best short throw projectors

10 Best Short Throw Projectors for Movies and Gaming

Whether you’re a gamer or a home theater enthusiast, getting a high-quality 65 inch short throw project at a reasonable price is a viable possibility. However, for an authentic cinematic experience, we suggest that you turn your gaze towards projectors, as they can easily go up to 120+ inches of screen size.

However, projectors are a bit more complicated than TV’s, since they require special lighting conditions and an appropriate setup. Also, they need a minimum of 6-10 feet of distance between a screen surface and a projector to produce a 100-inch image. And this distance requirement is a potential cause of trouble, especially if you're living in a small apartment or a dorm room.

Fortunately, there are projectors known as “short throw” projectors that require less than 6 feet of distance to produce a 100-inch image. In most cases, that number is closer to 4 feet, with moderately priced models, which is great if you’re limited on space. On more expensive models, this distance is shortened to only a few inches without damaging image quality. 

To maximize your viewing experience, it helps to know which are the best short throw projectors on the market. But with so many options available on the market, it easy to get confused and end up with a model you’re not happy about.

To help you chose a product best suited to your needs, we comprised a list of best short throw projectors currently available on the market. Here are some options:

Best performance for video and gaming

41tj1J3QtsL. SL160  - 10 Best Short Throw Projectors for Movies and Gaming

Optoma GT1080HDR

  • Amazing performance
  • Gaming-oriented
  • Only 8.4ms input lag
Good value product

41gQJ5ngWeL. SL160  - 10 Best Short Throw Projectors for Movies and Gaming

BenQ HT2150ST

  • Astonishing image quality
  • Low-noise cooling system
  • Good contrast ratio
Best budget option

518Nvlqur6L. SL160  - 10 Best Short Throw Projectors for Movies and Gaming

BenQ MW632ST

  • Very bright
  • Good image quality
  • Good audio

​Top 10 Short Throw Projector Reviews

Optoma GT1080HDR

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41tj1J3QtsL - 10 Best Short Throw Projectors for Movies and Gaming
493 Reviews
Optoma GT1080HDR Short Throw Gaming...
  • HDR COMPATIBLE: HDR10 technology (with 4K input) enable brighter whites and...
  • Fast response time: enhanced gaming mode enables Lightning-fast response time of...

Optoma GT1080Darbee would be our first choice with their newest, 2019 model, the GT1080HDR. Like its name suggests, the new model supports 4K HDR input, and comes with a 3800 lumens light source, for day time and night time gaming.

This gaming short-throw projector saves up space, projecting a 120-inch image from only 4 feet away – which is ideal for small space. The hardware provides a 16:9 aspect ratio, with a 1080p resolution with a 120Hz refresh rate, and compatibility with 4K UHD and HDR input signals.

Color reproduction is sound, with excellent levels of black, and no apparent shading issues. If your primary use is gaming, you'll love GT1080HDR – its lag time is only 8.4ms. Coupled with a 120Hz refresh rate, gaming visuals will run incredibly smoothly, whether your shooting or driving.

Three thousand eight hundred lumens are high enough for a moderately lit home; however, you might want to tone it down when the room goes dark. It can make the colors appear a little washed out, so some tuning is required. Other than that, the product has no apparent shortcomings, as it offers excellent performance and connectivity and setup options.

So, if you’re looking for a gaming projector for your dorm room or a small apartment, we highly recommend the GT1080HDR.

The Good

  • Amazing performance
  • Only needs 4 feet for a 120-inch image projection
  • Gaming-oriented

The Bad

  • Some users reported a faulty light source.

BenQ HT2150ST

BenQ HT2150ST 1080P Short Throw...
  • Unparalleled picture quality: Native 1080p Full HD image quality with 2200 ANSI...
  • Video games on the biggest screen: superior short throw projection enables you...

We rated the HT2150ST as second-best on our list because you can rarely find a more capable 1080p gaming projector. So, if you’re looking for a new gaming monitor or a big TV, the HT2150ST delivers a massive 100-inch image from less than 5 feet away.

The astonishing image quality this projector provides is its selling point. The picture is quite pleasing and crispy sharp, featuring vibrant and accurate colors, with a 15,000:1 contrast ratio. The bulb provides 2200 ANSI lumens, which is more than enough for dimly or moderately lit rooms, but insufficient in direct light.

