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With more and more media now accessible on streaming services and viewable from different devices, our homes are quickly turning into entertainment hubs. A big screen TV can only get so big, but if you’ve got a blank wall, a projector is an option to consider that can stretch your screen significantly.
The best home projectors have come a long way in the last decade, adding features to improve picture, reduce noise, and ditch the connection wires. These four portable projectors all work over WiFi, and can help elevate and expand your movie and gaming experience.
What Are the Best WiFi Projectors?
There are a number of factors to consider when shopping for the best WiFi projector for you. We’ve found projectors that work for both indoor and outdoor use, with the need to plug in. Here’s what you need to know.
Connection: Your projector needs to establish a solid and speedy connection to your smartphone or device every time. Fumbling with the screen setup and fixing a laggy, choppy picture is a huge no when guests are waiting to watch the movie. Be aware that some projectors may advertise as fast-connecting, and it may be true, but they can be geared more towards business presentations than movie night in the backyard. The picture quality will be the most visible difference, since these will be (literally) focused on making text readable rather than a popping picture with vivid colors. Resolution will typically be a bit lower, but for purely multimedia viewing, go for a higher resolution.
While these can all connect through WiFi, some offer alternate ports in case you’d prefer to keep things wired. HDMI is the most common, but if you’ll need USB, RCA, an SD card slot, or a headphone jack, be sure to check it has one, since not all of them do. Another important note to be on the lookout for – some projectors won’t let you stream copyrighted material in mirrored mode, such as Hulu or Netflix. Ports are also especially important if you’re planning to connect other devices like a gaming console or TV stick.
Picture: If possible, go for a projector that can support 1080p. There’s a noticeable different between 1080p and the next step down, 780p. Plus as movie production progresses, more and more films are being made with higher resolutions in mind, and you’ll be missing out on a big part of the visual experience with a lower picture quality.
Size: Screen size matters, and a quick measurement of your wall space is recommended before buying. Projectors have a pretty wide range, sometimes all the way up to 250 inches from as far back as eight yards back. There’s also the size of the projector itself to take into account if you’re planning on needing something portable. Watch the weight too, as a heavy projector can be a pain to schlep around.
Sound: If you’re planning on hooking up your projector to an external set of speakers, an internal speaker won’t matter as much. But otherwise, and especially for outdoor viewing, a good built-in speaker can really make or break the movie. They won’t be as powerful as an external pair, but they can range from three watts up to six watts and sometimes more – plenty powerful to get the job done. There’s also the issue of noise from the projector itself, as a loud cooling fan can be very distracting too.
Brightness: 3500-4000lux can be decently bright, particularly for already well-lit areas where it’s tough to see the screen, but 6000 enhances picture quality by a noticeable amount. Auto-focus is a nice feature too, so you won’t need to mess with the manual settings to get the picture just right.
Battery: For when you’re away from an outlet, battery will have to do, so be sure it lasts long enough to stream a full movie at least. Two hours is the minimum, but some of the better batteries can go way beyond.
Lamp: A lamp is the heart of your projector. It’s vital and won’t work without it. Though the bulbs can be expensive to replace, the good news is that they also tend to last a long time – sometimes up to 50,000 hours.
Extras: Various projectors will include some bonus goodies in the box, which can be a welcome and helpful addition. These can range from carrying cases and ceiling mounts to tripods and pull-down projection screens.
We’ve selected our four favorite small wireless projectors to help you plan your perfect movie and gaming night, whether poolside, porch or patio.
1. Bomaker Portable Outdoor Movie Projector
Weighing in at just over three pounds, this powerful and portable projector makes wirelessly connecting your devices effortless and easy to start streaming.
At 6000lux, the resulting picture is sharp and clear — even in daylight — and it’s up to 50% brighter than previous versions and other 720p projectors. The Bomaker also boasts a screen size that ranges from 35 inches all the way up to 300, and supports full HD 1080p.
While external speakers are always a better option, the sound from the built-in speakers here is surprisingly good, and the fans run relatively quiet. Buttons on the unit itself are large, clear, and make it simple to navigate options and settings (there’s also a handy remote included too).
This supports HDMI, VGA, SD Card and USB playback, but should be noted, however, that due to copyright restrictions, you’ll still need an HDMI cable to play streaming services like Netflix.
2. Jinhoo WiFi Mini Projector
At just over four pounds, the Jinhoo provides a display that’s plenty bright, and a screen size up to 176 inches – great for movies, video games and presentations.
Connecting it up via WiFi is easy, for both Apple and Android devices, and there’s the alternate option of USB too, right through your smartphone cable. At 4500Lux, this is brighter than most of the minis on the market, and it also supports 1080p media, but displays it at 720p max (and still looks pretty great).
The scale of screen size is adjustable, ranging from 37 inches all the way up to 176 inches, from a distance of up to five meters away. There are also built-in stereo speakers, and a good selection of other ports, including HDMI, USB, VGA, AV and a headphone jack. The fans do a nice job of keeping things cool and quiet too.
A lightweight remote is included, as well as a pull-down screen, and HDMI/RCA cables.
3. GooDee HD Video Projector
This mighty little projector features a 230-inch max screen size, and is built solid with all the essentials. Main focus and vertical keystone (slanted) focus are easily adjustable right from the unit itself, which only weighs about five pounds and supports 1080p HD.
The fans are relatively quiet and do a great job at dispersing heat over long periods of usage, while the built-in, three-watt dual speaker gives decent sound for its size (though external speakers are recommended for a fuller experience).
Connection ports include two HDMI, two USBs, AUX, VGA, as well as a slot for microSD Cards, and the unit works instantly with xBox, PS4, and Amazon Fire Stick.
4. VANKYO Leisure 3W Mini Projector
The Vankyo is small, supports 1080p, and is engineered to easily get your image up on the big screen.
Mirror your device’s display instantly over WiFi, as it automatically detects the input source, and saves you the headache of dealing with a wired connection. There’s a limited range of picture settings, but most often, the default ones shouldn’t be a problem – though using it in daylight can sometimes be tough to see.
A remote is included, but full menu buttons are also available on the unit itself, as well as two focus wheels. Comes neatly packaged with a nice carry-bag too.