A idea of using an ultra-short-throw projector as a replacement for a regular TV has been around for a few years, but there's no denying the explosion of recent interest as numerous projector manufacturers have jumped into the fray. You can blame it on a number of factors, including the dropping cost of bright lasers that eliminate the usual lamp replacements associated with projectors; the development of high-tech screens that let you effectively watch projections with the lights on; and the still very-high costs associated with a panel TV at the 100- to 120-inch image size these projectors play at. Whatever the reason, what was once a curiosity has become a bonafide product category, with quite a few models to choose from at different price and performance levels.

The projectors listed below (in alphabetical order) all use a solid-state light source—typically laser—that eliminates costly lamp replacements and provides essentially stable brightness for at least 20,000 hours of use. That's more than nine years of watching six hours of TV every single day. Some include on-board streaming platforms for receiving services like Netflix and Amazon, a built-in off-air TV tuner, or an integrated soundbar. Likewise, some are shipped as a complete solution with an ambient-light-rejection screen designed for use with UST projectors. In our guide below, we've called out these and other features, and included a link to each product's page in our ProjectorCentral database where you can see more specficiations, download a product sheet and user manual for more information, or visit our Projector Throw Calculator for that model. Clicking on the price for any projector in the guide will provide a link to our affiliated online resellers where applicable. As always, follow the links through to the retailer to check for the latest discounts.—Rob Sabin, editor-in-chief.


BenQ v7050i lifestyle BG

BenQ V7050i

  • Rated Brightness 2,500 Lumens
  • Screen Included No
  • Light Source Laser
  • Price $3,299

BenQ took its time joining the UST living room projector party, but eventually launched with a 4K model that takes square aim at the heart of the market with its $3,499 price tag. As with others in this price range, a single blue laser combines with a phosphor wheel and color wheel to make the magic happen, but the V7050i boasts wider color gamut, specifically the ability to reach nearly 100% of the DCI-P3 color space used for HDR content (98%, to be exact). At 2,500 lumens, it's rated a bit lower than some competitors, though we found in testing that it makes up for it by delivering good image quality in its brightest mode. Filmmaker Mode is also a plus. And Full 1080p 3D is supported.

The V7050i is spec'd for image sizes from 70 to 123 inches diagonal, though you'll need to add your own UST ALR screen to get the most from your purchase. What it does come with is a modest but respectable built-in audio system with a pair of two-way 5-watt speakers tuned by treVolo, and a streaming platform via BenQ's QS01 Android TV streaming stick whose operation integrates with the remote. This is a much preferred alternative to the Android-based Aptoid platform built into some other projectors and includes well-performing apps for several major services including Amazon, Disney +, and others, though like a few other projectors it lacks an app for Netflix.

BenQ v7050i left open BG

The V7050i's distinctive sliding motorized cover that protects the lens when not in use isn't necessary for a UST, but it's sure to be crowd pleaser and adds to the projector's distinctive styling. The 0.23:1 throw ratio is about average for the product class, and results in placing the projector about 9 inches from the wall for a 100-inch image.


Epson LS500 lifestyle black

Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS500

  • Rated Brightness 4,000 Lumens
  • Screen Included Yes
  • Light Source Laser
  • Price $4,999 w/ 100-inch screen
  • Price $5,999 w/ 120-inch screen

Just the name of the Epson LS500 Laser Projection TV leaves no doubt about its intended use. The LS500 comes with a 16:9 ALR screen—at either 100-inch or 120-inch size—and it includes a built-in stereo audio system with two 10-watt speakers facing the seating area. It also offers a stereo-out port if you prefer to use an external audio system, which you might—unlike some of the competition that claims a built-in soundbar, Epson says its speakers are more utilitarian and not intended to replace a permanent outboard sound system. At this writing, it's slated to be available in the second half of 2020.