HT2150ST has seven preprogrammed picture modes, including Cinema and two Game modes. Both game modes are great as they feature reduced input lag of 16.67ms, while Cinema mode provides vivid colors that’ll take your breath away.

10-watt built-in speakers are in charge of audio playback; however, we feel they're inadequate for gaming, as they lack strength. That's why we strongly advise that you connect external speakers via the projector's 3.5mm auxiliary output.

We are quite pleased with the performance this projector offers. The image quality is breathtaking, and it's quite easy to set up, you only need to follow the detailed instructions manual provided with the projector.

The Good

  • Astonishing image quality
  • Quiet
  • 100-inch screen from 4.9 feet

The Bad

  • None for this price range

ViewSonic PX706HD

ViewSonic 1080p Short Throw Projector...
  • SUPERSIZED MOVIES AND GAMES: Immersive theater-like experience in Full HD...
  • CINEMATIC COLORS: Exclusive Color technology offers a wide color gamut for...

The PX706HD is a gaming-focused short throw projector, offering 1080p resolution, better than average audio, and 16.4ms input lag. But what puts it on the list of best short throw projectors are his home- theater capabilities.

Despite 1080p resolution, this projector has a 16:9 aspect ratio, crisp, clear focus, and FullHD 3D capabilities, which we’ll discuss later. For now, it’s worth mentioning the short throw lens, which can project a 120-inch image from 6 feet away, with 2700 ANSI lumens light source.

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Color brightness is surprisingly accurate, but dependent on brightness setting. High levels of light increase white brightness output, which may reduce color vividness — reducing the brightness results in better color saturation, making the colors more vibrant.

When it comes to settings, presets, and performance, Gaming mode offers the best contrast, colors, and shading.

This short-throw projector has Full HD 3D support with DLP-Link glasses, at a reduced brightness, of course. It's typical for 3D capable projectors to decrease brightness when projecting 3D, as compared with 2D, and PX706HD is no exception. You can remedy this by reducing the image size if you don't mind a slightly smaller projection image.

With the the built-in 5-watt speaker, and a large speaker chamber, the projector delivers a satisfying sound, strong enough to fill a mid-sized room.

The PX706HD is an excellent lightweight 1080p gaming and home theater projector with some slight business capabilities, making it a good value purchase.

The Good

  • Bright
  • Quiet
  • Low input lag
  • Decent image quality

The Bad

  • No lens cap
  • No adjustable 3D depth

BenQ W1080ST

BenQ W1080ST 1080p 3D Short Throw DLP...
  • HDTV Compatibility: 480i, 480p, 576i, 567p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p
  • Picture Modes: Dynamic, Standard, Cinema, 3D, User 1, User 2, User 3

Yet another BenQ model on our list, the W1080ST attracts attention with the features it provides, at a reasonable price tag. Throwing a 120-inch image from a 6-feet distance, this model is a godsend if you're turning your room into a personal cinema.

The W1080ST offers surprisingly excellent image quality, considering the price range, with popping colors, and incredibly sharp contrasts. Color accuracy and color calibration are this model’s stronger points. They’re well-saturated and relatively balanced. Also, high brightness and deep levels of black allow for great shading, a feature that stands out during dark movie scenes.

Instead of software image sharpening, the W1080ST provides a naturally high sharpness, that sometimes may seem like much. Luckily, you can always slightly turn down sharpness, without affecting image details in a meaningful manner.

One thing that is preventing this projector from moving up on our list is its 3D capabilities. When compared with other 3D-capable models, the difference between 3D and 2D on W1080ST is vastly significant. Despite having excellent brightness and color saturation, the 3D function of the W1080ST lacks contrast. This is especially visible during dark scenes, as the lack of contrasts results in the loss of color depth.

Still, when correctly set, BenQ W1080ST offers excellent image quality for a home cinema setup, making it a worthy purchase.

The Good

  • Great value product
  • Surprisingly good image quality

The Bad

  • 3D scenes lack a little depth

Epson Home Cinema 1060

Epson Home Cinema 1060 Full HD 1080p...
  • Widescreen Full HD 1080p entertainment up to 300 inches life sized images upto...
  • Bright ideal for a variety of lighting conditions, the projector has 3,100...

Epson HC1060 is among the brightest projectors within its price category, delivering well above the established standard.

