Gaming Beamer 2021: the best projectors in comparison
Of course, games on the computer can also be experienced with great pleasure on a monitor. But gaming is much more fun on a gaming beamer. While a typical monitor is only about 22 to 34 inches in size, the projection area on a projector for gaming can be as large as 100 to 150 inches. This makes the immersion and gameplay experience much more immersive, and the social factor also plays into it as an advantage. When all your friends are gathered around the screen and can comfortably follow along from any position in the room, the hours fly by and hours can turn into all-nighters. These are reasons enough for us to dedicate ourselves to the genre. We advise you for the purchase and present the most important criteria, on which it depends with a Gaming Beamer.
The best gaming projectors at a glance
Gaming Beamer Guide: Everything you need to know!
Home cinema and gaming – aren’t they the same thing?
Basically, the “home theater projector” section also provides reliable information on desired features of the projectors for the gaming PC, consoles such as the Xbox one, the PS4 and other multimedia devices. Especially the high requirements regarding picture quality, resolution, brightness and contrasts can be used for the gaming beamer in the same way. Nevertheless, the “gaming projector” section is more specialized and accurate. In addition, another category becomes particularly important, namely response times, known in technical jargon as latency and input lag. Whereas in a home cinema, delayed image displays can at best spoil the enjoyment of a film, in a gaming beamer it is the input lag that decides between victory and defeat. And nothing is more annoying than losing a gripping game only because the beamer couldn’t keep up with the fast image sequences, not to mention the lack of prospects to play through a meaty game to the end. Finally, by gaming projectors we mean projectors such as the Acer Predator z650, which was deliberately designed for game mode, and home cinema projectors, which are wonderfully suited as gaming projectors due to their characteristics. Renowned suppliers such as Acer, BenQ, Epson and Optoma have good models that are ideally equipped for gaming and offer the perfect immersion.
Latency times for the gaming beamer
The latency time describes the period between the executing pulse and the execution. It should therefore be as short as possible. Experts recommend an input lag of less than 50 ms as a guideline. Another indicator is the frame rate, which describes how many images per second are projected on the screen. The human eye is capable of perceiving 24 frames per second as a moving image (scene). Since the projection surface of beamers with sometimes far more than 100 inches is naturally larger than with all other media formats, one does not get far with 24 Hertz (Hz) in a beamer for gaming, however. Here, too, there are guideline values for orientation:
Video games can mostly be played at 60 Hz and above on Xbox One and other devices. On the beamer it should be at least 120 Hz, better is a frame rate of 240 Hz and 480 Hz meets the highest demands for a fast, smooth display even with a lot of information without delays. A typical technique to improve frame rate and reduce latency is interframe calculation, or interpolation. In this method, the values between the images are calculated and translated into movements. In this way, the successive images in gaming can be doubled, quadrupled and even multiplied by eight for the human eye. It is precisely in this area that technological progress is galloping.
Crystal-clear images in Full HD or even 4K allow the player to immerse themselves more deeply in the game than coarse, dull and blurry images can. In the home cinema sector, the Full HD format has replaced the once innovative HD standard as the mass standard for projectors as well. This means that customers already expect a resolution in Full HD for home cinema and now consider a resolution of HD to be a deficit. The resolution in 4K (Ultra HD), on the other hand, is (still) a luxury. Projectors that offer such a resolution come at a price, especially if that high value is based on native resolution. Many providers, on the other hand, upscale the image until the resolution reaches 4K. However, there is a slight loss of quality in games and movies during this process, so native 4K resolution is always the higher quality option compared to 4K upscaling.
There is also the problem that high resolutions in games are resource intensive. This causes a loss in latency, so gamers should make sure to find a good compromise between frame rate and image sharpness. The WXGA, WUXGA and QWUXGA resolutions correspond to HD resolution (1280 × 720 pixels), Full HD resolution (1980 × 1280 px) and 4K sharpness. Sharpness 4K (3840 × 2160 px) is four times the sharpness of Full HD resolution (which in turn is four times the sharpness of HD resolution) and sometimes goes by the term Ultra HD (UHD). The difference lies in the format, which at 16:10 is not as wide as 16:9 and is closer to the earlier television standard of 4:3.
