Viewsonic delivers a rock bottom price – streeting for under $600. On top of that they provide what is probably the best warranty of any manufacturer of sub-$1000 projectors: 3 years parts and labor, with a rapid replacement program the first year.
At its price point, the bulk of the competition offers only a single one year warranty and no replacement program. Epson has one of the best warranties – 2 years with 2 years of rapid replacement program. But most of the competition isn’t close. That same BenQ HT2050 I mentioned above, for example is a standard 1 year parts and labor.
Be smart folks – I imagine most repairs on a home projector will run into the hundreds of dollars, which means once out of warranty, any major issue out of warranty makes a projector in this price range, a throw away. Three years – that really makes sense – one year warranties – a real risk. (choose wisely!)
Let’s talk a bit more about the HT2050 as it is a major competitor. Like the Viewsonic, it has a faster than typical color wheel – a real plus for those of us rainbow sensitive. The big differences – the BenQ HT2050 street prices for about $200 more. It definitely can provide more accurate color with better skin tones. The BenQ is, as mentioned, the most “home theater” of the low cost projectors and that also shows in brightness – the Viewsonic is over 50% brighter when comparing similar modes. The BenQ really wants a fully darken able “cave” or home theater. The Viewsonic, a brighter room.
Epson’s new HT2100 and HT2150 are also a good $200 more, but their predecessors HC2040, HC2045, while still being closed out and selling for not much more than the PJD7828HDL, are more similar in feature set to the Viewsonic. They aren’t as bright when measured, but their equivalent brightest useable modes aren’t much less bright. That’s because 3LCD projectors have more color lumens, so sacrifice less brightness when trying to achieve the best color.
These Epsons are also by my take primarily home entertainment projectors. They will all produce more accurate color than the Viewsonic, but being 3LCD will come up short in terms of black level performance – a disadvantage for movie viewing, in a proper room.
Optoma has several projectors in the price range including their GT series (GameTime). Optoma projectors – typically, have roughly comparable out of the box color, but usually have better calibration controls so can, with proper effort end up with better color accuracy. Interestingly, the input lag for gaming on the 7828HDL is lower than most of the Optoma GameTime projectors, never mind their other series of models.
Optoma’s warranties are more in line with BenQ’s which translates into dramatically inferior to Viewsonic in this matter.
At this price point there are also a number of LED pocket projectors with 500 to 1000 lumens – not near as bright, but much smaller and more portable. So far, while some of those are very interesting, and some have many smart features not found on traditional projectors (check out our reviews of the AAXA M6 and others including LG models).