Benq home cinema projector. BenQ HT4550i 4K LED Projector Review

BenQ W1800 4K HDR Home Cinema Projector

BenQ’s W1800 is an affordable True 4K UHD Home Cinema Projector producing an incredibly crisp, clear and lifelike video quality. Featuring BenQ’s renowned CinematicColor™ and the director’s intent in mind, watch movies the real way they were made to be seen.

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True 4K Projector with 4x the pixel count of Full HD

The BenQ W1800 Home Cinema Projector delivers 8.3 million distinct pixels in each frame, producing an astonishing 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) resolution. Watch all your favourite entertainment from movies to sports with a crisp, clear picture. Enjoy a stunning brightness of 2,000 Lumens suitable for any home cinema set-up.

BenQ’s New Generation 0.47 Single-DMD DLP

The BenQ W1800 Projector is equipped with the new generation sleek and compact (0.47) single-DMD DLP technology which aids to a clear viewing experience.

Video Quality as close to reality as possible with HDR

BenQ’s W1800 is equipped with projector-optimised HDR with HDR10 and HLG support. The W1800 Home Cinema Projector uses its high dynamic range to produce greater brightness, contrast range and image optimisation. The result is detailed 4K content for the ultimate home cinema experience.

Watch Movies with the Directors Intent front and centre

Enjoy entertainment exactly how the filmmaker intended with the W1800s colour accuracy, cinematic colours and grand pictures. Relive every screen the way they were intended to be seen.

BenQ’s Exceptional CinematicColour™

CinematicColour™ uses Rec.709 HDTV colour accuracy, RGBRGB colour wheel technology and a high native ANSI contrast ratio to produce an image performance with visuals as close to reality as possible with clear and sharp imagery.

An affordable Home Cinema Projector with 2D Keystone and 1.3X Zoom for Flexible Throw Distances

The Benq W1800 4K Home Cinema Projector enables a range of throw distances, so enjoy your big-screen entertainment even in smaller areas.

Digital Rotation Adjustment

BenQ’s W1800 Projector features Digital rotation adjustment improving the flexibility of your projector with more placement options available. Take a seat, get comfy and enjoy your 4K big-screen.

A Home Cinema Projector packed with the best features for under £2000

The BenQ W1800 Home Cinema Projector is packed with the latest features not expected from a projector at this price point. Enjoy all that the W1800 has to offer and relish in a home cinema system for many years to come.

Want to know some more information?

Not sure if this is the right projector for your system? If you have any questions on the BenQ W1800, a member of our team will be happy to help or transfer you to the correct specialist. Get free, expert advice here. Call us on 01952 898 533 or Complete our contact form below.

Pure Theatre is an established engineering company specialising in products which transform any room into a home cinema. Providing a combination of the latest branded technology with UK manufactured motorised housings we have all the elements needed for you to install your perfect home cinema.

To ensure that our customers can see the products in action we are proud to give public access to our Ultimate Home Cinema Centre. The centre include an short throw demo area, a concealed home cinema demo area and an impressive dedicated home cinema which has been given the Arcam’s Centre of Cinematic Excellence mark of approval.

Offering the very latest technology from top brands including Sony, Epson, JVC, Dali, Monitor Audio and more. Not only serving customers online but also at our physical retail facility in Telford, Shropshire.

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Amazing customer service amazing product! Highly recommend

Very honest company. spoke to a gentleman called Mick. very impressed. a company that gives an honest opinion father than just sell you anything. very rare nowadays and therefore highly commendable. highly recommended.

Good range of products, quick delivery and first class technical support when requested.

Pure Theatre was excellent from start to end. I found the phone consults to extremely helpful, tailored to my specific needs and professionally done; no upselling, no talking down to you, etc. The email follow-ups were equally helpful, and very timely (after accounting for time zone changes).

Once we were ready to order some products, the ordering and shipping process was easy and seamless. The products shipped in 2–3 days despite us being located in California, USA.

Finally, the installed product is excellent. After having seen some sketchy-looking in-ceiling installations using other products, I was admittedly a bit worried, but the lift and projector are nearly invisible and look very polished. We’re super happy with our purchase!

BenQ HT4550i 4K LED Projector Review

Our Highly Recommended designation is earned by products offering extraordinary value or performance in their price class.

  • Extremely accurate color
  • 11-point grayscale controls
  • 100% DCI-P3 color gamut and HDR10 support
  • 3D support
  • Integrated streaming dongle with authorized Netflix app
  • Vertical/horizontal lens shift

An update to BenQ’s popular HT3550 home theater projector for moderately dark rooms, the HT4550i brings a solid-state LED light source, 100% DCI-P3 color gamut coverage for HDR, and unusually good out-of-box and post-calibrated color accuracy for its 2,999 price.

benq, home, cinema, projector, ht4550i

BenQ’s HT4550i, released in May of this year, is the latest projector in the brand’s Home Cinema lineup. Priced at the higher end of their offerings, the HT4550i retails for 2,999 and provides excellent performance and features while staying within a reasonable budget. It offers a 3,200 ANSI lumens brightness rating from a solid-state LED light source, along with 4K HDR compliance with HDR10 support, 100% DCI-P3 coverage, certified Android TV streaming, and vertical and horizontal lens shift options. Let’s see how the HT4550i performs in terms of its price-to-performance and how it compares to similarly priced units.


The new BenQ HT4550i utilizes a relatively new Texas Instruments 0.65-inch DMD DLP chipset to achieve its 4K UHD resolution of 3840×2160 from a 1080p native array with four-phase pixel shifting. This resolves the 8.3 million pixels on the screen to display 4K resolution. During testing, the HT4550i thankfully provided a crisp and detailed 4K UHD image without demonstrating any rainbows, which can sometimes occur with single-chip DLP projectors.

Our sample’s 4LED light source (RGGB, with an extra green LED for brightness) also exceeded the specified 3,200 ANSI lumens, measuring 3,413 ANSI lumens in its brightest picture mode. It’s good to see an LED projector hit this kind of brightness, however, this mode is noticeably green-biased and its default color temp cannot be adjusted from the projector’s Native setting to the more accurate Normal color temperature. Nevertheless, the best picture modes do measure well for accuracy and provided a fair amount of measured brightness and vibrant images. The light source has a long life of 20,000 hours in the Normal and SmartECO Light Source Modes, and 30,000 hours in ECO, ensuring years of use without the need for bulb replacements. The HT4550i has a published contrast specification of 2,000,000:1 with dynamic light source dimming, but its native contrast ratio without light source dimming measured at 900:1, which is relatively low and noticeable in content. However, the dynamic contrast does improve when SmartECO is used.

Weighing 14.55 pounds and measuring 16.54 x 5.31 x 12.28 inches (WHD), the HT4550i is not a lifestyle or portable projector but is still compact and lightweight enough to be moved around with ease. It supports various mounting options, including standard tabletop or ceiling for front- and rear-projection. BenQ offers its CM00G3 Universal Ceiling Mount as an option, with a 59 MSRP at the time of writing.

The HT4550i features optics with a 0% offset to the screen, so the centerline of the lens from a ceiling-mounted projector would be at the center of the projected image prior to being moved down by the available.60%vertical lens shift. Its lens has a 1.15-1.50:1 throw ratio for a 1.3x manual zoom and FOCUS, which, thanks to smooth mechanical operation, made it easy to dial in the image. The throw ratio corresponds to approximately 2.4 feet to 32.6 feet, allowing projection of an image as small as 30 inches diagonal up to a massive 300 inches diagonal. I found the provided distance chart to be accurate. For my 100-inch diagonal image, the HT4550i was placed approximately 9.7 feet away, which aligns with BenQ’s distance-to-screen chart.

The HT4550i offers both vertical and horizontal lens shift capabilities. It provides a 0% to.60% vertical adjustment range and a ±15% horizontal shift. I did notice that at the upper end of the vertical lens shift range, the image would actually move up and to the right slightly. This could be somewhat corrected using the horizontal shift; however, vertical lens shift should ideally only influence the vertical axis. Additionally, a 2D keystone adjustment is provided, allowing for a ±30-degree adjustment in both vertical and horizontal keystone. It is important to note that utilizing any form of digital keystone or warping can impact image integrity, so it is advised to take the extra time needed to install the projector in a way that avoids the use of keystone. However, in temporary installations, it can be a viable solution. To determine the installation location and throw distance for your preferred screen size, please reference the ProjectorCentral BenQ HT4550i Projection calculator.

The HT4550i utilizes BenQ’s Cinematic Color DCI-P3 technology, enabling full 100% coverage of the DCI-P3 and Rec.709 color space through the use of a Wide Color Gamut (WCG) Filter. BenQ provides a factory calibration report showing the unit’s coverage to these specifications within the color gamut. The report does not display the DeltaE—the error—of the points used to measure this coverage. BenQ says the tolerance of their automated calibration insures a Rec.709 DeltaE of less than 3, which is acceptably low, and that measuring and printing the precise dE for each measurement point would impact production speed. However, the report does provide the coverage of the color gamut, the Picture Modes that cover them, the test conditions, and the gamma tracking.

Fortunately, when measured, the HT4550i does prove to be very accurate and achieves the promised 100% coverage of both the DCI-P3 and Rec.709 color space, which will be covered in more detail in the Performance section. The HT4550i also features BenQ’s HDR-PRO technology to facilitate HDR tone-mapping and contrast. A feature called Local Contrast Enhancement utilizes the LED light source to enable 1000 local-dimming zones to adjust bright and dark detail. This works alongside Dynamic Black dynamic contrast. Consequently, the projector excelled in displaying HDR scenes that are dark or have very bright highlights, where the HT4550i maintained a higher APL (Average Picture Level) for the image while preserving detail that would otherwise be clipped with less effective tone-mapping.