The LS500 doesn't include a digital TV tuner, but it qualifies as a smart TV thanks to its Android TV OS. It also includes Google Voice so you can give it voice commands. And its 4,000 ISO (ANSI) lumens—the brightest rating for any of the projectors in this buyers' guide—makes it easily bright enough for the image to stand up to ambient light with its associated screen. It also offers support for full HD 3D, and its HDR support—for both HDR10 and HLG—adds an HDR curve adjustment with 16 settings borrowed from Epson's late-model home theater projectors, so you can fine tune the image to best match the content you're watching.

Epson LS500 FrontAngle
Epson LS500

Epson's 4K PRO-UHD technology in the LS500 uses three 1920x1080 (1080p) LCD chips and relies on pixel shifting to double the number of pixels on screen. That's only half as many as are in a UHD image, but thanks to Epson's sophisticated image processing, a high quality lens, and the fact that there's only so much detail the human eye can see, Epson's approach delivers an image that's very much in the same league as, and in some cases better than, images from projectors that put a full 3840x2160 pixels on screen. Epson claims 96% Rec.709 coverage and a contrast ratio exceeding 2,500,000:1.

The projector measures just 9 x 18 x 14.75 inches (HWD), and you can get it in black or white to best match your decor. It's also a relatively light 20.5 pounds for easy setup. The only allowable positioning is on a flat surface in front of the screen, with the closest side of the projector 15.4 inches from the 100-inch screen or 20.4-inches from the 120 inch screen. That's further out than some competitors, but close enough to let the LS500 fit on a 30 to 35-inch deep table or credenza in front of the screen.


EpiqVision Ultra LS300 NPA slider

Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS300

  • Rated Brightness 3,600 Lumens
  • Screen Included Optional
  • Light Source Laser
  • Price $1,999
  • Price $2,999 w/ 100-inch screen
  • Price $3,999 w/ 120-inch screen

Like the Epson LS500, the EpiqVision LS300 Streaming Laser Projector is based on a trio of native 1080p LCD imagers. However, Epson's 4K PRO-UHD pixel-shifting technology to enhance image detail is not present here as it is with the LS500, so we're left with a 1080p-resolution projector that accepts 4K UHD HDR signals and applies HDR10 or HLG processing to take advantage of the wider dynamic range inherent in that content. The resulting cost savings from the lower resolution and a modest reduction in brightness is passed on to the consumer and evident in the pricing. Epson is also selling the LS300 with or without a screen while the LS500 is strictly a package deal with Epson's own screen or one bundled by your integrator.

EpiqVision Ultra LS300 Black NPA

In some respects, the LS300—which was developed after the LS500—actually has a more advanced design. It boasts a Yamaha-engineered 2.1-channel integrated sound system featuring processing to create a more spacioius image. Onboard Bluetooth allows it to be used for music from your portable devices. And the LS300's Android TV streaming platform, supported by the Google Play store, Google Assistant voice control, and Chromecast built-in, is integrated fully into the projector and mic-enabled remote instead of being executed via an HDMI dongle and extra remote. The LS300 further touts automatic "scene-based color correction," though its color gamut taps out at Rec.709 as it does with the LS500.

The LS300 is a relatively compact and lightweight projector, measuring 18.4 x 15.7 x 5.9 inches and weighing in at 15.9 pounds. Like most of the projectors in our listing, it will throw an image up to 120 inches diagonal, but it goes as small as 61 inches, and thanks to the smaller throw ratio of its lens, casts a 100-inch image from only 10.5 inches away from the rear of the projector, or 15.2 inches for a 120-inch image. Like the LS500, the LS300 is available in either black or white styling.


