As Canadians – in a first world country – We now live in a world where we are constantly surrounded by screens. Tv screens, phone screens, all sorts of monitors, clocks and notebooks are a just few examples of the ever present technology that has permeated our lives. Projectors have been around relatively longer than many of the “smart” screen options we know and love today. Nonetheless, they continue to offer a great alternative for those who need or want a larger screen.

In recent years, their use has become enormously popular as technology continues to advance. Manufacturers are constantly launching new models, many at an incredibly reduced price. As the options grow exponentially, it is making it harder and harder to pick the right model for your needs. In the sections below, we’ve broken down everything you need to know about projectors and which qualities to look for before making your final purchase decision.

Key Facts

  • Today, ​video projectors have a multitude of functions. With an ever increasing variety of settings, projectors are being put to use in professional, educational and recreational settings. In recent years however, their use in Canadian homes has increased substantially. This is mainly due to the fact that the average family now has the ability to enjoy movies at a cinematic level.
  • Currently, there are three distinct models of projectors: LCD, DLP or LCoS. Each of these technologies comes with distinct advantages and disadvantages.
  • When choosing a projector, the main features to pay close attention to are the quality of light contrast, brightness and the maximum resolution that it is capable of emitting.

Ranking: The best projectors available on the Canadian market

After thorough research, we’ve compiled a list of the five best projectors currently available to Canadians. We’ve done our best to include a wide variety of projectors that offer the highest quality at the best price.

No. 1: Vankyo – Leisure 3 – Portable Projector

This portable projector by Vankyo offers an amazing viewing experience at a very affordable price. This brand new, 2019 upgraded technology delivers 60% more brightness to every picture, making it available in high quality resolutions from 32” up to 176”. It’s two built-in speakers work to make you feel as though you’re right in the theatres. This cinematic experience is enhanced by noise suppression technology that cuts the sound of the cooling system in half.

This easy to set up projector is made to be used by anyone and everyone. It’s includes a hook up that allows you to project any image directly from your phone onto the big screen via its HDMI input. The HDMI input enables you to freely stream any multimedia content from computers, video game consoles, TVs, SD/AV devices and more! Keep in mind that adapters are not included. Last but not least, the manufacturer offers this projector with a guaranteed 3 year warranty.

No. 2: DR. J Professional – Mini Projector

The mini project by Dr. J has received amazing reviews on Amazon for its great value at a low cost. It’s 60% brighter than other mini projectors on the market, providing greater resolution that’s not overstimulating to the eyes. It’s LED lamp lasts up to 50,000 hours, providing a much longer lifespan than prior models. The manufacturer recommends using the projector in dark rooms to obtain optimum resolution and viewing experience.

Because this mini projector is so portable, it enables you to carry a 170” big screen with you wherever you go. No bigger than the size of your palm, it’s perfect for watching tv, movies or games in your home, your friends home or any outside party. This portable home theatre supports USB flash drive and micro SD card technology, with a max of 32GB built int storage. However, displaying high resolution programs such as PPT, Word and Excel presentations is not ideal with this model.

No. 3: QKK – Mini Projector

This mini projector, comes weighing in at a mere 860g, it offers upgraded picture and sound quality in a little package. QKK has incorporated the latest technology to provide a projection size of 32” to 176”, with a contrast ratio of 2000:1, a max supported resolution of 1080P and a variety of multimedia hookups including HDMI, VGA, USB, AV, SD and AUX inputs.

Although it offers a 75% higher brightness resolution than other projectors of its size, it is best suited for outdoor or indoor movies in the dark, as bright light tends to decrease visibility. The 50,000 hour LED lamp has a lifespan of about 13 years, even if used 10 hours per day! QKK offers every customer 100% satisfaction guarantee with a promised 3 year warranty.

No. 4: Jinhoo – Masterpiece Mini Projector

Jinhoo Projectors are always in pursuit of the newest technology, these manufacturers are known for their use high quality materials and meticulous manufacturing. This allows them to provide the highest quality projector for the lowest price. The Masterpiece Mini Projector offers a 32’’ to 176’’ projection size, with a 1.5m-5m projection distance. It includes built-in 2W*2 stereo speakers that provide a full-range of pitches for a full stereo sound effect.

