Projectors prevail in What Hi-Fi? Awards 2022 as new category emerges

Sony VPL-XW5000 projector
(Image credit: Sony)

Projectors truly do come in all shapes and sizes; from bulky high-end home cinema units to sleek ultra-short throws and even compact 4K kits that can sit comfortably on a coffee table, it feels like practically every type of projector has entered our test room this year. And many have left it clutching five stars, having impressed our expert reviews team with their compelling performances. 

Six projectors have just claimed Best Buy honours in our What Hi-Fi? Awards 2022 as well, and despite a variety of styles represented, one thing remains constant across that board: their ability to produce sharp, bright and mesmerising pictures that embody the feeling of bringing the cinema home.

Last year, just three projectors were selected as winners, with Epson occupying two of those award slots, so are they the ones to beat again this year? The EH-TW7100 and the EH-TW9400 both impressed us last year, and the former even took home our even more esteemed Product of the Year gong (which only one Best Buy winner in each product category goes on to win in November). So, will the Epson take home the crown once again this year?

There’s certainly more competition this year for Product of the Year as we now have double the number of winners, all catering to different uses and budgets. We now have a category for the 'best ultra short throw projector', as well as a top-of-the-line projector that had us in awe of its sharp, nuanced and deep picture. It’s been a truly exciting year for projectors, with everything from budget 4K options such as the BenQ W1800 to the top-of-the-range Sony VLP models all taking it up a notch. 

UST projector: LG CineBeam HU715Q

The LG CineBeam HU715Q is the first-ever winner of our 'Best UST projector' Award (Image credit: LG)

But let's start small with the BenQ W1800, a plucky little projector that performs well above what its price might suggest. Its neat, sharp and punchy visuals really give a cinematic impression, while its compact design makes it a great choice for whipping out for movie nights and then stowing away easily when it's not in use. The BenQ W1800 makes for a projector that's really hard to dislike overall and certainly deserves a spot on this list.

Next up is the Epson EH-TW7100 – last year’s Product of the Year, no less – which must be getting comfortable on our Awards list as it has sat there smugly since 2020. Today it remains as attractive as ever for its sub-£2000/$2000/AU$3000 asking price, thanks to its balanced and sharp 4K image.

But what's better than three years of Awards glory? How about four years? The Epson EH-TW9400 joins its smaller counterpart as a returning winner for the 2022 Awards, remaining steadfast as our choice for 'Best projector between £2000 and £4000'. Its deep, cinematic image is so strong that we couldn’t bring ourselves to remove or replace it – and neither could any rival projectors, clearly. This wise old Epson still reigns supreme.

Now onto the big guns, as Sony takes two top-range spots with the VPL-XW5000ES and VPL-XW7000ES. Both of these projectors use Sony’s SXRD chips and laser projection systems to create stunningly bright and sharp visuals, with the XW5000ES also being the cheapest native 4K projector we’ve seen. This projector offers serious bang for your buck, with stunning detail and impressive black depths. It's an all-around winner that is only overshadowed by its bigger, pricier sibling. 

The VPL-XW7000ES is, to put it simply, stunning, with frankly unrivalled contrast, detail and brightness levels that combine to make a stellar, no-holds-barred projector that should be on all home cinema enthusiasts' wishlists.

Lastly, onto something brand new for our projector awards: an ultra-short throw category. The LG HU715Q takes What Hi-Fi?'s very first UST Award, as it does exactly what it sets out to do by making a convincing argument to ditch your TV in favour of a bigger-picture solution – and without breaking the bank.

The HU715Q brings much of what we love from LG’s TVs including the smart webOS platform and adapts it to a sharp and punchy projector.

Now, although there is a plethora of brilliant projectors here, only one can win the coveted Product of the Year Award on the 9th of November, so stay tuned that evening to find out which winner takes home the top spot.


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Lewis Empson
Staff Writer

Lewis Empson is a Staff Writer on What Hi-Fi?. He was previously Gaming and Digital editor for Cardiff University's 'Quench Magazine', Lewis graduated in 2021 and has since worked on a selection of lifestyle magazines and regional newspapers. Outside of work, he enjoys gaming, gigs and regular cinema trips.