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Buy a projector on a $300 budget

Posted on 2015-01-13
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I've often wanted a projector so that I could present from my laptop.  Can I get a good one that will work well enough typical room, without having to go to extraordinary measures to block out the light?

This for $300 seems like it might be possible today.  Suggestions are greatly appreciated.  Mobility is an important asset today.
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Question by:frugalmule
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by:viki2000
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1 year ago I was in the situation of such need, to buy one urgent and because I did not want to pay too much for it i started to read few days different suggestions and experiences.
Here is what I learnt:
-      You can buy a cheap one, as I did with auction on ebay, a second hand one but you must watch few days or 1-2 weeks the market. The problem with 2nd hand is that you have to pay attention at the inside bulb life time, running hours. A new bulb is very expensive. For example I bought the projector with 140€ and a new lamp is 100€ or more. My lamps was new changed, so I did not have to worry. You can check the lamp running hours inside the projector menus, seen on the projected screen. A lamp with longer running hours will not have the same brightness as a new one and you will not like the image seen.
-      Brightness, that’s one important parameter that you have to watch when you buy one. More brightness, more satisfaction.
-      Portability? Yes, you can buy small projector which have instead of halogen lamp the bright LEDs, but the brightness is still not so good during the daylight. It has to be close to dark or dark.
-      There are new non-portable projectors having LEDs instead of halogen lamp. The life time of the lamp is definitely longer than normal halogen lamp, but for many the brightness is less, so you might not like it.
-      Next thing to watch is the fan noise. All of them have a have to cool down the bright lamp which produces also a lot of heat besides the strong light. Find one with low dB, low noise, as low as possible.
-      The video connection and control. Standard is VGA, but the new models have also HDMI. There some also with WiFi incorporated or at least USB port. The USB port may be only for controlling from PC, but some have also for a USB stick: either to read video/picture from it or as USB to WiFi dedicated stick.
-      The rest of the things are “gadgets”, nice to have but you can live without them.
-      I would say important is brightness, contrast, long life time for bulb, low noise fan, resolution of the screen and then comes connectivity as you need it.
-      The last thing, after you buy it, is the location. In the beginning maybe you keep it for a while on a desk, table and then somewhere in a box, a corner, unused. Well, after a while, I installed on ceiling with a dedicated bracket which allows 3d setting and I bought a 3m screen. When you do that, keep in mind that on top of the room is warmer than where you stay, 50-70cm from ground floor on a sofa. Mine is at around 2.25 m from floor. The heat from room + the heat dissipated from bulb, which is a lot because you can feel the rising of temperature in the room, that heat will have bad influence over the projector. There is a special chip inside which transforms the digital electrical signals into image, behaving as a filter. It is called DLP chip. That chip dies slowly due to the heat similar as the bulb inside. As effect of the chip aging you may experience small white dots on the screen, which they multiply almost exponential. It is like a disease. My projector suffers from such disease. The DLP chip is expensive and hard to be replaced, can be replaced only by technicians with skills and knowledge. The bulb is easy to be replaced, can be done by you too.
-      As conclusion, would be good to buy a new projector and take care where you place it to avoid heat as much as possible.

For 300$ you may buy a projector with brightness between 4000-5000 lumens.
How bright should your projector be?:
http://www.projectorpeople.com/resources/lumen-guide.asp
http://www.theprojectorpros.com/learn-s-learn-p-projectors_bright.htm
http://soundbp.com/what-brightness-datavideo-projector-do-i-need/
http://www.projectorpoint.co.uk/Projector-Brightness-Advice.htm

And if you think at really daylight, then remember those cinema garden/park movie projections. They have expensive projectors (10-30K $), of course for  long distance, but with many more lumens and they still wait for evenings...
But maybe a solution, which I never tried comes also from screen type:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhDmGmO06zA
I have a cheap 30€ screen.
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by:frugalmule
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Do you have a link to a particularly good option?
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by:viki2000
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by:Michael-Best
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For better viewing during the day a powerful lamp of 2,000 lumens or more is needed.
All projectors look best in a dark room, and 1,000 lumens is plenty in a dark room.

A good buy is:
NEC 2600-lumen High-Brightness Mobile Projector (NP- V260 )

List Price: $513.37
Price: $299.95 + $8.49 shipping

Link to amazon.com:
http://www.amazon.com/NEC-2600-lumen-High-Brightness-Mobile-Projector/dp/B004ZBSFKW
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by:frugalmule
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Michael, thank you!

Looking for HDMI, any suggestions?
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by:Michael-Best
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DBPOWER White HD 1080P Home Theatre LED Projector 20000Hours 800*600 2000Lumens 2*HDMI 2*USB SD White


List Price: $499.99
Price:$239.99 & FREE Shipping.
Sold by amazon.com

Product link:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AE2IT5M/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_1?pf_rd_p=1944687602&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B00C709V6A&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=099VVFTYPWNNH284FK5S

For a newer model.
Brand New Full HD Projector 2000 Lumens, 16:9 Aspect Ratio, Contrast Ratio 1200:1, 30,000 Hours Bulb Life, Support 1080P, 720P, with 3 HDMI+2 USB + AV+ S-video+ VGA inputs for Small-room Meeting, Movie Party, Football Night, TV, Game Consoles, TV, DVD, PC, Laptop, Media Player, Home Cinema, PS, XBOX, WII

Sale: $239.68 & FREE Shipping.

