The allure of Ultra High Definition (UHD) lies in its ability to render an incredibly sharp and lifelike image. As technology progresses, this superior picture quality is now more attainable than ever. We got our hands on several 4K projectors, testing each one thoroughly, to answer this question: What is the best 4K projector under $2000?
Our Top Contender: The Remarkable Optoma UHD50X
During our extensive testing, the Optoma UHD50X consistently impressed, demonstrating superior performance across all categories (>>> Buy Now with One-Click on Amazon!). Yet, as we found out, choosing the best projector isn’t a one-size-fits-all decision—it hinges on how and where you intend to use it. Let’s discuss the key elements we focused on during our evaluations.
Best 4K Projector Under 2000: Unveiling Our Top Picks for 2023
After our rigorous hands-on testing, these emerged as our top contenders for the best 4K projector under $2000:
|BenQ HT3550i||BenQ TK700STi||Epson Cinema 3800 Pro||Optoma UHD50X||BenQ TK850i||Optoma UHD38|
|Resolution||3840x2160||3840x2160||1920x1080 4K w/pixel shifting||3840x2160||3840x2160||3840x2160|
|Brightness||2,000 ANSI||3,000 ANSI||3,000 ANSI||3,400 ANSI||3,000 ANSI||4,000 ANSI|
|Input Lag in 4K||51ms||16ms||29ms||25.8ms||83.34||16.7ms|
|Throw distance||3.2' - 16.4'||2.4' - 19.6'||6.2' - 28.8'||4.0' - 26.6'||3.2' - 24.6'||4.0' - 32.7'|
|Screen size||30" - 200"||30" - 300"||40" - 300"||34" - 302"||30" - 300"||33" - 300"|
|Price||Check on Amazon||ProjectorScreen.com||ProjectorScreen.com||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||ProjectorScreen.com|
Determining Factor: Image Quality and Brightness
We found that natural light can be challenging for projected images. The more ambient light in your environment, the harder it is for the projector’s beam to compete.
We tested projectors emitting a brightness of 2,000- 2,500 lumens in a completely dark home theater and observed no loss of picture quality. However, in spaces with ambient light, these projectors struggled to provide a crisp image.
In our evaluations, projectors with a brightness range of 3,00-3,500 lumens maintained image quality even with regular indoor lighting. For spaces flooded with natural daylight, we recommend projectors that produce at least 3,800-4,000 lumens.
After our tests, the Optoma UHD38 stood out as the brightest projector under $2,000.
Top Performer: Brightest Projector Under $2,000: Optoma UHD38
Key Consideration: Installation Flexibility
During installation, we found that projectors require more planning and space than TVs. The best projectors in our testing, such as the BenQ TK700STi, provided features that made alignment and installation easier without affecting the picture quality.
Throw distance, which measures the space needed between the lens and the screen to achieve a specific image size, was a critical factor. Shorter throw distances, like those on the BenQ TK700STi and HT3550i, proved more flexible for installation.
Based on our hands-on testing, the BenQ TK700STi is our pick for the most flexible projector under $2,000.
Top Choice: Most Flexible Projector Under $2,000: BenQ TK700STi
Feature to Note: Gaming Suitability
While testing gaming features, we focused on two specifications: input lag and frame refresh rate. Projectors with input lag above 30ms showed noticeable delays during fast-paced gaming, while those with 20ms or lower lag were ideal for serious gamers.
We also observed that a frame refresh rate of 60Hz or higher, along with a minimum of 60fps (frames per second), prevents on-screen choppiness or compression artifacts. The BenQ TK700STi, Optoma UHD50x, and the UHD38 demonstrated impressive low lag of 16 ms in 4K. Click here if you want to check the best 4K projectors for gaming
After comprehensive testing, the BenQ TK700STi emerged as the best projector for gaming under $2,000.
Top Pick: Best Projector for Gaming Under $2,000: BenQ TK700STi
Bonus Features: Streaming and Voice Control
All BenQ projectors we reviewed featured an Android OS streaming interface, allowing access to countless apps from the Google Play store. Additionally, the BenQ HT3550i and TK850i offered hands-free control, supporting both Google Assistant and Alexa voice search.
Based on our evaluations, the best projectors under $2000 offering streaming and voice control are the BenQ HT3550i and the BenQ TK850i.
