Watching races on a big screen can really elevate your enjoyment. You get to see all the minute details, the different racing lines become as clear as day, and when you get a cockpit camera it feels as though you’re sitting right in the action. But does that adrenaline translate well to the use of a projector in racing sim games?
Sim Racing with a Projector
You can indeed use a projector for racing sims but, as you can imagined the larger image comes at a cost. Below you’ll find a short list of pros of using a projector for sim racing:
Needless to say, a big screen is encaptivating. That’s why watching movies at the cinema is always more engrossing that watching them at home. Having your own projector will help with that. You will feel as though the world around you is the race track, as it’s blasted at an incredibly large size in front of you. It will also make it easier for your friends to watch.
A projector is thankfully not a purchase which will be limited to your racing sim experience. You’ll be able to attach your computer, console, or media player to it and play other games or watch movies. In short you’ll have your own version of a home cinema without having to spend a fortune on a massive TV screen.
Though we recommend using a projector screen (see the FAQ below), it’s not a prerequisite. This means that having a projector at hand makes having a larger viewing experience incredibly portable. Whether you’re going to the countryside, a friend’s place, your dorm, or anywhere else, having a projector will allow you to blast the racing sim on any blank wall you can find. It can also be a lot of fun to use your projector outside in the summer, allowing you to play in the fresh air at night.
Of course, there are a fair few cons to a projector-based sim racing setup. Here are the main two:
As per usual, cost has to factor into the decision. Projectors are not cheap, and if you are looking to make your racing experience feel more realistic then you should look elsewhere. For the cost of some projectors you can purchase direct drive wheels, which will go miles more into making you feel like a real driver than any projector might. Even the everyday projector we recommend is still pretty price.
Let’s face it: projectors don’t create the best quality image. If you’re used to playing on a high-quality monitor or television, the first thing you’ll notice when attaching a projector is the difference in sharpness. The image will be blurrier and the colours washier. This is made even worse if you’re not playing in a dark room, as sunlight can further distort and worsen the image focus and quality. As a final note, which is coupled with the high cost, you really should look to purchase a projector screen if you want the best quality image.
For those which look to emulate real driving as close as possible, projectors are not the answer. Other than costing a fortune, the image quality is definitely sub-par when compared to a VR or triple monitor setup.
However, if you’re looking to upgrade your home movie system or enjoy racing with others, then definitely consider getting a projector. Not to mention, the portability of the projector is also a big plus. If you fit this profile, then consider purchasing one of the two projectors we listed below.
What Projector to Use for Sim Racing
If you are planning on getting a projector, then the things you should look at the closest are input lag (to make sure that your inputs don’t take too long to reach the screen), refresh rate (to make sure your screen is not running behind your game) and, obviously, resolution.
Everyday Pick: BenQ HT2050A
Though it’s only 1080p, this BenQ projector offers a game mode specifically designed to reduce input lag, making it an ideal choice for sim racers
For the price tag it has the BenQ is a pretty amazing projector. The 16ms input lag is specifically tailored for those who game, making it even faster than a lot of the more advanced and pricier models. It runs pretty great and, when in a dark room, the 1080p resolution really lets games shine. Of course this is not a 4k OLED television, but it’s considerably cheaper than that.
Another great point in its favour is how easy it is to set-up and use. Even first time projector users will find it intuitive, set it up in a handful of minutes, and quickly get back to racing.
On a non-sim related point, the fact that it’s compatible consoles, mobile devices, Macs, PCs, and other devices this projector very versatile. All in all this is a great projector for gaming and for all other uses.
Luxury Pick: Epson 5050UB
If you’re looking for a cinema-like experience at home, the 5050UB will definitely live up to your expectations
The fact that the input lag is slightly higher than the BenQ should not turn you away from the 5050UB. The difference in input lag (23-28ms) is relatively small, but the difference in image is completely different. The fact that a projector can blast a 4K resolution image in your living room is incredibly impressive. The resolution is crisp even in the widest setting.
This, coupled with the precision HDR adjustment, makes every viewing experience a pleasure. You will be able to control how the colours appear, making sure that no quality in the image is lost and that the darkest blacks, the reddest reds and the whitest whites all shine to the maximum of their potential. Image-wise the 5050UB nullifies a lot of the criticisms projectors generally face.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is a projector better than a VR headset or triple monitors?
For sim racing, a projector is usually a worse choice than a VR headset or triple monitor setup. This is because it's less immersive than the wide-angle alternatives. That being said, a projector is obviously unparalleled as a home movie system.
- Do you need a screen to project onto?
While you can project onto any flat surface, a projector screen is sure to create a crisper, more vibrant image. You may even opt for a curved screen in order to make your sim racing experience more immersive.