Support for HDR10 dynamic frame-by-frame tone-mapping is also provided, and automatically enabled when an HDR10 signal is received, which in turn disables the Local Contrast Enhancer. Here again, the resulting image is of high quality, maintaining good APL, color luminance, and saturation. Additionally, to ensure the highest possible accuracy, the HT4550i provides an 11-point white balance control for calibration, along with the standard 2-point controls, and includes the Filmmaker Mode picture mode seen now on many displays, which is designed to preserve the director’s creative intent.

The HT4550i includes BenQ’s QS02 Android TV dongle, which is meant to be placed in a hidden rear compartment of the HT4550i. It attaches to an internal mini-HDMI input and micro-USB for power. Once connected, the standard Android TV setup process begins, which only takes a few minutes to complete. Accompanying the QS02 dongle is a dedicated Android TV remote used to navigate the Android TV interface and quickly launch applications such as the authorized Netflix app, YouTube, Prime Video, and Disney. The included Android TV dongle supports the normal features one would expect from an Android device, including Chromecast built-in, wireless display casting, Google Voice Assistant, and access to the Google Play Store. The internal apps also support HDR10.

The main issue I found with the dongle is that it does not track and match the dynamic range of content. It automatically defaults to HDR no matter the content type, which causes all SDR content to display in HDR. BenQ says the only go-around is to go three pages into the Android menu settings and manually set the Color Space to one of the 8-bit options, which will cause SDR to display as SDR. You would then have to reset the color space back to one of the 10- or 12-bit options to get it to output HDR again. This is awkward and inconvenient. Therefore, if HDR is pretty much all you watch, the QS02 dongle may work well for you, but if a user also watches a significant amount of SDR content, it may be worthwhile to use an external streaming device.

The I/O of the HT4550i provides ample connectivity options, including two full-size rear panel HDMI 2.0b/HDCP 2.2 ports with one supporting eARC, plus the hidden mini-HDMI port for the QS02 dongle. Additionally, the projector offers two USB 2.0 Type A ports, one of which supports 2.5A power delivery and is labeled as Service, while the other supports 1.5A power delivery and is designated as Media Reader. There is also a SPDIF optical port and 3.5 mm analog Audio Out for external audio devices to be used in lieu of the HDMI eARC function, an RJ-45 LAN port, a RS-232 connection, and a 12V trigger.

Adding to its versatility is the HT4550i’s built-in, 5-watt mono, treVolo-tuned chamber speaker. BenQ’s treVolo tuning has performed well in the past in other projectors and here is no exception, as the projector offered surprisingly good output considering it comes from a single 5-watt speaker. The audio menu offers five different Sound Modes, including a user mode with a 5-Band EQ. However, an external sound system is always recommended for the best experience, either a soundbar, a dedicated AVR or AVP-based system, or even a robust Bluetooth speaker. But in a temporary setup, the internal speaker may suffice.

The HT4550i supports 3D via DLP-Link glasses, which is welcome considering how rapidly this feature seems to be disappearing from enthusiast projectors, and especially when it is mated as it is here with good brightness and minimal-to-no crosstalk. Another nice plus is 24P playback support with BenQ’s 24P True Cinema motion enhancement to reduce judder in 24 Hz film sources. MEMC frame interpolation is also on board for signals up to 4K/60 Hz. And the projector includes a Fast Mode feature to minimize latency for gaming, down to a rated 17.9 ms input lag with 4K/60 or 1080p/60 signals.

The main projector remote included with the HT4550i is backlit with dedicated buttons for picture modes, sound modes, mute, volume, and transport functions such as play, pause, forward, and rewind. The remote can also navigate the internal Android TV dongle when connected, with additional buttons such as Home, settings, back, and voice assistant. Other buttons control the HT4550i itself, including keystone, input, projector menu, and power. There’s also an auto-FOCUS button for compatible projectors that support that feature, though the HT4550i isn’t one of them. Overall, the remote is responsive, has a wide effective range, and easily controls the HT4550i.


Color Modes. The BenQ HT4550i offers an unusually broad mix of 12 picture modes, some of which are specific to content type, and two of which are ISF modes that require the ISF unlock code to access. The available modes for SDR include Bright, Bright Cinema, Cinema, Filmmaker Mode, and User; unlocking the ISF Day and ISF Night modes will add them to the SDR options. For HDR content, the HT4550i provides HDR10, HDR10, Filmmaker Mode, and HLG modes, while 3D content has its own dedicated picture mode. Certain picture modes have specific settings that are enabled or disabled by default and cannot be changed. For example, Filmmaker Mode has the WCG Filter enabled and it is grayed out in the menu, preventing its deactivation, while Cinema mode has the WCG Filter disabled and also grayed out, preventing its activation. The same scenario applies to HDR10, where the Local Contrast Enhancer setting is off by default and grayed out to prevent its activation. This makes sense since the dynamic HDR metadata provided by HDR encoding should take precedence over the projector’s own HDR tone mapping.

The picture modes of the HT4550i were actually pretty accurate out of the box, the exception being Bright Cinema, which had a green bias due to its use of the projector’s Native color temperature. Otherwise, this statement held true for both SDR and HDR content as long as the picture mode selected used the Normal color temperature. However, the color points for gamut, particularly the saturation in HDR, showed reduced accuracy when the WCG Filter was not used. The upside of not utilizing the WCG Filter is higher brightness, as activating it reduced overall measured brightness by 36-38%.

In SDR, the color tracking was relatively close to accurate, with some slight deviations in Cyan’s hue and some saturation issues with Yellow. The User mode was an exception in SDR, as enabling the WCG filter extended the color gamut well beyond Rec.709 and tracked DCI-P3, thereby reducing its accuracy with Rec.709 content. When the WCG filter was engaged, the color gamut coverage indeed reached or exceeded 100% for both DCI-P3 and Rec.709.

Just looking by eye out of the box, the most pleasing and accurate picture modes were Cinema and Filmmaker, both of which tracked grayscale very well. Gamma tracking was correct in all instances, regardless of the menu selection.

The calibration facilities in the HT4550i are substantial, including a standard 2-point white balance control plus an 11-point white balance control with increments of 10-100% as well as 5%. The projector also provides a standard CMS for control over primary and secondary colors, including Hue, Saturation, and Brightness sliders. It’s important to note that enabling the ISF modes disables the 11-point white balance controls. Therefore, apart from the benefit of having locked settings hidden behind the ISF unlock code, there is little reason to use them, as more control is available in other picture modes. I did find the 11-point controls were slightly too coarse, resulting in significant changes from a single click. BenQ would do well to provide a more granular adjustment here.

If you are skipping calibration, the ideal picture modes to watch on the HT4550i would be either Filmmaker or Cinema for SDR, with Cinema being the brighter option as it doesn’t use the WCG filter. For HDR content, HDR10 would be the most ideal picture mode when you have that option with HDR10 encoded content. Though, if you are trying to optimize brightness, HDR10 can be used, and Filmmaker mode is ideal when the primary FOCUS is on accuracy and dark room viewing with regular HDR10 content. The only recommended adjustments would be to the Local Contrast Enhancer, with the Middle setting working best, and I’d suggest setting the Light Source Mode to either Normal or SmartECO. Again, as long as the Normal color temperature is used, the picture will be fairly accurate.

For calibration, I used Calman Ultimate calibration software from Portrait Displays, a Colorimetry Research CR-250 Spectroradiometer, a Colorimetry Research CR-100 Colorimeter, and a Murideo 8K Seven Generator. The HT4550i was calibrated to a 100-inch diagonal image on a Stewart Filmscreen Studiotek 130 G4 screen. Prior to calibration, I ran various measurements to confirm my observations from the out-of-the-box viewing experience.

In keeping with what I initially saw on on-screen, the pre-calibration measurements for the HT4550i were generally very good, with accurate grayscale and color reproduction. The measured dE values confirmed this. (DeltaE, or dE, is the metric used to determine visible errors, with a value above 3 being visible, above 2.3 being a just noticeable difference for trained eyes, and below 2.3 ideally not visible to the naked eye.)

benq, home, cinema, projector, ht4550i

In Filmmaker Mode picture mode with the color temperature set to Normal, the average grayscale dE was 1.5, with a maximum of 3.5. The gamut/color points had an average dE of 2.1, with a maximum of 4.7, and a Color Checker that sampled more than 150 color swatches showed an average dE of 2.3 with a maximum of 6.5. I was pleased to find that the HT4550i was easily dialed in for even lower errors and greater accuracy for both SDR and HDR. Post-calibration, the grayscale DeltaE averaged 1.2 with a maximum of 2.9, while the gamut showed an average dE of 1.0 and a maximum of 1.6. For the large-size ColorChecker, the average DeltaE was 1.1, with a maximum of 3.4. In HDR content, the grayscale and color gamut averaged between 3.9 and 4.9 dE.

HDR measurements looked fairly good, though there were the usual deficiencies in HDR luminance common to projectors. The biggest take away from the HDR calibration was that using HDR10 mode without activating the WCG filter gets you much closer to the target for luminance while sacrificing color accuracy, specifically within green saturation and hue. Utilizing the WCG filter will result in more accurate color, but with higher luminance errors.

The sources I used for reviewing content post-calibration were an AppleTV 4K, and an Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray player.

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1080p/SDR Viewing. During my evaluation of SDR, I watched Dazed and Confused on Blu-ray via the Oppo UHD player. The entire presentation looked great, with accurate colors in everything from clothing to cars, such as Pickford’s Orange Pontiac GTO. There’s a small amount of film grain present in certain scenes on this transfer, such as in a shot taken at dusk of a baseball field, and I appreciated that the grain was preserved. Skin tones appeared natural throughout, and the image had a good sense of depth overall.

