Like all the other electronic devices, projectors also come with a huge range of specifications. If you are not among the tech-savvy folks, you are not expected to know even the meaning of many words. In these conditions choosing the best projector under 400 gets real tough.
But here in this article, we have pointed out all of the features you need to care for when making the purchase and brought out our seven picks that will give you the optimum value for the budget.
- 1 Our Top 7 Picks For The Best Projector Under 400
- 1.1 Epson VS350 XGA 3300 lumens Projector
- 1.2 ViewSonic PA503W 3600 Lumens HDMI Projector
- 1.3 Nebula Capsule Smart Mini Projector
- 1.4 Optoma S341 3500 Lumens 3D DLP Projector
- 1.5 Acer H5382BD 720P 3D Home Theater Projector
- 1.6 Epson Home Cinema 660 3,300 HDMI 3LCD Projector
- 1.7 Epson EX3260 SVGA 3,300 lumens Projector
- 1.8 How To Choose The Best One?
- 1.9 FAQs
- 1.10 Conclusion
- 1.11 Top-Rated Projectors
Our Top 7 Picks For The Best Projector Under 400
There are a bewildering amount of options in the market. But a random or unstudied pick can result in a wasted 400 dollars. So, shed the load off your shoulders and take a peak on our picks of the projectors that we thought were optimum for the price.
Epson VS350 XGA 3300 lumens Projector
The Epson VS350 is a 786432p 3LCD projector. This projector is a very nice and ideal sized device. You can use it both indoors and outdoors. This 5.5-pound projector has a dimension of 11.9″ x 9.3″ x 3.2″.
On the back, you will find all kinds of ports. You can hook up your DVD player, Apple TV, PC and almost anything you can think of. It has 2 HDMI ports while most of the other projectors only have one.
It is 3300 lumens so that you can use it in a well-lit room. Epson would be perfect for office presentation as it has an XGA resolution (1024 x 768). The projector also has a good lamp life and comes with a VGA cable, power cable and a remote.
Buttons on the top of the device can be used to get to the menu. There is also a quick access keystone correction button so you can make sure your image is going to align properly with your wall or the screen.
The images can scale up to 300 inches. So, it dwarfs anything you put in front of it. These projectors can also display 3D contents, but you have to get the glasses from somewhere else. There is also a built-in speaker in the projector. It is loud enough for you to hear while 3 or 4 people are talking in the room.
- Good lumen range
- A wide range of input options
- Excellent for text-heavy presentation
- 3x higher color brightness and another 3x wider color gamut
- Recognizes only the flash drives of 2 GB or less
ViewSonic PA503W 3600 Lumens HDMI Projector
This is an excellent gadget for both personal and professional use. It has all kinds of features you look for in a projector. This 2.2 kg projector has a quick power off feature that allows you to quickly power it off and put it in your bag without waiting for it to cool down. Its dimensions are 11.6″ x 8.6″ x 4.3″.
You can project an image scaling up to 120 inches from a distance of 15 and a half feet. With 3600 lumens and 1280×800 WXGA native resolution, the image will shine in a pretty bright room.
The device can accept input from digital high definition sources such as Blu-ray, HD satellite or HD cables. This ability comes from the HDMI inputs which also allows 3D projections. You can view 3D with ViewSonic PGD350 Shutter Glasses or any regular 3D glasses.
The VGA inputs and outputs of the projector enable it to interact with analog devices which will give you the ability to connect multiple devices displaying the same projection. It also has an analog audio input and output, and a composite video input interface.
The 1.7:1 throw ratio makes the projector manageable in big rooms. There is built in speaker in the projector. You will get a power cable, VGA cable and a remote in the box.
- Accepts full HD (1920×1080)
- SuperEco mode extends lamp life
- Minimum 16ms input latency
- 15,000-hour lamp life
- Super color technology with a 6-segment color wheel
- Defaults to 800×600 resolution
- You might need an extra speaker
Nebula Capsule Smart Mini Projector
The best thing about the Nebula Capsule is its look and feel. You can get it in two colors, red and black. It has a fantastic focus range and manual focusing wheel on the side which is very easy to use.
You can do front and rear projection with this device. On top of that, you can also hang it to the ceiling and go front or rear. These are some of the features that you don’t expect from a projector so low priced. It has one of the least amounts of latency which enables rapid response.
The colors are the place where it really got us. The warm and cool color modes look exceptionally well. It has an acceptable score of 5 in the black crush test. The projector has 100 ANSI lumen power with 854×480(16:9) resolution. More so, Nebula has already upgraded the OS to android 7.1.
The inputs are situated on the bottom of the capsule. You will have HDMI, USB, Bluetooth, WI-Fi and screen mirroring in the device. You can screw it with any tripod. It can project a 100-inch picture with great color accuracy.
You will also find a keystone correction control and a lens on the device. A remote also comes with it that also controls the cursor in the screen. It features a 5,200mAh battery which will power it for 4 hours.
