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Best Projectors under $1000
November 13, 2014,
BEST for HOME VIDEO:
The Optoma HD26 is a low-cost, high-performance projector for home video. Optoma's followup to the HD25 moves away from pitch-black home theater applications by adding a serious brightness boost and some family-friendly features that make it a great all-purpose video projector.
We like the Optoma HD26 for home video for four reasons:
Picture quality. With the lights on, the HD26's extreme brightness preserves the appearance of contrast. With the lights off, though, it produces a nuanced and subtle image in Cinema mode, with balanced color and good shadow detail. It cannot match the pitch-perfect color performance of the BenQ HT1075, so it's not our number one pick for home theater, but as a dual-purpose machine it really shines.
Super bright picture. In its brightest mode, the HD26 has the highest light output of any projector in the shootout. That's ideal when you need a brilliant image due to ambient light, and that's part of why the HD26 is a great choice for those rooms where ambient light can't be controlled. And in the projector's Cinema mode, it still produces over 1,000 lumens for a satisfying experience once the sun goes down.
Lamp life and cost. Even at full power, the HD26's 190-watt lamp is rated to last 5,000 hours, longer than any of its competitors. That jumps to 6,500 hours in Eco mode. When it finally comes time to replace the lamp, replacements are only $179.
Jack of all trades. The HD26 also includes MHL, a ten-watt speaker, low 33ms input lag, and a VESA 3D synchronization port. These features are not unique to the HD26, but no other projector has this particular combination. They allow the HD26 to be a powerful do-all projector in your living room, functioning well in whatever role you need it to perform.
While its image is impressive, especially considering its low price, the HD26 cannot quite match the impeccable color performance of the BenQ HT1075. And though it is lighter than its predecessor, the HD26 is larger and heavier than our portable pick, the Viewsonic PJD7820HD.
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