So, you’ve got your TV or monitor and you’re going to play some games. Although they do quite a good job of displaying the game’s environment, it seems to be confined in a small space.
Wouldn’t it be great if you were able to somehow make the display larger? Wouldn’t it be awesome if you were to play your games as if they were movies? That can actually be done with the use of a projector.
Now, there are a lot of projectors on the market, but I am going to specifically focus on projectors that are perfect for games. There are some differences that make gaming projectors great for gaming; one of which is the input lag.
Input lag, in the context of gaming projectors, is just the time difference between getting the signal from the source (game console/PC) to the projector and the time it needs to display the image.
Projectors that are designed for gaming have much lower input lag compared to projectors that are built specifically for schools and business institutions.
If you want to enjoy your games by creating a cinematic experience while you’re playing, then you’ve come to the right article. I will talk about the best gaming projectors you can find on the market and at the end of the article, I will talk about the things you need to look for when you’re going to get one.
So, without further ado, here are some of the best projectors for gaming:
1. Great gaming projector – Optoma HD142X Review
Price: Under $550
Pros: 1080p Resolution, robust build quality
Cons: Not a lot of ports, speakers need improvement
If you just want to try out a good projector for gaming without breaking the bank, then the Optoma HD142X is the one for you.
Optoma has been known to produce quite a number of great projectors; whether it is for corporate or home use.
The Optoma HD142X is the company’s successor to their now defunct HD lineup. This projector supports a native resolution of 1920×1080 which seems to be the current standard in gaming.
This projector makes use of the DLP technology and I am quite surprised that the company opted for a fewer connectivity options as opposed to other projectors that can accommodate quite a handful.
The HD142X has only two HDMI 1.4a ports, a 3D Sync slot, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a USB power port so that you can plug in your peripherals such as a mouse, for example.
I have to point out that Optoma has been known to create projectors that are not only budget-friendly, but they are also pretty bright as well. This projector is rated at 3,000 lumens and it does a pretty good job of projecting the display on the wall. For maximum results, you would want to have a low ambient lighting.
It has an all-black finish which makes it look appealing and there are also vents that are put on all the sides of it for even ventilation.
On the top of the device lies the projector’s basic controls. You can also control the device using its included remote which pretty much the same controls.
Now, as mentioned earlier, one of the most important aspects of a gaming projector is its low input lag. And, I am quite happy that the Optoma HD142X provides a mere 17ms input lag which should not introduce slowness or any visual distortions due to lag.
I do have to point out that because the projector makes use of a slower color wheel, rainbow artifacts will be present in some situations. Thankfully, it doesn’t come up too often to become annoying.
The lamp life of the HD142X is also rated to last up to 8,000 hours which makes the device last for more than 3 years of moderate use.
If you want a great entry level gaming projector, then the Optoma HD142X is a very good choice.
2. Top projector for gaming – ViewSonic PJD7828HDL Review
Price: Under $590
Pros: Very good color reproduction, 1080p resolution, powerful brightness
Cons: Rainbow artifacts in certain situations
Another great budget projector for gaming, the ViewSonic PJD7828HDL aims to provide a Full HD Resolution display with impressive color reproduction.
Unlike the previous recommendation, the ViewSonic PJD7828HDL sports a predominantly glossy white design. At the top, you will find the Viewsonic branding and some basic controls. On the front are some grilles for ventilation and there are also some on the sides as well.
Now, the PJD7828HDL has a short-throw lens which is great. For those of you who do not know, a “short-throw” lens will only require you a bit of space for the projector to display its full supported image.
In other words, the projector does not need to be positioned far away from the wall in order to have its full supported display which is a godsend for people who have a small room.
One unique feature of the ViewSonic PJD7828HDL is its “PortAll” feature. This feature is essentially a discreet MHL port so that you can plug in a wireless dongle such as a Google Chromecast, for example. There is also a micro-USB power port that can easily charge devices which have a microUSB slot.
The ViewSonic PJD7828HDL’s lens is rated at a maximum brightness of 3,200 lumens and it also has a contrast ratio of 15000:1. This is actually a pretty good stat considering that this projector costs below $1000.
It also supports the Full HD resolution or 1080p and what’s great is that because of its short-throw lens and amazing brightness, you can pretty much enjoy the full resolution with just ample ambient lighting and the projector need not be too far away to use it to its full potential.
One of the PJD7828HDL’s hallmark features is its great color reproduction. Thanks to the company’s proprietary “SuperColor” technology, the projector is able to provide crisper and more vivid images. Mileage may vary, though, depending on the current ambient lighting and the original color from the source (game console/PC).