- The colors are best of its class
- Just about 15oz which is about 400 grams
- Durable aluminum body
- Omni-directional sound allows 360-degree clearance
- The sound is not that great
- The little fan in it sometimes hisses annoyingly
Optoma S341 3500 Lumens 3D DLP Projector
The world famous Optoma S341 is now also making its ground in the Americas. You can get this projector in between ANSI 3200 lumens to 36000 lumens, and we are gonna talk about the optima S341 with 35000 lumens.
It has one of the best contrast ratios of 22,000:1 giving you the best SVGA experience. One of its specialties is the 3D projection from any source including Blu-ray disc players. You can also use 3D broadcasting and the latest generation game consoles.
The lamp life of the Optima is increased due to the specially designed lamp modes which save up to 70% of the power consumption of its 10,000-hour lamp life.
But it will not lag behind giving you the perfect color experience. This can portray the rec 709 color gamut. It is also able to produce saturated colors. The projector guarantees accurate color by maintaining an international HDTV standard. It also gives you the power to adjust gamma output.
Another feature that we don’t see very often is the edge mask. It removes soft and jagged edges which maintains cohesion in the images. The projector supports I/O with HDMI, VGA in and out, audio in and composite video.
Its dimensions are 9.1″ x 11.7″ x 3.8″ and it weighs 4.8 pounds. The device comes with a carrying bag and a remote.
- Quick resume feature
- Good lamp life
- Operational in 85% humidity and 3000 meters of altitude
- Wall adjustment
- Compatible with PC, Mac, or any SRGB
- You might feel the fan is loud
- The quality of the remote is not the best
Acer H5382BD 720P 3D Home Theater Projector
Make your living room a personal hall with the Acer H5382BD’s 300-inch projection which is one of the largest in the market. This device gives you 3300 ANSI lumens with its DLP technology. In our opinion, this is the best projector under 400 bucks.
The projector gives you a full HD experience with a 16:9 native aspect ratio. This will make your picture more live and happening. The compatible aspect ratio is 4:3 and the contrast ratio is 20,000:1. It also features a throw ratio from 1.54 to 1.72 (100″@11.15ft).
You will have maximum 1920×1080 resolution and a 1280×720 native resolution with this machine. You just can’t ask for better picture quality than this. It also has a digital zoom up to 2x.
The interfaces and ports it provides are 2 HDMI ports, a type-A USB port, a composite video port, a VGA input, audio input and output, and an audio line in and out port.
It has 5000 hours of lamp life which can be extended to 10,000 hours. Its single OSRAM lamp consumes 195w lamp power. The dimensions of this 5.3-pound projector are 12.4″ x 8.4″ x 3.8″. You can use it from the front, rear and from the ceiling.
The focus and zoom are manual, so you have full control. The vertical keystone can be corrected from -40° to +40°. It has minimum vertical sync of 24 Hz and minimum horizontal sync of 15 kHz.
- Wireless Projection
- Acer dynamic black
- An overwhelming amount of accessories
- Contains all the features one can ask for
- The speaker is not outstanding like other features
- No auto-focus
Epson Home Cinema 660 3,300 HDMI 3LCD Projector
This is a 3 LCD projector, and its real claim to fame is its brightness. The 3300 lumens of color brightness and equally important 3300 lumens white brightness makes it shine brightly. You will have 2050 lumen in Eco and CLO modes.
Its contrast ratio is 15,000:1 with a resolution of 800×600. There is a good native aspect ratio of 4:3. And, the audio noise is 37.0 dB in normal mode. This 5.3 pounds projector has a dimension of 11.9″ x 9.2″ x 3″.
There is a mechanical height adjustment leg so that you don’t have to engineer the height yourself. It has a USB-A and a USB-B, audio in and out, a VGA input and a composite video input.
Now, let’s discuss the life of this device. It has a lifespan of 6000 hours which can be extended up to 10,000 hours in Eco-mode. This consumption comes from the single lamp feasting on 210 watts per hour.
There is an infrared window on the front and back of the machine which lets you use it either sitting on the back or the front of the device. The maximum image size of 300″ will look good in any condition such as colored walls and well-lit rooms.
It can give you the best of it from an operating distance of 19 feet or less. This device also features 3x wider color gamut and 3x better color brightness and an auto vertical and horizontal keystone of ±30°.
- Incredibly good brightness
- Easy settings and control
- Can connect to satellite box and Blu-ray disc player
- No HD service
Epson EX3260 SVGA 3,300 lumens Projector
The EX3260 is another projector of the Epson family making it the 3rd and last projector to make it to our top 7 list. This is a 3300-lumen projector that is equal in both color and white brightness. It has an SVGA native resolution of 800×600 with a contrast ratio of 15,000:1.
This projector uses a 3LCD, 3-chip technology which is driven by Epson Poly-silicon TFT active matrix. There are 480,000 dots or pixels that the projector uses with an aspect ratio of 4:3. This machine can create 1.07 billion colors which are great for this kind of projectors.
It has an extremely good lamp life for a budget projector which is 10,000 hours in normal mode. This can be doubled in the economy mode. Lamp life depends largely on the environment, temperature, humidity, and usage.
