gaming on 4k projector

A projector-based set-up can be ideal for gaming, giving you a big screen where you can get fully-immersed in the world. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that not every projector is going to be the right choice for hooking up to your Xbox or PlayStation.

So what does make a good gaming projector? The short answer is a low input latency, a high frame rate, and a high contrast ratio. A projector with a bright lamp and flexible installation options is also helpful for making sure it’ll work right in your gaming room.

We’ve picked out our 5 favorite 4K projectors for gamers and reviewed them here. If pressed to pick a winner, we’d say the Optoma UHD50X is the top option both for picture quality and gameplay. (>>> Check how much it cost on Amazon) That said, each of the projectors below has its strengths and could be the ideal projector for the right kind of user. Let’s take a deeper look at the features so you can see the difference.

Best 4K Projector for Gaming 2020 – Top 5 Options:

Epson 3800 Optoma UHD50X Optoma UHD30 Optoma GT1090HDR Optoma HZ39HDR

Resolution 1920x1080 4K w/pixel shifting 4K 4K 1920x1080 4K w/pixel shifting 1920x1080 4K w/pixel shifting
Brightness (Lumens) 3,000 ANSI 3,400 ANSI 3,400 ANSI 4,200 ANSI 4,000 ANSI
Contrast Ratio 100,000 : 1 500,000:1 500,000:1 300,000:1 300,000:1
Input Lag 16-28ms 16ms 16ms 16ms 16ms
Refresh Rate 120Hz 240Hz 240Hz 120Hz 120Hz
Throw Distance 6.2' - 28.8 4.0' - 26.6' 4.2' - 33.0' 1.3' - 10.9' 2’4” – 29’11”
Image Size 40”- 300” 34" - 302" 34" - 302" 36" - 301" 27”-300”
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Input Lag

This is the most important stat for gamers. A high input lag can make a projector functionally useless for gaming, creating a noticeable delay between your input on the controller and what you see on the screen. For casual gaming, anything under about 60ms is acceptable. Serious gamers will want an even lower lag, something around 30ms or less.

All 5 of these projectors can get an input lag as low as 16ms with the right picture settings. That said, the Epson 3800 maintains this low lag better no matter what image settings it uses, and pairs it with an impressively high frame refresh rate. This means smooth, frustration-free play every time you use it.

Lowest input lag: Optoma UHD50X

Contrast Ratio

The contrast ratio is a measure of how much difference there is between the light and dark areas of the screen. It’s the most important picture stat for gamers because it determines how much detail you’ll see in shadowed areas of the picture.

Optoma projectors that use their Dynamic Black technology are the strongest in this regard. The rich black levels you get from these projectors match the brighter screen areas in detail and clarity, helping you catch every clue in RPGs and every enemy in first-person shooters regardless of whether it’s day or night in-game.

Best contrast ratio: Optoma UHD50X or Optoma UHD30

Brightness

In a home theater, you have the option of watching with the lights off and can get away with a projector brightness as low as 1,500 lumens. While some people don’t mind gaming in the dark, though, most prefer to keep a few lights on. This means you’ll need a brighter lamp, especially if you want to play during the daytime in a room with lots of windows.

For the average light levels indoors during the day, you’ll want a projector that produces at least 3,000 lumens. Those who want to take the projector outside or have especially bright spaces should kick this up to 3,500-4,000 lumens. Keep in mind the brightness is adjustable on all these projectors. You can dial it down if it’s too bright, so your best bet is to err on the side of a brighter lamp if you think you’ll need it.

Brightest lamp: Optoma GT1090HDR

Resolution

All of these projectors are considered “4K” by some metric, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing all the time. In this case, there are three categories represented: 4K input, pixel shifting, and native true 4K.Of these 3, native true 4K resolution will be the sharpest, with over 8 million pixels available on the screen. Pixel-shifted 4K will be about half that, putting it roughly halfway between full HD and 4K in terms of detail and clarity. Projectors with 4K input accept and play 4K content but won’t be as detailed as a true 4K projector.

