Money is tight right now. So what better time to look at a true budget projector and understand what it’s really like? Vankyo are the most notable entry level projector brand - sort price low to high on any major online retailer and you’ll see their units, and plenty of good reviews from people who want a cheap and cheerful projector.
Frankly, at this price I had low expectations for the Vankyo Leisure 470 Pro. But I was very curious to know, could a projector listed at this price be usable? After all, the stated retail price is $250 but it seems to be regularly on offer at $180 or even lower. Would it be a stepping stone before investing in one of the best projectors on the market, good for ideal use, or would it just end up being a high tech door stop?
|Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Connectivity||2x HDMI, 1 USB, 1 AV, 1 TF, 1 3.5mm|
Design and Features
The casing is, understandably, generic white plastic. It feels solid enough, and the build quality doesn’t make me more concerned about any knocks than I would for most other projectors. There’s a smart carry case which is good for storage - ideal for a projector which is likely to be in occasional use and in a closet the rest of the time, and it’s surprisingly small which means it won’t take up much room on the shelf or storage.
There’s a few freebies in there too - a kit to clean the lens which is a nice touch I’ve not seen in other projectors, and an HDMI cable which is rare and saves you shelling out for one. Slightly annoyingly there was only a US plug included, but as this was a very standard two pin chord I could easily find a UK cable in my chaotic draw of discarded power leads. It was genuinely frustrating to have the power port on the opposite side of the projector to the inputs which required a bit of cable management, particularly if putting it in the middle of the room rather than behind the sofa.
The 3W speaker is not unusable but does show the price level. There was quite a bit of distortion when turned up loud, which I often needed - watching with the washing machine and dishwasher on at the other side of the room drowned out most of the sound. Plugged into the usual surround sound the quality was fine and gave enough volume, but unless you already have a good speaker setup for the situation you’ll use this in you could be having to shell out again for audio equipment.
The dials for focus and keystoning are around the lens, on top of the unit. My biggest frustration overall was that I never felt I quite got the whole screen in focus. I got a perfectly watchable picture, and knew I wouldn’t have perfect image but usually had a slight blur at the bottom of the picture. This was a real reminder that this was a budget unit. Keystoning is definitely done through angling the lens rather than digital adjustment, which I found oddly pleasing to move around. There’s digital zoom hidden away in a menu.
There’s a good amount of controls on the top which I found very handy on the many occasions I couldn’t find the remote. But you can also use it wirelessly, with good screen monitoring for Android and iOS devices.
So what image quality can you get for under $250? It really is testament to advances in lens tech in recent years that this is actually fairly watchable. Of course, it’s not the purest 4K or the most perfect colour reproduction. The native resolution is rated at 1080p HD, and while the image quality is very dependant on the source video, the image quality is reasonably sharp with a good image. The brightness is good, but I did need to keep the curtains closed during the day. The colour reproduction is perfectly acceptable for a budget projector and it would feel rude to ask for more.
I was very pleasantly surprised at how strong the Vankyo Leisure 470 Pro was for casual gaming, with input lag measured at a genuinely quite decent 26ms. This would have been good for a projector with a gaming mode even a couple of years ago and is great for the price. It passed the Mario Kart test of no noticeable input lag, and more expensive projectors have struggled with this. I picked up a few new DLC Assassins Creed Valhalla missions, which looked fine but for those more immersive games I was soon drawn back to higher end images. Not everything has to be top end - if you’re looking for something which will give you big screen fun without needing top quality then you can have a good time watching or playing on this.
Should you buy the Vankyo Leisure 470 Pto?
The words which will always come to mind are “for the price”. And it’s good for the price, but that price is low. If you want a projector you’ll use most days then the limitations here may well make it worth saving a little extra and going a tier higher. Particularly if you don’t already own a good set of speakers, as you’ll need to spend that money on some anyway. But if you really can’t stretch to more money or you just want a projector for occasional use then you truly can get a watchable projector for under $250.
How we tested the Vankyo Leisure 470 Pro
For a casual projector it felt right to use it mostly for streaming youtube from the phone or HDMI in, although we also took in a few episodes of Extraordinary. It’s not a projector for epic prestige TV, but for a comfort watch it was absolutely fine. Similarly for gaming - I wouldn’t put a big triple A title on here but for a quick round of Mario Kart or my wife to play some indie Switch games it was cheap and cheerful. It wouldn’t really replace my main projector or portable units, and to be honest it was a relief when I would switch back over to their better picture. But if someone said they were looking for a projector on a budget I’d definitely recommend this if they couldn’t go any higher. You can find out more about how we make our recommendations by checking out the full GamesRadar+ Hardware Policy.
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