10 Best Short Throw Projectors for Movies and Gaming
Projectors used to be the go-to system for presentations in the office, church, and other similar environments, but the technology has gradually made its way to the living rooms of people from around the world.
Today, there are hundreds of home projectors to choose from to level-up video games and movie watching experiences.
Of course, the downside to having many choices is finding the actual system that you need based on factors like your budget, or the amount of space you have in your living room. To keep your shopping simpler, let's take a look at short-throw projectors.
What is a Short Throw Projector?
Quick background: In the world of projectors, "throw" means the distance from the flat surface where images will be projected, to the actual projector unit you need to display images in a specific size.
So when you hear the term "short throw projector" or "ST", it refers to the type of projectors that can project a large image to the screen/wall that is quite close (or about 0.8 to 5 meters away).
How is this distance computed? Well, the lens and mirror used in a particular projector have a lot to do with it. Short throw projectors are built with lenses that display much larger images from shorter distances, while long throw projectors do it from longer distances.
Top 10 Short Throw Projectors for Movies and Gaming
- Native Resolution: 1920x1080
- Brightness: 3200
- Contrast: 22000:1
- Zoom Lens Ratio: 1.30:1
- Lamp Life: 4000 hours
- Throw Distance: 1.15 m to 1.5 m
- Warranty: 3 years
If you’re looking for an entry-level short throw project for your home theater, and you want it blast out big enough images for spectacular movie nights and gaming, the ViewSonic offers a ton of features that knock off its competitors within its price range.
Packed with 3,200 lumens of brightness, this projector provides accurate Movie modes and easily adjustable colors thanks to ViewSonic's SuperColor technology. When it comes to gaming, the PJD7828HDL only has an input lag of about 16.4 millisecond, which is more than enough for most sports or first-person shooting games.
What’s unique about below $1,000 projectors from ViewSonic, like the PJD7828HDL, is that even if they’re marketed as home theater, they’re designed to cater to the business and education sector as well. As such, you can find outdated (but still useful) features like two HDMI ports, laser pointer, monitor output, presentation timer, closed captioning and remote mousing, among others.
- Resolution: 1920x1080
- Brightness: 3,000 Lumens
- Contrast: 28,000:1 (full on/off)
- Lamp Life: 5,000 hours/8,000 hours (eco)
- Throw Distance: 0.5 m to 3.4 m
When Optoma GT1080Darbee was released in the market, it totally changed the game for having spectacular video game quality and high-level video processing not found on projects within its price range.
This short throw projector features a native 1080p (full HD) resolution at 60Hz, its renowned Virtual Presence processing, and fantastic throw ratio of 140-inch screen from 5 feet. All these main features make for a perfect gaming projector. Plus, it delivers an exceptionally low input lag (of just 16ms) thanks to the Game Enhance mode.
Don't rely on the built-in speakers though; it isn't powerful enough to sound your entire system. Aside from this, every little feature of the Optoma GT1080Darbee is a gamer's dream, from its superb video quality to the 16ms input lag, personalization options, compatibility to almost any console in the planet, and gaming-friendly picture modes.
- Resolution: 1280x800
- Brightness: 3,400 Lumens
- Contrast: 16,000:1 (full on/off)
- Lamp Life: 5,000 hours / 10,000 hours (eco)
- Throw Distance: 0.6 m - 1.2 m
- Special Features: 3LCD, 3-chip technology
If you're looking for a WXGA projector (one with a native screen resolution of approximately 1280 x 800 with 16 million colors), the Epson PowerLite 3LCD can provide your home theater requirements, plus more.
The 3-chip LCD technology ensures you'll never see rainbow artifacts, which is an annoying issue of single-chip DLP projectors. This special tech brings "3x higher color brightness" and "up to 3x wider color gamut" than its direct competitors.
Epson's PowerLite 535W 3LCD Projector blasts off images up to 116 inches from 4-feet away without glare and very minimal shadows.
- Resolution: 1920x1080
- Brightness: 3,000 Lumens
- Contrast: 10,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio
- Lamp Life: 4,000 hours / 15,000 hours (eco)
- Throw Distance: 1.1 m - 4.6 m
- Special Features: LumiExpert™, powerful 5W stereo speakers
As a short throw projector designer for gaming, the BenQ TH671ST is a fun and competent choice since it can easily replace a 100-inch TV without the high price tag. This projector features 3000 ANSI lumen rating and a 1.2x zoom lens packed in an all-white, portable casing.
