Projectors help you bring that home theater feel in your home. Plug it to your laptop and enjoy a makeshift home entertainment system. Setting it up only takes a few seconds, and you don’t have to spend too much either.
While not as sought as HD Televisions, projectors offer the portability TVs do not have. You can also adjust screen size by simply putting these nearer or farther. People used to complain about their bulkiness, but more modern models sport slimmer designs and smaller sizes. Projectors are now getting more affordable too. Especially in China, manufacturers are getting more efficient and creative when it comes to projectors. Getting a decent one for less than $100 isn’t far-fetched anymore. If you are ordering goods from overseas, we already prepared tips for your successful endeavor. Just remember, the prices we listed below are exclusive of custom duties and other taxes.
Hence, we compiled a list of these Chinese gizmos, for you to select from. Budget, portability and image clarity are what we considered when making this article.
1. UC 40 – The King of Mini-projectors
We had the notion that quality and price are opposites in Chinese products. We often associate low prices with inferior quality and incompetence. However, UC 40 dares to challenge this stigma. Costing $39 a piece, this projector boasts decent specs that normally are not found in its price range. It has a dimension of 12.7 x 12.6 x 5.6 cm, which is roughly the same size of a tablet. The materials it is made of are as expected for an under $50 projector. Solid plastic was used throughout its body, but it thankfully looks more like a gizmo than a toy. The top view houses the manual buttons and the switch, while its rear and side portion holds the connectivity ports. UC 40 has some great designs for its price. This projector is dust-proof and has an efficient heat exhaustion system.
Given its miniature size, the UC 40 can project image resolution up to 480 x 320 pixels, with a contrast ratio of 300:1. This projector also plays most multimedia files, including HD-format ones. UC 40 sports a bulb which has 400 lumens, a spec that is okay for its price. Nonetheless, it is best used in a small room. Projecting distance is set at 1-3.8 meters, which creates a screen size of 20–120 inches. Another thing that makes this projector stand-out is its wide variety of connectivity. It offers HDMI, VGA, USB ports and SD card slot and is compatible with smartphones and computers.
In order to make it a low-priced gadget, the manufacturer had to cut some features. So, it does not come with a remote control and you should not expect it to be great when using in direct sunlight. Nonetheless, it works great if you are up for some movie marathon in your room.
2. PH580+ – The Best Projector for Powerpoint Presentations
Assuming you only use a projector for presentations, PH580+ is what you need for a visually impressive stint. In terms of sheer image quality, it is the best one in this list for projecting 1280 x 800 pixel images with an aspect ratio of 4:3 or 16:9. In short, simply project HD images with PH580+ and enjoy the visual thrill. The bulb used is also a powerhouse, having 30,000 hour-life and maximum brightness of 3,200 lumens. You can use PH580+ for a projecting distance from 2-5 meters, and images are extendable from 60-150 inches.
PH580+ has a dimension of 36.5 x 26 x 14 cm and a weight of 3.5 kilograms. The body is also made from plastic, although the construction is remarkably solid. You can find the buttons on the top view. In addition, connectivity ports are all found in the back. The design also allows some form of heat resistance, to operate this projector for a long time. PH580+ feels like a real home entertainment system, thanks to its built in speakers and electronic keystone correction. The device also comes with a remote control.
What makes PH580+ special is its wireless connectivity through Bluetooth. Running Full-HD multimedia files is also possible. This gizmo has some notable flaws, though. While heat resistant, it consumes a lot of power, as it needs 110–240V to run the 140W bulb. Moreover, this gizmo is deemed too heavy, despite the lack of battery. Lastly, PH580+ is a tad expensive, at almost $300. However, it is cheaper than most mainstream projector brands
3. H60 – The Hippest Looking Projector in this List
Imagine UNIC UC 40, only with a slicker design, and you get H60. Specs-wise, this is nothing to talk about, but the overall aesthetics of this projector is refreshing. The new era plastic design and its color availability make it feel like this gizmo is trying to cater millennials. H60 is available in five colors – red, black, yellow, green and blue. Its dimensions are 17 x 11.5 x 6.5 cm and weighs about 460 grams. The top view mostly sports the eye-popping color, with its buttons located near the back. There are no buttons or ports at the sides. These are all located at its rear. It also comes with a remote control, which is kind of great, given its low price.
H60’s resolution is also identical to that of UNIC UC 40, at 480 x 320 pixels. The image size when using this projector is about 20-100 inches, for a projecting distance of 1.2–3.6 meters. Bulb brightness is 60 lumens, a tad too low for projectors, but has an outstanding life of 50,000 hours. Hence, you might want to use this in total darkness to discern the images projected. Its connectivity options are HDMI, VGA, USB ports and a SD card slot. While a small speaker is found in the back, you may also use a 3.5mm jack to immerse yourself in what you are watching.
If you tolerate its relatively dim projection for the perks in design and remote control, you can definitely go for the H60, which is currently available at almost $54.
4. UNIC UC 40+ – The Best for Entry Level Projectors
An upgrade of UNIC UC 40, this is among the best projectors you can have for under $100. First, the image resolution is upped to 800 x 480 pixels. UNIC UC 40+’s brightness is also double that of its smaller cousin, at 800 lumens. The lifespan is set to be at 20,000 hours. Meanwhile, the lens is multi-coated, for scratch protection and for projecting vibrant pictures. Its image size is estimated between 34–130 inches, with a focal length of 1.07-3.8 meters.
