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Best Gaming Projector 101 and What to Know in 2023 When Shopping

BenQ
2023/01/10

The current console generation, meaning PS5 and Xbox Series, has come of age and the consoles are increasingly prominent. Also, there’s the chance that refreshed consoles will release in 2024 with even more power and improved graphics. Even now, gorgeous 4K 60Hz with HDR is the norm, and many gamers around the world are looking to take visuals to the next level. The logical step is going for truly immersive and cinematic screens beyond the limitations of flat screen TVs.

 

A new generation of projectors designed specifically for hardcore console gaming has appeared. These aren’t the projectors of old. They’re fast, responsive, and optimized for games of every genre. No more slow or sluggish output and massive input lag. Today’s good gaming projectors are just as responsive as the best gaming TVs, except on screens potentially up to four times the size and without a similar increase in price. Gaming projectors now offer a very tempting price-performance-display proposition. In this article we’ll try to help you learn more about getting the right gaming projector for you and what you should know going into gaming projectors.

 

 

In This Article We Cover:
Important features when choosing a gaming projector

Are Projectors Better Than TVs for Gaming?

Better is always a subjective thing, but some facts are objective reality. Gaming projectors match TVs for input lag, response, HDR, color depth, brightness, and contrast. They also work with screens measuring a typical 80” to 200”. That right there is something TVs objectively can’t match. Even if you’re extremely wealthy and can afford a 100” TV, LCD/LED/OLED panels in that size are notorious for screen uniformity issues, or the dirty screen effect. OLEDs also still have some risk of burn-in, which would be a shame for such a pricey TV. Projectors have none of those issues because they use indirect lighting. No uniformity problems, blooming, screen doors, or light bleed. Just a big picture for your gaming.

But that aside, the flexibility of projectors can’t be beat by the fixed form factors of TVs. Invest in a 75” TV and its hefty price tag locks you in to that size even if it’s too big or too small for your room. With projectors, swapping screen sizes isn’t hard, and screens don’t cost that much. While going from 55” to 75” with TVs often means double the price, going from 80” to 150” with projector screens is usually a very reasonable investment, and you don’t just get a 20” bigger screen, you double the screen size.

Projectors also show their cinematic heritage by maintaining the recommended 36-degree viewing angle proposed by THX. That means the viewer has a cone of sight of 36 degrees relative to the screen, which is optimal considering the way human eyesight works. Since with projectors the entire image is generated from a single point while TVs require an entire panel, projector displays are not only more uniform, but more consistent in terms of viewing angles. 

Finally, cost efficiency is also objectively on the side of projectors. Cost per inch, there’s no way TVs could ever beat projectors. Going beyond 75” for a good gaming TV breaks the bank for most people, while for less money you can get a top of the line gaming projector that will be very happy to display your gaming at 200”. 

Game on Projector, TV, and Monitor?

What Kind of Projector is Best for Gaming?

When doing preliminary research, you may discover that there are lots of very attractive projectors designed for home cinema, which remains the most popular usage for projectors. While these work OK for gaming, they’re not the best. A new generation of purpose-built gaming projectors does a much better job of delivering your console gaming to the big screen.

First off, cinematic projectors are designed for content played at 24Hz, 30Hz, and 60Hz. They rarely support higher refresh rates. New gaming projectors offer native 120Hz frame rates, which is in line with PS5 and Xbox Series standards. You don’t want the projector to be a refresh rate bottleneck.

  • Input lag

The same applies to total input lag. Cinematic projectors may suffer over 40ms of latency, which affects gaming negatively, especially fast paced shooters, racers, and sports titles. Look for gaming projectors that achieve 4K 60Hz at 16ms and even lower for different resolutions. This is the same as what you’ll find on the best gaming TVs. Be mindful of this, as latency can ruin gaming experiences.

  • Refresh Rate

The refresh rate is crucial, just like with TVs and monitors for gaming. If a projector has a maximum of 60Hz like most home cinema models, it’s not good for gaming. What you’re looking for are models that do 4K in 60Hz and 1080p in up to 240Hz, which no TV can do. That opens up every genre of gaming, from open world story titles to reflex shooters where frames per second are everything.

