9 Best Budget-friendly Cheap Gaming Projector In 2021

TVs are popular for gaming, but maybe you want something different. You want a big screen. Notably, a massive screen to take gaming experience to next level.
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Gaming is fun when the screen size is huge and the picture quality is stunning.

And, obviously, there should be no lag!

TVs are widely popular when it comes to gaming, but maybe you want something different. You want a big screen. Notably, a massive screen to take the gaming experience to the next level.

In this case, the projectors dominate the TVs.

Imagine gaming on a wall-sized screen! Definitely, it sounds exciting, and it is possible with a projector!

On the other side, a TV with a screen size of 100-inches may break your bank. They are ridiculously expensive. Another limitation with TVs is they come with the maximum screen size of 120-inches.

Finally, in this article, you will realize that nothing would limit you from choosing a projector over a TV for gaming.

For most home theater gamers, the best projector is still the one with 1080p resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate coupled with low input lag. Features like HDR is additional and would help you to have more accurate colors. Few people who own next-gen consoles may look for 4K projectors with a 120Hz refresh rate and low input lag. But most of us won’t be shopping for Xbox Series X or PS5 from day one. Also, don’t wish to see lots of 4K/120Hz games available initially. And truthfully, you don’t need a considerably expensive projector from day one. A projector with 1080p and 120Hz is an excellent gaming projector.

Why should you choose Projector for Gaming?

Projectors in 2021 deliver a rich gaming experience on displays twice bigger than TVs.

#1 – Picture Quality – As the technology is progressing, the picture quality offered by the projectors is advancing. They offer insane 4K picture quality at a decent price point. In this article, you will find projectors with 1080p picture quality optimized to offer the lowest input lag. Such projectors for movies accept 4K input and down-convert them into 1080p.

#2 – Input Lag – This is arguably the most important feature required for gaming. Modern projectors have left issues such as lag in the past. They offer minimum input lag.

#3 – Other gaming specs – Today’s projectors compete very closely with TVs in terms of resolution, refresh rate, and HDR.

#4 – Space – Unlike a TV which might take a dedicated cabinet to stand on, a projector can sit easily on a side-table consuming no to nothing space!

#5 – Maintenance or Lifespan – Do not worry because projector technology has been evolved over time. Few of the high-end devices from popular brands discussed in this article uses 4LED technology, so light sources don’t diminish, and color doesn’t fade for a more extended period. As a result, you don’t have to replace any projector parts every 2-3 years after heavy usage.

Now let’s take a look at the drawbacks of using projectors for gaming.

Though the projector has built-in speakers, you will almost certainly need external speakers for a rich gaming experience. However, you will face the same issues with modern TVs that are very thin and cannot take in quality speakers.

Finally, projectors get hot and noisy after a longer period of operation. So make sure you place them in a properly ventilated area.

What do you need to consider while choosing a Gaming Projector?

You need a specialized projector for gaming because regular projectors are for cinephiles and home entertainment purposes.

The resolution, brightness, and contrast ratio is essential, but digging deep into the features like input lag, refresh rate, and HDR is the key to success.

So, now, let’s discuss them in detail,

#1 – Input Lag – Let it be a TV or a projector; when used for gaming, then Input Lag is the term often discussed. It is also known as input latency. Input lag is the time taken by the projector to display the actual image after receiving the image signal from the GPU. Ideally, it should be somewhere around 20ms. Anything beyond this limit may introduce lag and blur. So, choose a projector with the lowest input lag.

#2 – Refresh Rate – It is also known as the frame rate. Refresh rate is measured either in frames per second (FPS) or hertz (Hz). A high refresh rate by a projector represents low input lag. In simple terms, each frame takes,

  1. Nearly 16ms to render at 60hz
  2. Nearly 8ms to render at 120hz
  3. Nearly 4ms to render at 240hz

#3 – HDR Support – HDR stands for high dynamic range. It allows excellent depth to the colors of the image by preserving the details of the image. It renders computer graphics scenes using lighting calculations. Nowadays, most of the streaming boxes and streaming services support HDR.

These are the most important things that you should be focusing on while choosing the best gaming projector.

As a gaming projector is a specialized high-end device, all other specs like brightness and contrast ratio will be taken care of.

