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Best projectors 2019: Full HD, 4K, portable, short throw

You might think a 65in TV is great for watching films. And you'd be right. But, with picture sizes routinely north of 100in, the best projectors are in a different league. Throw in whisper-quiet operation, a decent AV amp and surround speaker package and you've got yourself a movie night, no doubt about it. 

We've rounded up our favourite projectors including Full HD and native 4K models, which also support HDR, and some short throw projector action too for those with smaller spaces.

The only question is how much do you have to spend? Naturally, a great 4K projector will cost more than a Full HD one, and real, actual native 4K costs even more than those which use pixel shifting to spoof that top end resolution. Fear not, though, we've got something for all budgets in our best projector list below.

So, whether you've got £600 or £6000 to spend, you'll find your perfect fit below. And with Black Friday around the corner, it's a good time to be keeping an eye out for bargains.

Just remember to save some money for popcorn!

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Best projectors 2019: Full HD, 4K, portable

1. Optoma UHD40

What Hi-Fi? Awards 2018 winner. Top-class projector technology at a budget price.

SPECIFICATIONS

4K capability: Yes | HDR: Yes | Speakers: 2 x 5W | Lamp: 2400 lumens | Lamp life: 4000 hours | Contrast ratio: 500,000:1 | Inputs: HDMI (x2), USB, 3.5mm

Reasons to Buy

Punchy colours
Insightful detail
Smooth motion

Reasons to Avoid

Black detail could be better

If you want top tech and a fantastic picture on a low budget – this is one projector to watch out for. You get 4K and HDR capability for £1099 now, down from its original £1500 price. If that's not good value, we don't know what is.

Colours are vivid, yet realistic; there’s lashings of detail; and motion remains silky smooth. There’s no other way to say it: the Optoma UHD40 is a simply outstanding budget projector, and a worthy 2018 Award winner.

Read the full review: Optoma UHD40

Best projectors 2019: Full HD, 4K, portable

2. Sony VPL-VW270ES

Sony's native 4K projector is an absolute stunner for £5k.

SPECIFICATIONS

Resolution: Native 4K | Panel: SXRD | HDR10: Yes | HLG support: Yes | Inputs: HDMI (x2) | Lamp life: 6000 hours | HDCP 2.2: Yes | 3D: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Sensational sharpness
Stunning contrast
HDR10 and HLG support

Reasons to Avoid

No 3D glasses supplied

If you want one of the best 4K projectors available and a truly immersive picture, then it's hard to look past the VPL-VW270ES. Like many Sony 4K projectors it uses the brand’s proprietary 4K SXRD panels to achieve its true DCI 4K 4096 x 2160 resolution. The VPL-VW270ES’s amazing sense of insight and fantastically solid and smooth picture raises its calibre above that of cheaper rivals. If you want 'true' 4K and have a hefty budget at your disposal, this is the projector to go for.

Read the full review: Sony VPL-VW270ES

Best projectors 2019: Full HD, 4K, portable

(Image credit: Future)

3. Epson EH-TW9400

A powerful 4K projector with a bold picture to match.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: 3LCD | Resolution: 4K pixel shift | HDR: Yes | Contrast ratio: 1,200,000:1 | Inputs: HDMI 2.0 (x2), USB 2.0 (x2) | 3D: Yes | Lamp: 2600 lumens | Lamp life: 5,000/3,000 hours (eco/normal)

Reasons to Buy

Motorised and adaptable lens
Handles HDR well
Vibrant colours
Excellent sense of depth

Reasons to Avoid

Noisy at full power

This big, brassy projector is as good as you'll get before forking out for the beauty of native 4K projection. The detail may not be as stunning as its brethren in those upper echelons but for colour accuracy, subtlety of contrast and HDR handling, its a real corker. The result is a picture more involving than you'll find anywhere else at this price point.

It's also a dream in terms of practicality. Its 50-300in image size can be thrown from a good range of distances and the motorised lens means you can set it all up from the comfort of your sofa using its superb, backlit remote. Just sit back and enjoy some cinematic greats.

Read the full review: Epson EH-TW9400

Best projectors 2019: Full HD, 4K, portable

4. Epson EH-TW650

This brilliant budget projector brings the magic of cinema to your living room.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: LCD | Resolution: Full HD | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Contrast ratio: 15,000:1 | Inputs: Composite, HDMI (x2), VGA, USB | 3D: No | Lamp life: 11yrs

Reasons to Buy

Sharp, clean picture
Impressive brightness
Realistic colours

Reasons to Avoid

Slight issue with image stability

Budget projectors haven’t always won us over, but this talented and compact Epson model shows that you can get an excellent big screen picture for under £500 if you shop around. This LCD projector has short thrown capabilities of between 1.35 m - 1.64 m, so it's perfect for those with small rooms and an even tighter budget.

The handling of brightness, colour and detail levels is skillful and indicative of a level-headed restraint we wish all budget products would adhere to. It might be 'only' Full HD and not 4K, but the EH-TW650 brings a bit of the magic of cinema into your living room for not a lot of money.

