If you are looking for an affordable movie theater experience at your home, then this article is for you.
There are times when we wish that we had the same technology as of movie theater in our home. The extra-large screen offered by the projector is hard to ignore. Not long ago, the decent projector would cost your hands and legs.
Now you can find hundreds of projectors under $200. However, to find the best one that can fulfill your needs is a confusing process. To make things simple and straightforward, I have divided this article into following two section:
Top 6 things you need to know before you buy a projector 2018
Projector uses three types of display technology [DLP, LCD, LCoS]. All these technologies have advantages and disadvantages of their own. To better understand let us go through it. This will help you to answer the best display technology that fits your needs and budget.
DLP [Digital Light Processing] technology
DLP technology uses a semiconductor chip called DMD [Digital Micromirror Device]. A DMD chip consists of little tiny mirrors arranged in a way to promote reflection.
Each mirror in a DMD chip serves as a pixel. Hence, the total mirrors in the DMD chip refer to the native resolution of the projector. The image quality of DLP projectors solely depends on a number of DMD chip used. There are two types of DLP projectors:
Single-Chip DLP projector
As name stated, there is only one DMD chip in this type of projector. Images are projected with DMD chip and spinning color wheels with color filters.
This type of DLP projector are inexpensive, and for a reason, it has mechanical spinning color wheels it has less life span than other technology projectors.
Three-chip DLP projectors
Three-chip DLP projector uses three DMD chip one each for primary colors [Red, Green & Blue]. You can expect to have better color saturation, sharpness and color accuracy with this technology.
It uses the DMD chips and prism instead of spinning color wheels to make it last longer. Three-chip DLP projectors are expensive. You can find Three-chip DLP projectors in many movie theaters.
Comparatively, DLP projectors have a lower response time and better brightness than LCD or LCoS projectors. However, the rainbow effect, low contrast ratio, and high maintenance cost are some of the disadvantages of owning DLP projectors.
LCD [Liquid Crystal Display]
LCD technology is the oldest of all projector technology. LCD technology uses a lamp or LED light, two sheets of the polarizer, liquid crystal solution, and primary color filters [Red, Green & Blue] to project an image.
LCD technology using LED light source has the highest lifespan and almost no maintenance cost. LCD projectors have the best contrast ratio compare to DLP and LCoS but is limited by its brightness.
LCoS [Liquid crystal on silicon]
LCoS is referred as the hybrid of both DLP and LCD technology. It uses tiny reflective mirrors, liquid crystal and LED or Laser as the light source to project images.
LCoS has one of the best contrast ratios with no rainbow effect. However, expensive, bulky and low lumens are the shortcoming of this technology
Most of us are quite familiar with what resolution stands for. While buying a projector, you should know the difference between its native resolution and maximum resolution.
Many manufacturers intentionally highlight the maximum resolution and hide its native resolution to make the specs of the projector look good. You should be careful and ignore these type of marketing hypes.
Native resolution is the true physical resolution of a projector. No projector can project higher resolution than its native resolution. If this is the case, then how come $100 projector can project FHD 1080P resolution?
When the projector under $200 says it can project FHD resolution, then it is its maximum resolution, not native resolution. Till this date, there is no $200 projector with FHD resolution.
Maximum resolution is not a resolution at all. It is the highest signal format that a projector can process. Many computing devices like Smartphones, laptops, gaming console uses a various format like 1080P, 4K. Hence, the maximum resolution of a projector refers to the highest signal format that it can handle.
Many projectors use an abbreviation like 1080P for FHD while stating their native resolution. Here is the most used acronym used to describe native resolution.
Number of Pixels
640 X 480
800 X 450
800 X 600
1024 X 768
1280 X 720
1280 X 800
1280 X 1024
1280 X 1080
3840 X 2160
Under $200, the market standard is XGA projector. This is the native resolution. If you can find anything above it will increase the value for the price.
When you buy a projector, you are likely to use it either in a dark room or bright areas. Hence, you should know how much brightness is needed in both light conditions.
Brightness measured in Lumens is a crucial aspect to consider as it determines projector potentiality in a different environment. If you are planning to use your projector in the darkroom, 1400 lumen brightness is the right choice for you.
For the bright room, you should look for a projector with at least 2500 lumen. Under $200, 3000 lumens is the benchmark.
When a projector says it has 1500:1 contrast ratio, it is suggesting that its white images are 1500 times brighter than its black image. So, you get the idea of how contrast works in projectors.
Hence, a contrast ratio measures the gap between projectors’ white and black images. The standard contrast ratio for $200 projector is 15000:1.
For a projector under $200, HDMI port, USB port, VGA connector and 3.5 mm Audio output are the standard. Finding Wi-Fi and Bluetooth features under this price range is hard.
However, you can always use third party TV stick like Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV stick or other Wi-Fi dongles to gear your projector with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
A range of projector determines its ideal image throwing distance. Based on the range, there are short throw and long throw projector.
If you have tight space, you should consider the range of the projector. Short throw projector can project a screen size of 80 to 100 inches from 4 feet whereas it takes about 7 to 15 feet for long throw projector.
Finding short throw projector under $200 is hard. However, there are some short throw Pico projectors under this price range.
Best Projectors under $200 in 2018
Before going any further lets take a peek at our list first:
4000 lumen| LCD | 3000:1 contrast ratio| 30,000 hrs lamp life
3200 lumen| LCD | 2000:1 contrast ratio| 50,000 hrs lamp life
3500 lumen| LCD | 3000:1 contrast ratio| 50,000 hrs lamp life
3500 lumen| LCD | 3,000:1 contrast ratio| 50,000 hrs lamp life
100 lumen| DLP| 2,000:1 contrast ratio| 20,000 hrs lamp life
Now, let us go through our list of 5 best projectors under $200
1. GBTIGER YG600
Best outdoor projector under $200 2018
If you are looking for a projector for both your outdoor and indoor needs, then look no further than GBTIGER YG610. For outdoor uses the brightness of the projector is critical. With its 4000 lumens, this projector has the highest brightness level at this price point.