Sharpest resolution: Optoma UHD50X or Optoma UHD30

Full Reviews

Epson Home Cinema 3800

epson home cinema 3800When you look at the price of the Epson 3800 your first thought might be that it’s too good to be true. The truth is, it really is an incredible value, though there’s also a small catch. The Epson 3800 achieves 4K resolution through pixel shifting. The result is a picture that’s sharper than 1080p but not quite as detailed as true 4K.

That said, the picture quality on the Epson 3800 is still incredible. It has a high contrast ratio for rich detail in dark screen areas, along with full 10-bit HDR support so content is accurate and colors are vibrant. You don’t have to dial back on the picture quality to get a low lag, either. Even when you’re using 4K resolution, the input lag stays under the 30ms benchmark.

When it comes to installation and set-up, the Epson 3800 isn’t the most versatile option on the list but it’s still very user friendly. A 3,000-lumen lamp is bright enough for lights-on gaming in most rooms and it does well in ceiling-mounted set-ups. One thing to keep in mind is that the fan can get rather loud, especially at higher brightness and quality settings. This means you’ll definitely want to use external speakers even for solo play.

Pros

  • Real time video processing for an incredibly smooth picture
  • Lag stays low even at high-quality video settings
  • High contrast ratio and color accuracy
  • 3-chip design eliminates rainbow effect
  • Lamp is bright enough for lights-on play

Cons

  • Not as detailed as true 4K
  • Fan gets loud at higher settings

 Optoma UHD50X

Here’s the first of many options we’ll look at from Optoma. Optoma is a leader in the projector market for a reason. Their projectors are reliable and durable, and represent a great value for the specifications they offer. In the case of the Optoma UHD50X, it’s arguably the best 4K projector for gaming period, and certainly one of the strongest contenders in the under-$2,000 price point.

The Optoma UHD50X has a true native 4K resolution, with 8.3 million on-screen pixels. You can game in either 1080p or 4K and the input lag will be unnoticeable regardless. Along with this, it offers a 240Hz processing speed for unmatched on-screen smoothness. We also love the use of Dynamic Black contrast technology for gaming. Dark areas and shadows have the same depth and clarity as bright, colorful areas of the screen, allowing you to get immersed in your game with no annoyances.

We also appreciate how easy it is to get started with the Optoma UHD50X, even if you’ve never used a projector before. It has robust alignment and adjustment options, including an optical zoom and vertical lens shift as well as 40° keystone correction. The flexibility of the installation means it will work in all but the smallest spaces, despite the comparatively high throw distance.

Pros

  • True native 4K resolution
  • 8-segment color wheel with UltraDetail technology
  • Excellent contrast thanks to Dynamic Black technology
  • Enhanced Gaming Mode gives you 16ms response time (25ms in 4K)
  • User-friendly and easy to install
  • Includes lens shift, vertical keystone correction, and 1.3x zoom

Cons

  • Fairly long throw distance
  • Some users report seeing rainbow effect or lines on screen

Optoma UHD30

Optoma UHD30 projector for sports barThe Optoma UHD30 was designed with gamers in mind. It has both the low input lag and the high frame rate you want for gaming. Its fast 240Hz processor eliminates blurring and choppiness, and it’s one of the most responsive 4K projectors on the market. The Enhanced Gaming Mode enhances the on-screen contrast, boosting the clarity in shadowy areas of the screen so you’ll never miss an enemy (or the loot they drop) because of the picture.

You don’t have to sacrifice picture quality for this fast response, either. The lag stays low even at 4K resolution. The combination of a bright lamp, UltraDetail technology, and an 8-segment color wheel provide a hyper-realistic image that doesn’t blur or distort at larger screen sizes.