Because it conveniently connects to WiFi, you can connect it to any IOS or Android system for easy, high quality cinematic viewing. Like other items in this ranking, it is universally compatible with phones, tvs, laptops and any other USB interface. Consumers are happy that this device provides an amazing gaming and/or cinematic experience in a smaller, and more portable form than an average big-screen TV.

No. 5: Vankyo – Leisure Projector

The Leisure Projector by Vankyo comes at a slightly larger size, weighing in at 5.5 lb, but with an exceptionally high resolution of 1920x1080P. This projector provides high quality HD images with two built-in 3 Watt speakers to provide outstanding audio quality. It projects onto screens that start from 44 to 200 inches. These specs allow this projector to provide a fully immersive cinematic experience in the comfort of your own home.

Moreover, the Leisure projector includes 2 HDMI, 2 USB, VGA, AV and USB ports as well as an SD card slot. The extended lamp life lasts for approximately 50,000 hours, allowing it to last up to 10 years. It’s advanced cooling system keeps the projector from overheating without any excess noise, creating the illusion of a high quality theatre experience. There are four M3 holes included for a ceiling mount, although the projector hanger is sold separately.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about projectors

Buying a projector can be a big investment. Before making your purchase, you’ll want to familiarise yourself with the advantages and disadvantages of each model. The number of features that each projector offers can vary greatly, and knowing the specifics of each model will allow you to make the most informed purchase. In the following sections, we’ve addressed the most frequently asked questions and concerns by those wanting to purchasing a new projector.

Projectors will take your Powerpoint presentations to the next level.
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What is a projector exactly?

A projector is a device designed to receive video signal and project it onto a screen, or other large surfaces, through a technological lens system that provides high quality viewing. Normally, high quality bulbs are used to enhance the brightness and resolution of the image. The most up to date technology is used to correct blurry images and increase contrast through an intricate system of advanced adjustable lenses.

Currently, there are three distinct categories of projectors: LCD, DLP or LCoS.
(Source: Sverdielov: 87159443/123rf.com)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using projectors?

Today, video projectors offer a number of amazing advantages outside of just providing an at home theatre experience. Nonetheless, there are also a few disadvantages that we should always take into consideration. In the table below, we’ve summarised the main advantages and disadvantages of using projectors.

Advantages Disadvantages
These devices offer a much larger image than a TV or monitor. Therefore, you can enjoy a much more immersive viewing experience. They take longer to turn on than a TV.
They allow you to enjoy an at-home cinematic experience. Most require the purchase of a separate sound system.
Their dimensions are smaller than those of a television, making the organisation of interior spaces much easier. The lamp and bulbs need to be replaced from time to time, which can come at a high price.
Simple to use and install May require adapters or extra connectors.
A multitude of uses: educational, professional or for leisure. Very portable. Some higher quality devices may not be as portable and may require more delicate handling and installation.

Is buying a projector worth the cost?

The answer to this question will depend on how you intend to use it. For professional or educational use, absolutely. If you want a projector for the purpose of watching movies, TV series or for gaming purposes, the answer will depend a bit more on your desires and needs for viewing experiences in your home or elsewhere.

Keep in mind that if you’re wanting to project images of sporting events in large public venues, buying a high quality projector is a great option. It has become extremely accessible to the average business owner, as payments can be financed and be done month to month with most manufacturers.

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Did you know that in recent years, the price of projectors has fallen considerably in Canadian markets, making this technology much more accessible to the general public?

What are the main uses of a projector?

Projectors have a very wide variety of uses. They are often used for presentations in conference rooms, classrooms, schools and universities, and of course, to simulate a home cinema. In recent years, high quality technology has become much more affordable, which means their presence has also increased in the likes of bars and plazas for sporting events and other public viewing gatherings.

What kinds of projectors are there?

Today, projectors are categorised as having either LCD, DLP or LCoS technology. All of them offer a different set of features. The two most widely used are LCD or DPL projectors; in the following table we have summarised their main characteristics to help you compare them. Depending on your needs, you’ll first choose one of these three categories of projectors to then pick your ideal model.