The contrast value
Contrast describes the difference in brightness between the darkest and lightest points of an image. The larger the value, the more accentuated and contoured the representations. High contrast values also stand for fine shades of grey and intense blacks. If the contrast value is too low, the picture makes a dull and washed-out impression. Experts recommend a contrast ratio of at least 10,000:1 for multimedia content. Here in particular, customers have a wide margin for improvement, as beamers with contrast values in the millions are now also available.
The contrast value
The brightness is measured in ANSI lumens, which is also the measure of brightness. High values here stand for a high brightness tolerance on the screen. This means that the higher the number of ANSI lumens, the more the image can stand up to ambient light. A projector with high values therefore projects images on the screen that can still be seen clearly in bright and even illuminated rooms. The amount of ANSI lumens depends on the screen size. Therefore, data like this for home cinema or gaming projectors are rather orientation values:
- 1,000 ANSI lumens: only suitable for dark rooms
- 2,000 ANSI lumens: also suitable for slightly lit rooms
- 3,000 ANSI lumens: suitable for daylight-bright living rooms
- 5,000 ANSI lumens: suitable for illuminated conference rooms
- 6,000 ANSI lumens: also suitable for outdoor presentations
It is therefore more accurate to use a counting method that refers to size as a reference, such as a square meter, which we will use in the following. Such a scale always allows the exact conversion to the respective size ratio of the beamer. If we stick to the dependency of the brightness in ANSI lumens to the projection size of 1m², the following values result:
- Below 100 ANSI lumens: generally not suitable
- 100 to 250 ANSI lumens: suitable for dark rooms
- 250 to 500 ANSI lumens: also suitable for slightly lit rooms
- over 500 ANSI Lumen: suitable also for bright rooms
The rival technologies for beamers are DLP (Digital Light Processing) and LCD (Liquid Crystal Display). In addition, LED and laser beamers have been added more recently. Strictly speaking, LED lasers are not a new technology, but a familiar, particularly sustainable light source that has been improved in recent years to the point where it can produce sufficient brightness for the projector. The LED light of LED beamers can last up to 30,000 hours of operation, which is a lifetime. In comparison, a conventional UHP lamp sometimes gives up the ghost after just 3,000 operating hours. With laser beamers, the light source lasts almost as long. The most impressive thing about them, however, are the razor-sharp and expressive images. This makes them particularly suitable for home cinema and gaming, but unfortunately they are still high-end devices, even if they are becoming increasingly affordable. The projectors for the masses are therefore currently still, with or without LED, projectors based on DLP and LCD. Here we are particularly interested in the question of which of the two technologies is recommended for gaming.
With DLP technology, the image is generated by millions of small mirrors. Each mirror corresponds to a point of light. Rapid tilting movements, imperceptible to the human eye, create a rich reservoir of color gradations made visible on the screen by a rotating color wheel. The advantages of this technology are the sharp contrasts, strong blacks, fluid movements, long life and the fine mirror structure that immunizes against the flyscreen effect. On the other hand, the colour fidelity is lower and the rotating colour wheel, which can make an audible noise, can cause light effects to appear on the screen, known as the rainbow effect, in less powerful devices.
In LCD technology, on the other hand, the white light is divided into the primary colors red, green and blue and then reassembled into a uniform image. So the fluid elements represent the image. The advantages of this technology are the natural, vivid colours, the clear colour gradients, the fine pixel delineation and the colour fidelity. Furthermore, in terms of resolution and picture quality, you can get more out of an LCD projector than a DLP projector. Many DLP projectors already reach their limits at 4K and are therefore more in the Full HD range. Also, not as many color nuances can be exploited, the color space is more narrowly defined. Therefore, most 4K projectors run on LCD and laser technologies. What is the rainbow effect with DLP beamers, is the fly screen effect with LCD beamers, but the manufacturers have this problem under control as far as possible with powerful devices.