BenQ launched the LumiExpert feature with the TH671ST. The projector is built with a light sensor atop the unit that "decides" to adjust image settings based on the amount of ambient light in a particular room.
Connectivity-wise, you're given a VGA input, 2 USBs, a pair of 3.5mm audio in/outs, 2 HDMI ports (one of them with MHL), and an RS-232 port. This means you can connect it to a bunch of consoles and gadgets.
It's been marketed to the gamer crowd transitioning to small-scale monitors to projectors, particularly because of its 16.67ms input response time, massive images with excellent color, brightness and contrast.
- Resolution: 1920x1080 native resolution
- Brightness: 3000 Lumens
- Contrast: 20000:1
- Lamp Life: 6500 Hours
- Throw Distance: .5 m - 4 m
- Special Features: Full 3D Compatibility, DLP & BrilliantColor Technology
The Optoma EH200ST is powered by a DLP chip system and features a short 0.5:1 throw ratio, full 3D compatibility via HDMI 1.4a, sharp 20,000:1 contrast ratio, and Full HD 1920 x 1080 native resolution. It is capable of projecting images up to 303.2" diagonal screen size with a lamp that could withstand 6,500 hours of use.
Designed to perform both indoors and at venues, this particular Optoma projector model is more targeted to business, education and industries that may require slideshow presentations. It is equipped with connectivity options for modern-day data transfers, so take advantage of MHL connectivity, two HDMI ports, 12V output, VESA 3D sync port, audio out, among others.
Other little details to appreciate with Optoma's EH200ST include the 10W speaker, IR backlit remote control, loop-through audio options and energy-saving features that could extend the lamp life up to 8000 hours.
- Resolution: Full HD (1920 X 1080)
- Brightness: 1800 Lumens
- Contrast: No Dynamic Contrast
- Lamp Life: 6000 Hours
- Throw Distance: 1.9m to 9m
- Special Features: SXRD (3 Chip) with Reality Creation
If your budget for a projector is beyond $1,500, Sony's VPL-HW45ES home theater projector will wow your socks off every time you chill with Netflix or play your favorite games. This projector features 3D capability and advanced SXRD panel technology and Super Resolution processing tech -- all of which work simultaneously to provide spectacular colors to images.
You can expect nothing but the best with the Sony VPL-HW45ES Home Theater Projector, starting with 1,800 lumens brightness that create brighter highlights and deeper blacks. It is built with advanced image calibration modes, which allows you to quickly switch from 'movie' mode to gaming and other 9 presets if you wish to.
Gamers will love the Motionflow tech, which ensure there is minimal motion blur, even if you project your game to a 300-inch screen size. Meanwhile, movie lovers will definitely notice the full HD images thanks to Sony's Advanced Reality Creation technology.
- Resolution: 854x480 native resolution
- Brightness: 200 Lumens
- Contrast: 1000:1
- Lamp Life: 30,000 Hours
- Throw Distance: 0.7m - 2.4m
- Special Features: Ultra portable, ASUS SonicMaster, MHL compliance, flashlight mode
Don't underestimate this adorable pocket projector. The ASUS S1 may be cased in a small box, but it packs impressive features, including Single-Chip 0.3" DLP Imaging Device, WVGA (854 x 480) Native Resolution, and 200 lumen RGB LED light source.
The ASUS S1 has a projection distance of 0.74m to 2.44m, which allows it to blast images to a screen size ranging from 30 to 100 inches. This is pretty great, considering its size and brightness that doesn't compare to other units on this list.
As for connectivity, the ASUS S1 has an HDMI port, which also works as the Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) for Android gadgets, USB Type B port, audio-out jack, HDMI cable, and USB Type B-to-USB micro-B cable.
While this pocket project has trouble displaying small text, it does a good job projecting images in various light conditions. If you want to, you can watch your movies or presentations via a "square" mode for SD videos or pictures.
