While 4K TVs and now even 8K TVs are getting all the attention, especially as big purchases around sales events, projectors get left out in the cold. That’s despite the fact that many quality projectors can offer an excellent picture, deliver enough brightness to work in the daytime, and are far more portable than most TVs while offering a projected image that can be much larger. That big picture can make for an amazing gaming setup as the game worlds you’re exploring stretch across the width of your living room wall.
If you’re worried that a projector might fall short compared to a TV when it comes to gaming, you can set those fears aside, as we’ve found a bunch of projectors that can offer big, bright, sharp images while succeeding in one of the most important aspects: keeping low enough input lag for gaming. We’ve got projectors from massive 4K and high refresh rate models to compact models that can run on a battery – and click here to find them in the UK.
TL:DR – These are the Best Gaming Projectors:
- Optoma UHD38
- BenQ TH585
- XGIMI Horizon Pro
- BenQ X1300i
- Optoma UHD35
- Optoma CinemaX P2
- Epson EF-100
- Samsung Premiere LSP7T
- Epson EpiqVision Mini EF11
- Optoma HD39HDR
1. Optoma UHD38
Best Gaming Projector
The Optoma UHD38 simply does it all when it comes time to game. This projector boasts a 4K native resolution to let you go ultra-sharp when you want the greatest fidelity in games with lush worlds and highly detailed textures. With a 4,000-Lumen output, it can also keep up even if your room doesn’t have the ideal lighting condition.
Where the Optoma UHD38 really steps up is in its flexibility to support multiple ways of playing. 4K/60Hz is all well and good, but if you want to compete, you might be thinking about going for a faster refresh rate and lower resolution. The UHD38 is here for that as well as this projector can cruise at up to a 240Hz refresh rate for PC gaming or 120Hz for the latest consoles. It also has a particularly low input lag for a projector at just 4.2ms. So, when you want to game on a massive display that’s either super sharp or super fast, the Optoma UHD38 is ready.
2. BenQ TH585
Best Budget Gaming Projector
If you want to get your gaming projector on the cheap, the BenQ TH585 can keep up. This $500 projetor can help you get a massive gaming display with a 100-inch picture with the projector 12 feet from the wall or screen. The BenQ TH585 delivers a 1080p picture for reasonable sharpness that also won’t tax your gaming systems the same way 4K would.
When it comes to gaming, you’ll benefit from the BenQ TH585’s fast response with just 16ms of input lag. The game mode can also adjust the image to help you see more clearly in your games. The projector can deliver some serious brightness levels with a 3,500 ANSI Lumen peak brightness that’ll hold up even if you’re in a well-lit room. If you want to go with a dimmer setting though, you can run the projector in its Eco, SmartEco, or LampSave modes and really stretch the lifespan of the bump inside.
3. XGIMI Horizon Pro
Best 4K Gaming Projector
Get your game on in 4K with the XGIMI Horizon Pro. This compact LED projector will give a huge, bright, sharp image alongside a low input latency so you can game at your best. The XGIMI Horizon Pro is a convenient, all-in-one projector that will land you the display and speakers you need to get up and running. And, it’s small footprint (less than 9 inches in any dimension) makes it easy to find a home for it in your living room or bedroom — even making it impressively portable.
The picture quality from the XGIMI Horizon Pro is where things really shine. It can display an incredibly colorful picture with HDR support, and that 4K Ultra HD visual will be aided along by a 2,200 ANSI Lumen brightness. At that level, you’ll be able to use this projector whether it’s day or night and whether you want a 100-inch or 300-inch display area. The smarts on board also make setup a sinch, as it can intelligently adjust keystone, focus, and positioning of the image to square up with your wall and find a clear space to fit the picture.
4. BenQ X1300i
Best Gaming Projector for PS5 and Xbox Series X
When it comes to the latest consoles, the PS5 and Xbox Series X, a couple specifications really stand out: 4K resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. The powerful new consoles have the might to push out a 4K image or can drop down to 1080p to more readily push a high frame rate. That makes the BenQ X1300i projector an excellent pairing for these systems thanks to its support for both 4K60Hz and 1080p120Hz.