Despite the projector’s impressive color reproduction and brightness, the ViewSonic PJD7828HDL still suffers from the occasional rainbow artifacts because of its slow color wheel. But, that is really overshadowed with its impressive near-constant color performance.
So, how does it perform in games? The ViewSonic PJD7828HDL performs just as well as the Optoma projector above by having a low input lag of only 17ms.
As for connectivity, the ViewSonic PJD7828HDL comes with 1 HDMI/MHL port, 1 HDMI 1.4 port, and two 3.5mm audio in and audio out ports.
If you want a gaming projector that provides a more vivid display without putting a hole on your wallet, then the ViewSonic PJD7828HDL will not disappoint.
3. Optoma GT1080 – gaming projector review
Price: Under $620
Pros: Very low input lag, High Contrast Ratio
Cons: Low brightness, heat
If you’re looking for a true gaming projector that provides a very low input lag of only 15ms, the Optoma GT1080 definitely fits the bill.
The Optoma GT1080 sports an all-white look with some basic controls on top and some grilles on all sides of the projector. The projector is also lightweight as it only weighs 2.65kg. You can pretty much bring this with you if you plan on gaming at your friend’s house and it even has a convenient carrying case as well.
I am impressed that the Optoma GT1080 has a 25,000:1 contrast ratio. This means that the blacks look black and the whites are truly white.
It has a short-throw lens and you only need the projector to be a meter away to fully display its 100-inch image support. This is perfect for gamers who only have small rooms.
The Optoma GT1080 supports the Full HD Resolution (1920×1080) and has a native aspect ratio of 16:9. For its ports, it has two HDMI 1.4 ports with one of them having MHL support and a lone 3.5mm audio jack for headphones of 2.1 speakers.
Visually speaking, the GT1080 performs really well. With its impressive contrast ratio and vibrant color reproduction, the in-game environment will surely pop out even more when compared to other gaming projectors at this price point.
It is also a nice thing to know that the Optoma GT1080 doesn’t suffer from rainbow artifacts that are present in the previous recommendations. This is a huge plus, especially considering that this projector works best in dark or dimly-lit rooms.
One last key thing I need to note here is that the GT1080 produces a lot more heat than the previous projectors I’ve mentioned.
Despite having a lot of grilles, the device just gives off a lot of heat after a few hours. In order to use this projector without fear of destroying it due to high temperatures, it is best that you use this in a relatively cool environment.
Lastly, the gaming performance of the Optoma GT1080 is just absolutely amazing. With only 15ms input lag, there are no slowness or distortions present at all!
With its amazingly low input lag, sleek looks, and its high contrast ratio, the Optoma GT1080 performs admirably well at a sub $1000 price point.
4. Best projector for gaming – Acer Predator Z650 Review
Price: Under $1000
Pros: Short-throw lens, Vivid and Punchy colors, Low input lag
Cons: Expensive, Low brightness
If you are aware of gaming monitors, you know that Acer has manufactured a number of highly-acclaimed displays – ranging from high picture quality displays to blazing fast monitors that have a refresh rate of 144Hz and above.
Well, the company has ventured into creating some gaming projectors. One of them is the Acer Predator Z650.
The Acer Predator Z650 has a predominantly matte black color scheme, but the sides are painted red because this is part of the company’s “Predator” lineup of gaming products.
On the front, you will find some grilles and it also has some ripple accents to further improve its aesthetics. There are also other grilles that can be found on the side as well for improved ventilation.
One of the best things about the Z650 is its plethora of ports. It has an RS232 port, an HDMI 2/MHL port, and HDMI 1.4a port, a micro USB connection, an S-Video port, a VGA-in and VGA-out, and a slew of audio connection ports as well.
You will find that this is not only a great gaming projector, it is also great for a home theater setup as well.
The Acer Predator Z650 also provides a variety of picture modes. But, what makes this great as a gaming projector is its “ColorPurity” feature. This feature, in essence, provides more vivid and punchy colors without sacrificing detail.
Despite the feature, it is held aback by its lower brightness rating. This projector’s lens can only go as high as 2200 Lumens, which means that the ambient lighting should be pretty low in order for it to have its maximum visual performance.
But, what makes this a “gaming” projector is its insanely low input lag. It only has an input lag of 14ms which puts this product as one of the fastest projectors for gaming.