With such a massive light output, the projector offers unparalleled screen brightness uniformity of approx. 80%. Though it doesn't sound as good, we assure you – it is. However, this much light is unnecessary for a 120- inch screen, allowing you to increase screen size up to 230-inch when in the dark room.

By default, the HC1060 delivers a realistic reproduction of colors for watching movies; however, 3300 lumens come with a cost – not-as-dark blacks. But when it comes to color, 3300 lumens will deliver well-saturated colors, even in a well-lit room.

And while its cinematic capabilities are its most significant selling point, gamers are advised to avoid this model, as it features 52ms of input lag across all color and mode settings. For serious gamers, this lag is a severe disadvantage, as they require faster hardware.

Still, if you're a movie-enthusiast who like some casual, slow-paced gaming, you can significantly benefit from a larger screen. This model features several other exciting options like Wi-Fi connectivity and reading files from a USB memory. Also, the replacement laps are quite affordable, which is why we would recommend this model to a serious cinema lover.

The Good

  • Bright
  • Good for movies
  • Affordable replacement lamps

The Bad

  • Not for gaming
  • No auxiliary audio output

Optoma GT5600

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Optoma GT5600 Ultra Short Throw Gaming...
  • ULTRA-SHORT THROW: Experience a large 100" diagonal image projected from only...
  • INCREDIBLE PICTURE QUALITY: Enjoy bright, razor-sharp images with 3, 600 lumens,...

The ultra-short throw projections, 3600 lumens, and auto keystone and four corners correction, make the GT5600 one of the best short throw projectors on the market. This device isn’t only limited to movies and gaming – it has enough potential to satisfy all your entertainment needs.

The GT5600 is a near-wall, ultra-short-throw device that projects 100-inch images from only inches away from the screen surface. This prevents logistical nightmare filed with various cables and connectors and allows an unobstructed image projection. Speaking of image projections, at 100-inches, the high contrast ratio, and 3600 lumens provide bright, crystal-clear, and razor-sharp images.

The device setup is pretty straightforward, as the auto keystone sensors, and corner correction allow quick calibration, while autofocus takes charge of image sharpness. This is particularly handy if the surface the projector sits on is bumped or slightly pushed.

If you're a fan of 3D video, this projector has the full support of the feature, providing you with a real 3D feeling, displayed from any 3D source. If you're into gaming, a rapid refresh rate of 144Hz will ensure that your gaming experience is ultra-smooth and flicker-free, at least on a visual level.

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Overall, purchasing the GT5600 is the first solid step towards building a respectable home theater. It provides excellent quality, exceptional connectivity options, and lots of viewing pleasure.

The Good

  • Excellent contrast ratio and image quality
  • Gaming-oriented
  • Great for home theaters

The Bad

  • Heats up pretty fast

Epson Home Cinema LS100

Epson Home Cinema LS100 3LCD Ultra...
  • Transcendent viewing experience — place the projector just inches from the...
  • Ultra bright laser technology — with a powerful 4,000 lumens of equal color...

The joys of having an ultra-short-throw projector can only be heightened by adding a laser as a light source, instead of a conventional bulb. Epson HC LS100 combines the two, offering an incredibly long laser life span of 20,000 hours, and fantastic image quality projected from a few inches away.

Using a laser as a light source ensures a consistent color intensity, throughout those 20,000 hours of work, without hindering image brightness or quality. Placing this device 2.5 inches from a wall allows you to enjoy a 70-inch screen, while 18 inches provides you with a 130-inch Full HD image. 

The manufacturer advertised that the LS100 outputs 4000 lumens, which is an "overkill" since you'll only need about 2000-2500 lumens in low ambient light. The contrast ratio is also incredibly high, contrasting at 2,500,000:1, which provides outstandingly deep levels of black, coupled with exceptionally vivid colors.    

Despite its outstanding features, the LS100 has some drawbacks. For example, the projector lacks a 3D function, which isn't surprising for a UST laser projector if this price range. Also, an optical limitation of the focal lens limits screen size to 130 inches, despite the chosen aspect ratio.

Still, the LS100 has the right combination of features you're most likely to enjoy, providing you with a more immersive cinematic and gaming experience.