1080p/SDR 3D Viewing. For 3D viewing, I watched the animated Monsters vs Aliens off the Oppo player using standard DLP-Link 3D glasses. The 3D image quality was actually quite good, with very high brightness and no visible crosstalk. Impressive depth was showcased in various scenes, such as when Susan wakes up in her cell before meeting the monsters and the camera view pans back, or when W.R. Monger is flying around on his jetpack. When the projector sees 3D content, it defaults to its 3D picture mode and locks in the Normal Light Source Mode, which is a good thing since the bright image was ideal for 3D. The colors looked good and vibrant, and the image had a nice amount of contrast even through the glasses. Overall, watching 3D was a very pleasant experience on the HT4550i.

4K/HDR Viewing. For my 4K/HDR auditions, I watched The Tomorrow War from Amazon Prime Video on both the AppleTV 4K and off the supplied Android TV dongle. While watching off the Apple TV, I switched between HDR10 and Filmmaker Mode. With HDR10, I opted for a brighter image without using the color filter, while in Filmmaker Mode, the Color Filter was engaged by default. I then watched the HDR10 dynamic tone-mapped version off the projector’s Android dongle.

The regular HDR10 version in either HDR10 mode or Filmmaker provided a good picture with accurate skin tones and hues. Using HDR10 mode without the WCG filter gave me a brighter, more vibrant picture, which really stood out toward the end of the movie when Dan (Chris Pratt) and his father James (J.K. Simmons) were in the snow fighting the alien Whitespike. The whites of the snow were clean and the flesh tones were accurate. I did notice that setting the projector’s HDR Brightness control to any level higher than 0 would result in clipping detail in the snow. On this scene, the slightly lower brightness associated with Filmmaker Mode, which utilizes the WCG filter, enabled more detail to be retained in the snowy background. However, both picture modes presented a large amount of clipping in the sun just before Whitespike went off the edge of the cliff. The HDR10 presentation, with its dynamic metadata, provided more detail with less clipping overall from a picture that was equally bright as the HDR10 picture mode that didn’t use the filter. This was expected since the HDR10 mode does not engage the WCG filter by default.

I did some HDR viewing of Prometheus, a classic black-level/contrast test, on 4K Blu-ray via the Oppo 203 UHD player. The movie’s colors were reproduced extremely well, from the subtle lights of the ship interior to the warm yellow hues in the helmet lights. The presented image was very sharp and detailed, although darker scenes easily revealed the projector’s less-than-stellar contrast and black level with demanding content. The issue I found was that you could adjust the image to either crush black to get things darker, or resolve more shadow detail at the expense of lifting the entire black floor. There was no really good in-between. So in certain scenes, such as the early shot when David (Michael Fassbender) is alone in the ship while the other passengers are in stasis, or on shots of the ship traveling through space, the blacks appeared lifted and didn’t really show as black. Using the Local Contrast Enhancer helped in exposing more stars during the ship’s travel scenes but lightened the image a bit too much in darker areas. Nonetheless, employing this feature did provide a more pleasing viewing experience.

For my final HDR viewing, I watched The Witcher, Season 2, Episode 3 from Netflix, specifically the scene where Ciri was training before transitioning into the dining hall of the Witchers. Again, I switched between HDR10 and Filmmaker Mode. The WCG color filter active in Filmmaker Mode resulted in a better overall image, providing accurate skin tones and revealing subtle colors from the sun cast on Ciri and Geralt’s faces. This good performance held true even when they transitioned into the dining hall where the fire is displayed in the cauldron. The flames appeared rich and well-rendered, unlike with many projectors where flames appear white or otherwise lack color. Reducing the HDR Brightness setting to.1 added more depth to the overall image and suited the show well during the episodes I watched.


The BenQ HT4550i is a well-rounded and solid performer that doesn’t seriously lack in any particular area compared to other projectors in its price range. BenQ obviously went to some lengths to make sure the projector delivers a cinema-like experience, and included features that home theater enthusiasts will appreciate, such as 4K HDR with effective HDR tone-mapping and HDR10 support, full P3 gamut coverage, and extremely accurate and robust calibration controls with an 11-point grayscale adjustment. They even included a certified Android TV dongle with authorized Netflix, and made sure the projector has respectably low latency for gamers.

However, the HT4550i falls into an interesting space around its 2,999 price, an area mostly populated these days by laser ultra-short throw projectors but where you can still find some decent traditional home theater projectors with a lot of the same features. That’s not to say they come to the table with the same overall performance—some may do better or worse in certain areas. But there are other options where you could spend the same amount, or a bit less, or a bit more, and end up with features like motorized lens controls, a laser light engine that offers similar benefits to the HT4550i’s LED source, HDMI 2.1, and possibly better performance in some key areas like contrast.

That said, you’ll have to look hard to find everything BenQ has packed in here, and on top of this the HT4550i will be brighter in many instances than its competition in its best, most accurate picture modes. The HT4550i is also generally one of the more accurate projectors I’ve tested at this price, and one of the few capable of covering 100% of the DCI-P3 color space while maintaining good color accuracy. It’s a worthy contender in its category, and should be on your short list for a close look if you’re looking for a dedicated home cinema projector in this budget bracket.


Brightness. The BenQ HT4550i is rated for 3,200 ANSI lumens. The brightest picture mode is Bright, which had a strong green bias and measured 3,413 ANSI lumens, or a bit less than 7% above the rated spec. Most other picture modes were more accurate but measured considerably lower lumen output.

Selecting Custom for the Light Source Mode measured a 7.3% light decrease vs. the Normal mode, while selecting ECO measured a 25.4% light decrease, and Smart ECO measured a 27% light decrease from Normal mode. Use of the WCG filter resulted in an approximately 36-38% loss of brightness in return for the wider DCI-P3 color gamut.

BENQ HT4550I ANSI Lumens

Zoom Lens Light Loss. The BenQ HT4550i exhibited a 25.6% light loss when moving from Wide to Telephoto lens position on its 1.3X zoom lens.

Brightness Uniformity. The BenQ HT4550i projecting a 100-inch diagonal image resulted in measured brightness uniformity of 84%. The brightest portion of the screen was the Middle Bottom sector, and the dimmest the Left Top sector. The difference in brightness on a full white and solid color screens wasn’t noticeable on a full white screen or in actual content.

Fan Noise. BenQ rates the HT4550i’s noise level at 32 dB typical and 28 dB in Eco mode, using the industry-standard 6-point averaged measurement in a soundproof booth. ProjectorCentral’s casual, real-world measurements always track higher than the factory measurements. In the case of the HT4550i, fan noise was typically not consistent but will track up and down based on usage. In my casual measurements using Room EQ Wizard software and a Umik-1 microphone, taking measurements at approximately four feet from the left, right, and rear sides of the projector, the highest, peak noise averaged 43.2 dBA in Normal power mode, 37.4 dBA in ECO/Smart ECO, and 38.4 dBA in Custom. Measurements were consistent across all SDR and HDR picture modes within each power setting. My theater room ambient noise floor measured at 33.3 dBA.

Input Lag. Input lag measurements were done with the projector’s Fast Mode active and registered as follows for the different supported signal types: 1080/60 = 19ms, 1080/120 = 22ms, 1080/240 = 11ms, 4K/60 = 19ms.


  • HDMI 2.0b (x2; HDCP 2.2; 1 with ARC)
  • HDMI 2.0b (used for Android dongle)
  • USB 2.0 Type A (x2; 2.5-amp power delivery/Service; Media Playback)
  • SPDIF (optical port)
  • 3.5mm Audio Out
  • 12v trigger
  • RJ-45 Lan port
  • RS-232

Calibrated Settings

Calibrated image settings from any third-party do not account for the significant potential for sample-to-sample variation, nor the different screen sizes and materials, lighting, lamp usage, or other environmental factors that can affect image quality. Projectors should always be calibrated in the user’s own space and tuned for the expected viewing conditions. However, the settings provided here may be a helpful starting point for some. Always record your current settings before making adjustments so you can return to them as desired. Refer to the Performance section for some context for each calibration.

Note: To provide a brighter image in HDR the picture mode, HDR10 does not use filter at the expense of some accuracy, while Filmmaker Mode makes use of filter though with a dimmer image.



Fast Mode: Off Brightness: 49 Contrast: 42 Color: 50 Tint: 50 Sharpness: 0

Advanced Color Settings Gamma Selection: 2.4

Color Temperature Tuning

Color Temperature: Normal R Gain: 101 G Gain: 100 B Gain: 101 R Offset: 256 G Offset: 256 B Offset: 256

Cinema Master

Color Enhancer: 0 Flesh Tone: 0 Pixel 4K Enhancer: 2 Motion Enhancer 4K: Off Local Contrast Enhancer: Low

Light Source Mode: Custom Custom Brightness: 100 HDR Brightness: 0 Noise Reduction: Low


Fast Mode: Off Brightness: 50 Contrast: 50 Color: 50 Tint: 50 Sharpness: 0

Advanced Color Settings Gamma Selection: 2.2

Color Temperature Tuning

Color Temperature: Normal R Gain: 100 G Gain: 100 B Gain: 100 R Offset: 256 G Offset: 256 B Offset: 256

Cinema Master

Color Enhancer: 0 Flesh Tone: 0 Pixel 4K Enhancer: 4 Motion Enhancer 4K: Off Local Contrast Enhancer: Mid

Light Source Mode: Normal Custom Brightness: N/A HDR Brightness: 1 Noise Reduction: Low



Fast Mode: Off Brightness: 50 Contrast: 50 Color: 50 Tint: 50 Sharpness: 0

Advanced Color Settings Gamma Selection: 2.2

Color Temperature Tuning

Color Temperature: Normal R Gain: 100 G Gain: 100 B Gain: 100 R Offset: 256 G Offset: 256 B Offset: 256

Cinema Master

Color Enhancer: 0 Flesh Tone: 0 Pixel 4K Enhancer: 6 Motion Enhancer 4K: Off Local Contrast Enhancer: Mid

Light Source Mode: Normal Custom Brightness: N/A HDR Brightness: 0 Noise Reduction: Low

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our BenQ HT4550i projector page.

