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Best Projector under $300: Which One is Ideal for You?

Best Projector under $300: Which One is Ideal for You?
5 (100%) 1 vote

Buying good quality stuff always has price dilemma attached. Finding what you want at a cost can actually afford is not impossible.

Just difficult.

But difficult tasks become very easy when you have someone to help you. Think of us as your friend circle. So trust us when we say that you can get awesome projectors under $300. These 5 projectors which we have listed here after extensive testing will fulfill all your expectations and fit right into your budget!

1. Optoma X341 3300 Lumens XGA 3D DLP:The Best Projector under $300 Range

Optoma has always been known for their cost-effective projectors. X341 is no different. It has multiple connectivity options, speaker, great brightness, powerful lamp, portability,and low prizes. It has all that Optoma stands for. It is difficult not to like this piece. And when we were testing the right projector for you, we realized it is very hard for other projectors to live up to the standard of this one.

Specifications


• Native Aspect Ratio: 4:3
• Native Resolution: 1024 x 768
• Graphic Mode: XGA
• Contrast Ratio: 22,000:1
• Brightness: 3300 lumens
• Optical Zoom: 1.1x
• Lamp Power: 195 W
• Normal Mode Lamp Life: 5000 Hour
• Eco Mode Lamp Life: 6000 Hour
• Product Type: DLP
• Operating Power Consumption: 225 W
• 3D Type: 3D
• Projection Method: Ceiling, Front
• Weight Approximate: 2.17 kg
• Width: 298 mm
• Depth: 230 mm
• Height: 96.5 mm
• Environmentally Friendly: Yes


Advantages

Portability
The projector weighs below 5 pounds. It is lightweight and extremely portable. The size is also quite compact. It is very easy to fit it in a laptop bag and take it anywhere you want. but you won’t have to do that. Optoma gives a carrying bag with the projector for easy transportation.

The lamp
This is the important part of a DLP projector. And it is great. The X341 is powered by a 3300 lumens lamp produced by Texas Instruments. You know who that is?

That’s the company that provides microchips to NASA!

That is enough knowledge to know that it is totally worthy of your trust. The lamp life is between 5000 to 10,000 hours depending on your usage. With properly adjusted brightness and Eco mode switched on whenever possible, the lamp will last to 7000 hours easily. but in full bright normal mode, it will give up after 5000 hours.

Image quality
Considering the fact that the projector is compatible with Rec. 709 standard, the X341 ticks all the boxes when it comes to display. You can expect bright colors, sharp contrast,and deep, accurate colors.

Because of the amazing 3300 ANSI lumens, the projector delivers really bright and vivid colors. The blacks are deep and the images are brilliant. Also, in our testing, we noticed that the projector’s Edge Mask feature is very impressive. We did not notice any jagged edges while image presentation. The picture display is smooth and consistent.

With the contrast ratio of 22000:1, the graphics are very detailed and profound. The shadows and blacks are deep. Each and every texture is showcased perfectly with depths and shallows properly highlighted.

Of course, the quality will be affected when it is not completely dark in the room. But the high-end features of this projector makes sure that you get quality viewing even while there is ambient light in the room.

The data-image projection is also commendable. The black text against a white background is crisp and clear. Even with daylight streaming in through the window, the text was clearly readable.

And you know what?

Your wall does not have to be white. It can be of any color or colors. The feature of the projector Wall Colour Adjustment projects an equally high-quality image on the colorful wall too.

3D
3D presentation is found to be up to mark by our testing team. You can project 3D content from any 3D source. It is compatible to 3D Blu-ray players, 3D game consoles and even 3D broadcasting. The refresh rate of 144Hz makes sure the picture is flicker free at all times.

Power consumption
The projector saves power in a lot of various ways. The Eco+ mode which is the energy saving technology of the projector reduces the power consumption by up to 70%. This has a huge positive effect on the lamp life. Extended lamp life brings down maintenance cost.

There is also an Auto Power Off feature where the projector is turned off automatically when it is not in use. If the projector is left running but not in use, then after a set stipulated time the projector turns off.

Then there is AV Mute. This feature will help you to shut off the display of the screen to move the concentration of your audience from the image to you. It helps a lot while you are presenting. But along with that, it also reduces power consumption by 70% extending the lamp life considerably.

When the projector is accidentally switched off due to any reason, it turns back on instantly. This is called the Quick Resume feature. This feature helps in eliminating waste of time because of restarting the projector.

Connectivity
Talking about connectivity, the X341 connects to a lot of platforms. There is an HDMI port with 3D support, a VGA port, a Composite video port, a 3.5 mm audio jack, RS232, and a USB type-A power port.

