Best Cheap 4K Projectors of 2019

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Steve Scott

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It seems as if it was ages ago when 4K resolution projectors were an expensive toy for those with some serious cash surplus. Ever since they were introduced to the market, the customers were literally yearning over the possibility of ever owning such a piece of equipment.

Well, nowadays 4K projectors have become more affordable and common in many households. But it took them a long time to get there.

At first, calling them affordable was kind of unnatural, since the prices dropped from $25,000 to "measly" $5,000. What a bargain, right?

But now you can get quality 4K details and image for under $2,000, which you have to admit is pretty neat.

We've compiled a list of best "cheap" 4K projectors. By the end of it, you'll get a better grasp of what features they come with and whether a 4K projector is a thing for you.

See related: Best Cheap Projectors

​Best Cheap 4K Projectors - Our Top Picks

Optoma-UHD60-4K-Ultra-HD-1

Specifications

  • Size: 19.6 x 13 x 6 inches
  • Weight: 16 lbs

Key Features

  • Screen size: 26.45" - 302.2"
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • 3000 lumens
  • Contrast ratio: 1.000.000:1
  • Native resolution: 3840 x 2160
  • 3d capable
  • DLP display technology

PROS

  • Extraordinary picture quality
  • Value for money
  • Solid and strong onboard speakers
  • Easy to set up
  • HDR10 compatible
  • HDCP 2.2 port

CONS

  • HDR could be slightly better
  • A small amount of input lag

Optoma UHD60 4K Ultra HD Projector Review

Optoma-UHD60-4K-Ultra-HD-2

When you take a quick glance at the Optoma UHD60 you'll see that it's a beast of a projector. Make no mistake, it will take up half of your room, but it will look glorious in the process.

You might think that there's nothing flashy about its flat design, but it is a surprisingly well-rounded piece, similar to other Optoma projectors. 

The main difference from the other Optoma projectors is that the lens is placed in the middle, which can make mounting it a bit more complicated if you have set your ceiling bracket previous to that.

DLP Technology

As far as the technical specs go, this model uses DLP display technology and has a max resolution of 3840 x 2160. Not only that, but this monster has a 1.000.000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and is geared with 3000 lumens.

So, it's no wonder that this piece provides incredible depth and color output.

It also offers a considerable screen size, which can go all the way up to 140 inches, and with a 1.39:1 throw ratio. Are you interested to learn about proper projector maintenance? We have just an article for you.

UltraDetail technology

The best part of this projector is that the setup is quite easy since it comes equipped with a DLP auto-alignment chip. With UltraDetail technology, you'll be able to fine-tune image and achieve the best possible clarity. 

Since it comes with a quality dual speaker and a heavy-duty lamp, it will save you some money in the process of not having to purchase those. The number of ports available is simply incredible since it comes with HDCP 2.2, two HDMI ports, a VGA-in, an Ethernet port, a USB port, and two audio jacks (one for in one for out).

All in all, Optoma UHD60 is a state of the art 4K projector, considering its price and longevity. Paired with the fact that it's HDR-compatible, it's no wonder that it's been a top customer's choice for a while now. Take a look at our Optoma UHD60 review.

Epson-5040UB-3LCD-4K-Projector-1

Specifications

  • Size: 20.5 x 7.6 x 17.7 inches
  • Weight: 24.7 lbs.

Key features

  • accepts 4K Ultra HD video sources
  • High Dynamic Range (HDR10)
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • 2500 lumens
  • Contrast ratio: 1.000.000:1
  • 2.1X zoom capability (powered zoom/focus)
  • 5 HDMI
  • HDCP 2.2 compatible
  • Quiet cooling fan

PROS

  • Fantastic image quality
  • Full HDR compatible
  • Number of ports
  • HDCP 2.2

CONS

  • A slight amount of fan noise

Epson 5040UBe 4k 3LCD Review

Epson-5040UB-3LCD-4K-Projector-2

Even just from looking at it, you can see that the Epson 5040Ube is not an ordinary model. Its shiny, smooth and sleek design contrasted with the sharply shaped cooling vents shows a robust and impressive build technology.

