Entry Level/Portable Projectors

The Eyeclops Mini Projector is one of the hottest items trending for this Black Friday, and if all you care about is getting a big ol’ image up on a wall – say if you want a horror moving playing in the background at a Halloween party – then this is the ticket. It retails for $99, but all indications are that this post-Thanksgiving sales will drive that price down closer toe $70. It doesn’t have a PC input, just regular AV jacks, so if you’re planning on doing anything in high definition or on a computer, you’ll need to step up one level. Popular entry level projectors include: 3M MPro110 Micro, The Eyeclops Projector, the and Pico Pocket.

Mid Range Projectors

Most of these projectors are used in business settings to display PowerPoint and other presentations. Brightness, contrast ratio, and color palette are less important here, because you’re not exactly looking to see the reflections off the arm plates of Optimus Prime so much as you are trying to find the prime investment strategy. The overarching consideration here is that you want your projector’s resolution to match your laptop’s resolution. The biggest hurdle to that, is that not all projectors display widescreen aspect ratios, but there are certainly a plethora of widescreen notebooks. 

You’ll likely choose a projector with one of the following resolutions: WXGA (1280×768 or 1280×800), XGA (1024×768), SVGA (800×600), but make sure to see it tested as you’re planning on using it before buying. It’s a good idea to bring your laptop to the store with you so that, if you don’t have an exact resolution match between the computer and projector, you can see how well the projector either compresses or upscales the images. Popular mid-range projectors include: the Sanyo PLV-Z3000, and Panasonic PT-AE2000U,

LCD versus DLP

Most of these projectors use LCD technology. A lot of what you’ll read on projectors has to do with the difference between these two technologies. The short version is that LCD projectors have better color while DLP projectors have better contrast and less pixilation. DLPs are slightly more popular, but you really only notice a significant difference if you’re watching something in a cinematic environment. 

High End

The high end of projectors are all DLP, and should be used in dark rooms to maximize their image quality. This is the type of projector many movie theaters have, and the need for low light is why many theaters have darkly painted or curtained interiors to soak up ambient light reflecting back off the screen. These projectors are going to have native resolutions equal to or above the mid range projectors and price tags to match going into the several thousands of dollars. Popular models include: the Sony VPL-VW100, and the Sharp XV-Z20000