Fortunately, it has keystone correction (something great for its price range), and focus. Design-wise, UNIC UC 40+ looks like your typical projectors, only with a smaller size. It has a dimension of 20 x 15.3 x 6.7 cm and a weight of 1 kilogram. Portability is also one of its strong suits.
This projector also comes up with a remote control, aside the buttons you can find on the top. You can find connectivity ports at the back, which is similar to most projectors. Lastly, it comes with a 2W built-in speaker and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Unfortunately, you have to resort to using other speakers, since the sound is just too weak to enjoy. Other than that, UNIC UC 40+ is a good buy for only $72.
5. MDI i5 – The Powerhouse Projector
This gizmo notched up the competition by combining smartphone features and great projector specs. MDI i5, at best, is quite surreal in a way that it runs on Android 5.1 with Mirai UI. It means you can download applications from Google Playstore and experience projected mobile gaming. The duality of this gizmo isn’t just a marketing gimmick. Its performance as a smartphone is quite powerful, thanks to its Amlogic S905 Octa-core processor and a 2GB RAM. You might think MDI i5 would be bulky, given the heavy specs, but it only weighs about 800 grams. This gizmo is also surprisingly portable, having a dimension of 19.60 x 17.20 x 4.30 cm. That said, MDI i5 is as large as your typical tablet.
Moreover, it tramples most projectors in its price range, even without its smartphone component. MDI i5 supports Blu-ray 3D format, which gives more oomph to what you’re watching. This device projects HD pictures with a brightness of 3,000 lumens. It utilizes Advanced DLP (Digital Light Processing) technology to produce high quality images. Beside all that, the OSRAM Q7 LED Bulb has a life of 20,000 hours. The contrast ratio is 10,000:1, while screen ratio ticks at 16:9/4:3 with a projecting distance of 1-5 meters.
Another wonderful feature of MDI i5 is its built-in 8,000 mAH battery. Estimated battery life is said to be at 2 hours before the need to recharge. Similar to PH580+, it has built-in bass speakers with dual horns. The control buttons are located at the top, as projectors usually have them. Connectivity ports are at the rear portion of MDI i5. Usual connectivity options include HDMI, memory card slot and USB Ports. The real treat starts with its Bluetooth 4.0 compatibility and Wi-Fi ready connectivity. You can also transfer files using Air Sharing, a feature similar to Apple devices. MID i5 comes with a remote control, but you can also manipulate the options via Wi-Fi.
Lastly, this gizmo really looks premium, with the dual white/metallic gold combination in its design. It goes on to say that MID i5 is the most expensive in the list, at $389. However, it’s a steal for a device having these features.
6. Excelvan CL720D – The Value for Money Projector
Usually, HD projectors cost about $300 and above. Enter Excelvan CL720D, the gizmo which will change this outlook. With a price of just $149, it costs considerably less than MID i5, but is at par in terms of performance. Yet, let’s steer clear of its main flaws first.
The design is nothing worthy to speak of, probably due to the manufacturer cutting costs to preserve its pristine specs. It is also the largest projector in this group, having dimensions of 32.00 x 25.50 x 11.50 cm and a weight of 3.3kg. This does not only make Excelvan CL720D bulky, but also not portable, due to its heavy body.
Now, let’s proceed to what this projector excels at – projecting images. You can produce pictures as large as 200 inches, which makes it simply one of the most powerful among its peers. Also, playing 1080p videos is an easy task for this powerhouse. The bulb life is said to be at whopping 50,000 hours, with 3,000 lumens. Excelvan CL720D also has 20-keystone correction and an aspect ratio of 2,000:1. There are two built-in 5W speakers that should be loud enough for when you’re inside a small room.
Its connectivity options are what you normally see in other projectors on this list. Sadly, it is not Wi-Fi ready. Nonetheless, this minus was compensated by a Digital TV slot and an MHL cable for smartphones. If you can get past Excelvan CL720D’s dismal design, its performance as a projector will leave you amazed.
7. UNIC UC 50 – The Palmtop Beast
It might come as a shock that this palmtops projector, smaller than a tablet, is on this list. However, the charm of its size is combined with a stellar performance. Design-wise, UNIC UC 50 looks hip, but compact enough. Having dimensions of 7.80 x 7.00 x 2.50 cm, you can notice that no space is wasted with this projector. UNIC UC 50 weighs about 126 grams, which makes it the most portable in this list. It has a rectangular plastic design, but it doesn’t look cheap.
There is a slider to protect the 1,000 lumens bulb from exposure. The bulb itself has a usage life of 50,000 hours and can project 854 x 480 pixels. Despite its small size, UNIC UC 50 can project images ranging from 15–150 inches, with a focal length of merely 0.5 meters. This gizmo also supports 1080p videos and has a contrast ratio of 10,000:1. Similar to MID i5, it also utilizes DLP for better image rendering. UNIC UC 50 supports a wide range of connectivity as well, which you can find in other projectors.
While it has built-in speakers, you shouldn’t expect much from them, given the gadget’s small size. Luckily, it has a built-in 1500mAH battery that runs for up to 1.5 hours. UNIC UC 50 is currently available for around $110.
I personally own UNIC UC 40+, and it’s been an enjoyable experience watching videos in my room. How about you? Voice out your thoughts in the comment box.