- Resolution: 1920x1080
- Brightness: 1,000 Lumens
- Contrast: 150,000:1 (full on/off)
- Lamp Life: 30,000 hours
- Throw Distance: 0.4 m - 0.7 m
- Special Features: smart TV function, Bluetooth sound out, CineBeam, DLP projector
As follow-up to the 2017 ultra short throw LG PF1000UW theater projector, the LG HF65LA is also a short throw projector designed for small spaces. From just five inches away, it can cast 60 inches of bright, vivid viewing, but if you wish to go farther, this small projector can get Full HD images up to 100 inches with an astonishing 150,000:1 contrast ratio.
One of the best things about LG HF65LA is that it is equipped with LED as light source, which could reportedly last up to 30,000 hours or up to 10 years if you're using the projector 8 hours daily. Brightness is perfect for dark room and fair with little ambient light.
The LG PF1000UW is designed to cater modern day-to-day connectivity, so the webOS 3.0 Smart TV functionality (with the Magic Remote) gives you instantly connected to the internet, Netflix, Hulu, and so on. Gamers will also take comfort that it's easy to link and play on XBOX and other consoles. You can also pair audio-out accessories to the projector thanks to wireless connectivity and Bluetooth sound out.
- Resolution: Full HD (1920 x 1080) Native Resolution
- Brightness: 2200 ANSI Lumens
- Contrast: 15,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio
- Lamp Life: 5000 Hours
- Throw Distance: 0.69m to 0.83:1m
- Special Features: 6x speed and BrilliantColor Technology, two built-in 10-watt speakers, Professionally Calibrated Visual Entertainment
Best for gaming and movies, BenQ HT2150ST short throw projector is an all-around projector perfect for entry-level users who want to step up their games. This model is the award-winning BenQ projector designed to provide 100-inch screen from just five feet away, thanks to its 1.2x optical zoom lens, 15,000:1 contrast ratio, 3D function, and 2,200 lumens of brightness for vibrant images every time.
Most gamers would find the low input lag acceptable. This means even your speedy racing games and first-person shooter games can run smoothly without skipping a beat, even if you opt for a 100-inch gaming experience.
Most gamers would find the low input lag highly acceptable. It would mean that even their speedy racing games and first-person shooter games could run smoothly without skipping a beat, even if they opt for a 100-inch gaming experience. Plus, the customization options let users save gaming modes, letting them mix and match brightness, contrast, vibrancy and other details for each specific game, so they can just pop a game right in and the settings will be right there for them.
Whether you're streaming a movie or binge-watching your favorite TV show, you'll be in awe of the image quality, colors, sharpness and clarity, which is mostly due to Benq's one-of-a-kind RGBRGB color wheel feature.
- Resolution: 1280x800
- Brightness: 700 Lumens
- Contrast: 20,000:1
- Lamp Life: 20,000 hours
- Throw Distance: 0.4 m - 3.4 m
- Special Features: Super lightweight and portable, but with big features
Packed in one of the smallest "ultra compact" projector casing you can find outside the portable projector category, this LED projector from Optoma not only takes the care for impressive design, but also equipped with impressive features.
It's short-throw, so it's ideal for small spaces. Although you can set this up permanently in one spot of your house, it is small enough (it measures 4.4″ x 4.8″ x 2.2″ and weighs just 1 pound) to be placed in large pockets or small bag for people on-the-go.
Performance-wise, the Optoma ML750ST Ultra-Compact LED projector has a contrast ratio of 20000:1 with 700 ANSI lumens (it's actually bright for its size) and vibrant color.
8 Things to Consider When Buying Short throw Projectors
Wrap Up: Which is the best Short throw Projector?
Cost shouldn't be your main consideration, but if you're really on a budget, the BenQ HT2150ST 1080P Short Throw Projector is a feature-packed projector that could be ideal for both gaming and your other entertainment needs.
If you're interested in a gamer-friendly short throw projector, Optoma's GT1080Darbee Projector will do wonders for your gaming experience. Know that this recommendation is for gamers new to the wonderful world of projectors. There are other, more expensive projectors for gaming with advanced features you can choose beyond this.
Those looking for a mid-priced, all-around short throw projector, ViewSonic's PJD7828HDL Home Theater Projector can bring high-quality pictures to your room every time, whether you're gaming, watching movies.
The best short throw projectors should align with your personal and family's needs. Just by looking at the shopping considerations listed above, you'll get the idea that these projectors are never equally made. Some are designed for portability, while others had gamers in mind when designing the projector.