The Good

  • Long lifespan of 20,000 hours
  • Good image quality
  • UST coupled with laser projection

The Bad

  • Gets noisy

BenQ MW632ST

BenQ MW632ST WXGA Short Throw Projector...
  • EXECUTIVE QUALITY PROJECTOR – WXGA resolution (1280x800) offers 2x more...
  • DESIGNED FOR ANY ENVIRONMENT – With it’s 3, 200 lumens and a high native...

The MW632ST is a WXGA model with a resolution of 1280x800 pixels, 3200 lumens, and a short-throw lens with a 1.2x optical zoom. It's portability, and ease of use placed it among some of the best short throw projectors currently out there.

Throwing distance is approx. five feet for a 100-inch image projection, which isn't the golden standard, but isn't nearly as bad as some other models. The 3200 lumens we mentioned above are more than enough light for the device's native 16:10 AR. For reference, that much light is needed for a 350-inch screen in a dark theatre environment. So, it's more than enough light for a 100-inch display in a dimly lit room.

Image quality is near-excellent, with balanced and well-saturated colors. Motion picture quality also provides good-quality colors, shades, and blacks, but also tends to show rainbow artifacts. This isn’t as surprising as one might think, considering that MW632ST is a single-chip DLP (digital light processing) projector.

The on-board speakers, on the other hand, deliver above-average sound quality, with enough volume to fill a conference room, let alone your living room. Lamp life is also quite considerable, lasting up to 10,00 hours, which is more than 400 days of working a job. Depending on your needs, that translates to 5-10 years of use.

Delivering excellent longevity and reliability, we would strongly recommend the MW632ST to anyone looking for a short-throw projector with a limited budget.

The Good

  • Bright
  • Excellent image quality
  • Great audio

The Bad

  • Rainbow artifacts

ViewSonic PJD7828HDL

ViewSonic 3200 Lumens Full HD 1080p...
  • BIG SCREEN HOME THEATER: Immersive theater-like experience in Full HD...
  • CINEMATIC COLORS: Exclusive SuperColor technology offers a wide color gamut for...

You’ll be pleased with PDJ7828HDL as it offers the above-average capabilities within its price range, which placed it on this list. It also features gaming-oriented functions, good image focus, and video-optimized setting.

The PDJ7828HDL is rated for 3200 ANSI lumens, with 54% brightness uniformity, which is typical for this price group. However, it's bright enough for movie playback on a 155-inch diagonal, in a dark room.

Image quality for video playback is above-average, providing excellent color accuracy, contrast, and adjustability. However, we noticed some rainbow artifacts on black and white videos, but none in a full-color motion picture.

Fans of 3D movies might be a bit disappointed since 3D cuts brightness in half when compared to 2D. But if you’re a gaming fan, you’ll appreciate this model, as it has only 16.4ms input lag, coupled with an incredible edge-to-edge focus.

Combining excellent features makes this ViewSonic model as a suitable TV substitute, home theater, and gaming projector.

The Good

  • Shorter than average throw
  • Suitable for gaming
  • Affordable replacement lamps

The Bad

  • 3D considerably less bright than 2D

ASUS ZenBeam S2

ASUS ZenBeam S2 Portable Mini Wireless...
  • Up to 500 lumens light output with 720p native resolution, 100% NTSC color...
  • As a portable power backup (6000mAh) to charge mobile devices (ECO mode: 3.5...

This product is perfect if you’re traveling a lot, since it’s incredibly portable, weighing less than 18 ounces. ASUS ZenBeam S2 allows you to turn the wall of your hotel room to an over-sized TV for watching movies or other media.

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ZenBeam S2 is genuinely portable, featuring a built-in 6,000 mAh 22Wh battery, which provides about 45 minutes of playtime at 500 lumens. The built-in battery allows the ZB S2 to act as a power bank in case you need one.

This projector offers only 720p resolution, which is quite good, considering its size. Still, the HDMI input supports 1080p60 signals. Image quality tends to vary, but let's all be reminded that we're discussing a portable short-throw projector. At 60 inches across, image quality is quite good, even at 500 lumens – the projectors maximum brightness output.

As you increase the screen size, the brightness, as well as sharpness, decreases. The main problem is competing with ambient light, especially if you're running it on battery. Using the main power provides enough light to project a clear image in a dark room.

The ZenBeam S2 is a smart and convenient solution to get a 60-inch picture of decent quality in no time. It’s small and portable, allowing you to turn your hotel room into a private cinema.

