In our experience, The Freestyle works best for indoor movie nights or binge watching, but it can also throw a gorgeous picture up on your wall (or projector screen, if you prefer) indoors and out. We also love the compact size and sleek product design. To watch your content, you can connect to The Freestyle with an HDMI cable or via Bluetooth. As a true smart product, it’s easy to access streaming apps too, and the SamsungTV OS is vastly preferable to Android TV. Finally, we love that The Freestyle doubles as a smart speaker, with 360-degree sound and built-in Alexa. We should note that a Gen 2 version of The Freestyle is expected in 2024, although it’s likely to carry a higher price tag.
We’ve spend a lot of time with The Freestyle, and it’s just as impressive in 2024 as it was in 2022. The biggest drawback? The lack of an internal battery. To get the most out of your movie nights, connect an external power bank via USB-C or pick up The Freestyle external battery pack from Samsung.
The Best Budget Projector: Auking Mini
GQ has tested some of Auking’s portable mini projectors, which are some of the most popular on Amazon. This device packs 200 lumens and a screen size up to 200″, which beats out most mini projectors. Although the 1080p picture quality is impressive, we do recommend using external speakers, as the fan can be loud and the audio quality just so-so. This Auking is best used inside your home in a dark room, but thanks to its small size, you can easily port it from room to room as needed. Keep in mind that you can’t connect to this projector over WiFi or Bluetooth, nor does it have an onboard smart TV OS. Still, with a $100 price tag, you can enjoy a true home theater experience, and this budget pick proves just how good projectors have gotten in recent years.
The Best Mid-Range Projector:
Nebula Mars 3
We love the Nebula Capsule line for its convenience and portability, but if you care more about picture quality, then you’ll definitely want to upgrade to the Mars 3 laser projector—especially for outdoor movie nights. None of our other picks offer such a good balance of specs (1,000 lumens! 5-hour battery life! 40W speakers and Dolby Digital!). Plus, the auto-focusing laser light source will give you richer colors and clearer contrast. The Mars 3 can project 1080p HDR video onto a screen up to 200″ in size, and you have plenty of ports so you can access all of your favorite media.
The Nebula Mars 3 is also a true portable device, with smart features, a carrying handle, and weatherproofing that take it over the top. The IPX3 water-resistance won’t protect this device if it falls in the pool, but it’s far hardier than the competition. The only real downside? Users do complain about Android TV and the Anker app, which is necessary to access Netflix. These limitations are common with most projectors, however.
The Best Splurge-Worthy 4K Projector: GP500 4K
For now, if you want a true 4K projector, then you’ll have to sacrifice portability. This BenQ product is lighter than most of its competitors, and it’s specifically designed for room-to-room placement. That being said, we don’t recommend setting this up in the backyard, although you technically can (so long as you have an external power source handy). However, there are also benefits that come with a larger size. Specifically, multiple speakers provide a 360-degree sound field, with adaptive stereo that replicates the feel of sitting in a movie theater. A soundbar will enhance the experience even further, but it’s not as necessary here as with other projectors that have shoddier sound systems.
Reviewers praise the GP500 for its gorgeous picture quality, which impresses even with some ambient light. For cinephiles who want to appreciate every little detail on screen, it’s hard to beat 4K content on a massive 150-inch screen. Sure, you can buy 150-inch 4K TVs, but these specialty products will set you back a six-figure sum. Or, you can buy a 4K projector like this and enjoy a similar experience for under $1,000 (at least, when the GP500 is on sale). The 1,500-lumen brightness lets you enjoy your content in all but the brightest daytime environments, and thanks to a combination of Android TV and a full suite of ports and connectivity options, it’s easy to find and watch anything your heart desires.
Plus, 3 More Projectors We Like
Read the full article here