One thing to note is that the speakers on this model are weak, even by projector standards. When the fan is on full blast it can be hard to hear what’s going on unless you use external speakers. That minor quibble aside, it has everything we want out of a gaming projector, and is especially well-suited to ceiling-mounted installations.

Pros

  • High frame rate for smooth, blur-free performance
  • Dynamic Black contrast technology
  • Native 4K resolution with HDR10 and HLG support
  • 8-segment color wheel gives richer, more vibrant color gamut
  • Fast response time at all screen resolutions
  • 40° vertical keystone correction for easy ceiling mounting

Cons

  • Some users report lines on the screen
  • Built-in speakers are low quality

Optoma GT1090HDR

Optoma GT1090HDR Outdoor movie projectorLet’s be up-front about one thing here: the Optoma GT1090HDR does not have a native 4K resolution. It does, however, accept 4K content, meaning it’s still suitable for playing 4K games. We included it on this list because it has two things you won’t find on any other gaming projector in the mid-range prince point: a short throw distance and an ultra-bright lamp.

Even without 4K resolution, the picture quality on the GT1090HDR is fantastic. It uses both HLG and HDR10 color technology and the contrast ratio is impressively high, as well. The DuraCore laser light source will put out up to 30,000 hours of illumination with no maintenance, and is bright enough you can use it in well-lit rooms without a hassle.

All-told, the Optoma GT1090HDR is the most flexible gaming projector on the list from an installation perspective. It’s easy to set up, too, with image alignment options like 4-corner correction and a 1.3x zoom that take guesswork and frustration out of the equation.

Pros

  • Content has great definition without any compression
  • Bright, vibrant colors
  • Short throw increases set-up flexibility
  • Automatic keystone and four-corner correction make installation easy
  • Capable of competing with daytime natural light
  • Durable lamp with high dust resistance

Cons

  • No native 4K resolution
  • Some users report rainbow effect issues

Optoma HZ39HDR

Optoma HZ39HDR projectorIf you want the most affordable gaming projector that supports 4K content, the Optoma HZ39HDR is your answer. Like the GT1090HDR above, its native resolution is full HD, not 4K. That said, it still does justice to 4K content and is an excellent value at the price.

The Optoma HZ39HDR is perfect for ceiling-mounted set-ups. It has a good range of vertical keystone correction, along with a 1.3x optical zoom and 2x digital zoom for fine-tuning the picture. While it is susceptible to distortion issues at the edges in certain set-ups, for most users it’s easy to get it perfectly aligned to your screen.

We also love how versatile this projector is. The HDR10 color support and 3D compatibility make it as good an option for home theater applications as it is for gaming. It also has more versatile connection options than many projectors, including VGA and USB inputs as well as HDMI. That makes it our top choice for media rooms, living rooms, and anyone who wants high performance on a budget. Click here for more detailed review of this projector.

Pros

  • Bright enough for lights-on play
  • Maintenance-free light source with high dust resistance
  • High contrast ratio
  • Wide and 30° keystone correction
  • Blu-ray 3D support
  • Wide range of connection options

Cons

  • Resolution isn’t as high as native 4K models
  • Some users report blurring and distortion at edges of picture

So What’s the Best 4K Projector for Gaming?

Any of the 5 projectors above will give you a fantastic gaming experience. Choosing between them really comes down to figuring out what you need for your space. Consider the size and ambient lighting in your gaming room. A small room will call for a short throw ratio, while a bright lamp will help the most in a room with lots of natural light. If pressed to pick a winner, we’d say the Optoma UHD50X is the top option both for picture quality and gameplay. (>>> Check how much it cost on Amazon)

Consider how you’ll be using the projector, too. Things like true 4K resolution and 3D compatibility are arguably more important for mixed-use applications where you’ll also be using it to watch movies. If it’s just for gaming, the 4K input option on the Optoma HZ39HDR and GT1090HDR will serve you fine, since the majority of games aren’t available in 4K yet anyway.

Whichever way you go, we hope these reviews have helped you find your ideal 4K gaming projector!

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