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Editor's Choice Awards – Best Projectors 2017

Projecting the best of the year...

by Phil Hinton Dec 7, 2017 at 7:14 AM

  • Welcome to our first annual Editor’s Choice awards.
    We award badges to products during the review process to say if they are Recommended, Highly Recommend, Best Buy or Reference Status, but we have never had an end-of-year award for the best product in each category, until now.

    Unlike the review badges our Editor’s Choice Awards celebrate the best product of the year and the one item we think stands head and shoulders above the rest. Plus our editorial team will tell you why they have chosen the item they have so you can decide if you want to consider adding it to your system.

    Over six articles we will present the awards for TVs, Projectors, Home AV, AV Streaming Services & Devices, Hi-Fi and Tech & Mobile.

    The criteria for being eligible are simple. It must be a product that has been reviewed by AVForums in the last 12 to 18 months and it must currently be available as part of the official product range from a manufacturer and not discontinued before the end of 2017. Projectors tend to remain in some manufacturers line-ups for around 18 months on average and we have taken that in to consideration for this category. So in this article we look at the best projectors of 2017:

    Best Projector Under £1,000 2017 – Optoma HD27

    There's a lot of competition in the sub-£1,000 price bracket but as an all-in-one home entertainment projector for gaming, big screen sports, movies and 3D the HD27 delivers the goods. It manages to perform all these tasks with a nice degree of quality and the fact it can meet the Rec.709 colour standard at the price point is a major achievement. When you then add in the good brightness levels, great motion and excellent 3D it is an absolute steal for the money. It does suffer a little from rainbow effects so it will be worth getting a demo to see if that affects you and of course DLP black levels are pretty poor at this price point. However given the intended use of this projector and the types of environments it will be used in we don’t really see those as major negatives at all. Its build quality is sturdy and will handle being moved around and it performs really well with gaming and big screen sports, whilst the 3D film performance is stunningly good. So given all this the Optoma HD27 is our choice for the Best Projector under £1,000 this year.

    Best Projector Under £3,000 2017 – Epson EH-TW9300

    Epson have had a huge impact on the sub-£3,000 projector market in the last year and although almost any of their current models could have won this category, the award goes to their EH-TW9300. You get full compatibility with Ultra HD Blu-ray (and other 4K sources) thanks to Epson's 4K enhancement feature and superb sharpness from its high quality lens. There's excellent EOTF PQ curve accuracy for HDR and a convincing dynamic range to images, plus accurate colours to the DCI-P3 standard thanks to Epson's cinema filter. In the Rec.709 picture preset the accuracy out of the box was excellent with superb coverage of the greyscale and colour gamut, so your normal Blu-rays can also be enjoyed as they were intended. Then add in fully motorised lens controls for focus, zoom and shift along with a lens memory function for scope screens, and a motorised lens cover, and you can start to see just why the Epson TW9300 is such a special projector at the price point. Quite frankly nothing comes close in terms of performance and features under £3,000 and, as result, the Epson EH-TW9300 is our choice for the Best Projector under £3,000 this year.

    Best Projector £3,000 And Over 2017 – JVC DLA-X5900

    JVC’s latest lower-end projector might only be a refinement of the previous generation but it’s a great reminder of what the company does so well. Although it doesn’t use native 4K panels, it can accept a full 4K/60p 4:4:4 signal and project at a resolution higher than Full HD. It also supports High Dynamic Range (HDR10 and Hybrid Log-Gamma), Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) and 10-bit video. It’s attractively designed, well made and has an excellent feature set that includes a low input lag mode, calibration controls and a motorised lens memory. If that wasn’t enough the X5900 also has JVC’s superb black levels and contrast performance and, at a retail price of £3,999, it’s our choice for the Best Projector Over £3,000 available this year.

    Best Projector Innovation 2017 – JVC DLA-Z1

    There's no denying the JVC DLA-Z1 is an impressive piece of technology and the use of a native 4K D-ILA device and a high quality all-glass lens means it can deliver the sharpest images we have seen from any projector. The use of a blue laser light source is equally as impressive, producing incredibly bright images and the widest colour gamut that we've measured to date. It’s big, feature-packed and capable of delivering some lovely images, with accurate greyscale and colours after calibration and a staggering amount of detail. The video processing is excellent and the motion handling also very good, whilst the added brightness results in superb 3D images that were devoid of any crosstalk. However it was with HDR content that the Z1 really impresses and thanks to the native 4K panel, the increased brightness and the wider colour gamut the HDR images are the best we've seen from a projector. As a statement of intent from JVC the Z1 is certainly impressive and hopefully we'll soon see the technology trickle down to cheaper models but in the meantime it's our choice for the Best Projector Innovation of 2017.

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