With the contrast ratio of 3000:1, the image quality is ok but not the best. Its +/- 15-degree keystone correction is not precisely accurate but will get the job done for the most part. With the LCD technology and LED light source, this projector can last up to 30,000 hours. Also, this blend of LCD and LED has almost zero maintenance cost.
The star of the show spec for this projector is its native resolution. It can project WXGA [1280 x 768]. To find such a high resolution under $200 budget is unheard of until now.
GBTIGER YG600 supports 1080p signal via its 2 HDMI ports. You can also find a USB port, VGA connector, Audio output, AV input and micro SD card which indeed will offer you one of the best home entertainment system.
Talking about its throw ratio, its shortest range is 4.9 ft with a screen projection of 44 inches and to get that 200-inch big screen; this projector needs to be 18 ft apart.
2. WiMiUS T7
Best mini projector under $200 2018
WiMiUS T7 might be the new guy in the town but its new projector WiMiUS T7 scream premium quality. If you want a powerful performance in a compact size, then WiMiUS T7 will be your next favorite thing.
The fusion of 3200 lumens brightness and 2000:1 contrast ratio on a WVGA [ 854 X 540] resolution offers you the immersive video watching experience. Its LCD-LED backlit display technology offers brighter and clearer images. However, it can be hardly used in the room full of ambient light.
The projection size ranges from 30-176 inches from a distance of 3 to 16 feet. With 50,000 hrs. lamp lifespan, it will stay with you for more than 13 years. You can connect with a wide array of devices including smartphones, laptops, gaming console, tablets via HDMI, VGA, and USB ports.
Even it has many good and great features, WiMiUS T7 is not 100 percent perfect. If you are planning to mount this projector, it is not the right projector for you. It was designed to aid portability, so it lacks right mounting holes.
The fan noise can get loud at times. However, if you hook this up with external speakers, the noise won’t bother you at all.
3. ELEPHAS YG600
Best 1080p projector under $200 2018
When it comes to the best budget projector, ELEPHAS is one of the brands that won’t disappoint you and ELEPHAS YG600 is not an exception to it.
With the outstanding features like WXGA [1280×800] resolution, 3000:1 contrast ratio and 3500 Lumens brightness, ELEPHAS YG600 offers the best bang for a buck.
Its LED lamp can last up to 50,000hrs. The manual correction +/-15 degree is pretty accurate for the price. Its 4:3/ 16:9 aspect ratio adds versatility by allowing you to project images on almost any surface.
The projection size of 44- 200 inches screen is pretty standard at this price range. You will find AV, VGA, USB, Micro SD, HDMI and Audio output as its port selection.
Its loud and clear built-in speakers complement its video quality. Also, the fan noise is not too loud compared to some of its competitors.
It sure has a shortcoming in a few areas. The focus adjustment can be a little tricky for some of us. It has minimal adjusting features. Most of the time you ended up physically moving the projector to adjust the screen size and quality.
Except for few glitches, ELEPHAS YG600 still is one of the best performing projectors under $200.
4. PONER SAUND M5
Best gaming projector under $200 2018
If your sense of style demands gaming in a big 200-inch screen, then I am sure this projector is going to be your next favorite thing.
Powered by LCD-LED backlit technology, the M5 low response rate offers that lag-free gaming environment. Its 3500 lumens prepares this projector for both high and low light conditions.
Its 3000:1 contrast ratio and 720p native resolution may not sound much, but M5 is capable enough to deliver crisp quaity sharp images. The built-in speakers are surprisingly loud with decent bass.
With 2xHDMI, 2xUSB, AV, VGA, SD card, audio ports the I/O selection are some of the best under this price range.
The manual keystone correction lets you adjust the shape of the images without any hassle, but it lacks the horizontal adjustment. Even, the M5 claims this projector as one of the quietest projectors, the fan noise can get pretty loud.
5. ELEPHAS S1
Best Pico projector under 200 2018
If you are looking for an ultra-portable projector that fits into the palm of your hand and can be easily slipped into your pocket, then ELEPHAS S1 is the one for you.
With 100 lumens this projector might not be the best option for bright lightroom, but the quick and easy portability with built-in 5200mAh battery will trade off for its shortcoming.
Its 720p native resolution, compact palm size, 0.6 Ib and projection up to 200 inches makes this projector the best movie watching option on the run.
The fusion of single-chip DLP technology and 2000:1 contrast ratio delivers stunning image quality with average color accuracy. With the USB, Micro SD, HDMI, and Audio ports, you can connect it with a variety of units.
Its sound quality is ok. Even with the 50 percent volume, it can fill small to medium room.
Projectors are the budgeted approach to watch movies on a big screen. Under $200 you are not going to get the best projector experience.
But, if you know what specs to look for, you will end up with a decent projector. Except for the large screen and portability, it lacks in almost every field when compared to TV.
But still, the portability and movie theater-like experience is hard to ignore. Many new projector manufacturers are offering higher resolution projector for comparatively less price than reputed brand.
I recommend not to fall for those marketing hypes and buy a projector from an established brand.
I hope my article about the best projector under $200 was instructive. If you agree with me, please share it or if you have any question and comment, use the comment box below. Good luck with your purchase. Shop SMart!