BenQ HT3550i 4K Smart Home Theater
- Sharp, detailed image with true 4K resolution
- Cinematic color (95% of DCI-P3 color space)
- Built-in Android TV system for direct streaming
- Supports screen mirroring through AirPlay and Chromecast
- Fast, flexible installation
- Comparatively low lamp brightness
- Limited commands through voice control
The picture quality of the BenQ HT3550i is particularly impressive at this low price point. Its true 4K resolution is backed by a high native contrast and a 6-segment color wheel with HDR-PRO tone mapping.
All of this means a crisp, detailed image with cinema-quality color that’s both vibrant and accurate to the source material.
The BenQ HT3550i is a smart projector, too. The built-in Android interface is linked to the Google Play store, giving you access to more than 5,000 apps for watching movies, playing games, or listening to music.
It also supports Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice control systems, although their use is limited to voice searches and doesn’t have the playback controls you’d need for full smart home integration.
Something else we love about the BenQ HT3550i: it’s easy to set up and use. It’s ready to go right out of the box and the colors are calibrated at the factory so you don’t have to waste time fiddling with settings before you start watching.
You’ll need about 8-9 feet for a 100” screen, less space than many standard-throw projectors, and the inclusion of adjustment options like lens shift and keystone correction gives you even more flexibility during installation.
BenQ TK700STi 4K HDR Gaming Projector
- True 4K resolution
- Bright enough lamp for lights-on viewing
- Low lag and display presets for gamers
- Short throw distance
- Wireless casting through AirPlay and Chromecast
- Android streaming interface with Google voice search
- Limited voice control and smart home integration features
- Relatively short lamp lifespan
The BenQ TK700STi is arguably the best 4K projector out there for gamers. It’s remarkably responsive, for one thing, with an input lag as low as 4.2ms in full HD.
That only goes up to about 16-17ms when you’re gaming in 4K, still plenty fast enough to keep your competitive edge.
Gamers will also love the Game Mode presets on the BenQ TK700STi. Separate presets for first-person shooters, RPGs, and sports games optimize the contrast and color so you can see every detail, even in dark areas of the playing field.
The picture quality is just as high when you’re watching shows and movies, with sharp details and accurate colors, covering about 96% of the Rec.709 spectrum.
Another strength of the BenQ TK700STi is its easy set-up. It works well in small spaces, needing only about 6-7 feet to produce a 100” screen. The corner fit correction and 2D keystone correction give it nice placement flexibility, too, keeping the image square even when the projector’s at an angle.
Epson Home Cinema 3800 3-Chip Projector
- 3 chip projector eliminates rainbow effect and other color issues
- 4K picture through pixel-shifting
- 12-bit digital processing creates smooth transitions
- Low input lag with high frame rate
- Bright enough for most uses
- Loud fan can overwhelm the built-in sound
The approach to 4K on the Epson Home Cinema 3800 is different than that used by other manufacturers above. The native resolution on this projector is HD (1080p).
It then uses a processing system known as pixel shifting to create the Ultra HD resolution.
This is paired with a 3LCD chip technology that provides accurate HDR10 color without the image issues that can be caused by color wheels.
The Epson 3800 is another option that’s great for gamers. It uses 12-bit digital video processing and has a frame rate of 60 per second to keep your game smooth. The input lag is low, too, down to 16.7ms with the right settings.
This is a heftier projector and isn’t as portable as some of the other options, though it does have a wide enough range of screen sizes to conceivably use outdoors.
With a brightness of 3,000 lumens, it’s not ideal for bright rooms but can cope with moderate levels of ambient light.
The only issue of the Epson 3800 is with the sound. Its fan is a bit loud on higher performance levels and can easily overwhelm the 10-watt speakers. Plan to use an external sound source with this projector. Click here for our full review of Epson 3800
Optoma UHD50X 4K Gaming Projector
- Native 4K resolution with support for HLG and HDR10
- No motion blur thanks to high processing speed
- Excellent color and contrast
- Bright lamp works in any light level
- Responsive enough for fast-paced gaming
- Wide zoom, lens shift, and keystone correction
- No smart features or direct streaming
- Relatively long throw distance
The Optoma UHD50X just might be the most versatile projector under $2,000. This starts with its powerful 3,400 lumen lamp, which is bright enough to use in even well-lit rooms without a worry.