At the same time, gaming projectors are excellent for general media enjoyment. In terms of color, HDR, and image enhancement, they have most of what makes home cinema projectors so impressive. In that regard, it’s not like when you buy a gaming projector you miss out on great visuals for movies and TV shows. The opposite is true, gaming projectors now deliver superb image quality for everything from Blu-rays to streaming services. 

Essential Aspects to Consider for Gaming

You obviously want a gaming projector that will give you excellent visuals and audio for an all-in-one solution, so don’t forget to check these must-have specifications. Fast response and low latency aren’t everything, you may run into very fast gaming projectors that have low resolution, poor color, no HDR, or poor sound. That would be a compromise we don’t recommend, might as well go for the full package.

  • Resolution

For resolution considerations, we recommend going with true 4K gaming projectors, because that’s what the current generation of consoles and any subsequent consoles (including the next Nintendo Switch) are and will be designed for. There are lots of great 1080p gaming projectors that will serve you well with superb color and high refresh rate, but the ideal would be a 4K projector, which can also do 1080p when needed.

  • HDR

High dynamic range or HDR is another must. Pretty much all gaming content and also all streaming titles going forward are formatted with HDR, so you don’t want to miss out on the better colors and contrast. Not all gaming projectors support HDR by default, and some claim HDR support but may not be bright enough to actually do it. Gaming projectors capable of more than 1500 lumens do HDR well, so look for that. Additionally, a few really good gaming projectors have sophisticated technologies to optimize HDR for every frame, so you may want to look into that. 

  • Audio

And don’t forget audio, which is something a lot of gaming projector manufacturers do. Some just treat it as an afterthought, forcing you to go and purchase external speakers. You can do that, but it’s extra cost and hassle. Better go with a gaming projector that includes integrated speakers, plus make sure one HDMI port has ARC (audio return channel) support. This way, you can connect the projector to an external sound setup, like a receiver, amp, or soundbar, and enjoy 7.1-channel surround plus Dolby Atmos. We have a guide for connecting projectors to external audio plus more about ARC and its more recent version eARC.   

Poor visuals and mediocre sound will ruin your gaming immersion and experiences. So please, check specifications carefully before making your choice. 

Other Factors to Remember (Mostly Your Room)

Projectors are versatile, but placement still matters. You want to know which projector to get for your intended usage space, and then place the right projector in the right location. Importantly, the screen size is determined not just by how big your room is, but also by how far you want to place the projector from the screen. Ambient lighting in your room is also important. If you have a bright room, you want a bright projector, while darker rooms require less projector brightness. However, we recommend bright projectors, as you can always turn down brightness and it’s better to have it than not.

  • Throw Distance

There are a few terms you’ll run into when shopping for gaming projectors. The first are throw distance and throw ratio, which mean the range the projector should be placed from the screen for any given image size. There’s a lot more on throw ratio and throw distance here.

  • Brightness

The second term you may find confusing is ANSI lumens. That’s like nits or candelas for TVs and monitors. Projectors use the ANSI lumen standard, and as noted above, you’re looking for at least 1500 lumens. The more the better to bring out the best in HDR, color, and overall image quality, plus to overcome ambient light and give you more viewing flexibility. 

What is ANSI lumens?

How BenQ Projectors Make PS5 and Xbox Series X/S Gaming Better

As you may have guessed, every feature we recommended is based on what’s found on new BenQ gaming projectors. We consider them a gold standard for console gaming on the big screen if you’re looking for better immersion and more compelling experiences.

BenQ gaming projectors offer that balance of low latency, high refresh, great visuals, and superb sound. All you have to do is connect the HDMI cables. For latency, you get 4K 60Hz in 16ms, 1080p in 8ms, and even 4ms 240Hz, depending on the model. In any case, with BenQ gaming projectors you’re guaranteed input lag that’s the same or usually lower than that of gaming TVs. With 4K 60Hz at 16ms you make the most of visually-intricate and detail-rich AAA game releases that emphasize exploration and slower paced combat. With 1080p 240Hz you’re golden for even the most intense and competitive first person shooters, and aren’t at a disadvantage compared to TV or monitor gamers. You’re actually at an advantage thanks to the better viewing angles and enormous display that makes every detail appear huge, like snipers camping on a distant hill crest.