To buy this projector, use Where to Buy online, or get a price quote by email direct from Projector Central authorized dealers using our E-Z Quote tool.

The BenQ HT4550i is also sold outside of the United States of America as the BenQ W4000i. Some specifications may be slightly different. Check with BenQ for complete specifications.

What Hi-Fi? Awards 2022 winner. Proper home cinema doesn’t have to cost the earth Tested at £1099

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

While it’s no slouch for gaming, the W1800 truly excels at what it was specifically designed for: bringing Hollywood home


  • Impressively cinematic pictures
  • Small, living room-friendly design
  • Great value for what’s on offer


  • – Very basic built-in audio
  • – Slight rainbow effect
  • – Black levels could be better

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi?

Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

BenQ divides its consumer projector range into quite specific categories these days. There’s premium ‘CinePro’, mid-range ‘CinePrime’ and entry level ‘CineHome’ home cinema models, as well as more general purpose (usually brighter and more affordable) home entertainment models, laser TV models, and dedicated gaming projectors.

The W1800 sits squarely in BenQ’s CineHome section, where its FOCUS on serving up a cinematic experience on a budget serves it extremely well.


The BenQ W1800’s £1099 (around 1379 / AU1915) launch price looks like good value for a projector that boasts not only 4K and high dynamic range support, but a number of other specific video features that point towards a superior home cinema performance.

The W1800 is not at the time of writing available in the US or Australia, even under a different model number. Experience suggests it will likely appear in both territories at some point, though, as there’s nothing exclusively British or European about it.

You can also buy a ‘W1800i’ version that adds Wi-Fi and an Android TV Smart system support for £1299 (around 1630 / AU2264). We’ve opted to FOCUS on the W1800, though, as we suspect that for most of our readers this will likely be the better all-round option. Plus you can buy a streaming stick to the W1800 for much less than the W1800i’s extra outlay if you do want to add Smart capability at some point.


The W1800 is small enough to sit on any coffee table, and its combination of a glossy white finish for most of its sides and a goldy brown front panel gives it an attractive, domesticated look.

Grilles down the side and on the front left corner allow heat (but not light) out from the W1800’s optics, with the lens sitting towards the right hand front. A section cut out of the top edge provides access to simple zoom and FOCUS wheels around the lens, and there are screw-down feet to front and rear to help angle the image to where you need it to be.

The W1800’s top panel features a selection of control buttons for when you can’t find the supplied remote control, and that remote control is impressively tactile and ergonomic, boasting backlit buttons to aid use in the sort of dark room the projector will ideally find itself in.


The BenQ W1800 sets out its home cinema stall in a number of key ways. For starters, it claims to be a 4K projector, and can support both of the HDR10 and HLG HDR formats. There’s no Dolby Vision or HDR10 ‘active’ HDR support, but projectors that support those premium HDR flavours are currently as rare as the proverbial hen’s teeth.

The claimed 4K support is controversial in the sense that, as with all such affordable ‘4K’ projectors that use DLP optical technology, the BenQ W1800 doesn’t actually carry a native 3840×2160 number of digital mirror devices (DMDs) on its 0.47-inch chip. Instead it draws on the amazing speed with which DLP’s mirrors can respond to get them to deliver essentially multiple pixels of picture information within a single frame.

BenQ describes its approach as ‘true’ 4K, though, and crucially the independent Consumer Technology Association (CTA) in the US agrees.

The W1800 also deploys BenQ’s CinematicColor technology, which encapsulates a number of technical features devoted to delivering a more movie-friendly picture. This includes tweaks to BenQ’s light source technology, a specially coated RGBRGB colour wheel, heat resistant matte paint in the optical structure, an optical path that claims to prevent any light leakage, factory calibrations of every unit that rolls off the production line, and the ability of the resulting light engine to deliver a full 100 per cent of the standard dynamic range Rec 709 colour gamut.

Projector type DLP with lamp lighting

Processing Motion processing

Screen size 60-200 inches

Native resolution 3840×2160 (via double flashing)

Input in game mode 17.5ms

Dimensions (hwd) 11 x 31 x 25cm

While many BenQ projectors sport CinematicColor technology, the W1800 adds another video-facing feature that we haven’t seen from a BenQ projector before: Filmmaker Mode. Developed by the Ultra HD Alliance, an industry body comprising a broad church of content creators and consumer electronics companies, the Filmmaker Mode picture preset is designed to deliver images that resemble as closely as a device can manage the video standards used by the creative industries when they master their content. Filmmaker mode is quite common on TVs now, but it’s still rare in the projector world. What’s more, potentially controversially, the W1800 actually defaults to the Filmmaker Mode whenever it receives an HDR image, and then won’t let you switch to any other preset.

Contrast is claimed to be an impressive-looking 10,000:1 (delivered using dynamic light output adjustment features), while brightness tops out at a claimed 2000 ANSI Lumens. This isn’t especially bright by today’s living room projector standards, but actually we don’t mind that on a projector that’s self-consciously focused on home cinema rather than a more general home entertainment experience. Too much brightness from affordable projectors can often contribute to disappointing contrast and black levels in the sort of dark rooms in which home cinema fans like to watch films.

The W1800 supports a 1.3x level of optical zoom, and can deliver a 100-inch image from a throw distance of 2.5m/8.2ft. There’s no optical image shifting, sadly, leaving you having to fall back on digital keystone correction to get the sides of the image perpendicular if you have to project at a steep vertical angle to get images in the right place. This tends to have a slightly detrimental effect on picture quality.

Connections include two HDMIs, one USB port, a 3.5mm audio output, and an RS-232 port for integrating the projector into a wider system. The HDMIs are, unsurprisingly, built to the 2.0 specification, so there’s no support for variable refresh rates or 4K/120Hz gaming feeds. Gamers haven’t been forgotten, though, as there’s a Fast Response mode that reduces the time the projector takes to render images to a very respectable 17.5ms.

As noted earlier, the W1800 supports an optional extra Android TV dongle if you want it to go ‘Smart’, and finally lamp life is claimed at an impressively long 15,000 hours. This will greatly reduce, though, if you watch a lot of HDR.

Die-hard 3D fans, finally, will be pleased to hear that the W1800 supports it using the Full HD active shutter system. Though no compatible 3D glasses are included in the price.


The BenQ W1800’s pictures immediately struck us as genuinely cinematic as soon as we clapped eyes on them – and while deeper scrutiny uncovers a limitation or two, our first impressions hold well throughout our time with the W1800.

The single most striking strength of the W1800 is its colour performance. Whether you’re watching in one of the movie-friendly standard dynamic range picture presets or the Filmmaker Mode with HDR, colour tones across the board look beautifully natural, richly nuanced and remarkably well balanced for such an affordable projector.

The Filmmaker Mode plays so nicely with the W1800’s home cinema-tuned capabilities, in fact, that we don’t actually mind not having the option to switch to a different preset with HDR content.

We should say right away that there are rivals out there, even in the W1800’s price bracket, that push HDR harder, especially where brightness is concerned. While the W1800 isn’t particularly aggressive with HDR, it does unusually well when it comes to bringing out the light, shade and colour tone subtleties of HDR that rivals often forget in their push for brightness and heavy saturation.

The W1800 also seems to take great care about the way it maps HDR sources to its inherent capabilities. There’s precious little clipping of detail in bright peaks, for instance, and colours look authentic rather than strained (even when it comes to notoriously difficult skin tones). The projector also sensibly uses HDR’s expanded light range more to deliver subtler light differences than to push the extremes.

All this, for our money, makes the W1800’s HDR images more consistent, even handed and therefore immersive than gaudier, brasher approaches. Don’t forget that HDR movie sources automatically trigger the projector to go into its Filmmaker Mode, which has been carefully designed, essentially by committee, to deliver a natural, even look that’s intended to draw you into whatever you’re watching rather than drawing attention to any ‘showy’ qualities the projector might want to exhibit.

We should also say that while the W1800 isn’t especially aggressive about its HDR, it does still get enough from its 2000 Lumens of maximum brightness to deliver a clear distinction between SDR and HDR playback. Especially if you move away from the default Eco lamp mode to the adaptive Smart Eco mode.

The W1800’s excellent colour and light control plays its part, too, in making pictures exceptionally sharp and detailed for such an affordable projector. In fact, its pictures really do look like 4K, as billed. Certainly denser, more nuanced and, as a result, more three-dimensional than you would see with a regular 1080p DLP projector. This really matters, of course, when you’re talking about images as massive as those the W1800 can provide.

There’s nothing forced about this sharpness, either. It feels like a natural result of multiple strong imaging qualities rather than just sharpness-boosting trickery.

The sharpness remains strikingly high during camera pans and over moving objects, too. Judder without motion processing in play doesn’t look excessive – in fact, if anything it feels natural enough to simply add to the W1800’s key cinematic feel. Nor is there much trouble from the sort of fizzing and double edging around the edges of moving objects that affordable DLP projectors often struggle with.

As usual with relatively affordable HDR-capable projectors, the W1800’s main picture weakness is contrast. Its rendition of black colours leaves dark scenes looking rather greyed over. However, the extent of this greyness is not as severe as it is on many rival 4K HDR projectors in the same price ball park. It helps, too, that the mild greyness does not prevent the W1800 from bringing out impressive amounts of subtle colour and greyscale detail in dark areas, meaning dark images don’t look flat or hollow.