LCD Projectors DLP Projectors
Image The image is created through millions of tiny mirrors that direct and project light in the direction of the screen. It works in a similar fashion as the LCD projectors, although the panels reflect the light instead of letting it pass through.
Colours Colours are not so vivid, a little more muted. Lower brightness levels and good image definition. They have a quality grayscale. They show very vivid colours and softer, more natural images. They offer a fairly good response to moving images.
Advantages They are lighter and take up less space. They aren’t excessively noisy.
Price They require a higher investment. High price, although some portable versions are less expensive.

Is buying a screen necessary in order to use a projector?

If you are going to use the projector in a professional environment, having a screen is highly recommended. Otherwise, depending on your budget, you may be able to make do without it. It’s quite easy to replace a screen with a white, grey or any non reflective wall. However, in these cases image quality could be compromised.

For this reason, we always suggest investing in a good quality screen if you are looking to purchase your own projector. Ultimately, using a screen will allow you to utilise the projector to its highest capacity and obtain the highest quality viewing experice. When it comes to the location and setup of your screen, it’s important to keep in mind that ambient light is a projector’s biggest enemy.

Projectors are very popular in academic settings.
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Where should one setup a projector?

Before you buy a projector, you should always analyse where it is that you’re going to place it. Because light tends to diminish the quality of the picture, it’s best to keep it away from areas with a lot of lighting and far away from halls and doorways. When setting it up to face the screen, you should arrange it perpendicularly to the centre portion of the screen.

You can easily calculate the appropriate distance from the screen by multiplying the width of the screen by 1.5 or 2. If you want to put the projector in a more enclosed space, you always have the option of buying a projector that functions at shorter distances. Some projectors even provide viewing from distances of less that 1 metre.

Purchase Criteria

When the time comes to purchase a projector, it’s essential that you take into consideration all the important features they can offer. To make it easier for you, we have selected the characteristics we consider most relevant. This can serve as a guide as you begin to research which projector you want to buy. It is our hope that this information will allow you to find the highest quality projector that meets all your needs while staying within your budget.

  • Intended use for the projector
  • Format
  • Resolution
  • Glow
  • Contrast
  • Connectivity
  • Extras

Intended use for the projector

There is no doubt that the first question you should ask yourself before buying a projector is what you are going to do with it. You won’t need the same type of projector for a small conference room isolated from ambient light, as you would need for a bar with large windows and light. Likewise, you won’t need the same equipment to play movies from your laptop as you will for projecting sporting events on a grand scale.

The space you have and the content you want to watch, are the two key aspects to consider when narrowing your choice of a projector. These factors will help determine, among other things, the format, resolution and brightness capacity of the projector you need to buy. Similarly, you’ll need to take into consideration which equipment is compatible with your projector in order to connect it to any external devices (TVs, laptops, phones etc.).

Format

The format of a projector relays the specific width and height ranges of the image. There are several options, depending on what type of content you will be displaying on the screen. The 4:3 format is ideal for presentations, slides or classic films. The 16:9/16:10 formats are aimed for projecting movies or TV channels in high definition.

And finally, there are film formats such as 21:9, 1.85:1, 2.35:1, 2.40:1. Keep in mind, these are usually adapted to 16:9 anamorphic formats for playback on TV channels, DVD or Blu-ray players. However in almost every model, you can play with lens settings and adjust the resolution of the projector to adapt the image to the specific format you want.

Projectors are usually light and small.
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Resolution

The resolution of a projector indicates the number of pixels it can display in an image. The more pixels a projector offers, the higher the definition and quality of the image. Currently, there is a wide range of projector resolutions offered on Canadian markets. Moreover, keep in mind that full HD or 1080p resolution is best suited for Blu-ray or PS4 players.

Furtherore, XGA (1024×768) and WXGA (1280×800) resolutions are primarily used when working with laptops for projecting in meeting rooms. In recent years, 4K – UHD (3840×2160) resolution has become increasingly popular, as it enables content to be played back in Ultra High Definition quality.

