A short throw projector, as its name suggests, is a projector that has a throw distance or distance away from the screen of about 3 to 8 feet. A standard projector can go beyond 8 feet, with it usually placed at the back of the room or on the ceiling.
The main benefit of a short throw projector is that its shortness prevents presenters of business presentations to cast a shadow over the screen as they’re doing their lecture or moving around the stage. Home cinemas also benefit from not needing to place the ST projector too far away from the screen.
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- 1 What to Look for in a Short Throw Projector?
- 2 Product Reviews
- 2.1 1. ViewSonic 1080p Short Throw Projector PX706HD
- 2.2 2. Optoma GT1080HDR Short Throw Gaming Projector
- 2.3 3. BenQ MW632ST WXGA Short Throw Projector
- 2.4 4. Optoma GT1090HDR Short Throw Laser Home Theater Projector
- 2.5 5. ViewSonic PS501X 3400 Lumens XGA HDMI Short Throw Projector
- 2.6 6. BenQ HT2150ST 1080P Short Throw Projector
- 2.7 7. ViewSonic X10-4KE True 4K UHD Short Throw Projector
- 2.8 8. LG HU80KA 4K UHD Laser Smart TV Home Theater CineBeam Projector
- 2.9 9. LG PH550 CineBeam Short Throw LED Projector
- 3 To Sum it All Up
What to Look for in a Short Throw Projector?
The most obvious thing to look for in a short throw projector is its specs regarding the shortness of its throw distance. This is sometimes outright stated or sometimes shown exclusively in terms of throw ratio. Its throw ratio ranges from 0.4 to 1.
The ST projector is also unique from the standard projector because it’s able to have a huge screen size even when it’s at a relatively short distance of 3 to 8 feet. With that said, here’s what you need to look for in an ST projector.
Short Throw vs. Ultra Short Throw Projector
A short throw or ST projector can go from 3 to 8 feet or 0.4 to 1 throw ratio. An ultra short throw or UST projector can go anywhere from half a foot (6 inches) to under 3 feet or any throw ratio below 0.4. Long story short, the UST projector is the micro version of the mini ST projector.
They’re both capable of casting massive images from only a few feet or inches away. The average short throw projector requires about 4-5 feet to have a decently 100-inch image cast on the screen. In contrast, a UST projector can cast the same huge images while only being a couple of inches away.
More often than not, a UST projector is a pico projector as well while an ST projector is merely a smaller lunchbox-sized version of your standard DLP or LCD projector. It’s designed to be a short throw projector mobile enough to use outdoors or during travel. However, the UST pico projector is more mobile.
Resolution in 4K, 1080p, and 720p
Short throw projectors exist because the technology that allows high-resolution images on smaller devices currently exists in the 2010s and 2020s. Usually, higher is better. 4K in particular looks gorgeous with a 100-inch screen because you can fit more of the millions of pixels in such a resolution.
However, most budget projectors of the ST variety offer mid-range 720p to 1080p resolution. Alas, due to their size sacrifices, the resulting image might not as appear as bright or crisp as the 720p resolution of a standard-throw projector.
Light, Compact, and Capable
When shopping for a short throw projector, get something about the size of a mobile phone (pico projector) or two cable boxes stacked together horizontally (a mini projector). Lightweight, compact, or small projectors have the downside of being slightly more expensive due to their size.
You’re paying for their mobility. However, if you don’t necessarily need to be on the go, a mini projector is big enough for your needs in your home entertainment center or your backyard viewing needs. An ST mini projector has the added benefit of being capable of higher brightness.
Keystone, Lens Shift, and Focus Features
The focus, lens shift, and keystone correction features of your ST projector should be on point as well. Even close-range projectors require adjustment. Keystone helps adjusting your projector if the projection is shown as an angle, resulting in a trapezoidal image instead of a square or rectangular one.
The best ST projectors can adjust keystoning or the keystone effect horizontally and vertically. The on-screen image can then be centered using lens shift. Lens shift enables you to move the lens (and the image) from left to right as well as up and down or even diagonally without moving the unit itself.
Finally, auto focus (ostensibly) focuses a blurry image automatically without you having to turn dials or push buttons yourself. It should come with manual focus options as well so that you can do a manual override in case the auto focus erred in focusing the imaging.
The Micronization and Smart Revolution
Micronization isn’t necessarily a key feature of an ST projector, but it’s important to note that the biggest UST projectors are only about the size of a lunchbox or Tupperware. An old-timey VHS player or even a modern Blu-Ray Disc player is usually bigger or thicker than the largest of these projector types.