This is crucial, as it means that you don’t feel like you’ve suddenly had your connection with what you’re watching broken every time a film shifts from a bright scene to a dark one. Such consistency is massively important for any projector that’s serious about home cinema.

The only thing about the W1800’s pictures that can distract you occasionally from what you’re watching is the rainbow effect, where pure stripes of red, green and blue can occasionally flit over bright highlights of predominantly dark images. Susceptibility to seeing the rainbow effect can vary from person to person, but nobody in our test rooms felt it was more than a mild issue even when it appeared, which wasn’t very often.


The BenQ W1800’s built-in audio support consists of a single speaker driven by five watts of amplification. Unsurprisingly, this only provides pretty rudimentary audio support for the projector’s images. There’s neither enough projection of the sound nor enough raw volume for it to feel like an adequate audio partner for the massive pictures the projector can produce.

It is, though, hardly unusual for audio systems built into home cinema-focused projectors to be at best sound solutions of last resort, so the W1800 sounds in truth no worse than many of its rivals.


BenQ’s decision to FOCUS with the W1800 on what we guess could be considered good old-fashioned home cinema values has paid off handsomely. Its pictures might not be the showiest around, but they’re refined, natural, authentic and, to use that word again, cinematic.

Epson vs. BenQ Projectors

Are you wondering how a projector by Epson vs BenQ holds up against each other? Today, we’ll determine which brand is better overall.

Epson’s a big company that supplies the best home office gadgets and projectors, but does that mean they’re the best compared to other companies? What about BenQ? They also provide a wide range of tech for your home.

To properly compare and contrast these two brands as a whole, we need to look at the whole picture:

  • We need to consider what you’re looking for in a product and who the company caters to.
  • We need to compare the quality of the brands and the features they provide.
  • We need to understand the user experience.
  • We’ll look into the customer service experience by users.

This will give us a well-rounded example of each brand to help us decide which brand is better.

Epson vs BenQ Projectors, a Direct Comparison

For simplicity’s sake, let’s put Epson and BenQ side by side and compare the major elements of each product, then continue to break it down from there.

Epson Projectors:

  • Specialize in a wide variety of projectors
  • Have a higher range of prices
  • Have many projectors with a wide range of quality and designs
  • Cater to the home theater enthusiasts who want a name brand high-end product

BenQ projectors:

  • Specialize in specific projectors that target particular consumers
  • Have high-end projectors for each tier from low to high prices
  • Have many projectors with a wide range of quality and designs
  • Cater to specific consumers in the market (gamers, schools, office, and large events)

This is the criteria we are going to look into further. However, there is much more to consider. Nevertheless, we’ll touch on everything you need to know to make a proper decision.

A Wide Variety of Projectors to Choose From

Now that we know the main characteristics of each brand, it’ll be easier to touch on everything we need to know from here on.

To start, let’s keep in mind that both Epson and BenQ have various projectors to choose from. For BenQ projectors, the choice depends on what type of niche you fall into. The Epson projectors are mostly home theater-quality projectors.

This means picking the right projector is more about your specific need.

Epson vs BenQ Projector differences

One thing that gives Epson its edge is name recognition. However, that means price increases.

Epson is a gigantic company with many projectors that range in image quality, physical dimensions, and style. They have something for everyone for a higher price.

BenQ, on the other hand, has targeted specific segments of the market. They’ve created specific projectors with a variety of choices within each tier.

So, if you’re a gamer, you have several options. If you have a business that requires a giant moving wall, you have options as well.

BenQ also makes simpler machines that cater to schools and offices only.

Let’s not forget that BenQ also has projectors for movie-viewing and home theater enthusiasts, but unlike Epson, that’s not their only game in town.

They even have portable, small projectors as well.

So, if you’re wondering which brand is better regarding the variety of projectors to choose from, BenQ wins because having specific projectors with strengths in each field means choosing is easy for your needs.

Affordability and Budget

Epson has a fantastic line of projectors. You can choose from retro to modern designs and everything in between. Epson has a style for you.

Epson is a big company that creates higher-end products for the consumer. That also means their start high and only go up from there.

Purchasing a projector is fun with BenQ. They have a wide selection of products. However, they also have many affordable models.

BenQ makes it feel as though you don’t need to compromise on quality over price.

BenQ wins when it comes to affordability.

Epson vs BenQ Projectors: Who They Cater To

Epson and BenQ cater to different markets.

The quality and specifications of each product are good. Both brands create high-end, high-quality projectors.

However, BenQ creates low-cost projectors with a specific consumer in mind.

Unlike Epson, BenQ wants you to pick which type of customer you are. Are you a gamer, a school teacher, or a large venue that requires special media? BenQ gives you a low price and high price option, regardless of what type of customer you are.

Epson only caters to people who want a home theater. But BenQ’s specific market means you can choose which strength you want in a projector of your choice.

For example, if all you need is a projector for slideshows, you can purchase a good one that handles slideshows perfectly.

With all of this in mind, it seems as though Epson is a one-stop home theater shop.

In this sense, BenQ makes picking a projector easy. They also appeal to more than just home-theater enthusiasts.

Although both brands have great products, it appears BenQ has put a lot of thought into their target demographic.

BenQ wins this round. Not only can you purchase a high-end home theater projector, but you can pick the perfect one for you. And more options are a good thing.

What Are the User’s Experiences?

With everything in mind, none of it matters if the customers aren’t happy. So, let’s see what the customers have to say about each one.

Epson User Experience

It turns out many people are impressed with the quality of Epson.

The main issue people complained about is the FOCUS. Most people found that the screen edges are blurry in some projectors. Others say manual FOCUS doesn’t work.

Nevertheless, happy customers stated that playing with the projector’s distance from your wall seems to do the trick when fixing any blurry issues.

Other users complained that the projector fan was too loud and distracted you from watching a movie. However, that depends on the projector you buy.

So, it makes you wonder if user error is the biggest fail in Epson projectors.

BenQ User Experience

Reddit users love the BenQ projectors. Although there are negative reviews, most users argue over which one is better.

The main thing users compare it to are other BenQ projectors. Price and gaming is usually a factor.

In other words, can you get a deal on one BenQ projector versus another BenQ projector?

This is an excellent sign because, more often than not, users destroy brands on forums. So if picking two from the same brand is the primary issue, you know this company is doing something right.

Many users also love the high-quality images BenQ provides.

The brightness is excellent. The different degrees of quality make the movie viewing experience fantastic.

But when it comes to the bad news, it turns out some users find a couple of key things too annoying for a good experience.

Some people have had a defective BenQ projector delivered which is a complete deal-breaker. Others complain about obtrusive lines in the images.

While others say, the fan is just too loud.

In any case, Reddit users love BenQ as a Home Theater.

Considering both brands have mixed reviews. Choosing which brand has better user experiences is tough. We’ll have to make it a tie between the two.

Customer Service Experience From Both Brands

Customer service is an important topic. If you ever want to ask a professional about an issue, you want to know how the company will handle the situation. But how does Epson vs BenQ compare?

Epson has bad reviews as an overall company. Their rating on Trustpilot is 1.2 out of five stars.

If you read through the reviews on Trustpilot, it’s clear that people not only disapprove of the customer service but are also unhappy with the quality of their products.

With around 90 percent of people voting against Epson as a company, their brand doesn’t bode well.

BenQ, on the other hand, has 3.4 out of five stars on Trustpilot. With 74 percent of overall reviews rated as excellent.

However, when you read through the reviews, most reviews rave about their products and quality. But, when it comes to customer service, they’re either too rude or just not helpful.

Because of these ratings, BenQ wins a point for better customer service overall.

So, Which Brand is Better?

  • Specialize in specific projectors like, gaming, slideshow, cinema, home theater and office.
  • Lower including budget friendly.
  • Great customer service.
  • User experience could be better.
  • Many models to choose from.
  • High-end products.
  • Lots of designs to choose from.
  • Specialize in home theater projectors only.
  • are high.
  • User experience could be better.
  • Customer service is not good.

Both brands have great projectors with great quality. However, BenQ makes it easier to choose a projector for your specific needs.

BenQ also has a wider variety of which appeal to a larger consumer base. Regardless of how much you want to spend, BenQ has a price for you.

However, when it comes to user experience, both have the same amount of pros and cons. In other words, both contain equal amounts of complaints and compliments.

As a company, Epson has a 1.2 rating on Trustpilot. On the other hand, BenQ has a 3.4 rating on Trustpilot.

The numbers don’t lie. BenQ wins as the better brand.

James Quintanilla is a technical copywriter. Although his experience allows him to write on many topics, he loves to FOCUS on tech and travel. As a freelancer, James has worked on projects with Pointer Clicker, Lonely Planet, and the Travel Channel. When he’s not writing or planning his next adventure, he’s watching a scary movie.

The Best 4K Projector

We’ve tested the BenQ TK860i and will be adding it as an also-great pick if you want a Smart projector for a brighter room.

If you love movies and have the space and budget to re-create the movie-theater experience at home, a high-performance 4K projector is a worthy investment that can keep you entertained for years to come.

Epson’s Home Cinema LS11000 is our favorite 4K projector because it delivers the best performance with movies that you’ll find for less than 5,000, but it also looks great with games, sports, and HDTV when some room lights are on. Oh, and it has lasers!

What you need to know

This guide covers high-performance 4K projectors designed to deliver the most cinematic, big-screen movie experience at home.

We cover cheaper, lower-contrast 4K projectors in our living-room projector guide and 1080p projectors in our budget projector guide.

A great 4K movie projector should be bright enough to render a 120-inch-plus image, but not too bright as to hurt black-level performance.

We measure each projector’s performance using professional calibration equipment. We also watch a lot of movies.