Hisense L9G lifestyle BG

Hisense L9G TriChroma Series

  • Rated Brightness 3,000 Lumens
  • Screen Included Yes
  • Light Source Laser
  • Price $5,499 w/ 100-inch Cinema screen
  • Price $5,499 w/ 100-inch Daylight screen
  • Price $5,999 w/ 120-inch Cinema screen

Hisense has had a version of its "Laser TV" UST projector in the U.S. market since 2017. It's latest model is its most advanced ever, featuring dedicated red, green, and blue lasers to deliver a promised 3,000 lumens of brightness and the ability to achieve (in its best picture modes) 107% of the BT.2020 color space. That's way more than what today's 4K UHD content can even deliver, but BT.2020 is the target goal for all 4K HDR displays and this represents performance that even the best panel TVs can't match. Filmmaker Mode is included for compatible content.

The L9G comes bundled with a 16:9 screen at either 100 or 120 inches, featuring your choice of two different ambient-light rejecting architectures. The so-called Daylight screen is a rigid 1.2 gain fresnel screen that arrives fully constructed and is targeted for bright environments; its boost in brightness comes at the expense of a more narrow viewing window. The Cinema screen comes rolled and uses a lenticular architecture that offers a darker, 0.4 gain surface and wide viewing angle; it boosts blacks and contrast for dim-room movie viewing at the sacrifice of some peak brightness. Note that, as of this writing in late September 2021, the Daylight screen was still available only in the 100-inch size. (You can read more about UST ALR screen technology here.)

Hisense L9G frontangle BG

The Hisense Laser TVs, including the L9G and the L5F Series below, are among the few living room USTs that come designed to fully replace a smart TV, including an integrated digital broadcast TV tuner for off-air HDTV, built-in web streaming, and an advanced sound system. Streaming is handled with the Android TV platform, in this case a version that offers the authorized Netflix app missing from several other projectors with the same system. It's Google Assistant and Alexa friendly via the mic-equipped remote. Sonics are courtesy of a 40-watt system compatible with Dolby Atmos signals; you can also send high-res audio to an Atmos soundbar through the projector's eARC connection, or use self-powered WiSA wireless speakers.

The L9G features a sleek black contoured design, and projects a 100-inch image with the back of the console 11 inches from the screen wall, or about 13 inches away for a 120-inch image.


Hisense Laser TV L5F Lifestyle1 800

Hisense L5F Series

  • Rated Brightness 2,700 Lumens
  • Screen Included Yes
  • Light Source Laser
  • Price $3,999 MSRP w/ 100-inch screen
  • Price $4,999 MSRP w/ 120-inch screen

In late 2020, Hisense added this affordable projector/screen package, a single blue-laser plus phosphor-wheel model. That results in some sacrifice in color gamut vs. the advanced tri-laser USTs like the L9G series, but the L5F is still said to achieve 83% of the DCI-P3 gamut that 4K content is mastered to (and more than 100% Rec.709). It ships with either a 100-inch or 120-inch lenticular UST ALR screen, which is a separate purchase with most of its competition. As with the L9G, the projector is not designed to be mated with larger screens. Hisense 100L5F Angle2

Hisense offers a respectable 30-watt dual-speaker sound system with integrated dbx-TV enhancement technology in the L5F. And it was the first Hisense projector to feature Google's Android TV streaming platform for access to the major streaming services. It boasts more than 1,000 Chromecast-compatible apps, including Netflix in this case, and like the L9G, there's a microphone in the remote for the the built-in Google Assistant voice/search features.

The L5F measures in at 6.2 x 21.5 x 13.6 inches (HWD), and weighs 24.3 pounds. It will throw its 100-inch image from 11.3 inches off the screen wall or a 120-inch image from 13.8 inches. Connections include four HDMI 2.0 inputs, a pair of USB inputs including one USB 3.0, and an RF antenna input for the projector's built-in off-air tuner.


LG HU85LA Lifestyle trolley

LG CineBeam HU85LA 4K Laser Smart Home Theater Projector

  • Rated Brightness 2,700 Lumens
  • Screen Included No
  • Light Source Laser
  • Price $4,873

The LG HU85LA doesn't include a screen as part of the package, and its onboard stereo audio system uses a modest pair of 5-watt speakers that ran out of steam quickly during our review, so you may want an external sound system. However, it still qualifies as a smart TV replacement, thanks to its built-in digital TV tuner, and its WebOS streaming platform that supports Netflix, YouTube, and a browser, plus an app store for more. It even offers voice control with LG ThinQ, Google Assistant, and Alexa.