Gerd KaiserProduct Line Manager – Large Venue Projectors

“Laser is the light source of the future for projectors. It’s a very exciting development within this growing industry. “

Brightness

There is no doubt that one of the key aspects when choosing a projector is brightness. This in turn will influence the contrast and vividness of the images being projected. It’s important that you take into account the type of light source that the projector uses, whether it be via lamp, LED or laser. Depending which one it uses, the consumption and efficiency of the projector will vary considerably.

It’s important to know that the brightness of a light source is measured in lumens. If you want to set up a home cinema in a room with low ambient light, you’ll want a system with 1,000 lumens or more. If the projector is in a space with more daylight, you’ll want one with 2,000 lumens or more. For an office, you’ll need between 2,500 and 5,000 lumens; and for a bar, you’ll need a projector with a brightness capacity of up to 6,000 lumens.

Location Necessary Brightness
Full HD Home Cinema with low ambient light: Between 1,000 and 1,500 lumens.
Home Cinema with a low to average ambient light: Minimum 2,000 lumens and up.
For an office or classroom: Between 2,500 and 5,000 lumens, depending on the room or classroom size.
For presentations in small rooms with portable projectors: Portable projectors with LED bulbs and around 1,000 lumens.
For bars or public viewing spaces: Between 4,000 and 6,000 lumens.
For outdoor use with natural light: Minimum 4,000 lumens.

Contrast

Another key aspect when choosing a projector is the quality of its contrast capacity, which relates to the relationship between light and dark within the image that a projector creates. Before even researching the contrast qualities that each projector has, it’s necessary to be familiarised with the different levels of contrast settings available. In general, the higher the image quality, the better, but keep reading to learn a little more about contrast ratios.

Native contrast is the difference in brightness between a completely white screen and a black screen. Dynamic contrast is one that allows the projector to modify the brightness depending on the clarity of the frame. ANSI contrast shows clearly the difference between the brightness of whites and the residual brightness of blacks. Ideally, the native contrast should be greater than 2000:1. This is a 2000:1 contrast ratio means that the brightest white is 2000x brighter than the darkest black.

Projectors are ideal when it comes to presenting supplemental material for conferences and presentations.
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Connectivity

It’s important that the projector you choose can be easily connected to the device from which you are going to display your content. The most common devices you will need are HDMI cables, USB ports, a port to connect SD or micro SD cards, VGA connections and wireless connections via Bluetooth and WiFi.

HDMI input enables the playback of HD content from a laptop or phone. With it, you’ll be able to connect a multitude of devices, from consoles to Blu-ray DVD players. You’ll need a VGA connection to connect desktops or laptops. If the projector doesn’t come with built in speakers or good enough ones, you may also need audio inputs to upgrade the sound experience.

Samuel GoldwynAmerican Film Producer

“A big screen only makes a bad movie twice as bad.”

Extras

Other important factors to consider when buying a projector is the inclusion of an optical zoom lens, lens shifting and Keystone correction. The latter is used to avoid trapezoidal deformations. Advanced zoom settings, on the other hand, are very useful when you do not know how small of a space you will be utilising your projector out of.

Lens shifting allows the image to be moved vertically and horizontally without tilting the projector and without image distortion. Of course, you may be interested in extra parts, such as anchors, to fix the projector to a wall or ceiling. These products come with some great extras to help give you the best possible viewing experience in any space.

Summary

Enjoying an at-home cinema experience is becoming more and more within everyones reach. Today, there are projectors that offer superb performance with increasingly affordable prices. For this reason, many Canadians are considering projectors as substitutes or complements to their televisions at home.

However, choosing the right model is not always an easy task. Especially if you have a desire to purchase a projector for professional use. If you want your purchase and setup of a projector to be smooth and hassle-free, it’s important to consider criteria such as resolution, contrast, brightness and device hook up requirements. And of course, neither the price nor the brand reputation should be overlooked.

If you feel that this guide has been useful to you in your shopping process, we would love to hear your comments, or share with your friends on social media!

(Featured image source: Meeprajum: 47606945/123rf.com)

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