List of Best Cheap Gaming Projector

  1. Optoma HD146XBest Budget Pick
  2. BenQ TH585
  3. ViewSonic PX701HD
  4. Optoma HD28HDRBest Budget Pick with HDR
  5. Optoma HD39HDRHighest Brightness
  6. Optoma GT1080HDRBest Short-throw
  7. BenQ TH685Lowest Input Lag
  8. BenQ HT2050A
  9. BenQ TH671ST

Please note that you need to shell out at least $500 to buy a decent gaming projector. Anything below this price point may disappoint you in terms of performance, ghosting and lag.

Now without any further ado, let’s start,

1. Optoma HD146X

Optoma HD146X - 9 Best Cheap Gaming Projector - ULTRAdvice.com

HD146X is one of the least expensive projectors by the brand Optoma. It is famous for offering an excellent gaming experience at a price that everyone can afford.

The Optoma HD146X is engineered for gaming! Switch to Enhanced Gaming and Game Display Mode to enjoy,

  1. Lightning-fast response time of 16ms
  2. Visual advantage by boosting shadows and dark scenes for greater visibility
  3. Perfect image alignment for sharp picture and incredible picture quality

Under normal (indoor) usage, it produces reasonably accurate colors with its native resolution of 1920×1080 pixels and brightness of 3,600 lumens. Cinephiles can enjoy 3D content using this device.

Gaming Specs

  1. Input Lag – 16ms
  2. Refresh Rate – 120Hz
  3. HDR compatible – NO
  4. Resolution – 1920×1080 pixels
  5. Brightness – 3,600 lumens

To enrich the picture quality, a unique feature called Wall Color allows this projector to adjust the colors of the image to counteract the shift caused by projecting on a non-white surface.

However, this projector comes with very few connectivity options.

2. BenQ TH585

BenQ TH585 - 9 Best Cheap Gaming Projector - ULTRAdvice.com

When it comes to gaming, this projector is a value for money deal! It is another budget-friendly gaming projector on this list available just at $549.

The Game Mode of BenQ TH585 offers excellent contrast and enhances shadowy scenes for greater clarity and visual precision. In addition, it comes with short-throw projection technology for people with a small room. Thus, allowing you to project big 100-inch images from the distance of 3 meters.

This projector equips the best quality bulb with a brightness of 3,500 lumens. The projected image is visible in the presence of ambient light! You can enjoy gaming in the early evening light or at night with the room lights ON.

Gaming Specs

  1. Input Lag – 16ms
  2. Refresh Rate – 60Hz
  3. HDR compatible – NO
  4. Resolution – 1920×1080 pixels
  5. Brightness – 3,500 lumens

The TH585 has a couple of connectivity options: two HDMI input ports, RS232, D-sub in/out, USB-A, and analog audio in/out. So whether you game on Sony PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X, or Google Stadia, you have everything you need for mind-blowing gameplay.

A built-in sound system is something disappointing about this projector. However, it has decent quality, and enough if placed in small rooms.

3. ViewSonic PX701HD

ViewSonic PX701HD - 9 Best Cheap Gaming Projector - ULTRAdvice.com

This projector from ViewSonic is best in terms of portability and input lag – two features of particular interest for gamers.

PX701HD is very identical [point by point] to the previously discussed BenQ TH585. However, by comparing both of them, we found that the TH585 has better color accuracy than PX701D.

Everything else is the same,

  1. It features a game mode
  2. Allows you to play in the presence of ambient light
  3. Excellent lamp life
  4. Decent amount of connectivity options

A feature called SuperEco reduces the power consumption and extends the lamp life by up to 20,000 hours.

Gaming Specs

  1. Input Lag – 16ms
  2. Refresh Rate – 60Hz
  3. HDR compatible – NO
  4. Resolution – 1920×1080 pixels
  5. Brightness – 3,500 lumens

Overall it is tough to differentiate between BenQ TH585 and ViewSonic PX701HD. However, people choosing PX701HD over TH585 has an added advantage because apart from being a decent budget-friendly gaming projector, it is an excellent choice for home entertainment (enjoying movies).

4. Optoma HD28HDR

Optoma HD28HDR - 9 Best Cheap Gaming Projector - ULTRAdvice.com

Optoma HD28HDR is a budget-friendly gaming projector that supports HDR video. This feature boosts image quality (enables brighter whites and deeper black levels) and makes a big difference to your gaming experience.