The best 4K projector under 5,000

The LS11000 is a great 4K laser projector that can deliver a big, bright, beautiful image and has almost all the features you need—except 3D support.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 4,000.

The Epson Home Cinema LS11000 offers a combination of performance and features that you won’t find in any other projector priced lower than 5,000. These days it’s not hard to find a bright 4K projector for gaming or sports in a multi-use room, but it’s much more difficult to find a great 4K home theater projector that doesn’t cost a fortune (many land in the five-figure range).

At 4,000 the LS11000 certainly isn’t cheap, but it has the versatility to deliver a great-looking 4K image in darker and brighter settings, and it’s designed to last a very long time. This LCD projector uses a laser light source that should see you through the next decade (or longer), with no need to pay for replacement bulbs. And it’s one of only a few 120-hertz projectors right now that has high-bandwidth HDMI 2.1 inputs to work with the most advanced 4K gaming consoles and any future 8K sources that might emerge. Plus, it’s very easy to set up, thanks to the motorized FOCUS, zoom, and lens adjustments that Epson provides.

The only thing missing is support for 3D video, which will be disappointing to fans who have already amassed large 3D collections.

Why you should trust us

I have more than a decade of experience reviewing TVs, projectors, and other video devices. I was formerly the video editor and primary TV and projector tester for, and previously contributed display coverage to Home Theater Magazine, Electronic House, and other publications. I am an Imaging Science Foundation level II certified video calibrator, and I have the full complement of objective testing gear to measure and evaluate the performance of these projectors.

I also gather feedback from trusted colleagues to help decide which projectors to test—this includes Geoffrey Morrison, who covers living room and ultra-short-throw projectors for us and is also the primary projector reviewer for CNET. And I read in-depth reviews of potential competitors on videophile-oriented sites like

If you seldom watch movies in a completely dark room, you’ll lose the advantages in image contrast and black-level performance that a premium 4K projector offers over cheaper models.

Who should get this

A high-performance 4K projector is designed for the person who has the desire, space, and budget to re-create the movie-theater experience in their home. These premium projectors have the necessary brightness to cast a rich-looking image on a very large screen (120 inches or more), and they offer better performance for movie-watching in a dark room, compared with lower-priced 4K projectors that are intended for use in brighter spaces. These projectors are meant to be paired with a high-quality projection screen and a separate sound system.

If you seldom watch movies in a completely dark room, you’ll lose the advantages in image contrast and black-level performance that a premium 4K projector offers over cheaper models. In that case, one of our less expensive recommendations is probably a better choice for you.

The Best Home Projector for a Living Room

The Epson Home Cinema 3800 ’s combination of high brightness, great picture quality, and convenient setup tools make it our favorite living-room projector.

The Best Budget Projector for a Home Theater

The BenQ HT2060 ’s good contrast, bright output, and impressive color accuracy make it our pick for the best budget home theater projector.

You should consider one of these projectors only if you are able to mount it to your ceiling or otherwise keep it in a permanent location. These models are simply too large to fit atop a stool or a coffee table in a living room, and they aren’t designed to be moved around. While entry-level projectors are about the size of a few stacked laptops or textbooks, a home theater projector is closer in size to a home theater receiver, so you should place it out of the way.

What makes an awesome 4K movie projector?

The best 4K projectors have excellent picture quality, but what does that mean? There are four elements to a great-looking image: contrast ratio, brightness, color accuracy, and detail.

Contrast ratio, or the difference between the darkest part of the image and the brightest, is the most important factor when it comes to picture quality. A projector (or a TV, for that matter) with a low contrast ratio will appear flat, washed out, and boring. The key to great image contrast is a display that can combine a deep, dark black level with great overall brightness. Many new projectors support high dynamic range (HDR), a feature designed to show a greater range between the brightest and darkest parts of the image. To watch HDR video, you need both specially formatted content and a projector that can properly play that content.

Brightness, also called light output on a projector, is crucial. This determines how large of a screen you can have, what type of screen you can have, and, of course, how bright the image is. HDR video can be much brighter than standard dynamic range (SDR) video and is best suited for display on TVs, which can get much brighter than any projector. But the best 4K projectors can automatically tailor HDR video to look its best within their brightness abilities.

Color accuracy refers to how well a projector can display the colors on screen to be true to the original content, and how accurate the color temperature (or color of white) is. If the director and cinematographer want a shirt to be a specific color when they shoot the movie, a projector with high color accuracy will ensure you see that color on screen. There are standards in place that specify the correct color temperature and color gamut for movies and TV shows, and projectors and TVs should meet these standards. Lots of budget projectors serve up exaggerated, oversaturated color that may pop off the screen but is not an accurate reflection of the filmmaker’s intent.

Last but not least is detail. You want a projector that can produce crisp, detailed images without relying on processing tricks that may make the picture look sharp, but add a lot of potential noise and unnatural-looking digital artifacts in the process. The larger the screen size, the more fine details you can see—which is why a 4K resolution can be more beneficial in a projector than in a smaller TV.

How we picked

Our FOCUS in this guide has always been on high-performance home theater projectors that do the best job showing movies on a big screen in a dark, theater-like environment. Unfortunately, it’s getting harder to find great 4K home theater projectors priced lower than 5,000. The majority of new, sub-5,000 projectors are designed for multipurpose use in a room with more light. They’re very bright and may look great for sports, gaming, and HDTV, but they don’t deliver the high contrast and deep black levels that make movies look really rich and cinematic.

Companies like JVC and Sony still make excellent 4K home theater projectors, but the price of entry begins at about 6,000. If you’re a serious videophile who’s building a dedicated home theater room, you may be willing to make that investment. But most people are not. So we tried to find a top pick that delivers the best movie performance for less than 5,000.

Our FOCUS in this guide has always been on high-performance home theater projectors that do the best job showing movies on a big screen in a dark, theater-like environment. Unfortunately, it’s getting harder to find great 4K home theater projectors priced lower than 5,000.

All projectors use one of three technologies to create an image: LCD (liquid crystal display), LCoS (liquid crystal on silicon), or DLP (Digital Light Processing). While we test all three types of projectors for this guide, it’s a fair generalization to say that LCD and LCoS projectors usually offer higher contrast ratios that make DLP projectors look washed out and flat when you view the images side by side. (Plus, some people are susceptible to the “rainbow effect” that’s common with lower-priced DLP projectors, when bright objects seem to have rainbow trails.) So, while you will find DLP projector picks in some of our other guides, the picks here are usually LCD and LCoS projectors.

Here is the criteria we use to decide which projectors to test:

  • The projector must show a 4K resolution on screen. High-end LCoS projectors from companies like JVC and Sony have a native 4K resolution, meaning the image-creating chip inside the projector actually has either a 4096×2160 or 3840×2160 resolution. But again, native 4K projectors tend to cost more than 5,000. LCD and DLP 4K projectors use what’s known as pixel-shifting to show a 4K resolution on screen. That means the image-creating chip or panels have a 1080p resolution, but by rapidly shifting the pixels four times to show the image, you get the full 4K resolution on screen. Some hardcore videophiles feel that only native 4K projectors should be called 4K projectors, but our testing has shown that the level of detail possible with pixel-shifting is 4K, and is good enough for most people.
  • A good 4K movie projector needs to be bright, but not too bright. You want it to be bright enough that you can use the projector with a large screen (over 120 inches) and still enjoy a vibrant, well-saturated image, especially with HDR video. But if it’s too bright, it won’t be able to produce the truly deep black level needed for the best movie performance. While manufacturers’ claimed brightness specs aren’t entirely reliable, a good rule of thumb is to look for a projector that claims at least 1,500 ANSI lumens, but anything that’s rated at 3,000 ANSI lumens or more is probably better suited for use in a brighter room. If your screen size is larger than 200 inches, you’ll need more brightness.
  • The projector must support high dynamic range (HDR) video. Some projectors support only the standard HDR10 format, while others support the newer, more advanced HDR10 format. No projectors support the Dolby Vision HDR format. Because a projector’s brightness depends on many factors, including the size and material of your screen, the throw distance, and the age of the lamp bulb (if one is used), two people with the same projector can have images with very different peak brightness levels. (With identical HDR TVs, the peak brightness should be the same.) That makes Dolby Vision certification pretty much impossible. And it means that projectors have to do far more processing of HDR content to show it properly. The quality of HDR can vary far more from projector to projector than the quality of an SDR signal might.
  • The projector must support the wider color gamut used in Ultra HD 4K content. Standard SDR content uses a smaller color gamut called Rec 709, while Ultra HD content can include an even wider gamut of colors, called DCI/P3 or the even larger Rec 2020 gamut.
  • The projector must have at least 18 Gbps HDMI 2.0 inputs so that it can accept a 4K HDR signal at 60 Hz. Support for the newer HDMI 2.1 standard, which allows the projector to accept 4K HDR at 120 Hz (great for gaming) is nice, but rare.
  • Helpful setup tools are a must. Most high-performance projectors are larger and heavier than their lower-priced counterparts, and they need to be mounted in a permanent, out-of-the-way location. A projector with a good amount of lens zoom and horizontal/vertical lens shifting makes it easier to precisely size and place the image on your screen. Motorized FOCUS, zoom, and lens-shifting controls are ideal because they make setup even faster, and they allow you to set up different lens configurations for different content (i.e., one setting for 16:9 HDTV and another for 21:9 movies) that you can access with the touch of a button on the remote. Projectors that only offer digital image adjustments (like digital zoom or keystone adjustment) are less desirable because those functions affect image clarity.