HDR support in the HU85LA is limited to HDR10, making it one the few projectors included here that doesn't support HLG. It's also one of the few that lacks 3D support. On the other hand, as reported in our review, it offers effective dynamic tone-mapping to optimize HDR10. And its 2,700 lumen rating should be enough to deliver an image that can easily stand up to moderate levels of ambient light at the 90 to 120-inch screen size LG recommends, especially if mated with an ALR UST screen.

Hisense 120L10E1 FrontAngle
LG HU85LA

As with most projectors is this category, the LG HU85LA is built around a laser-phosphor light source paired with a DLP chip that uses TI's XPR technology to deliver 3840x2160 resolution. Unlike most, though, it uses the larger 0.66-inch DMD. More notable is that it fully eliminates a color wheel by using red and blue lasers plus a third blue laser and phosphor for green, which LG says delivers more vivid color than a color wheel. Its DCI-P3 coverage is rated at 97% and its contrast ratio at 2,000,000:1.

The white case, which measures 5 x 26.8 x 13.7 inches (HWD) and weighs 26.7 pounds, is stylish enough to look good in a living area, thanks in part to a fabric grille covering on the audience-facing side. LG says it can be mounted in front of the screen or behind it, and on a flat surface below or a ceiling mount above. It also offers the setup convenience of 12-point geometric correction for keystone, pincushioning, and barrel distortion. Thanks to an aggressive 0.19 throw ratio for the lens, the distance from the screen-facing side to the screen for the recommended 90 to 120-inch sizes ranges from 2.2 to 7.2 inches.


CinemaX P2-lifestyle-main

Optoma CinemaX P2

  • Rated Brightness 3,000 Lumens
  • Screen Included No
  • Light Source Laser
  • Price $3,299

In fall 2020, Optoma updated and replaced the CinemaX P1 with this 2nd generation model, offering some modest updates at $500 less than the P1's then current asking price. Besides the signifcant drop in price, the key differences are a slightly more color-accurate RGBRGB color wheel that replaces the RGBYRGBY color wheel in the P1 while still achieving the same 3,000 lumen brightness, a noticeable 33% improvement in contrast to a rated 2,000,000:1, and a white and gray two-tone cabinet to replace the black-and-gray styling of the original.

As with the original P1, the CinemaX P2 garnered our rare Editor's Choice designation upon its review as a consequence of relatively high performance for its cost—a circumstance that holds more true here than it did for the predecessor given the P2's much lower pricing.

CinemaX P2_front-800

Aside from a screen, which you'll have to buy separately, the CinemaX P2 includes everything you need to take the place of a 4K smart TV. There's a NuForce 40W Dolby Digital 2.0 soundbar integrated into the front of the unit, and it offers apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon via its onboard streaming platform and Optoma's Aptoid TV-based Marketplace. It offers voice control with Alexa and Google Assistant, and supports IFTTT smart home technology. The only trick it misses is a built-in digital TV tuner to pick up broadcast signals.

In addition to HDR10, the P2 supports HLG for HDR, and it supports full HD 3D. Its 3,000 lumens should make it easily bright enough to stand up to moderate ambient light using Optoma's recommended 85 to 120-inch screen size.

Along with most projectors in this category, the P2 is built around a DLP imaging chip and a laser light source. The 0.47-inch DMD uses TI's XPR technology to deliver a native 3840x2160 resolution. Optoma rates the color coverage at 120% Rec.709, or about 80% DCI-P3.