Put simply, you can connect almost any device with this projector. It could be a laptop, an amplifier, a stereo system, a DVD player, a Blu-ray player etc. it also supports full 3D, so you just need to buy 3D glasses and you are all set for the experience. There is also an option for wireless connectivity but it is not inbuilt. You will have to buy a separate Optoma WHD200 wireless transmitter.

Disadvantages

Design
It is not exactly a disadvantage, but honestly, the projector isn’t beautiful either. Well, the design has never been Optoma’s plus point. They can provide a large number of features but the packaging is never futuristic. Beautiful looking projectors is the domain of companies like BenQ and Epson. It is not ugly, though. It is just ordinary looking. Every other projector looks the same. Having said that, it is very sturdily built. It is not that plasticky and cheap. It is well-built, made of high-quality material and will last a lot of years. The design is just uninspired.

Speakers
The 2-watt mono speakers are not much to mention about. They are just there in case of emergency. The maximum use of this speaker is during a small video presentation in a small room. If you want to watch a long video or movie, these will not be audible. You will need external speakers for hearing clearly.

Verdict
As a successor to the bestseller Optoma X316, this projector is worthy. Optoma has improved literally everything from contrast ratio to wireless compatibility. On a tight budget, this is a great projector.

2. Optoma S343 3600 Lumens: The Runner up

Optoma always brings long-lasting, portable and dependable projectors for us. One such projector is the Optoma S343. It is flexible and can be set up anywhere classrooms, corporate presentations, training rooms and much more. The extensive connectivity and high brightness ensure wide range adaptability.

Specifications


• Native Aspect Ratio: 4:3
• Native Resolution: 800 x 600
• Graphic Mode: SVGA
• Contrast Ratio: 22,000:1
• Brightness: 3600 lumens
• Optical Zoom: 1.1x
• Lamp Power: 203 W
• Normal Mode Lamp Life: 6000 Hour
• Eco Mode Lamp Life: 15,000 Hour
• Product Type: DLP
• 3D Type: 3D
• Projection Method: Ceiling, Front
• Weight Approximate: 3 kg
• Width: 315 mm
• Depth: 244 mm
• Height: 99 mm
• Environmentally Friendly: Yes


Advantages

Design
The projector is a non-obtrusive white in the plastic finish. As mentioned earlier, Optoma is not known for design per se. But this projector is not that usual also. Of course, you cannot consider this a breakthrough in design matters. The ventilation lines running around the body as a design are good to look at. The control and keypad on top and the connectivity option sat the rear end are as usual as you can find in any other projector. The bottom also has 3 stands to give a lift to the screen while it is used for front projection.

Lamp
The lamp is bright at 3600 lumens and is very powerful. Powerful lamp means a lot of brightness and low lamp life. But the lamp in this Optoma projector has a long life of 6000 hours on full brightness. The lamp life can be extended and there are 3 other modes for that. if you run the projector in Eco mode the lamp life can be extended up to 10, 000 hours. On the Dynamicmode, it can be increased to 12,000 hours. And then there is the Eco+ mode which can increase the lamp life to a whopping 15,000 hours.

Image quality
At 3600 lumens, the projector is bright. Very bright.

The picture quality is extremely powerful with visibility even in ambient lighting. Of course, when it’s completely dark, the projector throws amazing quality of the image. But even during daytime or in brightly lit conference rooms, the viewing was crisp and clear. The sharp colors, impressive depths,and intense black are commendable.

For a small room, this is a perfect projector. At this contrast ratio, the picture is quite detailed and textured. We were able to make out every lines and crevice of a landscape which we started as a slideshow to check the picture quality.

Installation
It is very easy to install this projector. You can use the HDMI cable to plug it with your laptop or use a plug-n-play device to immediately start the viewing. After unboxing it, you can start watching in just under 2 minutes.

Connectivity
There are many options for connectivity. There is an HDMI port, VGA in and out ports, a Composite video port, audio-in and out jack and USB-A to source the material from any device.

Audio
The projector has an inbuilt 10-watt mono speaker which is loud enough for a small room. If it is a huge room or a hall you will have difficulty hearing to sounds. But on full volume, a small to the medium sized room is perfect for the speaker. We were able to hear the dialogues pretty clearly. Though don’t expect much quality where music is concerned. It’s not a high-end soft speaker. If you try to watch VH1, you probably have a bleeding ear.

3D
3D content can be sourced from almost any source. Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, 3D broadcasting, every medium is supported. Of course, you will need special 3D glasses to watch the authentic 3D content.