But, the outside is less important here. It's what this model has to offer in the field of color reproduction that separates it from the rest.

Astonishing 1.000.000:1 aspect ratio and HDCP 2.2 and wireless 4K video broadcast support ensure that this model will be able to perform well even with future video formats. Such color contrast and detail will output almost a lifelike picture.

The amount of light produced by the lamp is 2500 lumens. This means that you'll be able to use this projector even with some ambient light present, and with almost any home theater. Learn more about the best home theaters.

But, it's best to use it in a darker environment.

So Many Connectivity Options

As far as connectivity goes, Epson shines here as well. It has a vast selection of ports available to you.

It has two HDMI inputs, a USB port, a VGA input, and an optical HDMI input. The last one requires a rather pricey converter and is probably intended for business use. Both HDMI ports can support HDCP 2.2, which is essential if you want to output 4K video.

And last but not least, it is HDR compatible and uses 4K enhancement technology, meaning it will upgrade all the content that is not 4K into Full HD, and provide you with all the cool details.

Acer-V7850-1

Specifications

  • Size: 15.7 x 11.7 x 5 inches
  • Weight: 12.1 lbs

Key Features

  • 4K UHD
  • Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160
  • HDR compatible
  • 2200 lumens
  • Contrast Ratio: 1.200.000:1
  • Optical Zoom Ratio: 1.6x

PROS

  • 4K UHD output
  • Color depth
  • A wide array of HDR settings
  • Sound clarity

CONS

  • No 3D support
  • Only one HDMI port

Acer V7850 4K Ultra HD DLP Review

Acer-V7850-2

Acer V7850 is one of those projectors that will hook you from the get-go, not only with its affordability, but also efficiency. From all the items on this list, it's probably the best bang for the buck.

Its flabbergasting visuals and details are a product of a 3840 x 2160 resolution and 8.3 million pixels. Paired with the 2200 lumens and a 1.200.000:1 contrast ratio, it's no wonder this model presents such sharpness and lifelike image.

And with such an amount of brightness, you'll be able to use it in almost any setting, but it is preferable to do it in a darker environment.

See related: Best Backyard Movie Projectors Under $500

Introducing Color Purity and AcuMotion Technology

Acer has incorporated some Color Purity technology and RGBRGB color wheel to make every single frame pop out from the screen and to add incredible depth to the overall imagery. 

This technology, in combination with AcuMotion technology which minimizes any in-frame blur, will ensure a smooth and trouble-free visual experience.

Its dual 5-watt speakers provide some much-needed sound clarity and depth. However, they don't perform that well in larger rooms.

As with many other projectors on this list, this one provides various connectivity options, like USB, HDMI (only one, unfortunately), MHL and more.

Considering everything, V7850 provides some quality features, all without making a massive dent in your wallet.

Sony-VPLVW285ES-1

Specifications

  • Size: 23 x 20 x 11.5 inches
  • Weight: 27.5 lbs

Key Features

  • True 4K
  • High Dynamic Range (HDR10)
  • Aspect ratio: 1.9:1 
  • 1500 lumens
  • Contrast ratio: 1.200.000:1
  • HDCP 2.2 compatible

PROS

  • Extraordinary 4K visual details
  • Color depth
  • Clarity
  • Solid 3D output
  • A significant number of ports available

CONS

  • Brightness is quite low

Sony VPLVW285ES Review

Sony-VPLVW285ES-2

Sony is a pioneer when it comes to visual technology, and the same goes for projectors. And the VPLVW285ES is a true representative of what they're able to throw out on the market.

And the first thing that catches your attention with this model is its elegance. It is a bit larger than some of the models on this list, but it comes in a neat, classy dark cabinet.

But elegance aside, this projector projects a really natural image, which is a result of it being a true 4K, and not relying on image processing. Over time it has proven to be a gamers' favorite because of the image quality.

No Need For Calibration

Even right out of the box, the color precision and quality are as good as it gets. So, they require little to no calibration, like with most newer Sony models.

When you compare them side to side with other calibrated projectors, the results turn out pretty accurate. Take a look at some of the best cheap 120Hz monitors.