Probably, the only thing that’s holding this thing from being truly great is its lower brightness rating. But apart from that, the Acer Predator Z650 should definitely be considered if you want one of the best gaming projectors on the market.
5. BenQ HT2150ST Review
Price: Under $1000
Pros: Great color performance, 16ms input lag, Better audio performance than others
Cons: Expensive, Low brightness in some modes
Most people do not have the luxury of having big rooms for their entertainment purposes. But, what if you really want to up your gaming experience by using a projector? Well, the BenQ HT2150ST is something that you might want to buy if you have a rather small room for your gaming and entertainment needs.
The “ST” in the moniker stands for “Short Throw” and you essentially need only a meter’s distance away from the wall to be able to output a 100-inch display.
Now, the BenQ HT2150ST only has a brightness rating of only 2,200 lumens which again does not bode well when there is ample ambient lighting. It only works best on dimly-lit rooms or in rooms where light is completely turned off.
The BenQ HT2150ST sports a predominantly white design and at the back of the projector lies a lot of ports that can suit whatever device you want to connect to it.
It has an HDMI 1.4a port, HDMI 2.0/MHL port, a USB type-A port, a USB Type B Mini port, a VGA slot, an RS232 port, and an audio-in and audio out ports if you wish to connect an external audio system.
Speaking of audio, the HT2150ST sounds much better than other gaming projectors in its price range. Bass is not expected to be boomy, but for the most part, it is loud without those ugly distortions and the highs and mids are quite prominent, not to mention the voice clarity is crisp as well.
Its picture quality is also impressive. I like to point out that the Cinema preset gives the best color reproduction, but it introduces a much higher input lag so you may want to limit its use only when you’re watching movies or your favorite shows.
In terms of gaming performance, the BenQ HT2150ST showed only 16.4ms input lag in game mode. When you use all other picture preset modes, you will experience a much higher input lag, though, not dramatically high that you will notice slowness inherent in high-input lag projectors.
It is just so sad that this projector also has a lower brightness rating at only 2,200 lumens. Other than that, the BenQ HT2150ST is a great gaming projector that you can snag for under $1000.
6. Sony VPL-HW45ES Review
Price: Under $1800
Pros: Low-latency gaming, 3D playback, 1.6x optical zoom
Cons: Expensive, low brightness, heavy
When you want to have an ultra-premium Full HD resolution gaming projector, then there’s no doubt that the Sony VPL-HW45ES takes the crown.
The Sony VPL-HW45ES is a sleek and feature-rich gaming projector and as such, it is also the most expensive on this list.
Let’s start with the color performance. The Sony VPL-HW45ES is hands down, one of the best performers when it comes to color reproduction.
No matter what preset picture modes or custom color settings you use, the HW45ES is guaranteed to give you the visual performance you deserve.
Furthermore, the Sony VPL-HW45ES also supports 3D as well, but you will have to acquire a pair of 3D glasses which is sold separately.
As for aesthetics, this gaming projector comes in either white or black color scheme. At the back of the projector, you will only find two HDMI ports, a USB port, a Remote port, and an IR-in port. It is a bit of a bummer that this doesn’t come with other ports, but then again, most computers and game consoles already make use of the HDMI port as a standard.
The Sony VPL-HW45ES can also last a long time as it is rated to survive for about 6,000 hours (provided that you use the Eco mode).
As with the last three gaming projectors, the Sony VPL-HW45ES also suffers from low brightness rating of only 1,800 lumens. Now, keep in mind that this rating is okay, in most cases, but where it falls short are when scenes are dark or poorly lit. Furthermore, having ample ambient lighting will have a big impact in its display performance.
Despite its lower brightness rating, the color performance is just topnotch. Whether you’re playing an open-world adventure game like The Witcher III or watching Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, this projector provides an excellent viewing experience.
It also has a feature called “MotionFlow” which prevents judders and stutters from high-motion scenarios. This is perfect when you’re watching a fast-paced movie like Jason Bourne or playing racing games.
In terms of gaming, the HW45ES provides a low-latency mode which effectively gives you a low input lag of 16ms. Of course, this feature should only be turned on when you’re gaming as it doesn’t provide that ultra-crisp color performance.
Lastly, this gaming projector is hefty as it weighs a whopping 9kg. This means that the projector is meant to be placed in one location and left there. The choice of bringing it to other venues is up to you, though, it is a bit cumbersome because of its heft.
If you have the money to spend on one of the best 1080p gaming projectors on the market, then I highly recommend you get the Sony VPL-HW45ES. This projector is not only great for gaming, but also for entertainment as well.