The P2 is designed strictly for sitting on a flat surface below the screen—for either front or rear projection. The sleek case measures 5.1 x 22.1 x 15 inches (HWD) and weighs just 24.25 pounds. For the recommended 85 to 120-inch screen, the distance from screen to projector is 7 to 14.75 inches. And thanks to four corner adjustment, 81-point geometric correction, and a powered focus control, you can adjust the image just so. Unique to Optoma is a clever app you can download to automatically apply the required geometric correction to snap the image to the screen. Note also that along with the typical two-year warranty for the projector, the P1 has the longest light-source warranty for the category, at five years or 12,000 hours.


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Samsung "The Premiere" LSP9T

  • Rated Brightness 2,800 Lumens
  • Screen Included No
  • Light Source Laser
  • Price $6,498

After a long hiatus, Samsung re-entered the projector market with two ultra short throw laser projectors in its design-centric Lifestyle TV series that compete in both the premium and budget segments of the category.

The LSP9T, with a $6,499 list price, is the top model featuring a light engine with separate red, green, and blue lasers to acheive a claimed 147% of the DCI-P3 color space used today for the mastering of 4K content, and even 106% of the full Rec.2020 gamut that remains a distant target for most consumer displays today. This discrete three-laser RGB design should also reduce or eliminate the usual single-chip DLP rainbow artifacts. Brightness is rated at 2,800 lumens, contrast at 2,000,000:1 full on/off (peak) or 1,500:1 ANSI. Samsung is using the larger and better performing 0.66-inch DLP XPR chip in this model. Laser life is rated at 20,000 hours.

The LSP9T is cited as the first projector compatible with HDR10+ high dynamic range content, a more advanced form of HDR10 initially developed by Samsung that offers dynamic metadata (similar to Dolby Vision) to assure a better result than is usually found with the static metadata found on regular HDR10 titles. However, HDR10+ content is still not widely found, and the projector will process regular HDR10 as well. The LSP9T also supports the UHD Alliance's Filmmaker mode, which recognizes metadata in compatible content to engage a picture mode that optimizes the image based on the creator's intent.

Samsung LSP9T rightangle

Audio in the LSP9T is handled with an integrated 4.2-channel sound system driven by a total of 40 watts of power and utilizing Samsung's Acoustic Beam technology to provide a more enveloping image. Smart technology appears with Samsung's Smart TV Powered by Tizen streaming platform for streaming and compatibility with both Amazon Alexa and Samsung's Bixby voice assistants. NFC-enabled screen mirroring from mobile devices is also accommodated.

The LSP9T measures in at 21.7 x 5.5 x 14.5 inches (WHD). Its short 0.19:1 throw ratio lens allows it to cast a 100-inch image with the back of the projector just 4.5 inches off the screen wall, or its maximum 130-inch image from 9.4 inches away. This could prevent many users from having to move their credenza or TV stand back from the screen in order to acheive a large 120- or 130-inch image.


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Samsung "The Premiere" LSP7T

  • Rated Brightness 2,200 Lumens
  • Screen Included No
  • Light Source Laser
  • Price $3,498

Samsung's LSP7T step-down UST projector features a similar cosmetic to the LSP9T flagship described above, but is slightly smaller at approximately 21 x 5.4 x 13.5 inches (WHD). Its image size maxes out at 120 inches, and its lens has a slightly longer throw ratio at 0.25:1, which casts a 100-inch image when the rear of the 13.5-inch deep projector is about 12 inches from the screen wall.

The primary cost savings comes in the use of a single blue-laser combined with a yellow phosphor wheel to achieve the three primary colors—a common approach used in other competing UST models in this price class. Consequently, color gamut is claimed at a more limited 83% DCI-P3, which is in keeping with this approach. Also similar to other models at its price, the LSP7T uses the smaller 0.47-inch DLP XPR 4K-resolution chipset. At 2,200 lumens, it's also among the least bright laser-driven UST living room projectors available.

The LSP7T features the same Smart TV by Tizen streaming platform found inthe LSP9T and in Samsung's flat-panel TVs, along with voice control via Alexa and Bixby and NFC mirroring. Its integrated 2.2-channel sound system is driven by 30 watts of amplifier power.