Another significant aspect of this projector is the number of connectivity ports, including Ethernet, USB, HDCP 2.2, HDMI, RS-232, and more. Which, you have to admit, is more than enough to satisfy almost anyone's needs.

The one thing where this model doesn't shine is its brightness or the number of lumens. With 1500 lumens, it is somewhere in the mid-range.

This isn't a bright room model, so it's best to use it in a darker environment. But, all in all, even with such lumen numbers, it showed pretty decent results when considering black levels.

Epson-Home-Cinema-4000-1

Specifications

  • Size: 20.5 x 17.7 x 7.6 inches
  • Weight: 24.3 lbs

Key Features

  • Native resolution: 1080p
  • HDR compatible
  • 2200 lumens
  • Zoom: 2.1x
  • Lens shift: Vertical and horizontal
  • 3D compatible
  • Lamp life: 4,000 hours
  • 2 HDMI inputs
  • 1 USB port
  • LAN port: Yes
  • RS-232 remote port: Yes

PROS

  • 4K enhancement on a high level
  • Superb color accuracy
  • Lamp life
  • Price

CONS

  • Not so easy to install
  • No built-in speakers

Epson Home Cinema 4000 Review

Epson-Home-Cinema-4000-2

You may have noticed that Epson got featured twice on this list. And why not, since they make quality projectors at an affordable price?

Home Cinema 4000 is one of the most irresistible projectors that Epson has thrown into the market. At first glance it might not look as much, but once you start using it, you’ll get hooked.

What are some of the best short-throw projectors? Learn more from our guide,

Great 4K Enhancement

Epson is known for its impeccable image quality and this model is no different. 4K enhancement technology is something to behold, which yields a lifelike visual output.

Not only that, but the presence of HDR10 and a wide color gamut ensure that every frame is filled with natural-looking colors.

Another reason why its value for money is so high is the brightness levels, which is at 2200 lumens, and a staggering contrast ratio of 1.400.000:1.

A wide variety of screen sizes is also something to look forward with this model since you can go from 50 inches all the way up to 300 inches.

The heavy-duty lamp that comes with this model is quite fascinating since it can last more than 5000 hours. Not having to replace a lamp often will save you a great deal of money.

4K Projectors - A Buying Guide

What Are 4K Projectors?

To put it simply, 4K projectors are ultra HD, quality projectors that have four times higher pixel numbers than the 1080p ones. The imagery and picture quality is incredibly pristine and lifelike.

The color saturation and contrast on a 4K projector are so authentic that it might feel like you're looking through a window somewhere. These projectors are somewhat of an upgrade from the high-definition ones.

Although, it's safe to say that transitioning from standard projectors to those in high-def is definitely a bigger leap than going from high-def to 4K. Some critics tend to believe that having such a machine and all those pixels available is simply not worth it on smaller screen size.

Nevertheless, no one can argue that the image quality you get with 4K is outstanding. But, such quality comes with a price.

Although the prices have dropped recently, they can still make a huge dent in your wallet. Learn more about 4K technology from this Techradar’s guide.

What to Consider Before Getting a 4K Projector

There are a couple of things to consider before getting a 4K projector. If you want to get the best out of it and to notice a difference in image quality.

The first one is your distance away from the screen. The second one is the size of that screen.

Learn more about the projector distance from our comprehensive guide.

brightness

Chances are you probably won't want to sit right in front of the screen. Your parents taught you it's not good for your eyes. 

In that case, you will need a truly large screen, preferably 100 inches or more, to get the most out of such a high resolution. Watching 4K content on a small surface means that you would have to sit right in front of the screen to notice any difference.

And the great thing about projectors is that they don't limit you with small screen size.

What is faux-K?

Sometimes, or rather more often than not, you will come across a term faux-K, 4K enhancement or any similar name. So what does it mean?

Well, since true 4K is extremely expensive to manufacture and incorporate into projectors, they still remain hard to get for many customers. So, many manufacturers found a way to achieve the 4K resolution without ever costing that much.

faux-vs-true-4k

Even though one might argue that it's not really 4k, you'd have to be an expert to notice a difference. Or you'd have to watch both true and faux 4K side by side.

