Best 4K projectors for 2021 – CNET

There’s no better way to play a video game or watch a movie than on an enormous screen. And now that 4K is becoming more widely available, you’ll need a 4K projector to get the biggest screen possible.

Though prices have fallen in recent years to more affordable levels, Ultra HD 4K projectors still cost more than their 1080p counterparts. That said, the low end of the 4K projector range is now only slightly more than the high end of the 1080p range, so 4K content is at your fingertips.

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Resolution is just one aspect of picture quality. And a projector with a great contrast ratio, color gamut, keystone correction and brightness can easily hold its own over a 4K UHD projector that only offers higher resolution at the expense of everything else.

The best 4K projectors, however, combine great performance in all aspects of picture quality along with 4K resolution for truly incredible images. We took into consideration factors like how well the project performs with ambient light, how easy it was to adjust brightness and achieve color accuracy and how big your “screen size” can truly get. If you’re ready to take your home theater to the next level, here are the best projectors you can get for 4K content.

Check out our best home theater projector for 2021 feature for more, often less expensive, options if 4K HDR isn’t your top priority — after all, even the cheapest 4K projector still costs a pretty penny. Or, if portability is your main concern, we also have a list that will help you find a portable projector to take on the go.

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The Epson Home Cinema 5050UB is the best all-around 4K projector because it has the perfect balance between image quality and price. An excellent contrast ratio, paired with impressive brightness and accurate color, all with better detail than what’s possible with a 1080p projector, and you’ve got all the pieces for a fantastic image. This UHD projector is not cheap, but offers a significant step up in image quality over other 4K projectors. Extensive lens shift and a motorized zoom are the icing on the cake.

Read all about it in our in-depth review of the Home Cinema 5050UB.

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The Sony VPL-VW325ES is thoroughbred among ponies, a Porsche among Volkswagens, an absolute stunner with a price tag to match. The contrast ratio, easily the most important aspect of overall picture quality, is better than the Epson 5050 and significantly better than any projector that doesn’t cost significantly more. And that’s saying something, since the Sony itself costs significantly more than any other projector on this list. If price is no object, the 4K resolution picture quality is incredible.

Check out our full review of the VPL-VW325ES.

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The UHD35 packs a lot into its tiny case and low price. It can throw a ton of light, produces accurate colors and has great detail. The contrast ratio isn’t great, but is pretty average among 4K projectors in this price range. And that price really is the UHD35 biggest selling point. It offers great picture quality for only a few hundred dollars over the best 1080p projectors. It doesn’t offer lens shift or much in the way of a zoom, but if it fits in your room it’s a great way to get 4K on a budget.

Check out our in-depth review of the UHD35.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The LG CineBeam HU810PW uses an entirely different, and new, technology to create light: lasers! Most other projectors, including all the others on this list, use UHP lamps instead, which are glorified lightbulbs. The 810’s two lasers, paired with a phosphor, allow it to create far deeper, richer, colors that look downright impressive with HDR content. The 810’s images are also bright and detailed. The contrast ratio isn’t great, however, which holds this laser projector back from being at the top of this list.

Check out all the details in our in-depth review of the HU810PW.

The BenQ HT3550i trades light output for deep colors. They’re not quite as deep as those found on the LG UH810PW, but they’re richer and more compelling than most projectors and the 3550i only costs roughly half of what the LG does. However, its contrast ratio is only average for a 4K projector, and the light output is far lower than average, meaning its image doesn’t pop the way images from other projectors on this list do.

Check out our full review of the HT3550i for all the details.

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