Sim2 XTV lifestyle

Sim2 4K UHD SIM2 XTV

  • Rated Brightness 2,500 Lumens
  • Screen Included No
  • Light Source Laser
  • Price $14,000 MSRP

Although Sim2 has announced the 4K UHD SIM2 XTV, it hasn't released much information about it yet. A company spokesman said that the specifications aren't frozen at this writing, so weren't ready to share for publication. That said, there are some details in the published data sheet that are presumably close to the final specs.

The projector is 4.5 x 21.1 x 15.1 inches (HWD), weighs 29.8 pounds, and will be available in your choice of black or white. In addition to the retail version, it will be available through custom installers who can mount it in a recessed area in the ceiling or sell it with a custom or standard cabinet with a recessed area in the top of the cabinet, so you would only see the top of the unit. This effectively hides its modern industrial design and makes the projector invisible.

SIM 2 XTV front
Sim2 4K UHD SIM2 XTV

Built around a single DLP XPR chip and using a laser light source, the Sim2 projector will offer a 3840x2160 native resolution, 2,500 ANSI lumen brightness, powered focus, and a recommended image size of 80 to 150-inches. It will also support HDR, but the data sheet doesn't specify what version or versions of HDR. It will not support 3D.

The one other key piece of information in the data sheet is the 0.25 throw ratio. For the recommended 80 to 150-inch image size, that translates to a distance from the screen to the screen side of the projector of roughly 2 to 18 inches.

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Sony VPL VZ1000ES lifestyle bedroom

Sony VPL-VZ1000ES

  • Rated Brightness 2,500 Lumens
  • Screen Included No
  • Light Source Laser
  • Price $24,998

Sony was first to market with a UST living room projector when it introduced the predecessor to the VPL-VZ1000ES in 2016, and at $25,000, still offers the most expensive. It doesn't come with a screen, and it doesn't have any smart TV features or an onboard audio system. Yet, the high price pays for lots of technology focused on delivering a great looking picture, including advanced display technology plus some pricey conveniences the others lack, most notably a powered lens shift.

The VPL-VZ1000ES uses Sony's Z-Phosphor laser light source, and it's one of only two models (along with Epson's) that uses three imaging chips instead of one, eliminating any possibility of rainbow artifacts. It's also the only one that uses LCoS imagers—Sony's SXRD version—and the only one with true native 4K 4096x2160 resolution.

Other key features include HDR support for both HDR10 and HLG as well as support for full HD 3D. Sony doesn't disclose color gamut coverage. The brightness is rated at 2,500 ANSI lumens, which should make for a suitably bright image in ambient light at the recommended 80 to 120-inches.

Sony VPL VZ1000ES frontangle
Sony VPL-VZ1000ES

The VPL-VZ1000ES is on the large side, at 77 pounds without its top and side covers and 8.6 x 36.4 x 19.4 (HWD) inches with them. But the black case is suitably handsome for a living area, and the small powered lens shift (+/-6% vertical and +/-3% horizontal) and zoom (just 1.02x) let you compensate for less-than-perfect positioning. The powered focus is also a welcome convenience for setup.

You can mount the projector on a flat surface below the screen, a ceiling mount above it, or behind the screen in either position. The range for the recommended 16:9 image size is 80 inches with the screen side of the projector against the wall to 120 inches at 8.3 inches from the wall. As a final welcome touch, the VPL-VZ1000ES comes with a three year warranty, which is a bit longer than typical.


VAVA 4K UST lifestyle rocks

VAVA 4K Projector

  • Rated Brightness 2,500 Lumens
  • Screen Included No
  • Light Source Laser
  • Price $2,800

The VAVA 4K Projector is less of a smart TV replacement than most of the other choices included here, with no digital TV tuner, no voice control, and no screen included. However, it still offers smart TV features, courtesy of Android 7.1 and the Aptoide app store, which has apps for Netflix, Hulu and more. It also boasts an integrated Harman Kardon sound system with 60 watts of power, dts-HD, and Dolby Audio that fared well in our evaluation (see our review). Note also that at this writing VAVA plans to sell a screen separately and is considering offering screen-projector bundles to turn the VAVA 4K Projector into more of an off-the-shelf TV replacement.