However, it makes sense that as phones became mobile, smarter, and smaller, so too would TVs and projectors. Projectors more so because the screen size won’t suffer from it being smaller compared to HDTVs. You don’t need your pico projector to be smart but those extra features are worth the money if you have money to spare.
A supercomputer-type projector can double as a TV or computer with its myriad of wired and wireless connections. You have to pay extra for these services though while dealing with low brightness. A mini projector that’s ST gets the job done with extra brightness to spare.
With that said, what’s the best short throw projector out there?
Here are the best short throw or ST projectors we could find in 2021 online.
The ViewSonic 1080p Short Throw Projector PX706HD is an excellent example of a smart projector with Bluetooth connectivity. As expected of an FHD DLP projector, you get to enjoy true colors with distinctive vibrancy. It also comes with a cinema mode and HDR effect mode that affects your video quality in different, favorable ways.
The 22,000:1 contrast ratio might not be as high as other contrast ratios out there that number by the six digits, but it’s serviceable enough to ensure that ViewSonic doesn’t suffer from any one-star review from its Amazon product page at the time of this writing. It did garner enough complaints about it from the 3-star reviews.
Its mid-range price is pretty good for a smart device with the ability to connect to other compatible smart devices or work with apps. Its Bluetooth sound and picture quality don’t disappoint in the least even with the occasional audio choppiness here and there.
- 301 watts of wattage.
- 22,000:1 contrast ratio.
- Wall mount mounting type.
- 1080p FHD native resolution.
- It features cinema mode and HDR mode.
- Low input lag or latency, which is perfect for gaming.
- It’s a super-bright ST projector at 3,000 ANSI lumens of brightness.
- It’s a smart short throw DLP projector by world-renowned ViewSonic.
- To be able to stream Netflix, you need a dongle or streaming device to assist you.
- It offers a dependably versatile hardware interface with its dual HDMI ports and USB-C port plus Bluetooth, VGA, and USB 2.0 connectivity.
- Disappointing dark scenes and poor contrast level for a DLP projector of its price range.
The Optoma GT1080HDR Short Throw Gaming Projector has so many things going for it that the fact that it is a short throw device seems quaint and tertiary. However, it actually isn’t and its super short throw ratio verges on being ultra short throw (which is anything below 0.4 or 3 feet).
It’s mainly advertised as a gaming display device due to its gaming or game mode that drops latency to 8.4 ms at 1080p and 120Hz. Moreover, the Optoma GT1080HDR ST Projector delivers razor-sharp imagery with ample brightness at 3,800 lumens and 50,000:1 contrast ratio (both values more than what’s offered by the ViewSonic ST Projector).
It has a native 1080p FHD display that supports up to 4K UHD resolutions. This results in a clear image with a fast frame rate that renders movement in a buttery smooth manner. This is especially apparent when you’re playing the latest games in 2021.
- 10 watts of wattage.
- HDR available for 4K and 1080p.
- Optoma’s short throw projector offering.
- 4K Ultra HD support when not in game mode.
- It can be tabletop mounted or ceiling mounted.
- 50,000:1 contrast ratio at 3,800 ANSI lumens of brightness.
- It offers a low-latency gaming mode at 8.4 ms for 1080p and 120Hz.
- Its hardware interface feature connectivity to HDMI, VGA (for PC), and 3.5 mm audio.
- It advertises itself as a gaming projector because of its high resolution and low latency.
- The focal length is fixed and not adjustable.
The BenQ MW632ST WXGA ST Projector is a digital projector class mostly associated with business meetings, conference rooms, and company or classroom presentations. It has a native 720p (or near it at 1280 x 800) type of HD resolution that’s neither Full HD nor 4K.
However, it’s twice SVGA’s resolution and it serves as a good budget alternative to all the FHD and UHD offerings on this list that can cost you thousands of dollars when all is said and done. The 2 HDMI ports on the device allow you to enjoy exceptional video and audio quality.
It’s an executive quality projector mainly deigned for presentations, picture, and slideshow purposes but it can double as a video viewer with the right app or source media device. It has all the trimmings of a decent display device for a class of projector below FHD or 4K.
- 305 watts of wattage.
- 10,000 hours of lamp life.
- HDMI hardware interface.
- Ceiling mount mounting type.
- World-famous BenQ’s ST projector offering.
- Ample brightness to spare at 3,200 ANSI lumens.
- It has a 10W Speaker built into the projector body.
- Features a 3D mode to allow for 3D movie viewing.