Power consumption
The projector is a fairly low power consuming device. It has a Quick reset option where if the projector shuts down accidentally, then it can be powered back again within 100 seconds of shutting down. There is also an option of AV mute for energy saving. It can dim the video content when not in use so that the power consumption is less. To further increase the life of the lamp and save energy, you can set a specific time period for auto shutdown of the projector.

Disadvantages

The carrying case
As such it is a good thing that Optoma gives a carrying case with the projector. It helps portability. But the projector is a little on the heavier side. And the carrying bag is thin and does not offer much of a protection. A laptop bag would be better recommended.

Heat
There is enough ventilation in the design and a highly bright lamp like this one will obviously heat up a lot. But this projector heats up quite more than usual. Within a few minutes, the projector will be running hot. So you better keep it in a properly ventilated space. Also, sometimes it tends to be a little noisy.

Instructions
Setting up the projector is very easy but you will have to be intuitive. The instructions provided are not very helpful. They are sketchy at best. The best you can do is download the manual from the Optoma website.

Controls
And the controls on top of the projector are also very difficult to navigate. But the remote control is quite easy to use. It is preferable to just use the remote and let the projector controls be.

Verdict
The lumens are not just for saying. The projector works really well under a lot of different light conditions. It is not whisper-quiet exactly but it is not noisy too. A low hum which you can be forgotten in seconds. The screen adjustment and focus are easy too.

All-in-all it is worth every penny.

3. ViewSonic PA503S

ViewSonic PA503S delivers stunning visual performance. You don’t have to take our word for it. We have our reasons and we have mentioned all of them in detail below. This projector can reproduce the finest details in any environment.

Specifications


• Native Aspect Ratio: 4:3
• Native Resolution: 800 x 600
• Graphic Mode: SVGA
• Contrast Ratio: 22,000:1
• Brightness: 3500 lumens
• Optical Zoom: 1.1x
• Lamp Power: 190 W
• Normal Mode Lamp Life: 5000 Hour
• Eco Mode Lamp Life: 15,000 Hour
• Product Type: DLP
• Operating Power Consumption: 260 W
• 3D Type: 3D
• Projection Method: Ceiling, Front
• Weight Approximate: 2.2 kg
• Width: 11.6 in
• Depth: 8.6 in
• Height: 4.3 in
• Environmentally Friendly: Yes


Advantages

Power saving
The lamp is bright and efficient. But you don’t need full brightness at all times. and even f you do there are many other ways to save energy consumption and increase lamp life. ViewSonic knows this and therefore PA503S has not only Eco mode but also SuperEco mode. The beauty is you don’t have to select all this yourself every time. you just have to switch on the Power Saving setting.

Once, you switch on Power Saving, it automatically changes the mode. When the projector is left idle for 5 minutes, the projector switches to the Eco mode. And if the projector is left idle for 20 minutes, it switches to SuperEco mode. In SuperEco mode, the projected images are dimmed to 70% which has the ability to extend the lifespan up to 15,000 hours.

When the projector is used in public spaces like meeting rooms and classrooms, forgetting to switch off the projector is a common occurrence. For that, you can set a sleep timer which will put the projector into sleep mode after a set period of inactivity. If no signal is detected, the projector turns off automatically to save lamp life.

Portability
The projector is extremely light and compact. It is easy to carry anywhere and set up. It can work indoors as well as outdoor. You don’t get a carry bag along with the projector so you will have to use your backpack or laptop bag as a case, but we don’t think that is a problem per se. The important thing is it is very light. It won’t be uncomfortable carrying around.

Image quality
The lamp is very powerful and bright. The projector uses ViewSonic’s proprietary SuperColor Technology which features an amazing color wheel with a 6-segmentcolor.

What does this mean?

It means all the colors are accurate and extremely deep. In dark conditions, it gives an amazing viewing experience. But that does not automatically mean that only in dark conditions it is that good. This projector can be used as an outdoor projector too.

Summer movie night will no more be a dream. If you choose to buy this projector, you can watch movies even at dusk. And it will be an enjoyable experience. We tested it in our barn and it showed some amazing picture quality.

The PA503S has dynamic lamp control which contributes a lot towards the wide color range and stunning picture quality. The accents are deep, black is intense and contrast ratio makes black text on a white background really crisp.

But what is really amazing is when we reversed the colors, that is black background and white text, it gave out amazing results.