The white case, designed with rounded corners for an attractive look, measures 4.2 x 21 x 14.5 inches (HWD) and weighs 23.8 pounds. Inside is a laser light source, an RGB phosphor color wheel, and a 0.47-inch DMD that uses TI's XPR technology to produce 3840x2160 resolution. VAVA rates the color coverage at greater than 100% of Rec.709 and the contrast ratio at 1,500,000:1. Maximum input resolution is 3840x2160.

VAVA 4K UST front angle
VAVA 4K VA-LT002

You can position the projector on a flat surface below the screen or in ceiling mount above it and either for front or rear projection. A welcome convenience is eight-point geometric correction for keystone as well as pincushion and barrel distortion. For the recommended 80 to 150-inch screen, the distance from screen to projector is just 3.3 to 10.9 inches.

Note that the warranty is shorter than for most of the competition, at only one year, so you may want to add an extended warranty. Also, HDR support is limited to HDR10, and there's no 3D support yet. However, VAVA plans to add 3D as part of a planned firmware update during the 2nd quarter of 2020. The upper end of the recommended 80 to 150-inch image size is much larger than offered by most UST lensing systems. The 2,500 ANSI lumen rating should easily be bright enough for a 2D image in moderate ambient light even at that large size.

ViewSonic X1000 4K Lifestyle

ViewSonic X1000-4K

  • Rated Brightness 1,000 ANSI/2,500 LED Lumens
  • Screen Included No
  • Light Source Laser
  • Est Street Price $1,699

After a long delay in its development, the ViewSonic X1000-4K was scheduled to reach market in late 2021. At $1,699 MSRP it has the distinction of being considerably less expensive than most living room UST projectors. The big difference is that the X1000-4K uses LEDs as a light source instead of a laser, which saves cost but also delivers less brightness. Its rated brightness is both 1,000 ANSI lumens and 2,500 LED lumens when a multiplier is applied to account for so-called "LED lumens" and the phenomenon that we perceive LED light to be brighter than it measures with a traditional light meters. How much the LED brightness will matter in real world use is hard to predict, however, since the perceived brightness boost from LEDs is greater in the dark than with the ambient light we expect most UST projectors to be used in.

The projector is built around TI's 0.47-inch DLP chip that uses XPR technology to deliver 3840x2160 resolution, with colors generated by the red, green, and blue LEDs. ViewSonic pegs the color gamut coverage at 125% of Rec.709 and contrast ratio at 3,000,000:1. For HDR, the projector will support both HDR10 and HLG. It will also support full HD 3D.

ViewSonic X1000 4K frontangle
ViewSonic X1000-4K

If you don't need a digital TV tuner, the X1000-4K can easily serve as a smart TV replacement. Netflix, Hulu, and other apps are available from the Aptoide app store and voice control is provided by Alexa and Google Assistant. You may or may not want to use an external audio system. The projector includes two onboard 20-watt speakers and a subwoofer port.

The X1000-4K is designed for placement on a flat surface below the screen or a ceiling mount above it, with either front or rear projection. Its black and metallic gray case measures 6.3 x 29.8 x 11.4-inches (HWD), and will weigh about 23 pounds or a little less. ViewSonic couldn't give me a definitive image size range, but said that for a range of 100 to 120-inches, the distance from screen to projector is 3.5 to 7.9 inches. As a final plus, the X1000-4K will have a slightly better than typical warranty for the category, at three years for the projector and light source.