What to look for when buying a projector for gaming?
Gaming projectors are different than the typical projectors that you normally see in educational and business settings in that they have more emphasis on input lag above anything else.
This is not to say that color performance is hampered; I am just saying that a projector used mainly for gaming purposes should have an input lag lower than 45ms.
Anyway, if you want to bring a cinematic gaming experience by having a huge display thanks to the projector, you will need to look at a few key things first before you make that purchase. Here are a few things you need to look for and consider when buying a projector for gaming:
1. Input lag- the most important thing to look for when buying a gaming projector is its input lag. As mentioned earlier, you would want the input lag to be as low as possible. All of the projectors I mentioned in this article are guaranteed to be superfast when it comes to gaming as they have a relatively low input lag of below 20ms.
2. Ports- most of the gaming projectors nowadays sport an HDMI connection because that is what most game consoles and PCs use. But, if you’re looking to use the projector for purposes other than gaming, then you may want to look at the ports that the projector has.
3. Brightness rating- As you’ve probably seen throughout the article, I always mention the brightness rating of the projector. That is because it is one of the most important aspects of a projector. Without a strong brightness rating, it will not be able to produce punchy and vivid colors. Aim to have a projector that has a brightness rating of more than 1800 lumens.
4. Features- as for the features, you would want the projector to have plenty of picture modes to suit your taste, 3D support if you want to up your gaming experience, just to name a few.
5. Price- gaming projectors are not cheap. Even the most inexpensive gaming projector costs $500. But, you have to consider the price because then, you will be able to get the best gaming projector that meets your budget.
Gaming Projector Tips
Most people buy gaming projectors and they do not know how to make the most of it. Unbeknownst to many, there are some settings that you need to tinker in the projector’s options menu to bring out the best that the device can do. Here are some tips:
1. Connect your console or PC directly- some people tend to plug their console or PC’s connection to an A/V receiver first before plugging it into the projector. This doesn’t necessarily have a huge impact, but it can pose problems such as dropped connections, increased lag times, among others. Plug your game console or PC directly to the projector to avoid unnecessary issues.
2. Always use the native resolution- Ever wonder why I didn’t recommend 4K projectors? That is because not a lot of PCs can handle the said resolution and no game console, at least at the time of writing this article, is capable of that. The 1080p resolution is the current standard and that is why I only talked about 1080p gaming projectors. The reason? When the projector uses the 1080p resolution, but your PC uses another resolution, say, 1440p, the projector needs to downscale the image before it displays it, further increasing the input lag. Therefore, always make use of the projector’s native resolution and match your game console or PC’s resolution accordingly.
3. Always enable Game Mode- Projectors for gaming always come with a “Game Mode”. It is a set picture mode that reduces input lag dramatically. It may not offer the best picture quality, but you’re guaranteed that the projector will perform at its best while you’re gaming.
4. Tinker with the color options- Projectors often come with preset picture modes, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t fine tune it even further. In fact, I recommend that you set the picture mode to game mode and then tinker some other settings like the gamma, brightness, and contrast to get a better picture quality.
5. Turn off most image processing features- Some projectors have image processing features turned on by default. Although the feature itself is a welcome addition to any projector, it is not that good for gaming because it increases input lag. Turn off as many image processing features as you can to ensure that input lag is kept at a minimum.
6. Keep ambient lighting to a minimum- Projectors work best in a dimly-lit or dark environment. Ever wonder why cinemas are dark? That is because it enhances the display that the projector can emit. Ambient lighting introduces an external brightness factor that can hamper the projector’s performance. If possible, turn off the lights in your entertainment room.
Projectors for gaming give you that cinematic experience when you’re playing your favorite games mainly because it can emit a much larger display; much larger than your current TV or monitor.
Nothing can beat this experience and you and your friends can enjoy the games that you play even further on a much larger display.
Now, gaming projectors are not cheap. They are quite expensive and you may need to spend a lot of money on it. But, I guarantee you, when you get the best gaming projector that your budget can allow, you will be happy with the results you’re going to get.
That being said, all of the projectors I’ve highlighted in this article offer that bang-for-the-buck. Keep in mind that I didn’t include projectors that support higher resolutions (1440p and 4K) mainly because it requires downscaling when you play at a lower resolution.
And, since 1080p is the current standard whether you’re playing on a game console or a modest gaming PC, it is a no-brainer to get a 1080p resolution gaming projector.
I hope that this article has helped you get the best gaming projector that fits your budget.