The In-Depth Buyer's Guide 2019
Best 4K Projector
Top 10 Reviewed 4K Projectors
- 1 Winner: Sony VPL-VW365ES 4K 3D Projector
- 2 Test Results and Ratings
- 2.1 - August 2019
- 2.2 4 main factors come down to picking the top 4K Projectors
- 2.3 The Best Balance of
- 2.4 Price and Power
- 2.5 Sony VPL-VW365ES 4K 3D Projector
- 2.6 Best 4K Projector for the
- 2.7 Money
- 2.8 Sony VPL-VW350ES 4K 3D Projector
- 2.9 Best 4K projector
- 2.10 Sony VPL-VW665ES 4K 3D Projector
- 2.11 So Which 4K Projector is Right For You?
- 2.12 Features to Look For
- 2.13 The devil is in the details folks.
- 2.14 Display Size
- 2.15 Price
- 2.16 Throw Distance
- 2.17 Mounting Position
- 2.18 Fan Noise
- 2.19 Screen Quality
- 2.20 Common Mistakes to Avoid
- 2.21 Key Factors to a Good 4K Projector
- 3 4K Projector Related Articles
Winner: Sony VPL-VW365ES 4K 3D Projector
9.8 out of 10
Future proof your home theater with one of our top 4k projectors for 2019.
We are in another new year, and the best 4K projectors of 2019 are just starting to grab the attention of home theater enthusiasts who want to take their movie watching experience up to the next level. But with a product category that’s so new, how can you know what features to look for in a 4K projector, and which unit is ultimately right for you, your home theater setup, and the types of content you plan on enjoying the most?
As always, that’s what Gadget Review is here to do. We’ve taken care of the heavy lifting with our latest roundup of the best 4K projectors in 2019, so keep reading to find out everything you need to know about this evolving technology and what it can do for you!
Test Results and Ratings
- August 2019
How We Decided
4 main factors come down to picking the top 4K Projectors
The Best Balance of
Price and Power
Sony VPL-VW365ES 4K 3D Projector
Why We Like It: When writing this list, we were on the lookout for Sony’s best offering that struck a nice balance between cost, features, portability and performance. Even though the VPLVW365ES may not have all the bells and whistles like the 665ES, it’s able to pack in most of what we love about that unit all while coming in at around $5,000 less.
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The best balance of price and power.
The VPL-VW365ES packs in all the features you could want out of a 4K projector
Features: Upscaling of 1080p content to 4K, 6000-hour lamp life
It still features the awesome “Reality Creation” engine which hones all the edges off 1080p content to make it look as good as it possibly can, all while boasting a moderately impressive 1500 lumen brightness rating. This won’t be enough to light up a room during the middle of the day, but is still plenty for a true home theater viewing experience.
For these reasons and so many more, we’re naming this our best 4K projector of 2019.
Best 4K Projector for the
Sony VPL-VW350ES 4K 3D Projector
Why We Like It: The 350ES shares the same lumen rating with the 365ES at 1500, however in tests the blacks were shown to come off just a little bit lighter than we liked due to its weaker contrast ratio. All that aside, when you consider it’s nearly half the price of the next pick on our list, it’s easy to forgive those slight missteps to make this the best budget 4K projector you’ll find on shelves.
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Best 4K projector for the money.
The VPL-VW350ES is the perfect entry point for the budding 4K projector enthusiast on a budget
Price: Check Price | Features: SXRD projection technology, 3D-ready for games and movies.
Update: We’ve replaced this model with Sony’s newer model, the VPL-VW365ES.
Sure, the may not have the best contrast ratios or deepest blacks, but when you consider the price all those minor sins are easily forgiven. The 350ES is a solid all-arounder for the beginner in 4K projection, someone who isn’t sure that they’re ready to drop an arm and a leg but still want to become a part of the 4K projector elite.
Best 4K projector
Sony VPL-VW665ES 4K 3D Projector
Why We Like It: With an 1800 lumen rating, HDR-compatibility for true color representation, and a 300,000:1 contrast ratio, the VPL-VW-665ES produces the richest colors, deepest blacks, and smoothest motion of any other 4K projector around.
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Absolutely insane performance, with a cost to match.
The VPL-VW665ES is the best looking, best performing 4K projector you can buy
Features: 1800 lumen rating, 300,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio
If we’re going on strictly specs alone, it’s not hard to see why the Sony VPL-VW665ES projector would take the cake.
Read: Best Projector Under $1000
But of course, we know that a sticker price of nearly $15,000 might be a bit of a shock to anyone’s wallet, which is why the 665ES takes the third spot on this list. For quality and features you won’t find anything better, but this projector is also the cost of a small car, which could prove problematic for a lot of customers out there. For all these reasons, the Sony VPL-VW665ES takes the #3 spot for the best performing 4K projector of 2019.
So Which 4K Projector is Right For You?
While we wished there were more models out there that we could use to crown the best 4K projector of 2019, there’s no denying that everything Sony is offering today can still project an image that’s off the charts in terms of quality, color richness, and the overall experience of seeing 4K blown up to real home theater proportions.