- It can reach image sizes of 60 to 120 inches (diagonal).
- It offers keystone and 1.2x zoom image adjustment features.
- It can be used for both well-lit rooms and dark home theaters.
- Digital WXGA projector for business and pleasure (entertainment) use.
- Lousy customer service according to several Amazon reviewers.
As for the Optoma GT1090HDR Short Throw Laser Home Theater Projector, its title clearly shows what it brings to the table. More to the point, this ST projector from Optoma delivers 4K HDR input support, lamp-free reliable operation for about 30,000 hours, and supreme brightness at 4,200 ANSI lumens.
Furthermore, this is a genuinely short throw or even ultra short throw projector with a throw distance range of four inches to four feet. So it’s technically half-and-half an ST and UST projector. It mostly attributes its brightness to its laser lamp technology.
You can also connect a 4K HDMI dongle like Apple TV, Google Chromecast, or Amazon Fire TV in order to share photos, play game, and stream videos with this device. It’s made for gamers and cinemaphiles alike.
- 30,000 hours of operation.
- Dependable laser light source.
- Lights-on viewing with its 4,200 lumens of brightness.
- It features an eco mode in case you want to save on electricity.
- 4K HDR input allows you more color gradation and detail from 4K video.
- IPX6 dust resistance rating to ensure you of long-term optical engine durability.
- 300,000:1 contrast ratio produces the deepest blacks and the brightest of whites.
- Image to screen setup is a breeze with its 4-corner keystone and auto keystone correction features.
- An Optoma ST projector with a short throw lens that can project 120-inches of imagery at 4 inches to 4 feet away.
- Its picture quality is cinema tier. This is thanks to its 1080p native FHD resolution with 4K support and high contrast ratio.
- Users report lamp flickering during eco mode.
The ViewSonic PS501X is a 3,400 lumens XGA ST projector with HDMI support. This time around we’re reviewing an XGA grade business projector. It’s no coincidence that many business projectors double as short throw projectors.
They need to be closer to the screen to prevent shadows from forming during lectures when the professor or presenter has to stand up and talk. Eventually, business projector manufacturers like ViewSonic started making XGA and WXGA projectors for both home and office usage.
The main difference between the home cinema projector and business projector is that the former is more streamlined towards accepting connections with cable boxes and BD players. However, a business projector can play videos just fine so you now have projectors like this that can play movies and PowerPoint Presentations without a hitch.
- It can be mounted on the wall.
- It comes with remote control.
- 260 watts of wattage for maximum energy saving.
- It’s easy to set up thanks to its simple control scheme.
- It features USB, VGA, and HDMI inputs on its hardware interface.
- Its big screen projection can fit screens measuring up to 120 inches at 4 feet.
- It can connect to PCs, Macs, and mobile devices using Android or iOS systems.
- This ST projector has a short throw lens that can project from 10 inches to 4 feet.
- This versatile projector can be used in small business environments, education, and advertising.
- Pixels become visible because it can only reach about 720p or 1200 x 800 pixels of native resolution.
In regards to the BenQ HT2150ST 1080P Short Throw Projector, it’s another gaming projector with its short throw features taking an unintentional backseat because it delivers so much in many other avenues. For one thing, it uses DLP technology to its utmost potential.
DLP projectors make up of 100% of iMAX theaters and 90% of the world’s cinemas. It only makes sense that they’re now also conquering the world of home theaters and business projection. The tech allows for the mini projector to have a slimmer design while still delivering high brightness and image crispness.
BenQ is able to blow away its competition by its high specs. It might not be the brightest projector on this list at 2,200 lumens or have the shortest throw ratio possible. However, it excels on all counts across the board, giving you a tier or two of gaming quality above the closest competitor within its below $1,000 price range.
- Its low input lag is ideal for gaming.
- It has a decent 353 watts of wattage.
- It comes at a fetching plain white color.
- It requires a ceiling mount mounting type.
- It features 96% Rec.709 for color accuracy.
- Low latency projection for assured gaming excellence.
- It has 2,200 ANSI lumens of ambient-light-defying brightness.
- It’s capable of streaming Netflix, Amazon Prime, and YouTube.
- It has an HDMI hardware interface and inputs for USB, D-Sub, and VGA (640 x 480).
- It won the “Best Overall” award for “Best Projectors for Gaming 2019” awards of IGN.
- It’s flexible when it comes to setting it up due to its 1.2x zoom and vertical keystone correction.
- The black levels could be better.
- The projector could have a more efficient cooling system.
