If you’re after the best smart projectors, you’ve come to the right place. Not only can they allow you to enjoy your favorite movies and TV shows on a much larger screen, but opting for a “smart” choice means that it’s a lot easier to get started right out of the box, without having to worry so much about making the right configurations and adjustments.
Smart projectors are among the very best projectors for movies and TV. comes with apps built-in, letting you cut straight to the quality stuff straightaway, or let you install them yourself utilizing the projector’s – usually – Android operating system. Disney Plus, Prime Video, YouTube, and many of the other best streaming services, which you typically wouldn’t get with something like the best portable projectors. Then there are also features like auto-keystone and auto-focus, which help fine-tune your picture and keep everything pin-sharp with only minimal input.
The best smart projectors are:
- XGIMI Horizon Ultra – best overall
- Epson EpiqVision EH-LS650 – best UHD projector
- Dangbei Atom – best for the future
- Samsung Freestyle 2nd Gen – best portable option
- Nebula Cosmos Laser 4K – best premium option
1. XGIMI Horizon Ultra
Best smart projector for big, bright, bold visuals.
XGIMI Horizon Ultra specs:
|Resolution||4K (3840 x 2160-pixels)|
|Brightness||2300 ISO lumens|
|Screen size||40 to 200-inches|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||26.5 x 22.4 x 17cm|
- Full 4K
- High brightness
- Excellent connectivity
- Not particularly portable
- Low contrast ratio
A smart projector that’s far more comfortable cozying up near the couch than it is being up-ended and taken on travels. This handsome 5.2kg lump from China’s Chengdu-based XGIMI is a definite stay-at-home, mostly given its weight and the fact that it needs access to the mains to do its magical thing. But then, that does mean, stretching far beyond the abilities of portable smart projectors, it can deliver far more formidable 4K images, with Dolby Vision, backed by a considerably more brilliant brightness of 2300 ISO lumens.
Capable of connecting to your home network and all and sundry smart devices via utterly stable Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2, the Horizon Ultra also opens itself up to almost endless peripheral possibilities thanks to an absolute array of ports for HDMI, HDMI with eARC support for enhanced audio, USB and LAN, so you can hook up your gaming consoles and revel in thumb-based fun in 4K at 60Hz.
Featuring ISA (Intelligent Screen Adaption) 3.0, auto keystone, autofocus, and wall color adjustment are all sorted for you from the moment you switch on, so any blurry issues are a matter to take up with your optician on another occasion. And that image is, indeed, stunning, bright, sharp, richly detailed and bright. But – and this is a but of some note – very oddly, the contrast ratio is right down, so shadows in darker films and games will remain a realm of mystery, so if your viewing tends towards the aphotic, you may want to look instead to an option that can better detail the dark.
At the audio end, the XGIMI boasts two full-range Harmon Kardon 12W speakers, which team up with DTS Studio Sound Technology to deliver impressively well-balanced audio across the spectrum.
In all, the XGIMI Horizon Ultra is a prince amongst smart projectors. Running on Android TV 11.0 with Google Play, it allows access to thousands of apps, and plays images that flow smoothly and swiftly, lacking in lag, all backed by slick sound that you wouldn’t kick out of bed – the complete package.
2. Epson EpiqVision EH-LS650
Best smart projector for incredible UHD images.
Epson EpiqVision EH-LS650 specs:
|Brightness||3,600 ANSI lumens|
|Contrast Ratio||2,500,000: 1|
|Screen size||60 to 120-inches|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||46.7 x 40 x 15.3cm|
- Epson’s affordable end
- Great spec
Epson is, obviously to those in the know, amongst the first names in projectors, as it has been producing game-changing 3LCD options since the dark old days of 1989. And although 1989 seems about 10 years ago to me, the last 34 years have seen Epson tweak and finesse its projector tech to the ultimate end: the all-new EpiqVision EH-LS650.
Definitely a homebody, the new Epson Epiq weighs in at 7.4kg, requires mains power to project, and features suitably sizeable dimensions to fit a wealth of smart tech inside, meaning that it doesn’t particularly want to travel and quite right too, as this 4K-capable beauty belongs positioned perfectly in your lounge or, if you happen to have such a thing, home cinema room in pride of place, using that 3LCD set-up to throw those Ultra HD images against your screen with a whopping 3,600 ANSI lumens of brightness making for brilliant, vibrant, lifelike pictures, and a contrast ratio of 2,500,00:1 that ekes out every essential detail in dark areas, ensuring you always get the full picture.
The set-up comes plug and play, thanks to the Epson’s Android TV OS and the accompanying Epson Setting Assistant app, which walks you through the automatic keystone and focus features over your smartphone. From that point on, simply use the Google Play facility to add the likes of YouTube, Prime Video, Disney+, etc., to your on-board apps, and sit back and sink deliciously into the utterly immersive combination of stunning images and 20W of nicely soothing 3D sound by YAMAHA.
Screen size gives you 60 to 120 inches, which should be ample for most homes, while physical connectivity covers all bases for video and gaming. It also has Bluetooth and Chromecast compatibility, making it easy to connect any iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet, Mac or Windows laptop, or Chromebook.
The new Epson EpiqVision EH-LS650 may be pricey, despite being badged as Epson’s affordable option, but you really can’t argue with all the smart AV bang this inimitable beast of the smart projector stage it buys you for those many bucks – worth every penny!
3. Dangbei Atom
Best future-proofed smart projector.
