This is a common question I get a lot. And because PowerPoint and Projectors are almost synonymous, I thought it might be good to give my standard answer here. I recently posted the below to the ‘What projector should I buy’ question in the PowerPoint Newsgroup.

With your budget ($4,000.00) and general description I am going to make a few guesses:
– Small audience viewing (25-100 people)
– Front projection (projector in front of screen, out by audience)
– Connecting computer direct to projector (ie. no switcher, scaler, etc.)

With those assumptions, at your budget there are not many systems that outshine the other. In other words, you will do good with just about any reputable companies projector. But here are a few key items to make sure are on the projector and to consider:
1. Bulb life (what is the life of the bulb – in hours)
2. Bulb replacement cost (this can be $75 to $700 – check before purchasing so you know what to expect)
3. It should be at least 1024×768, but better would be 1280×1024
4. Size; consider your travel and placement needs (things do not have to be large any more)
5. Noise; listen to the units operating noise level (because it will be out by the audience, check if the fans are to loud)
6. Quiet Mode; this is good if projector is used in a small setting, as it limits the output power, but also runs near silent.
7. Contrast; this is a tricky number and hard to use in side-by-side comparisons (different companies measure differently), but in general more is better
8. Lumens; at your budget go for 2,000+, the closer to 5k the better
9. Lens Shift is better than keystoning (this is the ability for the projector to move the image up or down without needing to adjust the front legs, which creates a distorted projection)
10. Warranty, carrying case, etc.

In addtion, do a google search for the unit(s) you are considering and read some reviews, as well as look for anything in ‘groups.’

Troy @ TLC