The best 4K projector matches the march of progress in visual fidelity: 4K is no longer a luxury for the discerning home cinephile. It has truly replaced HD as the standard for image quality and the best 4K projectors will get you there instantly - and with a bang.
The advent of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X in late 2020 was, as console launches tend to be, somewhat of a turning point in resolution, framerates, and visual clarity. Just as Playstation 3 helped BluRay become the standard, 4K devices have now reached even more homes and we really are in the era of 4K. And the best projectors for gaming are no exception.
As progress goes on, the price of tech lowers and this is the same when it comes to those vying for the title of best 4K projector. Just a few years ago the best 4K projectors were financially out of reach for almost all home cinema lovers. And while you’re still going to need four figures to get most of the contenders for best 4K projector into your home, there are now great options at the lower end of this market - as well as the truly exceptional and 'genuine' best 4K projectors at or above the several thousand dollar or pound mark. Those at the lower end will still give the best gaming TVs a run for their money offering 4K-quality images, but are not native 4K, utilising pixel-shifting technology to give ultra-HD quality images.
So if you’re looking to take your home cinema system to the next level, or looking to replace your TV with a glorious and enormous picture from one of the best projectors, then these are a handful of your best bets, covering a range of options from all the established names and to suit a range of budgets. But remember, if you can’t stretch to 4K prices, there are still quality projectors among the best portable projectors, and the best projectors for PS5 and Xbox Series X to browse which might dial it down to HD to reduce the cost, for example.
And it's worth noting now that we're into winter sales season that both the Black Friday projector deals and the dedicated Black Friday 4K projector deals that are just around the corner are going to be great opportunities to go big without breaking the bank.
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The best 4K projector 2022
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Even the best 4K projectors don’t often get release hype, but Samsung’s first projectors in 10 years created quite a buzz at its release in late 2020. The Premiere LSP9T matches up to every bit of the hype and more to make claim to being the best 4K projector on the market today.
The innovative three laser light source delivers exceptional pictures, with a laser each for red, blue, and green lights. This means incredible brightness and colours, even with ambient light. This is true 4K, without compromise. Even more impressive is the incredible short throw, meaning you can place this close to your projection surface and achieve a gigantic picture. There are some occasional rainbow effects, and – like most projectors – you may need to tweak the picture for darker images, but these do not spoil an incredible watching experience.
It even has all the functionality you’d expect from a smart TV, with Samsung’s Tizen smart TV interface giving all your usual menus, streaming apps, and content. You can even use Samsung’s built-in Bixby system (with Alexa and Google Assistant support if you have listening devices already). As a minor gripe though, the OS can run a little slow at times.
There’s even fantastic sound with 40-watt speakers – much louder than the usual 10-20W for projectors – if you don’t have enough left in the pocket for a top gaming sound system or similar. And if the price is out of range, the single-laser Premiere SP-LSP7T (opens in new tab) is also an excellent option at just over half the price.
Launched in September 2020, this is a great projector that makes Epson very competitive at this end of the best 4K projector market. But it gives a great picture which belies the price. Colours are impressive for wide landscapes or close-ups of faces, and although there are some of the problems with blacks lacking depths which projectors often suffer from you’d have to be quite pernickety to spot it.
While there aren’t any frame interpolation options on 4K-level settings, motion blur is low and action remains smooth. Even when switched to the 1080p modes there’s a fantastic picture, plus many extra settings to reduce any blur even further at this resolution.
The option of Bluetooth audio output means you don’t need to have quite so many wires trailing across the room if you’ve run a soundbar under the projected image. However, there are some practical niggles: the onboard controls are a little cluttered; and the dials for lens shift are a slightly strange way to employ this feature. But once you’ve set it up and you’re staring at the beautiful image these minor issues will be quickly forgotten.
Note: The alternative name for this model, the Epson EH-TW7100 is what the unit is sold as in the UK (opens in new tab).
Sometimes with the best 4K projectors, you can end up paying for the label. However, if you stray from the traditional household names in home entertainment then you can find a real bargain, and Optoma is one of the brands that consistently deliver great value projectors which can go toe-to-toe with the big boys. The UHD51 has been out for a couple of years now, which means you can find some great deals on it, although 'budget' 4K still means four figures.
It offers fantastic colour, with good black depths, and smooths out fast motion to keep up with the quickest of action scenes. It also upscales non-4K images beautifully and even has 3D capability (which requires the purchase of DLP link active shutter glasses) should you want to re-watch Avatar ahead of the sequels. However, despite its good light rating, this unit may need the curtains drawn to get the most out of it as it struggles slightly with a lot of ambient light.
You would need to keep this hooked up to a video source to run video as it doesn’t have an onboard operating system that would allow you to stream direct, but that’s a small quibble when you’re getting such a great picture for the price, especially given that it also boasts Optoma’s usual short input lag – making it great for gaming, too.
