Having a golf simulator in your home or office can be a great way to relax and work on your shot when you can’t make it out to a green. With the array of high-tech projectors available today, you can create a massive picture that makes it feel more like you’re playing for real. The best projector for golf simulator use has similar requirements to other gaming applications, namely a high-quality image and a quick response.
We’ve picked out five of our favorite options and reviewed them below to give you an idea of what options are out there. Projectors for gaming aren’t exactly cheap, but you don’t have to spend a fortune, either. There’s something on the list for every budget and environment. Read on below to find the one that’s right for you.
Best Projectors For Golf Simulators 2019
|Optoma GT1080Darbee||BenQ HT2150ST||Optoma GT1080||ViewSonic PX800HD||ViewSonic PJD5553LWS|
|Contrast Ratio||28,000 : 1||15,000 : 1||25,000 : 1||100,000 : 1||20,000 : 1|
|Connectivity||USB, Hdmi||USB, Hdmi||USB, Hdmi||USB, Hdmi||USB, Hdmi|
|Lamp life (Hours)||8000||7000||6500||6000||10,000|
|Built in Speakers||2 x 10W||2 x 10W||10W||10W||2W|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
Optoma GT1080Darbee Short Throw Gaming Projector
When it comes to short-throw gaming projectors (>>> Check projectors & TVs gaming experience comparison), the Optoma Darbee has pretty much become the industry standard because it checks off all the boxes of a great gaming projector. In terms of price, it’s in a comfortable mid-range—you can find gaming projectors cheaper (and can certainly pay more if you want to), but the Darbee will give you a quality piece of equipment that is, in our mind, the top pick for golf simulators and other similar gaming applications.
The most impressive thing about this projector is the DarbeeVision processor that’s inside. This gives you an incredible amount of detail without slowing down your game or causing any kind of lag. It even has a designated game mode, which can be great for something like a golf simulator, making it feel even more like you’re playing in real life. Adding to this is the fact that the Darbee supports all currently standard formats of 3D, whether that’s in a movie or in your game. When you’re playing on this projector, you’ll feel like you’re really on the green.
- DarbeeVision processor gives you better depth and texture
- Gaming Mode gives you a super-fast response
- Supports all 3D format including those from gaming consoles
- 28,000:1 contrast ratio means deep, rich dark tones
- sRGB colors for a bright, vibrant image
- Low-maintenance with a long-lasting bulb
- Some users report graininess at larger sizes
The lamp that comes installed on this projector isn’t just bright (up to 3,000 lumens), it’s also efficient. The energy-saving settings on the Darbee can extend your lamp life to as much as 8,000 hours. This makes it a very cost-effective option in the long term, both in how much energy it uses and because you won’t have to replace the bulb as often. Taking all these factors together is what makes the Darbee our top choice.
BenQ HT2150ST 1080p Home Theater Projector Short Throw
Here’s a similar option from the brand BenQ, coming in at a comparable price point and offering similar features to the model above. Also like the model above, this one is designed specifically for gaming, though it can be used just as well for other home theater applications. The quality of the image is really where this one excels. Giving you one of the best contrast ratios on the market so you can use your projector in any light level.
When a projector says it’s designed for gaming that usually means it has a relatively low lag time. That’s at least the case with this BenQ projector, which has a specific gaming mode designed to provide an immersive, smooth play experience. The different modes on this projector also give you different color profiles so your display will be ideal for your purpose. The cinematic color option is perfect for movies, for example, and there’s a different color profile for your games. Whichever mode you’re in, the advanced color wheel system guarantees the accuracy of the hues.
Being able to see details clearly is another thing that’s important when you’re playing a game like a golf simulator, and this projector provides you with that benefit, as well. The lamp brightness of 2,200 lumens means you don’t have to play in the dark. Even with ambient background light, you’ll be able to track your shots on the screen, and the high resolution ensures it’ll never be fuzzy.
- High brightness and contrast ratio gives you a sharp image
- Short throw projection of up to 100”
- Gaming mode with reduced lag for a smooth playing experience
- Different color modes tailor the screen for different uses
- Sharp, crisp image with great details in all modes and screen sizes
- Calibrating the correct screen size can be tricky for some users
- Contrast ratio isn’t as high as with the Optoma projectors
Optoma GT1080 3D DLP Short Throw Gaming Projector
Here is another option from Optoma that’s similar to the Darbee above and very comparable in price, but different in some key ways that can make it more appealing for some users. “Short throw” in this case means it will give you a screen that’s 111 inches at 4 feet away, and over 150” at 6 feet away—the largest screen size on this list and one of the largest on the current market. If the biggest possible screen is your main consideration, this is the projector for you.