Connectivity
There is an array of connectivity options in PA503S. There are 2 VGA ports, one HDMI 1.4 with 3D support, one RS232, one video in, audio in and out jacks, one monitor out jack, one mini-USB Type B, and a Kensington lock slot. You can attach anything with this projector. Unbox it, connect your laptop and you are good to watch in just 5 minutes.

Disadvantages

Audio
The inbuilt speaker with this projector is really bad in quality. It is a struggle to hear even in a silent, small room. If you go for this unit, attaching an external speaker via aux cable would be a favor.

Instructions
The instruction manual is not very well-documented. There is a lot of explanation missing. For example, the auto shutdown mode would usually mean that in the idle condition the projector shuts off after the stipulated time. But when we tested the feature, we found that upon setting 25 minutes, the projector shut down after 25 minutes during the ongoing presentation. The projector was in active mode and with changing screens and images, it just shut off.

We had to unplug the projector and plug it back to start it again. That is a big let-down.

Verdict
Keeping the projector in default and avoiding the fancy settings is also quite helpful with this projector. The performance is outstanding. Power saving mode is also brilliant. There are minor quibbles but it is sure not a big thing. They are avoidable when using.

4. InFocus IN112XA Projector

InFocus IN112XA Projector has an ultra-long lamp life, great brightness,and amazing picture quality. With a maximum screen size of 300”, this projector is a great option for everyone – be it a student, teacher, professional, a gamer or a movie fanatic.

Specifications


• Native Aspect Ratio: 4:3
• Native Resolution: 800 x 600
• Graphic Mode: SVGA
• Contrast Ratio: 18,000:1
• Brightness: 3500 lumens
• Optical Zoom: 1.1x
• Lamp Power: 195 W
• Normal Mode Lamp Life: 5000 Hour
• Eco Mode Lamp Life: 15,000 Hour
• Product Type: DLP
• 3D Type: 3D
• Projection Method: Ceiling, Front
• Weight Approximate: 2.5 kg
• Width: 12.4 in
• Depth: 8.8 in
• Height: 4 in


Advantages

Screen size
The projector can display from 28 inches and can go up to 300 inches of image size. Of course, you will need a lot of distance management for the huge screen size. The maximum image size cannot be achieved in a small room. You will need to keep a minimum distance of 2 meters which will display 28” image. But for 300” screen, the projector has to be as far as 12 meters.

Portability
The projector is light. It weighs just 2.5 kgs. So technically it is portable. But it is not that compact. According to the design other portable projectors have, this one seems bulky. It is very easy to carry around in a bag. It is not heavy. Just looks like that.

Lamp
The lamp is very bright and has a life of industry leader. While using the projector in normal mode on full brightness, the lamp has a life of 5000 hours. But on Eco mode, the lamp life can be extended up to 15,000 hours. Of course, it is not possible to use the projector on Eco mode all the time. So achieving 15,000 hours is not possible. But with proper usage and care, the lamp life can be increased considerably and the maintenance cost can come down.

3D
The IN112XA supports multiple forms of 3D. You can stream 3D content from broadcasting, gaming (read about the best gaming projector) console, Blu-ray or even PC. But to experience the seamless 3D, you will need to purchase the 144Hz DLP Link 3D glasses. After wearing these glasses, the 3D content became captivating instantly.

Image quality
The brightness is awesome at 3500 lumens. The picture is clear and bright. Reading the specifications, we expected the image to be breath-taking. And honestly, it really was.

The angle of projection is also quite noteworthy here. We got a square projection without keystone correction immediately after hanging it to the ceiling. No need for an extension, keeping the projector very close to the ceiling also gives out the perfect image.

Even when the lights are turned, the images are not washed out. The colors are very sharp and accurate. The contrast is awesome which gives out deep blacks. There are 3 pre-set modes for projection against a white wall, beige wall,and blackboard. These pre-set settings are very good.

Connectivity
There is a host of connectivity options for this one. You will find ports for a monitor, computer, PC, VGA, S-video, audio in and out and 2 ports for HDMI at the back of the body. There is also a mini USB port available.

Disadvantages

Speaker
There is an inbuilt mono speaker of 3-watt. It is good but not enough to watch a movie or even a long video. You have to strain yourself so much to hear even without distracting noise. The best option is to just forget about this speaker and attach your own speaker system or a sound bar to the projector.

Shut down
The IN112XA takes a lot of time to shut off. The system is very slow. So if you hit the power button by mistake, there is no stopping. You have to wait until it completely shuts off and then start it again. It will take a good 10 minutes on your part.

Verdict
The colors are true, sharp and deep. It is an enjoyable experience watching movies on this projector. The resolution is also quite good. No complicated set-up, just great image quality. There is the issue of sound but as soon as you attach an audio system through aux cable, the world becomes perfect!

