Are Laser Projectors Really Worth $3,000? – Review Geek


A laser projector in a dark room shining light at an extreme angle
Josh Hendrickson

I reviewed a $2,800 ultra-short throw (UST) laser projector two years in the past and proclaimed it so good I’d purchase one. In fact, I needed to ship that evaluate unit again, which left me with the exhausting resolution: do I spend the cash? I did. And after two years, I can comfortably say it was value it.

I even have two UST laser projectors in my dwelling proper now, each made by VAVA. The primary is the unique $2,800 mannequin I reviewed, which I ultimately bought for my lounge. I’ve one other within the basement on mortgage as a evaluate unit, the up to date $3,500 VAVA Chroma (look ahead to that evaluate coming quickly). VAVA is much from the one firm to make UST laser projectors, however all of them have a number of issues in widespread. Typically, the “inexpensive fashions” value round $3,000 (give or take $500); they usually don’t assist pure 4K and use upscaling as a substitute. Plus, they will normally create 100- to 150-inch photos.

That value, after all, doesn’t embrace a projector display screen—you’ll should pay additional for that or venture on the wall. That latter possibility works nicely sufficient however does current some points I’ll get into later. Suffice to say; a UST laser projector shouldn’t be low cost. However my time dwelling with them has again and again justified the worth.

The Dying of Film Theaters

A giant 120 inch screen displaying 'Finding Neo'
Josh Hendrickson

If you happen to learn my earlier evaluate, you’ll have noticed that I ended it by saying I wished to purchase the projector, however my spouse disagreed. She didn’t suppose it handed our “what else might we purchase for this sum of money” take a look at. And with a price ticket so excessive, we’ve to lend a hand to spend the cash.

So what modified? The pandemic, after all. My spouse and I like film theaters, and for some time, going wasn’t an possibility. And it wasn’t even clear after we’d get to go once more. And naturally, we began fascinated with how a lot cash we have been saving by forgoing costly tickets and much more expensive popcorn and soda.

So we determined if we couldn’t go to the movie show, we’d deliver the movie show dwelling. We have already got a 7.1 encompass system; we simply wanted a really epic display screen. 100-inch TVs are costly, usually beginning at $4,000 and going for as a lot as $12,000 or extra. If we’re going to spend that a lot, the $3,000 projector all of a sudden doesn’t look outlandish.

So we began by shopping for the VAVA projector and putting that in the lounge. We simply hit 120 inches with the right placement and possibly might have gone bigger. In our ’50s ranch-style dwelling, our sofa is just some toes away from the projector, and it actually appears like we’re in a movie show once more. Minus the costly stale popcorn—we offer our personal for cheaper.

It’s Higher Than an Precise TV

A giant 100 inch screen with a Google interface
Josh Hendrickson

The draw back to proudly owning an older dwelling like mine is that it wasn’t designed for modern-day giant TVs. My lounge is an extended rectangular form, with a fire on one of many “brief sides” and an enormous set of home windows on one of many “lengthy sides.”

To beam a picture on the wall or have room for a big TV, both our sofa must be subsequent to the fireside, or awkwardly midway between that and the wall, or in entrance of the big home windows. The fireside route is simply too awkward to contemplate, so our sofa resides in entrance of the home windows. Our TV has at all times gone on the wall throughout these home windows, creating an enormous drawback: glare.

If we didn’t shut the blinds AND shut the curtains, our TV was nigh-unwatchable throughout daytime hours. All you’d see is eye-searing glare and not one of the motion. Closing the curtains and home windows didn’t at all times do the trick, both; our home windows are huge, and even the thickest materials fails to dam all the sunshine.

You’d suppose {that a} projector system could be worse off as, usually, gentle is the enemy of projectors. However UST projectors are extremely brilliant and really near the display screen. Even in a brilliant room, you may get an inexpensive picture. And better of all, that setup eradicated the glare. We are able to watch it in the course of the daytime! Granted, among the element did get washed out and not using a correct display screen. However washed-out element is best than glare that forestalls any element in any respect.

One other important benefit is that we get our wall area again. With a conventional TV, you get an enormous black slab in your wall blocking all the things up. However with our projector system, after we’re not watching a present or film, the wall is clean. We are able to hold art work or anything we wish. If we had mounted a projector display screen on the wall, that might have negated that profit. However we went a special route—as a result of we did determine to get a projector display screen.