Its wide connectivity includes less-common inputs like VGA along with HDMI and USB and it has all the image adjustment features you need, including a vertical lens shift and wide 1.3x zoom. All of that means it’s easy to set up in any home.
Another thing that makes the Optoma UHD50X so versatile is its gaming performance.
The input lag measures as low as 16ms in Enhanced Gaming Mode, and only goes up to about 25ms when you switch to 4K resolution.
Its 240Hz refresh rate gives you the same responsive performance on-screen, eliminating issues like frame tearing and motion blur that can interrupt your playing sessions.
From a picture quality standpoint, the Optoma UHD50X has the performance home theater enthusiasts are looking for.
This includes true 4K resolution with a high dynamic contrast ratio for crisp details and rich black levels.
For the color, it uses an 8-segment color wheel with UltraDetail enhancement. This impressive performance across content types makes it an ideal choice for multi-use media spaces.
BenQ TK850i True 4K Projector
- High resolution and contrast
- Dedicated sport modes optimize picture
- Built-in Android TV interface
- Compatible with Chromecast and AirPlay
- Supports Google and Amazon voice searches
- Voice control is limited to searches
- Not a great choice for gaming
Here’s another great option if you want a smart projector. The BenQ TK850i uses the same Android TV interface as the TK3550i above, letting users stream music and videos directly through the projector or mirror content from another device through Chromecast or AirPlay.
It also has the same support for Alexa and Google Assistant voice searches, though with the same limitations—it’s lacking the playback controls that smart home users look for.
The BenQ TK850i is a great choice for both dedicated home theaters and more versatile spaces like living rooms.
It’s particularly impressive for watching sports, with great detail even for fast-paced sports like hockey and dedicated viewing modes that optimize the picture settings for indoor or outdoor sports.
While the color gamut is narrower than other projectors on the list, the Enhanced HDR Tone Mapping makes up for this, and we found the picture both vibrant and accurate.
As to the installation, the BenQ TK850i is relatively flexible. Its 3,000-lumen lamp is paired with Dynamic Iris technology, maximizing the output and limiting the impact of ambient light on the picture.
The 10% vertical lens shift and vertical keystone correction make it fairly easy to install in almost any space. For our more-indepth review of BenQ TK850i click here
Optoma UHD38 True 4K UHD Gaming Projector
- Sharp, high-contrast true 4K image
- Cinematic color with 8-segment color wheel
- Low lag for gamers
- Super-bright lamp works in any light environment
- Good range of wired inputs
- No streaming or voice control
- Limited image alignment and adjustment options
The lamp on the Optoma UHD38 puts out up to 4,000 lumens, and this makes it an ideal choice for bright spaces. It can even deal with some natural daylight, eliminating the need for black out curtains in many rooms.
This also makes it a great choice for backyard movies and other outdoor uses, especially since its relatively compact and weighs less than 10 pounds.
The Optoma UHD38 is also a very versatile projector. Its low input lag makes it just as suitable for gaming as it is for home theaters, and it has the connectivity to support multi-use entertainment set-ups, with a VGA input for PC gamers along with dual HDMI inputs.
Keep in mind there’s no built-in streaming interface or voice control, so you’ll need to use a wired connection for content sources or network control.
In terms of your space, you’ll need a fairly large room for the Optoma UHD38 (around 11-12 feet for a 100” screen).
The alignment features are also relatively limited, and while it does have 2D keystone correction the zoom is narrow and there’s no lens shift or rotation adjustment.
This can make it tricky to install in some spaces, though the overall installation process is straightforward.
Best 4K Projector Under 2000: Our Final Verdict
After our rigorous hands-on reviews and testing, the Optoma UHD50X emerged as the best all-around choice for a living room or home theater (>>> Add to Your Amazon Cart Now!). It delivers high picture quality, offers easy installation, and provides sufficient responsiveness for most gamers.
However, for dedicated gamers, the BenQ TK700STi stood out for its exceptional responsiveness and gaming-optimized image quality. The Optoma UHD38 shone in bright spaces, and the BenQ HT3550i and TK850i impressed us with their voice search capabilities.
We hope that our hands-on reviews and detailed breakdown help you understand the major differences among these best projectors under $2000. They all provide affordable pathways to UHD quality at home. Regardless of your specific home theater projector needs, one of these superb options is sure to meet your requirements!