This is a 4K projector for gaming if ever we've seen one. As well as that glorious UHD resolution, there's an ultra-fast refresh rate of up to 240Hz in 1080p for PC (120Hz at 1080p for consoles) and minimal input lag which we found makes this ideal for gaming. In our testing, games were silky smooth, without noticeable lag and even the quickest FPS stays sharp as you wildly move the camera around.
We did find the 10W speakers to be tinny and weak, but if you’re dropping this kind of money on a projector for PS5, you're likely to both want and will buy, or already have, a good audio setup. A lack of zoom control feels a bit baffling, meaning you have to set projector size by placement, and unless your room fits the throw ratio you may need a ceiling mount to get it in the right distance. Also, while there’s a wide range of colour pallets to chose from to enhance your viewing, some manual tweaks were needed to stop the picture looking a bit washed out.
These issues are annoying quibbles, but once you get to play games on this all of that is forgotten - particularly in 4K glory. Landscapes look lush, the bright game mode makes colours pop and the dark game mode keeps detail up in the shadows by using the DynamicBlack technology. Video looks amazing too and makes the most of the 4K resolution the GD711 can pump out, with a wide range of modes giving you ideal setups quickly for the perfect colour pallet. Once set up, the GD711 easily one of the best 4K projectors for gaming going.
Read more: Acer Predator GD711 review
BenQ has offered a first in 2022: 4K gameplay with 16ms input lag at 60Hz (with the ability to go as low as 4ms input lag with some sacrifices to other image settings). They’ve also thought in depth about not just the needs of gamers all round but different types of gamers. The X3000i is one of the best 4K projectors but is aimed at role-playing gamers – players who want to be truly immersed in the amazing worlds that triple-A titles are focussing on so much now. The key to this is BenQ’s CinematicColour system which offers incredible colour reproduction. The depth of colour is astonishing, with incredibly rich reds, blues and greens on the landscapes of next-gen games.
But the unit offers something for everyone – the low input lag means that playing first-person shooters is a smooth experience even when running through a map or moving fast to take out a horde of foes. And bright party games like Fall Guys or Mario Kart look astonishing, even in ambient light which can so often wash the colour out of other projectors. While it’s designed for gamers, watching films or TV shows is also a joy, whether a bright Pixar film or a gritty drama – the detail in the dark colours works well for picking out an enemy lurking in the shadows in a shooter or keeping track of a fight scene in a DC movie.
There’s built-in streaming through an integrated Android dongle, but as usual there are key apps missing. The height of the unit makes it bulky, but really this is quite a minor complaint and there’s a lot of technology to cram in. These points are really to nitpick – BenQ has raised the bar for projectors with this range and the X3000i has produced some of the best 4K projector gaming images I have ever seen.
Read more: BenQ X3000i review
A small but tall 4K LED projector, with 2x8W speakers which belay its small size. Set up is speedy out of the box, with great autofocus and keystoning tech which makes new locations a breeze. More fiddly are the colour and motion control options – with reductions in levels of blues a must, and particularly for animation you may need to play with the settings to not feel slightly seasick.
The LED tech is suitably bright, far more watchable with afternoon ambient light than most bulb units. Input lag is as low as 35ms in the dedicated game mode, low enough to be largely unnoticeable, and great spec to make this one of the best projectors for PS5 and Xbox Series X.
The problems come with a few fiddly settings, including a lack of a dedicated source button to flip to other inputs without going back through the main menus. It also has no built-in capability to manually tilt the unit or shift the image, so you’ll need a suitable flat location to project from. Plus there’s the usual lack of Netflix and a few other key services from the available apps.
Once you’re set up though, SD and HD images upscale well, with the autofocus giving excellent sharpness. With a UHD source, you’ll be able to enjoy every freckle on skin tones and blade of grass in a landscape – a great, decent-value 4K home projector for gaming.
Read more: XGIMI Horizon Pro review
A step up on its much-loved predecessor the VW570, mostly thanks to the incredible X1 chip which has been based on Sony’s Bravia TV technology. The X1 is an incredibly fast processor which is constantly working to give you incredible picture quality – analysing frame by frame to ensure everything looks sharp and smooth. Bright enough to be great quality picture even with significant levels of ambient light, and with astonishing depth of colour and contrast.
It’s large and heavy, but so are most 4K native projectors. A slight quibble is the lack of connectivity beyond HDMI and USB, but if you’re shelling out this much for a projector you’re likely to have an amp ready to go for this already. It’s great for gaming with no notable input lag, and the expansive landscapes of open-world games look astonishing in a 4K image of over 100 inches – but so do the bright colours of a platformer. It gives incredible detail even in the darkest shadow, a feat few projectors manage. Yes, it’s pricy, but it’s a cutting-edge projector which truly brings the cinema home and worth the money if you have it.