The GT1080 is also capable of 3D images to give you a truly immersive playing experience. Accurate colors at 2,800 lumens of brightness, with a 25,000:1 color ratio for true blacks, makes this one of the most realistic projectors you can get your hands on. The lamp is bright enough to maintain this high image quality outside of a home theater setting.
- Largest potential screen size of any option on this list
- Capable of playing 3D games
- High image quality at all screen sizes
- Bright enough for use in a variety of spaces
- Fully-connected for use with any kind of gaming equipment
- Fan is on the louder side
- Keystone correction could use some improvement
When it comes to usability, the GT1080 scores high, too. It has fully modern and digital connectivity options, including two HDMI ports and an array of other options. The quick start guide is enough to help you set it up right. The only potential pitfall to be aware of is that you may need to spend some time fiddling with it to get the image to look the way you want it to because the onboard keystone correction and distance calculation can be a bit off. Other than this minor quibble, we found this to be a fantastic option.
ViewSonic PX800HD 1080p
Our first ViewSonic entry on this list is the PX800HD. It’s from the upper end of their price range, and it is on the pricier side as home theater projectors go. That being said, if you can afford it, it’s well worth the extra money—especially if you have a relatively small space and want the option of an ultra short throw. The PX800HD can be placed within just a few inches of the screen and still give you the same clear picture. You can get an image of up to 150 inches, at a resolution of 1080p.
A quick visual response is important for games like golf simulators, and that’s one of our favorite things about this projector. It has an extremely low input latency of only 16ms, which functionally translates to no visual delay. The contrast and color are also important for a truly immersive playing experience, and you’ll be amazed at how realistic the image from this projector is. Once you see the brilliant image you can get from this projector, you’ll want to use it for all of your home theater applications.
- Ultra-short throw with a minimum distance of just a few inches from the screen
- Screen size of up to 150 inches
- Lamp produces up to 2,000 lumens for a clearer picture in varying light conditions
- Smooth on-screen response is ideal for gaming
- Realistic colors thanks to Rec. 709 color accuracy
- Most expensive option on the list
ViewSonic PJD5553LWS HDMI Short Throw Projector
On the other end of the ViewSonic product line is this WXGA projector, which gives you the same advanced visual technology but for a much lower price—the most affordable of the projectors on this list, in fact, at just over $500 (>>> Check our list of top projectors under $500) . Like the PX800HD above, this is a versatile option that’s just as useful for home theater and gaming applications as it is for schools and businesses, providing arguably the best value of any of the projectors reviewed here.
The main difference you’ll notice comparing this model with the one above is the throw length. It does not have the short throw option that you’ll see in the models above, meaning you’ll need to place the projector at least a few feet from the screen. While you’ll need more space to use it, though, the image it projects is still of a very high quality. It can reach an image size of up to 120 inches, plenty large for a golf simulator. The lamp is not only bright, with a sharp image, but also is designed for longevity. When you put the projector in Dynamic Eco Mode, you can get up to 10,000 hours of life out of a single lamp.
- Excellent value for the price
- Easy to set up and use
- Multiple connection options make it very flexible
- Brightness of up to 3,200 lumens makes it more useful for brighter spaces
- Eco Mode gives you a lamp life of up to 10,000 hours
- Doesn’t have the ultra-short throw option of the model above
- Calibration of the software and image can be tricky
Aside from the value, the best thing about this projector in our opinion is how easy it is to use. The set-up is basically just “plug and play”, and it’s compatible with a lot of different media sources, with both HDMI and VGA inputs at your disposal. Some people do find calibrating the display and controls can be a bit tricky, but for the most part, this is a great projector for those inexperienced with the technology.
How to choose the best projector
A quick response is honestly the most important quality to look for in a projector for a golf simulator, in our opinion. Even though it’s not a fast-paced multi-player game, it can still be very frustrating if what you see on the screen doesn’t coincide with what you’re doing.
Beyond that, it all comes down to the quality of the image that you see. Remember that this isn’t only a factor of the projector itself. It’s also about how the projector works within your space. Even standard indoor lighting can make it hard to see some dimmer projected images, so if you want to be able to play with your lights on, make sure you get a projector whose lumens are on the high side.
We think all five of the options above can qualify as the best projector for golf simulator use for one user or another. We hope one of them ends up being the perfect one for you!
REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING
- Golfdigest on Golf Simulators
- “How Golf Simulators Work” by howstuffworks.com
- Golfweek on Benefits of Golf Simulators