The best projectors

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Six of the best projectors to buy

So you’ve decided to buy a projector and have read our guide so you know what to lookout for. The next step is choosing the model you want. We’ve compiled a list that encompasses everything from the most expensive — and impressive — Ultra HD model, through to a sensibly priced model to suit any budget. So let Expert Reviews contributing editor Ian Morris guide you through the world of projectors. 
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Sony VPL-VW500ES

Sony VPL-VW500ES

eBay loves: Breathtaking picture quality
Watch out for: The price is likely to be a problem for most
RRP: £8,800

This isn’t a projector aimed at everyone, but it does offer amazing Ultra HD video for those who want the very best  — and are prepared to pay for it. As long as you have some suitable source material, you’ll see a staggering amount of detail with Ultra HD, but the Sony VPL-VW500ES also does a great job at upscaling 1080p Full HD video. So prepare for some amazing movie sessions.
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Philips Screeneo HDP1590TV

Philips Screeneo HDP1590TV

eBay loves: Everything you need in one box and designed for real living rooms
Watch out for: Picture isn’t the sharpest or most detailed
RRP: £1,500

For those who love the idea of a projector, but don’t want to set up their lounge around one, the Philips Screeneo HDP1590TV is perfect. It’s designed to sit very close to the surface you’re projecting on, which means you can put it on a stand in front of a wall as you would with a TV. It has speakers built-in, as well as a Freeview tuner, so there’s no need to mess around with much else. This is the projector to get if you want to replace your TV and get a 100-inch image.
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Optoma HD131Xe

Optoma HD131Xe

eBay loves: Bright and detailed image for a low price
Watch out for: Needs to be set up with care to get the best picture
RRP: £500

Without doubt, the Optoma HD131Xe scores for its brightness and brilliant picture quality, especially considering the bargain price. You need to invest some time in setting it up to get the best picture quality, but once that’s done, you’ll be rewarded by a great quality image for a similar price as a 40-inch LCD TV. The Optoma even supports 3D, which is a brilliant at this price, although you will need to buy the active-shutter 3D glasses separately.
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Panasonic PT-AT6000

Panasonic PT-AT6000

eBay loves: Superb brightness, ideal for 3D
Watch out for: No 3D glasses included
RRP: £1,600

Brightness is a big issue for projectors, but at 2,400 lumens, the Panasonic PT-AT6000 should be bright enough to watch during the day without shutting the curtains. You also get Full HD and 3D support, although no 3D glasses are supplied. Bulb life is a reasonable 5,000 hours and if you used the projector for 13 hours each day, the bulb would last a year. Panasonic also works extensively with its Hollywood Labs to make sure the 3D effects on this model are spot on too. It’s not cheap, but it’s one awesome viewing experience.
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Epson EH-TW5200

Epson EH-TW5200

eBay loves: 3D and 1080p make this a great bargain
Watch out for: You might notice some noise from its fan
RRP: £750

At well under £1,000, the Epson EH-TW5200 offers a lot of bang for your buck. You get 3D and 1080p Full HD support, so it’s brilliant for those who love movies. There’s also an ultra-fast gaming mode, which means there’s no on-screen lag when displaying video from a games console. MHL support also means you can stream video from your phone or tablet. Bulb life is about 5,000 hours, so you’ll get a good run before you need to replace the expensive light source.
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BenQ GP20

BenQ GP20

eBay loves: 720p projector for a great price
Watch out for: You’ll need a dark room, because it’s not the brightest projector
RRP: £490

For those who want a projector for size reasons and aren’t too fussed about Full HD image quality, then the BenQ GP20 is ideal. It’s still capable of creating amazing video, but at a slightly lower 720p resolution and brightness than the others in this selection. The good news is the slightly dimmer bulb lasts as long as 20,000 hours, which is a really good stretch and will keep running costs down.
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