As we said, a lot of projectors mention HDR, but don’t do it right. With BenQ HDR Pro, you get carefully-optimized and tested HDR output for each application, from games to streaming. Similarly, BenQ gaming projectors feature proprietary CinematicColor technology to deliver properly calibrated colors and better coverage of wide gamut color spaces like sRGB and DCI-P3.

For games, excellent color, brightness, and contrast control are vital, because this way you view the games as intended by designers. You don’t suffer from lost details due to crushed blacks or over exposed brights, and see everything there is to see in every frame of the game.

Sound stands at the forefront with BenQ gaming projectors and their treVolo speakers, which incorporate Bongiovi DPS technology to pump out sound that makes TVs jealous. Video games utilize sound almost as much as they do visuals, and spacious audio is vital for enjoying and comprehending in-game environments. From the roar of car engines through authentic-sounding weapon effects to sneaky opponents moving about, you want a sound setup that lets every nuance shine through. Good gaming projectors like those from BenQ provide that.

 

We really hope this quick guide helps you on your gaming projector journey. And if you need more help or advice, reach out to us on social media and we’ll be there! 

 

Take a look at this PS5 and Xbox Series gaming projector compatibility chart for more info: 

PS5 & Xbox Series Compatibility List for BenQ Projectors

Model 4K 120Hz 4K 60Hz

1080p 240Hz 

1080p 120Hz

1080p 60Hz

Model
X3000i
4K 120Hz

No

4K 60Hz

Yes

1080p 240Hz 

Yes

1080p 120Hz

Yes

1080p 60Hz

Yes
Model
X1300i
4K 120Hz

No

4K 60Hz

Yes

(Downscale to 1080p 60Hz)

1080p 240Hz 

No

1080p 120Hz

Yes

1080p 60Hz

Yes
Model
TK700STi
4K 120Hz

No

4K 60Hz

Yes

1080p 240Hz 

Yes

1080p 120Hz

Yes

1080p 60Hz

Yes
Model
TK700
4K 120Hz

No

4K 60Hz

Yes

1080p 240Hz 

Yes

1080p 120Hz

Yes

1080p 60Hz

Yes
Model
TH690ST
4K 120Hz

No

4K 60Hz

Yes

(Downscale to 1080p 60Hz)

1080p 240Hz 

No

1080p 120Hz

Yes

1080p 60Hz

Yes
Model
TH685i / TH685 / TH685P
4K 120Hz

No

4K 60Hz

Yes

(Downscale to 1080p 60Hz)

1080p 240Hz 

No

1080p 120Hz

No

1080p 60Hz

Yes
Model
TH585 / TH585P
4K 120Hz
 No
4K 60Hz
No

1080p 240Hz 

 No

1080p 120Hz

No

1080p 60Hz

Yes
Model
TH575
4K 120Hz
 No
4K 60Hz
No

1080p 240Hz 

 No

1080p 120Hz

No

1080p 60Hz

Yes
Model
 V7050i
4K 120Hz

No

4K 60Hz

Yes

1080p 240Hz 

No

1080p 120Hz

No

1080p 60Hz

Yes
Model

HT3550i / HT3550

4K 120Hz
No
4K 60Hz
Yes

1080p 240Hz 

No

1080p 120Hz

No

1080p 60Hz

Yes
Model
TK850i / TK850
4K 120Hz

No

4K 60Hz

Yes

1080p 240Hz 

No

1080p 120Hz

No

1080p 60Hz

Yes

*Note: Projector is compatible with 4K 120Hz HDR Gaming Signal. Please allow automatic output signal on your game console, the default setting prioritizes 120Hz (for smoothest video performance) over 2160p (for best resolution performance); you could also manually adjust the output signal on your game console to 2160p/1080p 60Hz.

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