A Projector Display screen Could Be a Necessity

A scene from 'Spider-Man: Into the Universe' projected on a wall with clarity
Josh Hendrickson

Now for full transparency, we’ve spent greater than $3,000 on our projector setup. For the primary six months, we projected straight onto our wall. However that wasn’t ideally suited for 2 causes. First: we’re colourful folks, and our dwelling partitions are teal. You need to venture onto a white floor to get correct colours. Surprisingly, it didn’t harm issues as a lot as you may suppose, as you’ll be able to see within the image above.

But in addition, and I do know this can be a reoccurring theme, my home is outdated and, as such imperfect. The partitions have slight imperfections that you just wouldn’t discover in any other case—till you attempt to venture a picture on them. As an alternative of an ideal 16:9 rectangle when watching a film, we obtained a wavy nearly rectangle. Not a deal-breaker, thoughts you, however nonetheless a noticeable annoyance.

And whereas we really might watch TV lastly in the course of the daytime, it did get washed out some until we closed the curtains. An ambient gentle rejecting (ALR) display screen solves all these issues. Because the identify suggests, ALR screens “reject” undesirable gentle (like daylight glare and overhead lights) and bounce again projector gentle at you. That provides the picture a brilliant, bolder, extra colourful look near what you’d get with a TV. The ALR display screen mounted all the problems, and on all however the brightest days, we will watch with the curtains open with out concern.

ALR projector screens usually value greater than commonplace choices, however they’ve been reducing in worth. Whilst you can nonetheless discover them for $660, as an example, some manufacturers go for beneath $500. However when you get a hard and fast mount display screen, particularly at 100 inches or extra, you’re again to the “cowl your wall” grievance with TVs. It’s a thinner cowl, and gray might mix into your wall higher relying in your ornament selections, however we didn’t need that.

So for our lounge, we splurged on a flooring rising 120 inch ALR display screen that hides away after we’re not utilizing it. After we flip the projector on, the display screen mechanically rises up. And when the projector is off, it lowers into its field. With that setup and our 7.1 encompass system, our lounge appears to be like and feels like a movie show. And that’s a superb factor as a result of we’re not desirous about going again to the theater.

A Film Theater In Your House

An example of an ALR screen in the daytime.
Josh Hendrickson

I can’t understate how good the mixture of an ALR display screen and UST projector appears to be like. It appears like I’m in a theater, solely I don’t should take care of the annoyances. I don’t should pay silly excessive costs for popcorn and soda. Nobody stands up in entrance of me proper at a pivotal level within the film. We are able to pause if we do want to face! And I could be positive I received’t hear some stranger’s telephone ring, adopted by an precise dialog in the course of the film.

However give it some thought for a second. Think about you possibly can go to the theater for all the things you watch on TV. The most effective Netflix exhibits are exhibiting in my movie show. Together with The Mandalorian, Star Trek: Stange New Worlds, and The Librarians, a present I’d watch many times on an enormous display screen. But it surely’s not simply TV exhibits and films that profit. I’ve gaming programs too.

Now, when you’re a hardcore gamer, you may disagree with me. However gaming on my projector is okay. No, it doesn’t assist 120 FPS, and there’s a tiny little bit of latency. That latency is simply very slight, although, and I play Rocket League on a regular basis on my projector. I do maintain my Xbox Sequence X and PS5 on my gaming TV simply to get probably the most out of each NextGen function. However for my PS4 and Xbox One, big-screen gaming is the very best gaming.

And once I need to take an opportunity on a film I’m unsure I’ll like, it’s a lot nicer to observe it on my large display screen. Both I get the right theater expertise with a fantastic film, or I don’t remorse spending $50 on giving The Matrix: Resurrections an opportunity when it turned out to be a complete disappointment (stunning). I most likely wouldn’t have even completed that film on a 55-inch TV, however at the least with my 120-inch setup, I might benefit from the visuals.


Sure, I spent almost $5,000 on my dwelling theater setup. If I’m being sincere, as costly as they’re, I received’t recoup my prices in movie show tickets alone. Proper now, if I wished to see a film with my household, I might simply spend $100 on the evening. Simply checking in at AMC, I can see that tickets for the 4 of us value a whopping $83 earlier than the snacks. I’ll should skip 50 motion pictures to equal the associated fee.

However I get much more out of my setup than simply motion pictures; I additionally watch TV exhibits, play video games, and sometimes hook up my laptop computer or show pictures. I used to benefit from the movie show expertise infrequently; now, I get it on daily basis, and it’s implausible.

Most tellingly of all, although, is my spouse. She was towards buying the projector initially, regardless that she had seen how nice it was after we had a evaluate unit. However when she noticed me writing this text, she prompt it could possibly be lots shorter. She mentioned, “simply write, ‘sure, it’s’ then publish.” It’s exhausting to argue with that.





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