At this price, it supports 4K (3,840×2160) and 3D playback. It features two HDMI inputs,

  1. HDMI 1.4 – for standard HD sources and older 4K sources up to 30Hz
  2. HDMI 2.0 – for 4K sources

Image quality at 4K resolution is decent, and do not expect too much because this is not a true 4K projector.

Use of 3-watt speakers makes most users unhappy because they are the best fit for small rooms.

Along with excellent picture quality for the greatest fidelity in games, Optoma HD28DHR offers low enough input lag! It is 16.4ms at 1080p, 60Hz in Enhanced Gaming mode, and consistent with the rated 8.4ms at 120Hz. 

Gaming Specs

  1. Input Lag – 8.4ms
  2. Refresh Rate – 120Hz
  3. HDR compatible – YES
  4. Resolution – 1920×1080 pixels
  5. Brightness – 3,600 lumens

Enhanced Gaming Mode provides a visual advantage by boosting shadows and dark scenes to visualize impending obstacles better.

Overall the Optoma HD28HDR is a good balance of impressive features and affordable price. We would suggest you go for this projector if you want the cheapest gaming projector that supports HDR.

5. Optoma HD39HDR – Highest Brightness

Optoma HD39HDR - 9 Best Cheap Gaming Projector - ULTRAdvice.com

The Optoma HD28HDR and HD39HDR are very identical to each other.

HD39HDR costs slightly high and is made for lights-on or daytime (any level of ambient light) viewing. It is a budget-friendly home entertainment and gaming projector with increased brightness count that will help people planning to enjoy games in rooms with lots of windows and ambient light.

As previously discussed, Optoma HD28HDR costs $649, whereas the Optoma HD39HDR costs $799 on Amazon. By paying an additional $150, you will benefit from the following features,

  1. The brightness of 4,000 lumens
  2. Increased lamp life
  3. VGA and RS-232 ports

Other features like low input lag, 1080p native resolution, and 3D playback support, 4K, and HDR compatibility remain the same.

Gaming Specs

  1. Input Lag – 8.4ms
  2. Refresh Rate – 120Hz
  3. HDR compatible – YES
  4. Resolution – 1920×1080 pixels
  5. Brightness – 4,000 lumens

10-watt speakers included in this projector are surprisingly loud. However, they are useful in midsized rooms. For larger rooms, it is suggested to use external speakers.

6. Optoma GT1080HDR – Best Short Throw

Optoma GT1080HDR - 9 Best Cheap Gaming Projector - ULTRAdvice.com

It is a short-throw gaming projector for people with small rooms and limited space.

Optoma GT1080HDR is designed for gaming with low input lag, excellent brightness, and crisp contrast to produce true and accurate colors. With a 3,800-Lumen output, Optoma GT1080HDR can keep up even in the presence of ambient light.

This projector has the native resolution of 1080p (1920×1080 pixels), which is superior to previously discussed BenQ TH585 and ViewSonic PX701HD.

Optoma GT1080HDR dominates most of the rivals at its price range because,

  1. Supports HDR technology to provide brighter whites, deeper blacks, and greater color depth
  2. Accepts 4K (3,840×2160) input
  3. Supports full-HD 3D
  4. Input lag of 16.4ms at 1080p, 60Hz and 8.4ms at 1080p, 120Hz

There are two HDMI inputs (2.0 and 1.4). Make sure that you connect your 4K video source to the correct port. Alongside are a USB port, VGA, RS-232, and 3.5mm audio jack.

Gaming Specs

  1. Input Lag – 8.4ms
  2. Refresh Rate – 120Hz
  3. HDR compatible – YES
  4. Resolution – 1920×1080 pixels
  5. Brightness – 3,800 lumens

Onboard 10-watt speakers are good enough for small-to-midsize family rooms. Use external speakers like a soundbar or home theatre speaker system for the best gaming experience.

This is our top pick for a budget-friendly gaming projector.

7. BenQ TH685 – Lowest Input Lag

BenQ TH685 - 9 Best Cheap Gaming Projector - ULTRAdvice.com

BenQ TH685 is a widely popular projector offering stunning color accuracy and picture quality. It is an advanced version of the previously discussed TH585 projector that lacks 4K and HDR input support.

