Best projectors 2018: Full HD, 4K, portable

You might think a 65in TV is great for watching films... and you'd be right. But projectors are in a different league, with images routinely going north of 100in. Throw in whisper-quiet operation and you've got yourself a movie night, no doubt about it.

Wondering which projector is right for you? We've lined up the best around, whatever your budget. Just remember to save some money for popcorn.

Under £750

Best projector under £750

Epson EH-TW5350

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

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: LCD | Resolution: Full HD | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Contrast ratio: 35,000:1 | Inputs: Composite, HDMI (x2), VGA, USB | 3D: Yes | Lamp life: 4000 hours | Speakers: 2 x 5W

Reasons to Buy
Clear and detailed picture
Impressive contrast
Well balanced colours
Reasons to Avoid
Thin sound

Budget projectors haven’t always won us over, but this talented and compact Epson EH-TW5350 shows that you can get an excellent big screen picture for under £1000. This LCD projector is perfect for those with small rooms and an even tighter budget.

The handling of motion, contrast and colour balance is skilful and indicative of a level-headed restraint we wish all budget products would adhere to. It may be 'only' Full HD and not 4K, but for just £600, this EH-TW5350 projector brings a bit of the magic of cinema into your living room.

Under £1500

Best projector under £1500

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 less than £1500. 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.

Under £3000

Best projector under £3000

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.

Under £5000

Best projector under £5000

Sony VPL-VW260ES

Sony's most affordable native 4K projector so far is an absolute charmer.

SPECIFICATIONS

Resolution: Native 4K | Panel: SXRD | HDR10: Yes | HLG support: Yes | Inputs: HDMI (x2) | Lamp life: 6000 hours | HDCP 2.2: Yes | 3D: Yes | Max image size: Up to 300in

Reasons to Buy
Realistic and refined colours
Native 4K at a lower price point
Easy set-up
Reasons to Avoid
Nothing at this price

While more affordable 4K models such as the Optomas above tend to use alternative methods, such as pixel-shifting, to reach Ultra HD resolution, this Sony delivers native 4K images.

Like many Sony 4K projectors before it, the VPL-VW260ES uses the brand’s proprietary 4K SXRD panels to achieve its true DCI 4K 4096 x 2160 resolution. The VPL-VW260ES’s stark insight and faithful delivery of colours raises its calibre above that of cheaper rivals. If you want 'true' 4K at a relatively affordable price, this is the projector to go for.

Under £10,000

Best projector under £10,000

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.

Money-no-object

Best money-no-object projector

JVC DLA-Z1

Cutting edge technology mixed with stunning picture quality - the JVC also has the price to match.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: D-ILA | 4K: Yes | HDR support: HDR10 and HLG | Brightness: 3000 lumens | Lamp life: 20,000 hours | Connectivity: HDMI (x2), RS-232, RJ45 | HDCP 2.2: Yes

Reasons to Buy
Stunning pictures quality
Excellent colours
Terrific contrast
Reasons to Avoid
Price

Put simply, this is the best projector we’ve ever tested - which, given the price, it ought to be. Let’s imagine for a moment the £35,000 price tag hanging off this JVC isn’t an issue.

Once installed and calibrated, the JVC is an astonishing performer. Bold, richly textured colours collide with the crispest edges and sharpest detail we’ve ever seen from a projector.

What your money buys is a projector that produces the finest images we’ve seen in our test rooms. Consider us tempted. 

Portable

Best portable projector

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.

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