Wolf TFX 950 front
Wolf TXF-950

Wolf Cinema TXF-950

  • Rated Brightness 3,300
  • Screen Included No
  • Light Source Laser
  • Price n/a

Wolf Cinema has a solid reputation among enthusiasts for the excellent image quality delivered by its long-throw projector models, which are sold only through custom integrators. This is the company's latest effort at a 4K UST model. It utilizes TI's 0.47-inch DLP chip with XPR technology for 3840x2160 UHD resolution. Wolf's BluHD laser-phosphor light engine with an eight-segment RGBYRGBY color wheel delivers a solidly bright 3,300 rated ANSI lumens. TI's BrilliantColor technology is also on board. Contrast is rated at 1.5 million:1 with the projector's Dynamic Black feature engaged, and the TXF-950 supports HDR10 high dynamic range content and Full HD 3D—but not HLG HDR at this time.

The TXF-950 has a relatively compact chassis at 24.8 x 5.5 x 20 inches (WHD), but weighs a quite substantial 50 pounds. Much of that can be attributed to an all-metal black cabinet design that is said to "improve thermal coefficents for extended projector and laser-module life," though the projector boasts the same 20,000-hour guarantee to half-brightness that most other laser models do. On the other hand, better thermal characteristics may contribute to the quiet operation Wolf promotes, which is spec'd as 24 dB from a 1 meter distance.

Wolf TFX 950 frontangle
Wolf TXF-950

The projector's UST lens has 0.23:1 throw ratio as calculated from lens to screen, or 0.10:1 from the back edge of the projector to the screen surface. It can be mounted below the screen for front or rear projection. Image size is specified at 85- to 120-inches diagonal 16:9, though Wolf offers its 4K ProScaler video processor as an accessory to both further improve image quality and allow scaling for regular 16:9 or widescreen movies on 2.35:1 'Scope-style screen.

A built-in stereo soundbar featuring dual full-range speakers and a pair of LFE (low-frequency effect, or subwoofer) drivers, driven by 40 watts of power, delivers the audio in the absence of an outboard system.


XGIMI Aura slider2 BG

XGIMI Aura

  • Rated Brightness 2,400 Lumens
  • Screen Included No
  • Light Source Laser
  • Price $2,499

Upon its release in October 2021, XGIMI's Aura was both the company's first laser projector and, at $2,499, the least expensive laser UST on the market. Not surprisingly, it uses a similar architecture to other entry-level laser USTs with a 0.47-inch 4K DLP chip and a single blue laser and phosphor wheel to derive the primary colors, which in this case contributes to somewhat limited color gamut that's rated at 90% Rec.709 and 80% DCI-P3. But its 2,400 ANSI lumen brightness is competitive with others in its price range, and it arrives with a number of plusses some others don't offer, including a good quality built-in Android TV 10.0 streaming platform, the ability to playback 3D content, and a 25,000 hour lifespan for the laser that's 5,000 hours more than most competitors can claim. Keep in mind that if you watch the projector for 4 hours a day, that adds up to an extra 3.5 years or 17 years total at that rate of use.

The Aura claims an image size from 80 to 150 inches. With its 0.23:1 throw ratio lens, it'll do a 100-inch image with the back of the projector 8.2 inches from the screen wall, a 120-inch image from 11.7 inches, and its max 150-inch image from 17.3 inches. Of course, if you mate the projector with a UST ALR screen, which we always recommend, you'll likely be limited to a 120-inch image. 8-point geometric correction is included as well.

XGIMI Aura slider1 BG

The Aura features an attractive two-toned designed with a fashionable sloped top and a dark front grille that hides a Harman Kardon stereo sound system with a dedicated tweeter and woofer for each channel, driven by 15 watts each; it supports both Dolby and DTS audio tracks. Back panel connections include both an optical audio output for driving an outboard system and a 3.5mm analog headphone output. Video inputs include three HDMI 2.0 ports and USB. Bluetooth is on board for streaming to the speakers from your mobile device, and network connections are supported with the built-in WiFi or an Ethernet port.