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The best projectors of 2013 support the wide screen WXGA resolutions with a brightness levels of around 3000 lumens.

Projector display quality can be judged by two features - Resolution and Brightness.

Resolution
Resolution refers to the number of pixels the projector uses to display. Pixel count is expressed as a product of two numbers which refer to the horizontal and the vertical pixel count - so for example a resolution of 800x600 refers to 800 pixel count horizontally and 600 pixel count vertically. The different types of resolution currently available is as follows, (note that higher is better)

1. 800x600 - SVGA
SVGA projectors are the cheapest and good for basic graphic capabilities like power point applications.
2. 1024x768 - XGA
XGA projectors are still pretty cheap and better than SVGA.
2. 1280x800 - WXGA
WXGA projectors support high resolution widescreen laptops and are more expensive than XGA and SVGA.
3. 1400x1050 - SXGA+
SXGA+ projectors support much richer data applications like photography display. They are pretty expensive though cheaper options are also available now.
4. 1600x1200 - UXGA
UXGA is a very high resolution for extremely detail oriented graphic applications. This are typically only required for very specialized use cases like medical imaging.

Brightness
The brightness of projectors is measured in lumens. A higher lumen count implies more brightness. The different lumen ranges currently in the market is as follows:

1. < 2000 lumens
This is supported by the very basic models and is not suitable for viewing in the normal room lighting. Since the brightness level is low this would typically require you to switch off your room lighting. On the plus side most projectors below 2000 lumens are small and easy to handle.

2. 2000-3000 lumens
These are still the very basic projectors, the only difference being that typically switching off the light would not be required. However around 2500 lumens is typically good enough for typical meeting uses to display powerpoint projectors.

3. 3000-4500 lumens
This is a slightly more expensive category of projectors are best suited for display in large conference rooms or halls. However , you can still get the best projectors around 3500 lumens which are still pretty portable.

4. > 4500 lumens
These are typically the high performance projectors and go right up 12000 lumens and above. The use case is typically very specialized - like big conferences and music concerts.

If you're looking for something on the less expensive side, we've also got a list of the best budget friendly projectors of 2013 for you.

Browse All Top Projectorss »

Optoma ML550

Optoma ML550 Mobile Projector


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Optoma ML550
BenQ W750
Optoma HD25
BenQ W1500
Dell M900HD
Optoma ML550 Mobile Projector
BenQ W750 HD Ready 3D DLP
Optoma HD25 3D-Home Theater Projector
BenQ W1500 Projector
Dell M900HD Projector
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Release Date
Jun 2013
Oct 2013
Mar 2013
May 2013
Aug 2013
Contrast Ratio
10000:1
13000:1
20000:1
10000:1
10000:1
Display Technology
DLP
DLP
DLP
DLP
DLP
Image Brightness
500.0 ANSI lumens
2500.0 ANSI lumens
2000.0 ANSI lumens
2200.0 ANSI lumens
900.0 ANSI lumens
Platform
PC and Mac
PC
PC
PC
Type
DLP Projectors
DLP Projectors
DLP Projectors, 3D
DLP Projectors
DLP Projectors
Form Factor
Portable
Portable
Portable
Portable

  • The emerging new category the ML500 is part of, and the ML500 in particular, fills a niche that needs filling, with an appealing balance of size, weight, price, and brightness. Compared to pocket projectors, it's only a little bigger and heavier, but it's a lot brighter. Compared to traditional lamp-based portable projectors, it's significantly lighter and smaller than all but a few, and less expensive. And although it isn't as bright as most lamp-based projectors, it's bright enough to throw a reasonable size image that can stand up to ambient light.


  • I found the Optoma ML500 to be a very interesting projector to use. It compact size makes it fairly easy to set up and it offers a variety of source inputs, as well as having its own built-in speaker. The ML500 also makes a great traveling companion as it and its accessories easily pack up it in its provided carry bag. You can also take a camera tripod along and use it mount and place the projector more easily in a variety of environments.

    In addition, its light output and video performance is adequate for general use, but it does fall somewhat short as a dedicated home theater projector.


  • The Optoma ML550 certainly has a wide range of features, but such flexibility comes at a high price. It's much more expensive than the Asus P1M, but we think the ML550 justifies the extra expense as it not only connects to a far greater range of devices, but it can also be used in all types of lighting conditions. It wins a Best Buy award.


  • The BenQ W750 may well be a budget projector but it manages to deliver a far from budget performance. The chassis might be small and light, betraying BenQ's data grade heritage, but it's well built and the size makes installation easier. There is some fan noise and light spill but, on the upside, the W750 is very bright making it ideal for the average living room. The rear connections are fairly standard, with two HDMI inputs, and only the rinky-dink remote lets the side down.


  • If you want a projector without 3D, you should go with a 1080p unit like ViewSonic's Pro8200. Otherwise, the W750 is pretty hard to beat for the price.


  • The Optoma HD25 is a great little projector. Its bright, sparkling HD image is perfect for home theater, and its bargain price of $949 makes it an exceptional value. While the HD25 has some flaws, those flaws are all related to usability, not image quality. The menu system can be complicated at times, and the lack of multiple User modes limits the HD25's calibration potential. Overall, though, the HD25 is a strong projector for entry-level home theater with potential for portable use as well.


  • Almost inevitably, given its low price, the HD25 isn't perfect. Its minor rainbow effect and running noise issues might be an issue for some people, especially if they have to sit close to their screen and/or the projector. Overall, though, the HD25 remains comfortably talented and well-featured enough to make its &pound;800 price tag look great value.


  • There's plenty to love about the HD25: it's an easygoing and pleasant watch with plenty of features for its affordable $1300. Yes, it could do with a touch more insight, but itâ??s an enjoyable projector nonetheless.


  • The BenQ W1500 is a fully-featured home theater projector with a stellar HD picture. It packs in features typically only found on more expensive projectors, like frame interpolation and vertical lens shift, without compromising one iota when it comes to picture quality. It is easy to use thanks to an intuitive remote control and menu system, easy to set up thanks to 1.6:1 zoom and vertical lens shift, and easy to fine-tune thanks to comprehensive color controls and three User memory banks.


  • The BenQ W1500 3D home entertainment projector is bright enough to stand up to moderate ambient light and offers acceptable, if not particularly impressive, video quality.


  • While it's certainly not a bad projector in 2D mode, nor is BenQ's W1500 the step-up hero we'd hoped for. For us, its quality leap from BenQ's cheaper models isn't quite extensive enough to justify a £1,400 price tag - especially as the 3D playback on the sample we tested is an eyestrain-inducing disaster.


  • The Dell M900HD is a powerful, compact projector that packs a variety of presenting features into a tiny package. Its 30,000-hour LED light engine removes the need for lamp replacements, thereby reducing the number of things that can go wrong while you're out on the road. It has best-in-class connectivity thanks to its creative implementations of USB and WiFi projection.


  • The Dell M900HD is a small, featherweight projector that's brighter than most of the LED-based mini-projectors we've seen in recent years.


  • The Dell M900HD is incredibly portable, and very convenient if you have a suitably equipped laptop, phone or tablet. It does get pretty hot, and a few more ANSI lumens would increase its versatility. Nonetheless, it compares very favourably to other similar models on the market, and will prove a great option for mobile executives and large businesses needing a projector that can service several rooms.