The device also features a keystone correction. The automatic vertical keystone correction is ±30°. The easy slide horizontal correction is of course manual which can easily be adjusted ±30°.
Epson EX3260 has a digital zoom system with a 16.7mm focal length. But you can also control that manually. The zoom ratio is 1-1.35. The 5.5-pound projector has a dimension of 9.9″ x 11.9″ x 3.6″.
The projector supports HDMI and is compatible with all kinds of desktops, laptops, tablets. It also has an audio in and USB port. The soft bag that comes with it is very high quality.
- 3x better color brightness
- Color gamut is now 3x wider
- The fan is not loud
- Good built-in speaker
- No audio output
How To Choose The Best One?
Now, listen carefully. If you wanna get the juice outta this section, you need to be very attentive. There is a lot to explain with fewer words to spare. So, read every detail. And also remember, we are talking about projectors under 400 dollars here, not more.
So, here is what you need to know when buying a projector within that given budget.
This simply refers to the measurement of the brightness of a projector. Always keep in mind that too much brightness is not good. Anything between 3200 and 3600 should be good for you. But if you are confused, go for the industry standard 3300.
If you’re looking for HD, then go straight to 1920×1080. But a resolution of 800×600 or better will do well in almost any condition.
It is the ratio of height and width of the image. If the ratio is 4:3, most probably 4 is the length, and 3 is the width of the image. There are only three aspect ratios popular in the market. They are 4:3, 16:10, and 16:9. Here the bigger, the better.
This is the ratio of the brightest and the darkest area of the projection. Many people don’t give enough care to this important factor, but this can completely change the way you experience your image. Go for anything between 15000:1 to 2300:1 and you should be good.
Keystoning refers to correction of the image size and angles to make it the correct rectangle you want for your show. Its horizontal and vertical rage should at least be ±30°.
If you are looking for a projector that you need to carry with you then go no more than 6 pounds. But if you don’t need portability, weight does not matter.
Input and Connectivity
You want to maximize the number of input options you have. It is always the more, the merrier. But the minimum is an HDMI, USB type-A, audio input, a VGA input.
If the quality of the built-in speaker is not good, the audio output becomes essential. Composite video interface and audio lines make the device superior.
If you have worked for your buck then I believe this is a crucial factor for you. There are two kinds of measurement for this. One in normal mode and other is an economy mode.
The economy depends on a lot of factors, so we will only focus on normal mode which should not be less than 10,000 hours. Maximum eco-mode should extend that to at least 50%. The Acer H5382BD in our list compensates its low lamp life with the overwhelming amount of other features.
Nowadays, there are three major systems available in the market — the DLP, LCD, and LED.
DLP is our favorite but if you are a victim of the rainbow effect then you should never buy the DLP system. The LCD is cheap and has a better color saturation but requires constant maintenance. LED has the longest lifespan but less on brightness than its contemporaries.
You need to find out if you can control the projector from the rear and front with your remote. There should be two infrared windows on the front and the back. The projector should also be able to mount on your ceiling.
The projector should at least be compatible with your Windows PC, MAC, and tablet. It should also be able to connect to your mobile phone.
When it comes to videos, the device should be compatible with EDTV, HDTV, and SDTV. Better projectors can also maintain NTSC, PAL, and SECAM.
Other than weight and ceiling mount ability there are some other factors that affect the experience of your projector.
There is a level of humidity that a projector can handle. It should be anywhere from 60% to 80%, better if more. The noise of the cooling fan can get very annoying when using a projector. It should not be more than 40db.
The temperature of the device should also not go beyond 50° Celsius. Also, find out if the focus and zoom are manual or auto.
The image should be at least 100 inches. But you might not want to take one which is more than 300 inches. A larger image can lead to bad picture quality. So you should stay in that range.
Q: If I can see the rainbow effect what type of projectors should I choose?
A: If you are one of those rare people then you should skip the DLP technology and look for something like 3LCD or LED. This will resolve your problem.
Q: Which features are more preferable when shopping for a portable projector?
A: Look for a lightweight and small projector with an instant shut down feature. Along with that, the accessories like the power cable and remote should also be small. Best if it comes with a carrying bag.
Q: Why is humidity a fact in choosing a projector?
A: All electronics are affected by this small mist in the air and so is the projector. It affects the lifespan of the device. Sometimes, you also have to work in outdoors. So if you want to reduce the total cost of ownership, you need to give importance to the level of humidity the projector can take.
Q: Do I need to buy additional speakers?
A: You should never expect a lot from the built-in speaker of your projector. No matter how good they are, they will never be as good as a regular speaker. So I suggest you buy one. But before doing so, check if your projector has an audio output interface.
Q: How effective is the eco-modes?
A: They are not bad. They can reduce consumption by up to 50%. But, it greatly reduces the picture quality. So, our suggestion is to skip that and enjoy the full view.
I will emphasize the fact that it is you who is going to use the device. So, you need to figure out what to sacrifice for what. And, no doubt, the guide in the article will help you to choose the best projector under 400 dollars. So hopefully, you will find your match.
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