The Good

  • Easy to use
  • Travel-friendly
  • Good battery life

The Bad

  • Only 720p

Things to Consider

Short throw projectors are vastly different than your regular TV and have different variables you'll have to find. To help you make a better choice, we wrote a small buyer's guide to help you familiarize yourself with the most important factors and features.

Considering these factors and features helps you with selecting a short-throw projector that best suits your needs.

Brightness – measured in lumens, which state the quantity of visible light; larger the number – brighter the projector. For home theater or gaming projector, the number of lumens should measure in thousands.  Brightness plays a vital role in color reproduction and image quality, and bigger brightness produces more vibrant colors.  If you're planning on using your ST projector in a low-light environment, low lumen count is acceptable. However, it will be near useless in moderately lit spaces, as ambient light tends to distort the projector's image. Your safest bets are projectors between 2500 and 3200 lumens, as they provide enough brightness for most lighting conditions.

Light source – Light source refers to light bulb the projector uses to “project” an image. Most models still use regular High-Intensity Discharge lamps, or Ultra-High-Performance lamps, which offer approx. 3,000-10,000 work hours depending on the model and brightness.  Newer models use LED bulbs, lasers, or a combination of both. LED lamps have a longer life span, lasting up to 30,000 hours, which is, in many cases, a life span of an entire projector.
Lasers and hybrid lighting are used on more expensive models. They’re more robustly built and reliable, offering excellent color quality and contrast ratios. Also, the lifespan of a laser “lamp” is well above 30,000 hours, and are swapped only in rare cases of malfunction.

Contrast Ratio – Contrast ratio is the ratio of the luminance of the brightest color to that of the darkest color a device can produce. A higher contrast ratio is desirable in any aspect of the display and ensures a good image quality. You can typically recognize low contrast reproduction when everything on the screen looks bland and muddy.
So, when you’re purchasing an ST projector, make sure that contrast ratio measures in tens of thousands, if not more. And in this case, the more – the better.

Resolution – Unlike a physical screen, projectors don't have pixels, so listing a resolution might be unnecessary, as you can't calculate the number of visible lines. However, light and lens quality are compared to physical screen resolution, which is easier for a consumer to understand. 

Connectivity – Using a projector as a home theater or a gaming display means you'll probably need an HDMI port. Or you want your device to be capable of playing things directly from a USB flash memory. Connectivity options allow you to connect your device in different ways, according to your preference, and more options the device has – the better. For example, a mirror connection allows you to project the image of your iOS or Android device, providing a gaming experience on a more prominent display. Whatever input option you choose, make sure such connections support your current hardware.

Portability – Projectors, in general, are intricate devices, comprised of various mechanical and analog components. To increase portability, for travel-friendly models, manufacturers had to sacrifice some things, when it comes to hardware. More serious models that feature professional function tend to be not only pricey but also very heavy.
Portable models, on the other hand, are small and lightweight, but can’t provide the same high-quality image reproduction as bigger models.

Input Lag – This is a delay between an input signal and displaying the image. In most cases, this value isn't provided by the manufacturers but is obtained by professional measurement. Now, for most movie enthusiasts, this value is of little to no importance.  For gamers, on the other hand, this value plays a crucial role. More considerable input lag means a more considerable delay between your actions on your gaming equipment and what appears on the screen, or projected image. This is crucial for gamers, as they’re dependent on their reflexes for their style of play. If you’re looking for a gaming ST projector, your input lag values should be anywhere between 0-20ms.

Price – Projectors can be pretty pricey if you don't know what you're looking for. You can easily spend more money on a projector than a large TV set up, so you should take your time and consider your options. Depending on the features and functions, prices may vary significantly across seemingly similar models.  Still, there are noticeable differences in performance between low-end and high-end models, which is why it's important to know what you're looking for. It's equally important to know how much you're comfortable with spending, as it's easy to be attracted to the devices with a heftier price tag. However, low-end and budget models aren't for scraps, as they also have solid features worth looking into.

Conclusion 

Choosing a good-quality ST projector is a stepping stone towards great gaming and home theatre experience. There is no shortage of good-quality devices on the market, which is why it helps to know exactly what you’re looking for.

The Optoma GT5600 and BenQ HT2150ST are the two most valued products, according to us, and many other satisfied users. They offer the best in terms of image quality, contrast, color reproduction, and input lag, making them both gaming and home theatre oriented.

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