Televisions are capable of impressive quality, but sometimes the screen itself is too limiting. Instead, some opt for a gaming projector. We’ve all seen projectors in classrooms, with their grainy, faded images splayed over a white screen or wall. Projectors, like computers, vary in quality. Odds are the ones from your college or high school days were not the top quality, 4K capable, gaming projectors available now.
While it might just be easier to have a television, they cost about the same, and if you have space and want that home theater feel, there’s no reason to prefer television to a projector.
Screen vs projector:
Quality projectors are capable of the same frame rates and detail as a screen. They connect through HDMI cables and are compatible with the main consoles. There are a few differences; however, a projector overlays an image onto a wall or screen, which may reduce quality and see some slight differences. Of course, movie theaters do this, and no one complains, so it’s still possible.
When it comes to gaming, response time is something to consider. Projectors have double the response time of the slowest monitors, hitting roughly 8 milliseconds. Since human reaction time is 250 milliseconds, you likely won’t notice it.
Those looking to get a projector will find it much easier to spend time with family and friends and share their gameplay experience, locally. A projector will make the most sense when connected to a PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, or Xbox. PC players will find it difficult to play with a projection set up. Not that it can’t be done.
There are only a handful of gaming quality projectors available and most are from the same brands.
Lumens are a measure of brightness. This isn’t something screens need to consider, but to get a bright, crisp image, projectors need lumens. More lumens will help with viewing the projected image in the light.
Optoma seems to be the top brand for gaming quality projectors. There are others out there, but Optoma makes the top ones for games. The HD28HDR is the latest 2020 model with 4K resolution, 3600 lumens, a 120hz refresh rate, and comes with a Game Display mode to boost shadows for better visibility. It connects to all the main media and gaming consoles such as PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and more.
The BenQ TH685 is another 2020 model designed for high-quality movie viewing and gaming projection. The BenQ is compatible with PlayStation, Xbox, Google Stadia, and Nintendo Switch consoles, and has a 120Hz refresh rate with an 8.3 response time. You will get quality images from at max 8.2 feet away, which is an impressive distance for gaming, and has less lumen brightness than the Optoma model above, but is still a worthy buy.
ViewSonic also makes some low-cost gaming monitors, so it’s not surprising to see it branching into the world of projectors. The ViewSonic is good for screens up to 300 inches with 3500 lumens. This is a versatile projector that works with consoles, PCs, Macs, and mobile devices. If it has an HDMI or USB port, it will find a way. It has a 16 millisecond response time to reduce latency. That number sounds high if you’re used to the one-second response time of monitors, and you might see some input lag. The refresh rate is not given, but most consoles only run around 30 FPS anyway.
This Optoma model is a powerful projector that does it all: movies, games, and even voice command support. It has a 4K Ultra HD experience with high-quality color, 8.3 million distinct, addressable pixels, 3500 lumens for sharp, clear images, and is compatible with consoles, PCs, Macs, and mobile devices. It also works with HDMI, USB, VGA, and more inputs. It offers a 240Hz refresh rate for one of the highest refresh rates on a projector.
Rounding out our list is the Optoma GT1080HDR. This is a “short throw” projector, doesn’t project very far but has other strong features. It has the best brightness on the list with 3800 lumens and offers a 120Hz refresh rate with 8.4 milliseconds response time. This model also comes with an Enhanced Gaming Mode for additional gaming improvement. It is compatible with consoles, media players, and other HDMI devices like Google Chromecast and the Fire TV Stick from Amazon.
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