The Epson EH-TW9400 is a long-standing recommendation when it comes to the best 4K projectors. The use of Epson’s 3LCD technology, with a separate liquid crystal chip for each of the primary colours, gives an excellent depth of colour and bright picture with exceptional sharpness so you won’t miss a single detail. There’s even active 3D processing, although it requires the additional outlay on 3D glasses.
There are great practical advantages. Given that it weighs in at 24.25lbs/11kg you’ll want to find a very solid base for it to rest on, which would often cause the image to be projected at a bad angle. However, the motorized zoom coupled with vertical and horizontal image shift means you won’t have to compromise on positioning to get a great picture. This adds to the weight, but it gives a real feel of design and build quality.
A drawback of having been around so long is that it lacks the Bluetooth speaker connectivity which more recent 4K projectors have started to offer, even in Epson’s cheaper models. It also is one of the louder-running projectors, but when hooked up to a good sound system this won’t be an issue. It might no longer be the cutting edge, but the EH-TW9400 has stood the test of time and remains highly recommended.
BenQ is one of the names which always come up for affordable projectors with great pictures and the TK800M is yet another unit which gives more than enough bang for your buck in your search for the best 4K projector for you. The colour tech is great for ensuring reds and greens don’t oversaturate while giving excellent colour depth even for darker shades. The Ultra HD4K resolution gives amazingly sharp picture at most light levels, although you might struggle if there’s bright direct sunlight in the room.
The 'football mod' is a slightly odd gimmick with specific sound settings and colour palette which enhances greens, but it does hint at one of the projector’s best qualities: low input lag modes which make it outstanding gaming and watching sport. It’s been tested at just 48ms, meaning you won’t get out of sync when doing delicately timed stealth kills in Assassins Creed Valhalla or jumps in the frantic chaos of Fall Guys.
There are even optional wireless kits to enable you to connect to an input source without cables or stream content from a mobile device. You can also get optional 3D glasses, and it’s always a slight quirk that the cheaper projectors seem to offer this more often than more expensive rivals.
The XGIMI Aura is an entry-level (but by no means budget!) ultra-short-throw 4K projector with excellent sound and a gigantic picture when placed just inches away from the wall. While the 4K resolution is obtained via pixel shifting rather than being native, in our testing, the projector threw up a superb, crisp, image that also made images and video smooth, whether it was games, sports, or movies. The 2400 lumens laser will instantly switch to a safety mode if anything blocks it, but it's also bright enough to run very well with most levels of ambient light, with excellent vibrant and deep colours - although like most ultra short throws dark colours can lack detail.
Set up is swift, with swift eight-point keystone correction and you can load logins straight from your Android phone. However we found that there isn’t a huge amount of image customisation available which is slightly surprising for such a relatively high-end unit with this much power. As usual with an Android projector, there are a few crucial missing apps including Netflix, but there are plenty of other ways to connect sources to compensate.
We've never had a better-sounding 4K projector, with the four 15W speakers giving incredible sound for a projector. We like the Game Mode a lot - this brings the input lag down to 43ms, low for an ultra-short-throw projector, and makes gaming a sheer joy too.
If you have a near-unlimited budget then the best 4K projector for you may well be from Sony's premium line. These top-of-the-line home cinema centrepieces are not for the causal or faint-hearted. Both in pricetag - this 'budget' 2022 model comes in at $6,000/£6,000 - and size; while Sony claims this to be the most compact native 4K HDR laser projector in the world, it’s still almost half a metre deep and almost the same again wide. And it weighs 28lb/13kg.
The XW5000 is powered by Sony’s top tech from their BRAVIA TVs, using the X1 Ultimate chip for projectors, alongside their Triluminos Pro algorithm and Silicon X-tal Reflective Display which work to give excellent colour reproduction. The laser light source means that there is a far lower heat emission and energy consumption here than in the bulb-powered units, and the 4K picture is truly excellent. While upscaling is fine, the difference when running from a true 4K source is marked - when you give it the best you get the best from it.
However, the price is just going to make this a no-go for many projector hunters: the XW5000 is three times the cost of some truly excellent projectors which give great gaming specs and 4K image. The difference between the XW500 and those others is certainly not three times the picture quality, however, and you’re, to an extent, paying an exponential cost for incremental gains. But if you’re lucky enough for this price to not be a wrench and you have a great home cinema which needs updating, then this 2022 4K laser tech then will fit the bill perfectly.
Read more: Sony VPL-XW5000 review
And also remember that it's always worth trying to get hold of a new console for your new 4K projector so you'll need to know how to find buy a PS5 and how to buy Xbox Series X. And if you do prefer your screens TV-shaped then check out our guides to the best TV for PS5 and Xbox Series X, best 120Hz 4K TV, and best OLED TV too.