Dangbei Atom specs:
|Brightness||1200 ANSI lumens|
|Screen size||40 to 180-inches|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||19.5 x 19.5 x 4.75cm|
- It looks like it’s going to be really good
- It’s not out yet, so you’ll have to wait
The brand-new Atom from Dangbei has just been unveiled at September’s ISE show in Berlin. The Atom is a go-anywhere kind of machine, and, indeed, weighing just over a kilo, the Atom will happily slip onto a bag to provide entertainment while you’re on the move. As of yet, there is no mention of power options, but it would be hard to believe that anyone would create a smart projector so portable and make it mains-dependent alone, but we shall see.
Capable of creating images of 1080p, at up to 120-inches in size, with 120 ANSI lumens of brightness, the Atom’s ALPD (Advanced Laser Phosphor Display) hardware promises some truly dazzling projection performances, and the Android OS gives you Google TV, Google Play and Google Assistant right off the bat, so you can go on to add Netflix, YouTube, Disney+ and so on to your app options, or simply Chromecast from your phone.
Plus, with auto keystone, autofocus, auto screen fit, and obstacle avoidance all at your disposal, set-up is a simple matter of place, turn on, leave the heck alone until it’s done its smart business, sit and enjoy.
4. Samsung Freestyle 2nd Gen
Best smart projector for go-anywhere greatness.
Samsung Freestyle 2nd Gen specs:
|Brightness||230 ANSI lumens|
|Contrast Ratio||100,000: 1|
|Screen size||30 to 100-inches|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||10.24 x 17.28 x 9.52cm|
- Extensive streaming compatibility
- Excellent sound
- No resolution adjustment
- Makes rainbow-like distortions sometimes
Okay, let’s start with this: look at it! If you’re in the market for a smart projector that looks like a mini version of what Commissioner Gordon uses to summon the Batman, then Samsung of got you a bat-back.
Small and light enough to take anywhere, plug into the power (yep, there is no built-in battery, but a Freestyle battery base is sold separately), this Tizen OS works the same way as any of the other options here. This is another plug-and-play option, so it comes with Samsung’s built-in Smart TV letting you add your apps, such as Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, ITVX, BBC iPlayer, Chanel 4, Apple TV, Now TV, Channel 5 and, well, you get the idea, the list is almost endless.
Screen sizes start at 30 inches up to 100 inches and the 1080p image is crisper than a kettle chip, even if the low 230 ANSI lumens means you’re going to need a complete absence of ambient light to enjoy that properly.
On the audio front, a built-in 5W speaker may not sound overly impressive, but the Freestyle’s design means that it radiates sound in 360 degrees, so the audio is oddly enveloping and space-filling. With connectivity options for all comers, the little Samsung plays nicely with all wireless smart devices Blu-ray players, and gaming consoles, making it fully flexible for all your entertainment fun.
Focus and keystone come automatically, naturally, giving you the perfectly proportioned screen moments after you turn the thing on, and Samsung’s PurColor tech ensures those images are never anything less than 100% vibrant and colors natural and rich.
5. Nebula Cosmos Laser 4K
Best smart projector for ultra HD heaven.
Nebula Cosmos Laser 4K specs:
|Brightness||1840 ANSI lumens|
|Contrast Ratio||1,500,000: 1|
|Screen size||60- to 150-inches|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||26.4 x 20.5 x 16.5cm|
- Great picture quality
- Easy to set up
- Doesn’t always process that smoothly
Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing/messing around with a number of Nebula projectors, both those designed for the home alone and those itching for the Great Outdoors, and I’ve never been disappointed by design or performance. So, when it came to this piece, the mighty, all-things-to-all-comers Cosmos Laser 4K seemed like an obvious shoo-in.
Decidedly rugged looking – we’ll get to that in a minute – as the name gives away, here you get full laser-fired 4K resolution with HDR10 support that can turn any flat surface into a UHD display that’s perfect for gaming and watching alike. What’s more, this meaty resolution comes backed by an ample 180 ANSI lumens of brightness, making the Cosmos Laser luminous enough to light things up even with annoying ambient light.
Audio-wise, the Cosmos continues to impress, imbued as it is with 2x 5W tweeters and 2x 10W speakers pumping out a combined 30W of EQ-controlled, Dolby Audio-enhanced sound so immersive that you’d better set alarms for anything important you’re supposed to remember to do.
Being a smart beast, auto-keystone, auto-focus, and auto-screen fit set-up are all seen to for you and, of course, running on Android TV 10.0 with Chromecast as a matter of course, all the usual streaming service apps are immediately available, or you can simply send what you want directly from your smartphone over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
Naturally, there are also ports for HDMI, USB and aux connections, so you can hard wire your consoles and player separates, should you wish. Then there’s the AC in for powering your Cosmos Laser 4K from the mains at home. At home… At home… hmm, which begs the question: why is it so rugged then? Well, that’s because, should you have the vision and available cash to invest in a PowerHouse portable battery unit from Nebula’s parent company, Anker, then the Cosmos Laser 4K is just as comfortable being used al fresco, wherever you choose to take it via the convenient carry handle, making camping trips, garden parties and, well, anything outdoors eminently more entertaining for all!
How we chose the best smart projectors
When deciding what to include in this list, there were several key factors that we looked at, and we recommend you use the same criteria:
- Resolution: keep it no less than 1080p (Full HD) for pictures that pop with detail
- Brightness: depending on the ambient light where you plan to use your projector, the number of lumens will make all the difference;
- Screen size: space may be at something of a premium or it could be a case of the bigger the better, so look for a model that gives you flexibility;
- Sound: if you’re not planning on feeding out to your own, separate sound system, seek decent built-in speakers; and connectivity options, because sometimes you may want to expand your entertainment options.
While you could look out for all that, you could simply select one of the slick, smart suggestions we at The Digital Fix have picked for you instead. May as well keep smart simple…