Finally, gaming projectors are offered in LCD and DLP, which is an indication that in principle both technologies are suitable for gamers. For example, many gamers would always choose an LCD projector because of its multi-faceted colors and high resolution. Nevertheless, many experts explicitly recommend a DLP projector for gaming. They argue that this technology comes up with better response times. In addition, especially intensive players benefit from the longevity of the wear parts. But here, too, there is a counter-thesis to the thesis, because in terms of speed , LCD beamers score with smoother motion sequences.
Which connections are required?
To play even complex games with high quality, digital connections like HDMI and DisplayPorts are indispensable. However, technological progress has shifted priorities. Whereas in the past the question was analogue or digital, or HDMI or VGA (with clinch), today the question with the beamer for PS4 and co. is rather in which generation the digital connection is available. The importance of this question can be seen in the fact that only an HDMI2 connection can be used to play high-quality games in 4K HDR quality and at least 60 Hz. So a 4K gaming projector needs at least one interface for second generation HDMI. Sometimes the HDMI standard is offered together with HDCP and ARC . HDCP is a copy protection and ARC means that only one cable is needed for the standard.
Gaming projector customers are usually multimedia enthusiasts and want a device with great flexibility. This allows them to choose to use their device for gaming, movies, streaming music, photos (slides) and more. An AV receiver is helpful in creating this flexibility, as it can be used to connect several multimedia devices via HDMI. Plus, for an immersive multimedia experience, good sound is almost as important as a good picture. The transfer rate via HDMI2 is basically satisfactory. For the external speakers, support for Dolby Atmos or DTS-HD standard surround sound also vouches for that certain something. In order to enjoy 3D movies or play 3D games on the gaming projector, the projector needs to support the 3D function. Shutter and polarization technology are available for 3D images. 3D projectors with polarization technology require a metallic screen, because otherwise the light would scatter. Shutter technology, on the other hand, is less expensive and more suitable for amateurs.
What else should be considered for the purchase?
Of course, outstanding performance in key metrics is attractive to gamers. Nevertheless, you should also consider the performance of your multimedia devices when buying. For example, it’s of little use if the gaming projector can handle a blazing-fast transfer rate of 480 Hz, but your PC only knows how to translate 60 Hz. This is when the bottleneck effect occurs, wasting important resources and having a noticeable impact on your budget.
In addition, not only the performance of the gaming projector and multimedia device contribute to the image quality, but also the screen with its specially optimized cloth structure for projections, which amplifies the reflected light and makes colors look more natural. In order to be able to take full advantage of this, we recommend a screen with a luminance factor (gain) of 1 to 1.5 for gaming beamers. With these values, the reflection behaviour of the screen is perfectly adapted to the needs of gamers and this makes the colours appear vivid and intense, especially in the dark.
The type of games one prefers will also tip the scales in favor of the right device. It has already been mentioned that, especially with a limited budget, the performance of the projector for image quality and speed is always a compromise, because, for example, fantastically high-resolution images consume a lot of resources that may be lacking in speed. Here, a look at one’s own preferences for the right gaming beamer helps, because those who, for example, are more into games like shooters that require a high response speed, will best opt for a responsive projector with low latencies. If, on the other hand, the game atmosphere is more important to you, such as turn-based strategy or global strategy games, in which the speed factor hardly plays a role, it is best to prioritize the image quality instead of the response speed of the projector.
Finally, the condition of one’s own premises also depends on the suitable gaming beamer. For small rooms, a short-distance or even ultra-short-distance projector is very suitable, as it only requires a short distance to the screen. If the room is cramped and there are a lot of things standing around, then flexibility in placement is very important. This is provided by the remote focus and zoom. The zoom factor 2 is already an extremely powerful device in the high-end range. In addition, the Lens Shift and Keystone Correction allow keystone shifting when the projector is moved. The Lens Shift is the higher quality version. It can implement the correction more directly and without compromising quality.