I know some of you have to have them. I am in the market for one and will be purchasing one in the next 2-3 months. I have a budget of roughly $2500-$3000 for one. I am replacing a 27 in TV, so I guess I won't be too hard to wow.
It looks to me like you have your lower priced units at $2000 or less, and then the leap is really to $4000-$5000 units for a clear upgrade.
Currently I am leaning towards a lower priced one ... the Infocus SP 4805. It gets very good reviews online and is mentioned as a nice low-budget way to go in Consumer reports. Drawbacks are limited to a louder fan, not being able to shut off by remote, and the need for very low light for the sharpest picture. None of these seem to be a big issue for me as the fan will be drown out by the surround sound , I can rig a light switch/cutoff switch for the ceiling mount since my basement is not yet finished, and the majority of the time I'll be using it in pitch black.
My main use will be in a basement that I can easily make pitch black. My basement is unfinished at this point, I'll be somewhat building it around the projector. It will be ceiling mounted.
I'd also like to be able to utilize the projector with my laptop outside the home, and possibly to project a few night football games in the garage or on the back of the house during a block party. It won't be ideal for this, but I doubt anyone will care as long as you can catch the score of the game.
Any help/pointers/insight would be appreciated.
Others I am considering on the lower end, $2000 or less.
Infocus SP 4805 = ~$950
Sanyo PLV-Z2 = ~$1100
Panasonic AE700u = ~$2000
Optoma H31 = ~$1100