Two more directly competitive choices that are worth a close look at are the Optoma HD39HDR and Optoma GT1080HDR (discussed above). Both of them offer somewhat higher brightness ratings. However, the TH685 supports HLG, which lets it produce excellent quality images in dark rooms and dominate both rivals.

Sidenote: For rooms with lots of ambient light, TH685 is not the best pick; instead, going for a projector like Optoma HD39HDR with higher brightness is a wise choice!

Gaming Specs

  1. Input Lag – 8.3ms
  2. Refresh Rate – 120Hz
  3. HDR compatible – YES
  4. Resolution – 1920×1080 pixels
  5. Brightness – 3,500 lumens

It includes 5-watt mono speakers with a chamber design that rocks the mids and highs but leaves almost nothing in the bass range. In addition, TH685 comes with three different finely-tuned Game Sound Modes: Treble, Midrange, and Bass, to take the gaming experience to the next level.

However, for superb sound quality, go for external speakers.

8. BenQ HT2050A

BenQ HT2050A - 9 Best Cheap Gaming Projector - ULTRAdvice.com

BenQ HT2050A has a nice-looking curvy design. However, functionality and features are very similar to the rivals like BenQ TH585 and Optoma HD39HDR.

In contrast to the other projectors in this price range, the BenQHT2050A lacks HDR support. Also, it doesn’t accept 4K inputs. However, it is 3D capable.

This projector is famous for offering vibrant and realistic colors. Darker blacks and brighter whites, accurate colors, all make up a vivid image. For gamers, it offers low input lag, and a unique gaming mode will enable epic gaming!

Gaming Specs

  1. Input Lag – 16ms
  2. Refresh Rate – 120Hz
  3. HDR compatible – NO
  4. Resolution – 1920×1080 pixels
  5. Brightness – 2,200 lumens

Built-in 10-watt mono speakers provide enhanced sound quality for elevated enjoyment. Speakers are the best fit for midsized rooms. The BenQ HT2050A comes with a variety of connectivity options that are not common at this price range. So whether you are using it for gaming or home entertainment purposes, connecting this projector is a breeze.

9. BenQ TH671ST

BenQ TH671ST - 9 Best Cheap Gaming Projector - ULTRAdvice.com

This is our last pick on this list with the input lag of 16ms for an ultra-smooth gaming experience without blur and lag. It is a solid value for your money.

The BenQ TH671ST is a short-throw gaming projector made for the big picture in small apartments or dorm rooms. Ease of setup and transportability are the selling points of this projector. This is a 1080p projector with the brightness of 3,000 lumens. TH671ST is offering excellent picture quality with stunning colors and contrast.

We suggest playing games in dark rooms without direct sunlight to enjoy the crisp and sharp picture quality offered by the BenQ TH671ST projector.

Gaming Specs

  1. Input Lag – 16ms
  2. Refresh Rate – 120Hz
  3. HDR compatible – NO
  4. Resolution – 1920×1080 pixels
  5. Brightness – 3,000 lumens

Onboard 5-watt speakers are loud and clear, and they are the best fit for small rooms. As with the projectors discussed in this list, the BenQ TH671ST supports most media players and gaming consoles.

Conclusion

Hope that we helped you choose a gaming projector from a sea of identical projector under $1000. Let us know which one of the above sounds interesting to you.

In 2021, modern projectors are optimized to deliver a dedicated and rich gaming experience on displays twice (maybe thrice) bigger than TVs while not sacrificing input lag and refresh rate! The projectors discussed in this article are great for you if you don’t mind a 1080p resolution to save money.

Finally, do not wait. A projector is worth investing in! Replace that large TV in your living room with one of the best cheap gaming projectors discussed above!

Rakesh Kurhade
Rakesh is a tech enthusiast, engineer, team leader and digital growth hacker. He is working for Robu.in (robotics e-commerce website) for the past 4+ years. His expertise includes research, reading, writing, thinking, planning, organizing and striving for perfection. He is passionate, hardworking and committed to plan and develop the brand Robu. In his free time, he writes articles at ULTRAdvice to help people find the answers to the questions that Google cannot answer. Contact him on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.