Is Finding 4K Content Difficult?

To put it simply - yes! Or at least it was up until recently. But luckily the situation is getting much better. 

Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu now offer premium subscriptions allowing you to stream 4K content

And these services usually cost just a couple more dollars than the standard plans. But, be aware that you'll need to have a steady internet connection with a speed of 25 Mbps or higher if you want to stream such content.

Most Important 4K Projector Features

Resolution

As we've mentioned before, buying a 4K projector doesn't necessarily mean you'll get exactly that, unlike with a 4K TV. Many of those projectors will offer a pseudo 4K resolution.

Most of these projectors are able to read 4K content by using a Full HD native image sensor. So, when purchasing a low-end projector, you have to be sure that your desired model has a true 4K capability.

But besides resolution, other factors determine the image quality. Meaning there are other things to consider when deciding to spend some money on a projector.

Contrast ratio, quality optics (lenses), brightness and light output, lamp life, color accuracy are all things to have in mind before purchase. 

That being said, you need to have this in mind whether you're buying a 4K or a regular projector.

Brightness and Contrast

Anyone who's ever seen a movie in a cinematic environment knows that a projector does its best in a dark room. Only when the lights are off, you'll be able to get the most out of it.

lumens

So, to get the best results when it comes to image brightness, you will have to set the perfect conditions. But even with those (in a completely dark space), the vast majority of projectors won't be able to pull of brightness that is otherwise available on, let's say, 4K TVs.

But when all is considered, image brightness is on a high level and paired with fantastic contrast ratios, the image quality is bound to be exceptional.

Colors

When it comes to the color display, that's where 4K technology shines. Whether you have a 4K Tv or a 4K projector, the end result will be a display of incredibly vibrant and rich colors.

4K projectors are able to display the majority of HDR colors and to cover over a billion color shades.

Display

The best thing about projectors is that you can choose and adjust the size of the picture displayed. You can do this either by changing the distance from the surface, which will serve as your screen or by choosing which surface you'll use to project on to.

In most cases, a projection screen will be more than enough. That being said, you will need to know the dimensions of both the wall and the room so you can set a proper distance from the screen.

Audio

Although some 4K projector models come with a built-in set of speakers, more often than not they won't yield such great results. This is due to the fact that the projector will, in most cases, be positioned behind you.

So, most 4K projectors require an external set of speakers if you want to enhance the viewing experience.

Installation

Installing a 4K projector can be somewhat tricky. In addition to finding the perfect spot and the right distance, you will need to connect the projector to your computer or some other device for playing video. 

After that, you will have to adjust the picture, set all the parameters according to the distance you set beforehand.

Experience

Here we come to the biggest factor why most people opt for 4K projectors. It because they duplicate the sense of watching a movie in a theater.

With such large screen sizes and vibrant colors, these projectors offer a truly one of a kind immersive experience. After watching a movie in 4K on a large screen, you will never want to go back!

In Conclusion

Should you get a 4K projector? Well, the simple answer would be – yes, definitely. But, if you wish to hit the jackpot with it, you need to take a better look at some stuff.

First is your room lighting. There was once an issue with projector brightness, bu modern projectors managed to remedy this problem somewhat.

However, even though they offer more brightness than you thought was ever possible and can work even in well-lit rooms, they still give the best picture quality in a darker place. A dark environment will also make the process of color calibration much more straightforward.

Another thing to consider is whether you have enough space to install a screen. Without it, buying a projector would just be money thrown out of the window.

You need to have enough room to place the screen, your speakers and a receiver, and enough distance to place the projector. Keep in mind, you need to make sure that not only the distance from the projector to the screen is acceptable, but also from the screen to your viewing position.

But in the end, the most important thing to consider would be whether you really need 4K picture or not. If you follow all the latest technology trends and wish to get a lifelike experience from watching a movie or playing a game, then, by all means, go for it!

My name is Steve Scott. Father of 2 and owner of Outdoor Movie HQ. I’ve been involved in the A/V industry for most of my life and built this blog to help people better understand projector technology. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

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