Whether you opt for the 350ES, 365ES, or 665ES, you’re guaranteed to have a movie watching experience unlike anything else out there today. If you’re on a budget the 350ES will get the job done, and if you want to splurge on the best of the best the 665ES is lying in wait. No matter what, the 4K revolution is coming, and these are the projectors that will keep you prepared no matter what movies, games, or TV shows you throw their way.
Features to Look For
The devil is in the details folks.
With standard 4K TVs, it can be difficult to appreciate the increased pixel count when a screen is any smaller than at least 60″ across.
With 4K projectors however, the average screen size will often hover anywhere between 80″ – 140″ across, meaning every pixel has the opportunity to shine in its ultra-high resolution glory.
Make sure to check the screen size-to-distance ratios on your projector before settling on your final pick.
Look, there’s no getting around it so we’re not going to mince words here: 4K projectors are a serious investment, reserved for only the most home entertainment-obsessed individuals out there.
So think again if you’re looking for a best 4k projector under $5000. And keep dreaming if you’re looking for a best 4k projector under $2000. It’s just not gonna happen, at least not any time soon.
On average a 4K projector will cost a whole heck of a lot more than its 1080p counterpart, averaging anywhere from $8,000 on the low side up to $15,000 for the premium option.
Just as you would with a standard 1080p projector, one of the first moves you need to make before even considering a 4K projector is to measure the throw distance to be sure there’s enough space between where you plan to mount your projector and where the screen will eventually sit.
The market for 4K projectors isn’t big enough for short-throw models to be a thing yet, so all the models we’ve listed here only use standard lenses to get the image from the unit onto the screen wherever it is in the room.
To make things easier, you can use a calculator like the one found here to decide which throw distance is right for you.
This should be a big concern for prospective 4K projector buyers, because unlike their 1080p cousins, 4K projectors can often be extremely heavy, bulky, and hard to mount.
If you do intend on mounting it, be sure you’re putting it on a wall-mounted arm or shelf that’s rated to hold the poundage of the projector you want to buy.
Some of the projectors we’ve listed here are just over 30lbs at stock, which means that unless you’re confident in your construction abilities it’s probably smarter to find a stable surface to place the projector on rather than hanging it from the ceiling or a wall like you would in classical setups.
If you thought regular 1080p projectors were loud, just wait until you hear what kind of noise a 4K projector puts out.
With more four times the amount of pixels to push out, 4K projectors need heavy duty fans to cool off their bulbs and internals.
Last, there’s the quality of the screen you’re going to use to project the image onto.
If you’re going to splurge on a 4K projector, the last thing you want is for that beautiful, crisp image to be ruined by a sub-par wavy screen made out of budget materials. So be willing to spend and get what will hopefully be the best 4k projector screen for your home theater setup.
If you can afford it, try and get an electronic tensioned screen. These screens last longer because you’re not constantly pulling them up and down every time you’re done watching a movie, and are able to stay flatter over time thanks to the tensioned wire wrapped around the edges.
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Common Mistakes to Avoid
No 4K content or devices
One of the biggest problems that many 4K consumers run into is jumping the gun on buying their projector (or flatscreen) before finding out whether or not they actually have a system that’s capable of displaying 4K in the first place. The more pixels an image has, the more processing power it takes to get it playing smoothly, which means that you’ll need either a 4K media player or a high-powered PC/laptop with a beefy GPU to handle anything you want to pipe into the projector itself.
Read: Best Projector Screen 2019
There are a few ways to watch 4K content right now: Netflix and Amazon streaming, YouTube (any video with the “4K” option under resolution settings), DirecTV or DISH, and UHD 4K Blu-Ray players. Before you get a 4K projector, be sure you have at least one of the devices mentioned above that can be hooked up to the projector so you can enjoy your content at its absolute best.
Not enough throw distance
As we mention in the next section, currently there are no 4K projectors on the market that use a short-throw lens. This means that if you want to project your image larger than at least 80″ across, be certain to double-check the manufacturer’s recommendation for the amount of space you’ll need between where you plan to mount or house your device and the placement of the screen in your home theater.
Key Factors to a Good 4K Projector
While all the projectors we have listed here are considered “good” by anyone’s standards, there are a few key aspects you should keep an eye out for when shopping around
- Frame rates
With 4K every little detail of your media that might otherwise be obscured by 1080p resolution becomes a lot more vivid when you up the ante, which means you’ll want a device that’s at least capable of displaying at 30fps (frames per second), but optimally you’ll want to shoot for 60fps if you can get it.
This is measured in a metric known as “lumens”, and it’s important to note that most 4K projectors are still struggling in this department (the brightest we have currently is 1800 lumens). If you plan on putting your 4K projector in a room that has a lot of ambient light coming in through the windows during the day, you’d be better off sticking with a 1080p option (like the Epson Home Cinema 1440) that can handle it. But if you plan to watch at night only, this point is moot.
Last, the only brand out there currently producing “true” 4K projectors is Sony. JVC and Epson 4K projectors are both in fact “psuedo” 4K projectors, which is to say they can accept 4K content, but the signal has to jump through a lot of hoops to be upscaled, and even then what you get isn’t an actual 4K image like you’d see on a similar flatscreen. It’s expected that this market will start to open up to a larger number of manufacturers over the next few years, but for now the variety of companies putting this product out is still limited to Sony alone.
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