See this amazon.com link:
http://www.amazon.com/Brand-Full-Projector-2000-Lumens/dp/B00FXNI8SA/ref=dp_ob_title_hi



For a cheaper option see:
DBPOWER 1080P Video Projector 854*540 2000 Lumens HD Home Theater Multimedia LCD Projector HDMI USB TV DVD WII

$185.99 & FREE Shipping
Sold by amazon.com

Product link:
http://www.amazon.com/DBPOWER-Projector-Lumens-Theater-Multimedia/dp/B00C709V6A

Please note that amazon.com links do not last forever, that is why I include the model details before the link.
You can find many more projectors from a google search "amazon.com 2000 lumens hdmi projector"
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by:Michael-Best
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If the room is bright then a 2000 lumens may not be bright enough?
Consider a 2600 lumems option:
EUG X760+(A) New Android4.2 Bulit-in Wifi 3D Full HD LED Home Office Projector Multimedia LCD Video Image System 1080p 2600 Lumens For Home Cinema Theater Games Education Business Party Meeting With USB SD HDMI VGA AV TV Port

Price:$413.00
Sale:$299.00 & FREE Shipping

Sold by amazon.com


Amazon link:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PDAIW5C/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_3?pf_rd_p=1944687762&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B003A4HE8Y&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0EWNH69GRK905FPRE64J

The 3000 lumems projectors will ensure clear images in bright rooms but exceed your budget?

Vivitek D554 SVGA DLP Portable Projector, 3000-Lumen 3D HDMI

Price: $399.99 & FREE Shipping
Sold by amazon.com


Amazon link:


http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GID93LU/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_2?pf_rd_p=1944687762&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B003A4HE8Y&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0EWNH69GRK905FPRE64J
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by:frugalmule
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Your comment below looks like a great option for us at 2600 lumens with all the bells and whistles for $300.  I was curious if you can tell me whether you can use a brighter bulb even if you started with 2600 lumens?
Consider a 2600 lumems option:
 EUG X760+(A) New Android4.2 Bulit-in Wifi 3D Full HD LED Home Office Projector Multimedia LCD Video Image System 1080p 2600 Lumens For Home Cinema Theater Games Education Business Party Meeting With USB SD HDMI VGA AV TV Port

 Price:$413.00
 Sale:$299.00 & FREE Shipping

 Sold by amazon.com


 Amazon link:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PDAIW5C/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_3?pf_rd_p=1944687762&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B003A4HE8Y&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0EWNH69GRK905FPRE64J
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by:viki2000
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A brighter bulb means more power, wattage, more heat.
It may be possible to destroy the projector. Or maybe you have to change that fan too to provide a better airflow to evacuate the additional heat. Then is the socket of the bulb.
I wouldn't try that unless you are a real technical guy.
And besides the heat is the electrical power. The circuit which provides the power, the current to the bulb should be good for more power.
If you are sure that you get more light, more brightness with similar, close to, value of the heat and the same current/voltage for the bulb, then you may change it, other wise not.
As usually the light, the brightness is directly proportional with the current/power of the lamp it would imply all the unwanted disadvantaged mentioned above.
So, do not change with a  higher power, brightness bulb, unless is mentioned by manufacturer in the manual of the projector.
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by:frugalmule
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ok. That's a really good pick anyway 2600 lumens with all the bells and whistles that thing has.  I just purchased it and am really excited. I'd like to site a good source for the correct bulb so that we are prepared when the time comes.  Do you have a good source for that?
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by:viki2000
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That's a 160W LED Lamp with 50.000 hours lamp life, 10x more than a usual halogen one.
Is gonna take many years until will fail.

You bought a pure chinese projector.
Here is the manufacturer EUG:
http://eug.en.alibaba.com/

and the official website:
http://www.chinaprojector-eug.com/

Maybe you can ask them directly about the bulb by sending them an email.
The brightness of the LEDs will decrease in time due to the heat mostly.
But maybe you will have no problems for the next 5 years.
At that time you may sell your projector as second hand one.
And if you want to still use it, it would be good to find the price for a replacement LED bulb. In 5 years from now on I am not so sure you will still find the bulb for the present projector.
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"Your comment below looks like a great option for us at 2600 lumens with all the bells and whistles for $300.  I was curious if you can tell me whether you can use a brighter bulb even if you started with 2600 lumens?"

Never use a bulb rated over the projectors specs.
A fire may result.

The bulb will last many years, the warranty will cover replacement if it fails sooner.
Check the manual for the replacement bulb model if and when needed.
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