How we tested

I set up each projector in my light-controlled family room, making note of how easy or difficult it is to position the image on my screen: the Silver Ticket 100-inch matte white screen, which is our pick for the best projection screen. For objective evaluations, my measurement equipment consists of Portrait Displays’s Calman software running on a Windows 10 laptop, the Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 colorimeter, and the Murideo Six-G 4K test-pattern generator. I measure all the projector’s picture modes at their default settings to determine their brightness capabilities and find the most accurate mode to use going forward. Accuracy is based on how close the measurements come to the Society of Motion Picture Television standards.

Once I select the best picture mode for movie-watching, I use test patterns to make basic video adjustments (to controls like contrast, brightness, and sharpness) and turn off any automatic picture adjustments that might affect my official measurements. Then I measure the projector’s brightness, contrast, and color accuracy. For HDR testing, I measure the projector’s peak breakness (or luminance) and how accurately its brightness tracks with the HDR standard—in other words, is HDR content brighter or darker than it’s supposed to be, based on how bright the projector can get overall. I keep every projector’s measurement results in a spreadsheet so I can compare their performance.

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For my subjective evaluations, I use an Oppo Ultra HD Blu-ray player, a Microsoft One X gaming console, and an Apple TV 4K media streamer as my sources, and I watch a variety of Ultra HD and Blu-ray movies, streamed 4K movies, and HDTV content in darker and brighter room conditions. I do head-to-head comparisons between projectors using an HDFury Integral box to split the HDMI source and show the two projected images simultaneously—blocking the output from one projector and then switching to the other for comparison.

Best 4K projector: Epson Home Cinema LS11000

The best 4K projector under 5,000

The LS11000 is a great 4K laser projector that can deliver a big, bright, beautiful image and has almost all the features you need—except 3D support.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 4,000.

The Epson Home Cinema LS11000 is our favorite 4K projector for home theater use because it delivers the best performance with 4K movies that you’ll find for less than 5,000, but also looks great with games, sports, and HDTV when some room lights are on. This 4K LCD projector has great detail, is bright enough to produce satisfying high dynamic range (HDR) video, and has wonderfully accurate color in the Natural picture mode—and the laser light source means you’ll never have to replace a bulb. The LS11000 is very easy to set up and has plenty of advanced features that will please both movie and gaming enthusiasts. The only thing missing is 3D video support.

The Home Cinema LS11000 (and its Pro Cinema counterpart, the LS12000) offer two key improvements over previous Epson home theater projectors. First, Epson has switched to a laser light source instead of a lamp. This brings several benefits, the most important of which is the long lifespan of 20,000 hours. In lamp-based projectors, the bulbs get dimmer, and you need to replace them roughly every 4,000 to 6,000 hours, which adds to the total cost of ownership. The use of a laser light source also lets the projector turn on and off much more quickly, produces rich color, and allows for nearly silent lens adjustments (more on this in a second).

The other improvement is in the pixel-shifting technology that Epson uses to display a 4K resolution. As we mentioned above, only a few 4K projectors actually have a native 4K resolution. The rest use 1080p imaging solutions and rely on some type of pixel-shifting technology to show 4K on the screen. In older Epson models like the Home Cinema 5050UB and the Home Cinema 3800 (our top pick in our guide for living room projectors), Epson only shifts each pixel twice, so you’re really getting twice the resolution of 1080p, not 4K. In the LS11000, though, Epson shifts the pixels four times, which results in better detail. We used resolution test patterns to confirm that you are getting 4K on the screen, and though the lines in these patterns aren’t quite as clear as what you see with a native 4K projector or 4K TV, they’re on a par with what you see from a pixel-shifting 4K DLP projector. With real-world Ultra HD discs like Dune and Justice League and Netflix shows like Our Planet, the 4K image on our 100-inch screen looked crisp and detailed.

The use of an all-glass lens also helps with image clarity, and Epson’s Image Enhancement tool lets you further tweak the picture clarity and sharpness. You can choose from five presets or adjust several different controls individually. At the minimum preset of 1, the picture looked a little softer than that of a 4K DLP projector we used for comparison. At the maximum preset of 5, the image clarity between the two was identical, but a little overly sharp in a fake way. I preferred a setting of 2 or 3, but there’s a nice degree of flexibility to dial in the level of clarity you want.

Of course, detail is just one aspect of picture quality. The LS11000’s true strengths lie in its good brightness and contrast, its rich yet accurate color with both SDR and HDR video, and its ability to render a very clean image without a lot of digital noise and other artifacts. Epson’s claimed brightness is 2,500 ANSI lumens, and we actually got almost exactly that when measuring the Dynamic picture mode at maximum brightness on our 100-inch, 0.95-gain screen. But that mode isn’t very color-accurate, with an overly green color temperature (or color of white) and oversaturated color. It’ll do for the occasional daytime sporting or gaming activity—but for movie watching, our measurements showed the Natural picture mode to be the most accurate. Wonderfully accurate, actually, so there was really no need to make any advanced color adjustments. In the Natural mode, we measured a maximum brightness of 1,867 lumens, which is still bright enough that we could watch HDTV and sports with the room lights turned up. While most lower-priced projectors only offer high and low brightness modes, the LS11000’s brightness can be adjusted incrementally to more precisely tailor it to your room conditions.

The Home Cinema LS11000’s connection panel includes two high-bandwidth HDMI 2.1 inputs, a powered USB port, and RS-232 and LAN ports for integration into an advanced control system. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

The infrared remote is rather large, but it’s fully backlit and has all the buttons you need to adjust the image on the fly. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

The Home Cinema LS11000’s connection panel includes two high-bandwidth HDMI 2.1 inputs, a powered USB port, and RS-232 and LAN ports for integration into an advanced control system. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

The LS11000’s higher light output also allowed for solid HDR performance. No projector is bright enough to really do HDR justice, but bright highlights in Ultra HD discs like Dune, Pan, and Justice League had decent pop here, even when I set the projector at about half its maximum brightness for dark-room viewing. Our measurements showed that the LS11000 can do about 89% of the larger DCI/P3 color gamut that’s currently used for Ultra HD content, which is better than a lot of lower-priced competitors.

The flipside of brightness is black level, and a good black level is the key to good movie performance. It’s what allows the picture to have real depth and dimension in a dark room, as opposed to looking flat and washed out, and to clearly show the subtle black details in dark scenes. In this area, the LS11000’s performance is good but not exceptional. It’s good because most movie images we watched looked rich and inviting in a dark room—better than what we’ve seen from the sub-5,000 4K DLP projectors we’ve tested. But not exceptional because the black level in the darkest scenes (like chapter four of Dune or chapter 12 of Sicario) wasn’t as deep as you’ll see on the best LCoS projectors, such as our previous top pick, the now-discontinued JVC DLA-NX5.

The LS11000 does not use Epson’s UltraBlack technology that allows for the deepest, darkest black levels. To get that, you either have to move up to the 5,000 Pro Cinema LS12000 or move down to the 3,000 Home Cinema 5050UB, which is lamp-based and doesn’t have a true 4K resolution. We felt that the LS11000’s black level was good enough to produce a pleasingly rich, saturated movie image in a dark room, and the benefits it offers over the 5050UB are worth the tradeoff. But if you’re a black-level purist, you might want to consider the other options.

Like on previous Epson projectors, the LS11000’s lens iris can be set to automatically adjust the image brightness and black level to suit the content being shown. This is called dynamic contrast (as opposed to native contrast, which is what the lens is capable of on its own). In older Epson models, we often recommended that you turn this feature off because you could see and hear the iris/lamp making adjustments (the brightness level would shift noticeably on screen), and it was distracting. But now, thanks to the laser light source, this function happens so quickly and silently, there’s no reason not to use it—and it improves the image contrast significantly (about four times the native contrast, by our measurements).

The LS11000 has a 120 Hz refresh rate, which helps improve motion clarity and allows you to turn on motion smoothing if you’re into that kind of thing. The higher refresh rate, mated with the two HDMI 2.1 inputs that accept a 4K/120 Hz signal, makes this projector a good match for the newest Xbox and Playstation gaming consoles. The inclusion of HDMI 2.1 is quite rare on projectors at this point. Epson lists the input lag at 20 milliseconds, so there should be minimal delay between when you perform an action in the game and when you see it on the screen.

As for its physical design, the LS11000 has a white finish, weighs 28 pounds, and measures 20.5 by 17.6 by 7.6 inches. It is certainly bigger and heavier than your average 1080p home projector (like our budget recommendation, the BenQ HT2050A), but its size is on a par with most high-performance 4K. It should fit in most ceiling mounts. Epson is more generous with its setup tools than any other projector manufacturer: The 2.1x zoom, 96.3% vertical lens shift, and 47.1% horizontal lens shift made it easy to precisely place the image on our screen, and all the lens controls are motorized, so you can use them via the remote and set up different lens memories for different video aspect ratios (such as 16:9 for HDTV, or 21:9 for some movies). There are also four adjustable feet on the underside, a full control panel on the top side, and a lens cover that opens and closes automatically.

The IR remote is kind of large but fully backlit and loaded with all the buttons you’d need. In addition to the two HDMI 2.1 inputs (one of which supports eARC to send audio to an external sound system), you get a powered USB Type-A port to power a streaming media stick, a 12-volt trigger for use with a motorized screen, and both Ethernet and RS-232 for integration into a home automation system. The LS11000 has a two-year warranty.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

Projectors aren’t bright enough to show HDR video at its full brightness, so they have to adjust the HDR signal to show it in the brightness range they’re capable of. Some projectors have advanced auto tone mapping to intelligently adjust the signal so that it does not cut off or incorrectly display bright highlights. The LS11000 does not. You have to manually adjust the HDR brightness using a 16-step slider control, and you may wish to change this per movie, depending on the brightness level at which the film was mastered. The better option is to mate this projector with our favorite Ultra HD Blu-ray player, the Panasonic DP-UB420, which handles the auto tone mapping on its end.