The BenQ X1300i is a compelling projector from a simple media standpoint, as it offers a dazzling 3,000-lumen picture with 10-bit color depth and HDR support. And it can toss that picture onto your walls at incredible size and detail thanks to its 4K capabilities. But, it gets even better for gamers thanks to its high refresh rate, which will let you game with a stunningly low 8.3ms input lag – the lowest we’ve seen for a projector. Better still, by using LEDs as a light source, the BenQ X1300i has an impressive 20,000-hour lifespan, letting you get some serious hours of gaming in. And did we mention it comes with an Android TV dongle neatly hidden in a built-in compartment as well as speakers for a completely self-contained experience?
5. Optoma UHD35
Best Budget 4K Gaming Projector
Remember our top pick? Well, what if we told you that you could get almost the exact same projector for a little less and with very few tradeoffs? That’s just what the Optoma UHD35 offers. Pretty much the only thing scaled back on this projector is the brightness, which still hits a respectable 3,600 Lumens.
You’ll still be getting support for a 4K image or a 1080p one running at 240Hz. You’ll also get that minimal 4.2ms input lag. This projector has all the same connectivity as well. So, if you know you’re going to be gaming in an environment where you have control of the ambient light, you can save yourself a bit of money and go with this projector instead.
6. Optoma CinemaX P2
Best High-End Gaming Projector
If you want your projector to make a splash in games, then the Optoma CinemaX P2 will be a great partner. You’ll make a couple trade-offs, but in the end you’ll be looking at some stunning game footage. This projector has a short throw, letting you put it close to wall while still achieving a massive image size. And, with a 3,000-lumen laser projection, you won’t have to fuss too much about how bright the room is.
The Optoma CinemaX P2 can display a 4K picture at 60Hz for smooth gameplay, and you have the choice of running it with an 8-bit color depth or with chroma subsampling to allow for an expanded color depth. So, you can go for speed or more impressive 4K HDR. With an input lag of 67ms, it’s not quite the fastest, but it’s respectable for gaming. And, since this is a laser projector, it offers an extra-long lifespan, so you won’t have to worry too much about replacing it halfway through the current console generation.
7. Epson EF-100
Best Smart Projector
One nice perk of a projector is you don’t exactly have to dedicate a big space for it like you would have to with a TV. The Epson EF-100 not only needs little space thanks to a compact form factor, but it won’t require a bunch of extra clutter for a complete setup. That’s thanks to an included Android TV dongle that slots inside the case of the projector and built-in speakers. This will give you a completely kitted entertainment device that only needs you to plug it to a power outlet.
When you want to game, you can disconnect the Android TV dongle and plug in your preferred gaming system over HDMI. You’ll get a bright HD image with support for 10-bit color and game-worthy input lag. So, if you’re looking for a projector that can double as a smart TV while giving you a big image from a small form factor, the Epson EF-100 is a safe bet.
8. Samsung Premiere LSP7T
Best Ultra Short Throw Gaming Projector
Sometimes you want that big gaming picture but don’t have the space to set a projector far enough from the wall to get it. That’s where a short-throw projector comes in, and the Samsung Premiere LSP7T is the new hotness. This projector is built to give you a massive, 120-inch display area with a 4K resolution even when it’s positioned less than half a meter away from your wall. You couldn’t get a small image out of this projector if you wanted to (at least not without trying some really weird positioning).
The Samsung Premiere’s image won’t just be big, as the laser projection will also offer a max of 2,200 ANSI lumens of brightness. And, Samsung has you covered for high dynamic range with support for HDR10+. This projector is ready for your games, but it’s also built to work as a stand-alone entertainment system. It runs Samsung’s Tizen operating system, letting you treat it much like a smart TV with its own streaming apps. Heck, it even has its own 2.2-channel, 30-watt sound system built into the chassis. This makes it an awesome fit for the minimalist that wants to max out their screen size.