Read the full review: Epson EH-TW650

Best projectors 2019: Full HD, 4K, portable

5. Epson EH-TW7400

Epson's '4K' projector is a talented all-rounder for the money.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: LCD | Resolution: Full HD with '4K enhancement' | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Contrast ratio: 200,000:1 | Inputs: HDMI (x2), VGA, USB | 3D: Yes | Lamp life: 5000 hours

Reasons to Buy

Punchy, dynamic picture
Rich, refined colours
Electronic lens shift

Reasons to Avoid

Not full 4K
3D glasses aren't included

Despite only having a Full HD chip, the Epson still supports 4K and HDR content thanks to its clever '4K-enhancement' tech. It can't quite match the best native 4K projectors, but they tend to cost a lot more and it still delivers an exceptional picture for the money. There's sharpness and colour in spades and the Epson also does a great job delivering punch and dynamism. It digs out plenty of detail in dark scenes too. If you want something bigger than a flatscreen TV but more affordable than a native 4K projector, this is a great middle-ground solution.

Read the full review: EH-TW7400

Best projectors 2019: Full HD, 4K, portable

6. Optoma UHD65

This Award-winning 4K HDR model performs brilliantly, and comes in at a very competitive price.

SPECIFICATIONS

4K capability: Yes | HDR: Yes | Connectivity: HDMI (x2), VGA, USB, Ethernet, 3.5mm analogue, optical | Speakers: 2 x 4W

Reasons to Buy

Impressive level of detail
Good range of colours
Upscales HD and SD films well

Reasons to Avoid

Dark scenes could be more detailed
SDR to HDR conversion best avoided

This is a sophisticated 4K-capable, HDR projector at a competitive price. Considering there are more expensive models on the market that are neither 4K- nor HDR-compatible, those looking for a top-notch home cinema projector should give the Optoma UHD65 serious consideration.

It may not have all the bells and whistles of a high-end 4K projector, but it is future-proof and should keep you happy for years. At this price, the Optoma is the one to beat.

Read the full review: Optoma UHD65

Best projectors 2019: Full HD, 4K, portable

7. Sony VPL-VW550ES

A stellar performing 4K HDR projector even at this price.

SPECIFICATIONS

Resolution: Native 4K | Panel: SXRD | HDR: Yes | Max image size: 300in | Connectivity: HDMI 2.0 (x2), LAN, PC, USB | HDCP 2.2: Yes | Brightness: 1800 lumens | Lamp life: 6000 hours | Contrast ratio: : 350,000:1

Reasons to Buy

Realistic colours
Impressive SD and HD upscaling
Easy set-up and controls

Reasons to Avoid

Nothing noteworthy

Sony has supplied the market with a fair few 4K projectors over the last few years – all high-end, all highly commendable.

While in many ways this particular Sony is an irrefutable showboat, its colour palette is, to its credit, more focused on realism and accuracy than eye-catching saturation.  Which is as we like it.

Set up is relatively straightforward, and once you have it up and running you'll be rewarded with pictures that will keep your eyes glued to the screen.

Read the full review: Sony VPL-VW550ES

Best projectors 2019: Full HD, 4K, portable

(Image credit: Future)

8. LG CineBeam HU80KSW

An all-in-one, do-it-all portable projector that does it all well.

SPECIFICATIONS

4K capability: Yes | HDR: Yes | Speakers: 2 x 7W | Brightness: 2500 lumens | Lamp life: 20,000 hours | Contrast ratio: 150,000:1 | Max image size: 150in | HDCP 2.2: Yes | Connectivity: HDMI (x2), USB (x2), 3.5mm, Ethernet, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Miracast | Streaming apps: Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer

Reasons to Buy

One-box, truly portable system
Impressive 4K HDR picture
Easy to build a system around

Reasons to Avoid

Lacks a little detail
Motion could be better
Built-in speakers only adequate

One of the most feature-complete projectors you'll ever find, the LG CineBeam is a fascinating box of tricks. It may not be the finest on this list for pure performance but it presents a very decent 4K HDR image from a larger array of sources - both smart and local - than any other here. 

It's blessed with the excellent webOS platform, which means direct access to all your video apps over Wi-Fi, and its Miracasting and Bluetooth abilities make for easy and intuitive ad-hoc connections to whatever mobile device you'd like to play back from, and external sound too.

Expensive? Maybe, but for those who want the flexibility to throw a film up on their wall whenever and however they choose, it's just the ticket; decent sound and a very solid picture to boot.

Read the full review: LG CineBeam HU80KSW

Best projectors 2019: Full HD, 4K, portable

9. Nebula Capsule

A hugely convenient and fun way to get your portable big-screen kicks.

SPECIFICATIONS

Resolution: 854 x 480 | Brightness: 100 lumens | Streaming apps: Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer | Connectivity: AirPlay, Chromecast, Miracast, HDMI, microUSB, Bluetooth speaker mode | Operating system: Android 7.1

Reasons to Buy

Neat design
Solid sound
Passable pictures

Reasons to Avoid

Doesn't like dark scenes or lit rooms
Needs fuller range of apps
Short of connections

Don't be put off by the star rating: this tiny, tin-shaped projector has a big picture and bigger ambitions. It's an ingenious piece of tech - a portable projector with built-in Android-esque app store, the Capsule can also be used as a dedicated Bluetooth speaker.

Whether streaming from Netflix, Amazon Prime or YouTube, the Capsule presents a decent picture that rivals other pico projectors. It's not perfect, but those looking for something a little bit different, portable and easy to use, and who don’t mind missing out in absolute picture quality terms, will enjoy the Capsule.

Read the full review: Nebula Capsule