Also, the LS11000 doesn’t automatically switch into separate HDR picture modes when it detects an HDR signal. You’ll want to set up different picture modes for SDR and HDR movies (which you can save) and will have to switch into them manually.

Finally, the LS11000 doesn’t support 3D video playback. While 3D is dead in the world of TVs, it still has a fan base in the projector world. Epson is not the only manufacturer of higher-end 4K projectors that abandoned 3D support in 2022 (Sony did too), and we don’t think it’s a huge issue because new content is not being produced in 3D. But for those who have a large collection of 3D discs and still want to watch them, this omission could be a dealbreaker.

Sustainability and environmental impact

A good home video projector should last for many years. Projectors that use a laser or LED light source are generally rated for at least 20,000 hours of use—at three hours of viewing per night, that’s almost 20 years—and you should not need to replace any parts. A lamp-based projector can also last that long, but you will need to replace the bulb roughly every 4,000 to 6,000 hours, depending on what brightness level you choose. That puts bulbs in the waste stream, some of which contain mercury so you’ll need to check your local city or state ordinances to ensure you dispose of them properly.

We asked the manufacturer of our top pick to answer some basic questions about power consumption and recycling, and this is what we learned. Epson says that the LS11000’s packaging is 100% recyclable, and the projector itself can be sent in for recycling through Epson’s product stewardship program. As for energy efficiency, the LS11000’s power consumption falls between 204 and 311 watts, depending on the brightness level. The laser-based LS11000 reduces power consumption by 62 watts at the normal brightness mode and 79 watts at the lowest brightness mode, compared with a lamp-based Epson Home Cinema projector. This is a 16% to 28% energy savings resulting from the laser light source.

Other good 4K movie projectors

If you still watch 3D movies or just want to spend a bit less: The Epson Home Cinema 5050UB is our former budget pick and sells for about 1,000 less than the newer LS11000. In addition to supporting 3D video playback, the 5050UB features Epson’s UltraBlack technology to produce better black levels than the LS11000, and the picture quality is excellent overall. However, this projector uses an older version of Epson’s pixel-shifting technology that only shifts the pixels two times, which is technically half the resolution of 4K—so its image is not as detailed. It also lacks HDMI 2.1 inputs, and it uses a lamp instead of a laser light source, so you don’t get the performance benefits of a laser and will have to pay to replace the bulb every few years. That means despite the 5050UB’s lower starting price, the overall cost of ownership compared with the LS11000 should be the same or more.

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If you’re willing to pay more for a better black level: Epson’s Pro Cinema LS12000 is the pro version of our pick: It is sold only through authorized Epson dealers and comes in black, with a longer, three-year warranty and a ceiling installation kit (and it will work with an optional anamorphic lens, which the LS11000 won’t). It costs 1,000 more than the LS11000 while having almost identical specs and features—but the one crucial difference is that it uses Epson’s UltraBlack technology to produce darker black levels. While we did not test the LS12000 directly, Epson claims it has about twice the contrast as the LS11000, and since it’s only 200 lumens brighter, that improvement is almost entirely in black-level performance. So if you love everything about the LS11000 but want the best movie performance in a completely dark room, you might want to visit your local Epson dealer and get a demo of the LS12000 first.

If you want a Smart 4K laser projector: LG’s 2,500 HU710PW was close to becoming our budget pick in this guide, but a few concerns keep it from being an unqualified recommendation. On the positive side, this fully featured 4K DLP projector uses a hybrid laser/LED light source and has features like the WebOS streaming platform, AirPlay 2, LG’s Game Optimizer, and Bluetooth built in. The picture quality can be really good, but it takes some work to get the best performance out of this projector. For video enthusiasts who care about accuracy, we strongly recommend getting this one professionally calibrated to dial in the best color and contrast, which will add several hundred dollars to the cost. The black level is excellent, so movies can look rich, colorful, and detailed in a dark room—but the HU710PW is significantly dimmer than the Epson LS11000 and is best suited for use only in a fully light-controlled environment. HDR content consistently measured less bright than it should, despite the inclusion of an automatic tone-mapping function. There are three HDMI inputs (one with eARC to send audio to an external send system); one of them supports HDMI 2.1 features but only has a bandwidth of 24 Gbps, so it can’t receive a 4K 120 Hz signal. The built-in speaker can play quite loud but has a blaring, shouty quality to it, and we occasionally saw lip-sync issues, which you can adjust in the sound menu. These issues won’t matter if you’re sending audio to a sound system, though. concerning is the light spill we saw coming off the lens, which cast a ring of light on the floor in front of our screen. The light wasn’t that distracting on the floor, but if you mount this projector upside down in a ceiling mount, it will be more noticeable above the screen (you could tape thick paper near the lens to fix this but, really, should you have to for 2,500). Also, the projector uses an external power supply housed in a very large brick that could be challenging to accommodate, especially for a ceiling installation. Overall, the HU710PW just isn’t as refined as the Epson LS11000 in many respects, but if you’re looking for a more affordable projector for use in a light-controlled space, it’s a solid choice.

If you mostly play games and watch videos with the room lights on: While the Epson LS11000 delivers a nice amount of image brightness, there are brighter, cheaper 4K projectors that may be a better fit if you mostly watch videos and play games during the day or with brighter room lights. You can read about them in our guide to the best home projector for a living room.

What to look forward to

BenQ has introduced two new 4K home theater projectors, the flagship HT4550i and the lower-priced HT3560. The HT4550i has an LED light source, a claimed light output of 3,200 ANSI lumens, and both vertical and horizontal lens shifting and 1.3x zoom for easier image placement. BenQ says it can display 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut and will support Filmmaker Mode and the HDR10 high dynamic range format. It will also come with an Android TV dongle that supports Netflix. The HT3560 uses a bulb instead of an LED light source, has less light output and fewer image-placement tools, and does not come with a streaming stick. We have requested samples and plan to test these projectors soon.

JVC introduced the gaming-oriented LX-NZ30 DLP projector, which uses pixel-shifting technology to produce a 4K resolution (as opposed to the higher-priced JVC models that have a native 4K resolution). It has a laser light source and a claimed brightness of 3,300 lumens, as well as a 1.6x zoom and both horizontal and vertical lens shifting. It supports HDR10 and HLG, and for gamers it reportedly has a low latency of 6.25 ms and can support a 1080p 240 Hz frame rate.

BenQ HT4550i 4k Projector Unboxing and First Impressions

The competition

In addition to the projectors listed below, you can read about other, brighter 4K projectors we’ve tested in our guide to the best home projector for a living room.

JVC and Sony both introduced new native 4K home theater projectors in 2022, but even the lowest priced models cost more than 5,000—so we chose not to test them for this guide. But if you’re willing to pay more than 5,000 to get the best black levels and contrast for a premium home theater setup, we recommend reading this article in Sound and Vision magazine, which details the results of a recent high-end projector shootout at Value Electronics in New York.

Anker’s Nebula Cosmos Laser 4K caught our eye because it’s a smaller 4K HDR laser projector for 2,200. It looks like the Nebula Mars II Pro on steroids and comes with an Android TV dongle that hides in a recessed cabinet. Anker calls it a portable projector, but it has no built-in battery. We tested an early sample of this projector, and while the picture quality was decent, it was not up to the caliber that we’d want from a 2,200 projector. Image brightness and detail were good, but contrast and color accuracy were just average (even for a DLP projector), and you get none of the advanced picture adjustments or zoom/lens-shifting features that are common to projectors at this price. We saw a lot of light spill around our screen (meaning the lens is sending stray light beyond the screen area), and the Android TV dongle that came with our review sample did not appear to support HDR playback.

The Dangbei Mars Pro is another value-oriented 4K laser projector with built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and speakers and a supplied Android TV dongle. It’s a solid performer for the price: The image is sharp, bright, and clean; the form factor is smaller than average; and the fan noise is minimal. But like the Anker Nebula projector, this one was just mediocre in its contrast ratio, black level, and color accuracy, we saw light spill around the screen, and there are no advanced picture adjustments to fine-tune the image—not even color-temperature presets. While this model is highly affordable for a 4K laser projector, we’d still like to see more refinement for 1,400.

BenQ’s HT5550 and BenQ HT3550/HT3550i were dismissed by the previous author of this guide. These DLP projectors produced a very sharp image and had good color, but their black levels were not as good as what we saw from the LCD and LCoS projectors—so the image lacked pop, and the HDR tone mapping often left highlights looking washed out.

LG’s HU810PW is a 4K DLP laser projector that we tested for our guide to the best living-room projector. We found that it is a fairly quiet, bright projector with great color. However, the contrast ratio is well below average for a DLP projector, so with anything but fully bright scenes, the HU810PW looks washed out and flat. We preferred the Optoma UHZ50 if you want a laser projector for a brighter room.

Optoma’s UHZ50 is a 4K DLP laser projector that has a 1.3x zoom, vertical lens shifting, and a 240 Hz refresh rate and low input lag for gaming. It’s targeted more for brighter spaces than for a dedicated home theater, so we tested it for our guide to the best living room projector—and we liked it for that purpose. It produces a bright, colorful image with excellent detail, but its image contrast and black level are not on a par with our pick here.

The ViewSonic x100-4K also uses a DLP engine with LEDs to provide 4K resolution but has issues with color in HDR content and mediocre black levels. It has integrated streaming apps, so it is easy to access content, and integrated speakers, which make it more suited for a living room than a home theater room—but it is not as bright as our living room picks.

The Xgimi Horizon Pro 4K is a 4K DLP projector with a smaller form factor that is easy to move around, but it doesn’t have dedicated HDR viewing modes, has limited setup tools, and has poor contrast compared with our picks.

This article was edited by Grant Clauser.