9. Epson EpiqVision Mini EF11
Best Compact Gaming Projector
If you want a compact projector that’s easy to take with you from place to place, giving you a portable theater in a bag, then the Epson EpiqVision Mini EF11 is it. This laser projector boasts 1,000 ANSI lumens of brightness while staying under seven inches in every dimension and under three inches tall. You’d have an easier time squeezing this projector into a backpack than you would a full-size football.
The Epson EpiqVision Mini EF11 delivers a sharp, 1080p picture and can shine up to a 150-inch image. With automatic keystone correction and focus, it’s also easy to get the perfect image without any intervention. The projector has built-in Android TV to let you access your favorite streaming apps over an Internet connection, or you can connect it to HDMI sources for other media or games, though its input latency will make it better suited to casual gaming. For on-the-go playback where you might not have internet, you can play video directly from a USB storage device. And, the projector even has 5W speakers built in, making it an all-in-one solution.
10. Optoma HD39HDR
Fastest Gaming Projector
If you want a projector that’s going to give you the best shot at beating out your opponents in competitive online games, then the Optoma HD39HDR is the one for you. It doesn’t offer the highest resolution at just 1080p, but it can deliver super-smooth frames with its 120Hz refresh rate, and your controls will feel snappy thanks to the 8.4ms response time. You even get HDR support, making it all the more impressive that the Optoma HD39HDR comes in at under $1,000.
Where to Get the Best Gaming Projectors in the UK
If you’re looking for true 4K gaming with a projector, you’ve come to the right place UK readers. We’ve managed to track down several of the absolute best projectors for gaming in the UK. There are a few absentees from our list, but there’s still enough choice here to get you started on your premium gaming experience.
What to Look for in a Projector for Gaming
When looking to buy any display—be it a computer monitor, a flat-panel television, or a projector—there are basic specifications to keep in mind. Color accuracy, contrast ratio, and resolution combine to create a true-to-life and engaging image.
With gaming, another primary concern is a low input lag on the projector so you can be the frag-er and not the frag-ee. We recommend aiming for something below 35ms. There are of course a few more important necessities to keep in mind when it comes to projectors.
The room you plan to have your projector in, and more specifically the amount of ambient light in that room, can drastically affect image quality. If the projector doesn’t output enough light, measured in lumens, the ambient light in the room can cause the picture to look washed out and dull. You’ll lose definition in the blacks and colors won’t seem as vivid. If your room lets in a lot of light you’ll want a projector that outputs around 2500 lumens or more. A light-controlled room will be fine with a 1500-2000 lumen projector. No matter what avoid any unnecessary direct light on the displayed surface.
That displayed surface is another concern. While it is completely possible to display your projector on to a white wall, color and contrast will be affected. There are fixed (non-retractable) options like the Silver Ticket 100-inch STR-169100, and there are screens that are mounted to a separate stand that sits in front of a wall, or products for painting a screen surface directly onto your wall.
Having the screen sit in front of a wall causes you to lose a couple of feet of space, which is not ideal if space is at a premium. The paint option is a cool alternative for small living rooms but can be messy and finicky to apply. Plus, if you move it’s difficult to take the entire wall with you. If you can afford it, we recommend just using a fixed screen.
Where you put your projector can also drastically affect your gaming experience. If it sits in a low position directly behind your couch you’ll need to sit to one side to avoid any unintentional MST3K shadows. Plenty of ceiling mounts, like the VIVO Universal Mount, are available for under $20, but be aware you’ll need to think about how you’re going to run power and signal cables.
Projectors have a throw range that determines how near or far they need to be from the screen. If your room depth is limited, a short-throw projector needs only around four or five feet of distance to project a 100-inch diagonal image on the screen or wall.
Kevin Lee is IGN’s Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam
Mark Knapp is a regular contributor to IGN and an irregular Tweeter on Twitter @Techn0Mark