Again, here’s another ViewSonic ST Projector that has all of its key features highlighted on its Amazon title. Let’s enumerate them one by one.
The ViewSonic X10-4KE boasts of having a 4K UHD resolution for something so portable. It’s also a smart projector to boot, which means you can make it work with multiple apps or connect with fellow smart devices (a la smartphone).
It also makes use of a super-bright LED lamp reaching 2,400 ANSI lumens of brightness. It’s also compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Most importantly, its screen size can reach up to 200 inches (the biggest on this list).
- Long-lasting LED lamp.
- 2,400 ANSI lumens of LED brightness.
- Ceiling mount is its preferred mounting type.
- Wi-Fi connectivity for streaming and app downloads.
- Its hardware interface allow for USB Type C connections.
- This home theater projector by ViewSonic is a mobile or portable ST one.
- It’s a smart projector that can work with various apps or fellow smart devices.
- It’s compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, thus allowing voice control.
- It provides an overall cinematic or theatrical experience in Ultra HD or 4K resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels).
- It can fit a screen of up to 200 inches in size, which is double or approaching double of the maximum image sizes of all other projectors on this list.
- For a 4K projector the resulting 4K image looks upscaled and low-grade.
The LG HU80KA ST Projector has a throw distance so short it could deliver 150-inch images at 14.1 feet, 100 inches at 9.5 feet, and 40 inches at 3.6 feet. Its wattage is an economical 280 watts (100-240 volts at 50-60 Hz with PSU built-in). At standby mode it uses 0.5 watts.
This black CineBeam HU80KA also offers 2,500 lumens of brightness that can arguably be used outdoors when in battery mode. It’s also a smart projector “TV” that can double as an HDTV and can work with “fellow” LG smart TVs for additional entertainment, mirroring, and media-viewing options.
In conclusion, the LG CineBeam HU80KA Projector is a smart projector that’s great on-the-go, extremely quiet, and can play HD video from BDs.
- It comes with a 1x t 1.2x zoom.
- It’s super bright at 2,500 lumens.
- It offers HDR10 support and 4K UHD resolution.
- It has a built-in stereo speaker type (a 7W + 7W Stereo).
- It has a Bluetooth-based hardware interface with HDMI and USB connectivity.
- Its mounting type is tabletop. It means a table is enough to mount this projector.
- Projection image at 14.1 feet is 150 inches. At 9.5 feet it’s 100 inches. At 40 inches it’s 3.6 feet.
- It’s LG Smart TV compatible, allowing for screen mirroring, app usage, and device-to-device connectivity.
- Underperformance compared to bulb projectors at the same price range.
- It lacks a lens shift, so you need to shift the device to align it with the screen.
This CineBeam model—the LG PH550 CineBeam LED Projector—is another ST projector under the LG CineBeam brand. This iteration of CineBeam focuses on being mobile or portable. It also offers screen share or screen mirroring and a Bluetooth sound output as well.
While the CineBeam HU80KA is more about being a 4K projector (or at least approaching one), this is more of a budget version of that model. According to the verified purchasers of this device, it’s the ideal mobile smart projector for business trips, classrooms, home theaters, and vacations (camping).
You can also use the LG PH550 CineBeam LED Projector for recreational vehicles that use gas and its battery or solar voltaic cells in order to power your appliances. It’s a power saver of a display device that won’t occupy as much space as a similarly sized HDTV.
- 60 watts of wattage.
- It has tabletop mounting type.
- It offers a Bluetooth sound output connection.
- Short throw ratio of a few inches to a few feet.
- It offers a built-in battery. It lasts for about 2.5 hours.
- Its wireless connection is mainly for the Android OS, WiDI.
- It’s an HD projector with a native 720p resolution (1280 x 720 pixels).
- It has an HDMI hardware interface with other ports for USB and Wi-Fi connectivity.
- It doesn’t have rhombus-style pixels like its LG PW800 (an older LG projector).
To Sum it All Up
When shopping for a short throw or ST projector, they range in size from mini projector to standard-sized LCD and DLP projector. They’re mainly characterized by the shortness of their throw distance (3-8 feet) or throw ratio (0.4 to 1).
This means they can produce 100-inch images at a short distance. They’re particularly helpful when you’re in smaller rooms or tents. Standard projectors require huge rooms with loads of space to give them enough throw distance to make their big projections.
When looking for the best ST projectors, look for ones that can fit in most spaces with their smallness. A good short throw projector allows you project up close to a wall or screen using a coffee table or entertainment center. You won’t have to grapple with ceiling mounts or behind-the-seat placement any longer.