5. ViewSonic PA502S SVGA

The PA502S is really bright, clear, lightweight and within budget. This is the best looking projector we have reviewed under $300. This unit is a beautiful piece of technology. The black and white combination looks absolutely elegant. And the functions are equally elegant.

Specifications


• Native Aspect Ratio: 4:3
• Native Resolution: 800 x 600
• Graphic Mode: SVGA
• Contrast Ratio: 22,000:1
• Brightness: 3500 lumens
• Optical Zoom: 1.1x
• Lamp Power: 190 W
• Normal Mode Lamp Life: 5000 Hour
• Eco Mode Lamp Life: 15,000 Hour
• Product Type: DLP
• Operating Power Consumption: 240 W
• 3D Type: 3D
• Projection Method: Ceiling, Front
• Weight Approximate: 2.1 kg
• Width: 12.6 in
• Depth: 8.3 in
• Height: 4.8 in


Advantages

Design
The design is beautiful monochrome and intuitive. The black front and white body look like a robot with beautiful, bright eyes. When the projector is switched on it feels as if you are looking at the vision of a bot. The projector is completely white with a black front portion and the colorful logo of ViewSonic in the middle. The two-tone design is no longer just a rectangular box. The curvy body has tapered edges and side grills that act as a vent for the fan. With all the usual switches and controls in its usual place, the PA502S is very good looking. People who have aesthetic value will love it even more.

Rainbow artifact
On a DLP projector, rainbows are a common occurrence. These days the rainbows have gone down a lot, even with the ViewSonicPA502S. however, some people are extremely sensitive to the appearance of rainbow artifacts. There is no way to predict if you will get one or not, but the unit we tested did not get any.

Fan noise
The fan is not exactly whisper-quiet but it is not noisy too. It is barely noticeable. It is a little audible during normal mode but you can ignore it easily. during Eco mode, the fan noise drops substantially. Even at full brightness, the fan will not make you feel that you need the projector as far away from your seat as possible.

Image quality
The brightness of 3500 lumens bulb performs as expected. Our test room had an ambient light so that people can walk around without tripping on the wire. In such light, the movie experience was bright and enjoyable. On making the demo room pitch black and moving the projector closer to the wall, we saw an obvious increase in brightness and reduction in projection size.

The overall picture looked great in our test. The color reproduction is accurate and deep. The black is intense and contrasts perfectly. In darker scenes, the shadows bring out details as expected. The projector runs smooth and noiselessly. If you invest in a good sound system, you get home theater experience with this one.

Lamp
The lamp life is rated at 5000 hours at normal setting. That would be the equivalent of watching films non-stop for 208 days. Even if you watch a movie for 2 hours every day, you will need to change the lamp of the projector after almost 7 years.

We say that is more than enough.

This is all assuming that you watch the movie on full brightness. Now imagine, if you run the projector on Eco mode, how many years will this lamp last? Sure, lamp replacement is expensive, but after 7 years it would be advisable to change the projector itself.

Connectivity
The projector has all the usual ports and connectivity options. There is an HDMI 1.4 port, a VGA, an RS232, a video in port, and a mini USB.

Disadvantages

Audio
The most disappointing part of this projector is the absence of audio jack. You don’t have a convenient way of connecting an external speaker to the projector. Of course, you can use other methods like the mini USB or HDMI and various converters that are available. But a 3.5 mm jack would have been helpful.

Verdict
If your set up does not require loud audio or stereo system, then this projector is great in all other ways. It delivers outstanding image quality. Audio is not a tiny sacrifice but the all-around entertainment experience is also unmissable.

Final verdict
These 5 projectors are the best under 300 you will find. Anything else will not give you the complete entertainment as these units will. Of course, you have to let go of things here and there but this is the best a budget of $300 can buy. Personally, we were very confused which one to rate as the sure pick. All of them seem best.

Hope you have an easier time making a decision.

Related article that you may be interested in:
1. Top Cheapest 4k Projectors in the Market
2. Best 1080p Projector that You May be Interested in
3. What is the Best Short Throw Projector
4. Looking for the Best Projector under 500? Have a Look at This Article!

About Mark Hanson

Hi, this is Mark Hanson (M. Tech, from the University of Arizona) is a tech geek and the chief editor of https://justinrange.com/ from Tempe, Arizona. Our aim is to provide you with genuine information, guide and reviews about the best products you wish to buy and help to save your hard-earned money. We review honestly to ensure that you may select the right product that could fulfill your requirements.

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