this projector to produce an 80-inch screen image. This can be […]

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Yes or no, will the Optoma hd141x projector work in a bright room

August 21, 2016

We received a question about the brightness output of the Optoma hd141x projector. Specifically, the person was curious to know is it bright enough to use in the daytime in a well lite room? First we want to say we have used and reviewed this model and believe it provides superb value in its price […]

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