Introduction

Using projectors in the garden has grown in popularity over the last few years as more people look to enjoy movies and sports in their backyard, and while virtually any projector can be used outdoors, that doesn’t mean they’ll suit your needs.

Aspects to consider include brightness, especially anything above 2000 lumens to be able to counteract the effect of ambient light. A good integrated sound system in case you don’t have an external system to connection, and good picture quality are also areas to consider.

To help you decide which outdoor projector is right for you, we’ve created this list of the very best ones we’ve tested, based on our experts’ opinions and testing. Some we’ve tested indoors and others we’ve tested outside, but rest assured they’ve gone through our review process to determine their overall quality.

We’ll be updating this frequently as we get them in for review. If this is just the beginning of your buying journey and you’re not sure which type of projector is best for you, then have a look at our best projectors for general overview or our best portable projectors if you need something smaller and more transportable.

Best outdoor projectors at a glance

  • Best outdoor projector for daytime use: BenQ W2700 – check price
  • Best outdoor projector for sports: ViewSonic X-10 4K – check price
  • Best outdoor Android projector: XGIMI Horizon Pro – check price

How we test

How we test projectors

We test projectors by, well, watching lots of movies on them. But not just movies: we watch sports and TV programmes to get a sense of how they work in terms of motion, sharpness, detail and overall image fidelity.

Depending on the projector, we’ll test them in a bespoke home cinema room or in our own rooms and gardens to see if they live up to the manufacturer’s claims about their performance.

If it’s an HDR projector, we’ll watch plenty of HDR content to determine if colours are correct and whether the projector can do a decent approximation of HDR. If it’s a gaming projector we’ll test the latency to determine how responsive it is.

We’ll also assess the projector in terms of its size and whether it needs a dedicated installation, as well as how much noise it makes during operation and whether that can be a hindrance to watching content. Are they easy to use? And do they require more expert knowledge to operate are considerations we also take into account.

With our reviewers knowledge of previous projectors tested, they’ll be considered to what’s come before to determine whether they offer good value, regardless of how much or how little they cost.

BenQ W2700

Best outdoor projector for outdoors use

Pros

  • Great value for what’s on offer
  • Easily the best HDR picture we’ve seen at this price point
  • Crisp, clean 4K playback

Cons

  • Slightly high input lag for gaming
  • Black levels only fair to middling for SDR playback
  • Minor rainbow effect

The BenQ W2700 would normally a projector for indoor use, but its brightness of around 2000 lumens allows it enough brightness to be used outdoors. It’s fairly compact for a projector so you won’t need too much space outside to perch it on.

The W2700 sports an all glass lens that’s a better alternative to the plastic lens budget projectors often utilised, and should help it unlock more resolution from 4K content. While it is not a native 4K projector, it can deliver 4K images. Its reproduction of HDR spectrum is particularly impressive, provided the Wide Colour mode is enabled, offering a rich performance but also capable of producing a subtle range of colours too. With its short throw lens it can deliver a 120-inch image from 10 feet away, giving you an especially big screen for watching content on.

Both black and white levels are both served well, and no real crushing of detail in darker scenes. It handles motion well, too, with no real judder with 24fps sources, and the W2700 deals with SDR content well with sharp imagery and excellent contrast and detail for a good all-round picture performance.

Not so good is the 10W audio system, which doesn’t projector far from the W2700’s bodywork and never really feels as if the sound manages its location on the screen. If this is used outdoors, then it is worth thinking about adding a sound system, unlike the ViewSonic and XGIMI products on this list.

Reviewer: John Archer
Full Review: BenQ W2700

ViewSonic X-10 4K

Best outdoor projector for sports

Pros

  • Bright and punchy images
  • Effective HDR performance
  • Excellent motion handling
  • Sound system surprisingly good
  • Long-lasting LED light source
  • Portable and easy to install
  • Extensive smart features Stylish and well made

Cons

  • Weak black levels and shadow detail
  • Resolution isn’t native 4K

During testing, we found the ViewSonic X-10 4K offered bright and punchy images with natural looking colours and a great level of detail. With its motion processing, images were rendered in smooth making this a good projector to use for sport events. Images looked great in both HDR or SDR, and in 4K resolution images are clear and very detailed. Our reviewer also found the Harman Kardon audio system to be a revelation (for a projector), producing good size and depth to fill a decently large space.

The X10-4K is also a stylish and elegant-looking projector, with the handle covered in leather for that luxury touch when the projector is being moved about. There’s a good range of connectivity with HDMI, USB-C, an SD Card reader and 3.5mm jack offering plenty of choice for media playback in an outdoor setting, while optical out handles audio connectivity for connecting an external sound system.

As long as the Wi-Fi can reach into a garden there’s the option of voice assistance with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant include. Our reviewer did find that controlling the projector in this method was frustrating at times.
The ViewSonic is compatible with Android OS but uses the fairly limited offering of Aptoide app store for access to apps such as BBC iPlayer and Netflix. The ViewSonic is quick and easy to set-up projector, and along with its impressive big-screen images and integrated sound system, makes it a all-in-one projector worth considering for movie nights in the garden.

Reviewer: Steve Withers
Full review: ViewSonic X10-4K

XGIMI Horizon Pro

Best outdoor Android projector

Pros

  • 4K resolution
  • Runs Android TV
  • Auto focus and auto keystone
  • Loud and powerful speakers

Cons

  • Netflix has to be side-loaded
  • Blacks are a little grey

The XGIMI Horizon Pro builds on the brand’s Horizon model, adding 4K support to its list of skills. In terms of build quality, the Horizon Pro is similar enough to the original Horizon, a projector that’s not small enough to be portable but also not big enough to be the centre of a dedicated home cinema set-up. Our reviewer still felt it was easy enough to cart around the house and take outdoors, even using the Horizon Pro on a camping trip.

It isn’t battery-powered projector and requires being plugged into the mains. It runs on Android TV 10 and set-up is easy with an Android device. Access to the Google Play Store comes with apps such as Disney+, Paramount+ and Amazon Prime Video; but the lack of BBC iPlayer and Netflix is inconvenient, which may require plugging in a streaming stick and running apps from there. The interface is, at least, easy to navigate; and features such as the auto-setup for focusing, keystone correction and image size help take some of the complications away from setting it up.

Connectivity is decent port with dual HDMI ports in 2.0 and ARC with optical audio out to connect to an external speaker. We found the Horizon Pro’s images looked sharp and detailed, although it’s not a native 4K image, which means content has to be upscaled to hit the ‘4K’ resolution.

We’d rate 2200 lumens of brightness as more than enough for use in a garden, with the brightness good enough for 60-inches during daytime use and bigger at night. Colours are punchy and bold, although the contrast isn’t the best if watched in a bright environment. The Horizon Pro’s audio system provides plenty volume and decent bass but you will get better audio from an external system.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full review: XGIMI Horizon Pro

FAQs

What should I be looking for in an outdoor projector?

The most pressing need for an outdoor projector is brightness. A projector with a brightness of 2000 lumens so the image isn’t washed out by ambient light when projected on a screen.

We also considered…

UK RRP

USA RRP

EU RRP

CA RRP

AUD RRP

Manufacturer

Size (Dimensions)

Weight

ASIN

Release Date

First Reviewed Date

Model Number

Resolution

Projector Type

Brightness Lumens

Lamp Life

Contrast Ratio

Max Image Size

HDR

Types of HDR

Refresh Rate

Ports

Audio (Power output)

Colours

Display Technology

Projector Display Technology

Throw Ratio

3D

Source link