Should you buy a projector? That’s the big (screen) question, and one that provokes much debate. Projectors are very different from TVs: they require a darker room and dedicated screen for the best results; plus you’ll have to decide between a stand or ceiling mount.
However there’s no denying the impact of super-sized projected images, whether you’re catching up on your favourite movie, watching the big match or indulging in an immersive gaming session – everything just looks better when it fills the entire wall!
There are a lot of projector brands to choose from, all with line-ups ranging from entry-level beamers to high-end models for custom installations. There are also competing projection technologies, with specs to meet every need and budget.
So what about BenQ? This projector manufacturer is one of the largest in the world, offering an impressive range that stretches from entry-level units to dedicated home cinema models. BenQ also offers all the latest display tech, from 1080p to 4K HDR.
If you’re enticed by the thought of some big screen action, you’ll undoubtedly have seen a BenQ projector and thought, ‘should I buy it?’. In this guide you’ll find an introduction to the BenQ brand, an overview of what makes it stand out from the competition, as well as the latest deals on BenQ projectors – along with all our latest BenQ reviews.
BenQ projectors: an overview
BenQ is a Taiwanese consumer electronics company that manufacturers everything from laptops and monitors to digital cameras and projectors. It’s the latter that we’re interested in here, and the company has made a name for itself with the kind of data grade projectors you often see in classrooms, boardrooms and bars.
BenQ’s projectors are based around Texas Instruments’ DLP (Digital Light Processing) display technology. This uses a chipset composed of millions of microscopic mirrors that either reflect the light from the bulb through the lens or away from it. As a result each tiny mirror is either on or off, thus creating a black and white image.
A single-chip DLP projector adds color using a spinning wheel composed of red, green and blue segments, and this approach has both benefits and side-effects. On the plus side, the use of a single chip results in a pin-sharp image, though the spinning color wheel can cause some people to see color fringing (rainbow) artefacts.
DLP projectors benefit from excellent motion handling and low latency, making them ideal for gamers. They also tend to be very bright, which is handy in rooms with white walls. However they can be noisy, thanks to cooling fans and the color wheel whizzing around – their reflective nature results in poor black levels and limited shadow detail too.
BenQ offers a number of DLP projectors that support 4K, but none actually use a native 4K chipset. Instead the more expensive 4K models employ a larger 2716 x 1528 pixel chip, with the image flashed twice to create the 4K image. Cheaper 4K beamers use a regular 1920 x 1080 chip, and flash the image four times to produce the 4K picture.
Many of BenQ’s projectors also support HDR, but this is an area where potential buyers need to manage their expectations. No projector, regardless of the display technology it uses, can compete with a TV in terms of peak brightness. However as long as the HDR image correctly tone maps to the projector’s abilities, the results can still be impressive.
You can use a projector as an alternative to a TV, but it’s worth remembering you’ll need sources and a sound system. A lamp-based projector will also take time to warm up and cool down, and the bulb will gradually dim and eventually need replacing. And no matter how bright the projector, it will always struggle when there’s ambient light in the room.
Should I buy a BenQ projector?
So, now you understand how a BenQ projector works, why choose one of its models over another DLP competitor like Optoma? The simple answer is economies of scale – an advantage that BenQ has leveraged to produce a range of competitively priced projectors to meet every requirement and pocket.
It’s often overlooked, but when it comes to big screen bang for your buck, nothing beats a projector. You can achieve screen sizes far in excess of even the largest TV panel, and for a fraction of the cost. BenQ offers numerous projectors that are not only very cheap, but a cinch to set up. Plug them in, point them at a wall, and you’re good to go.
BenQ might dominate the lower-end of the market with budget 1080p and 4K models where the emphasis is on big, bright and colorful images, but it hasn’t rested on its laurels. BenQ has also developed a range of home cinema models which are not only more accurate, but can even deliver 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut.
BenQ also offers projectors aimed squarely at sports fans and gamers, where the quick response times, smooth motion and low latency are perfect for fast-paced action. So whether it’s watching the big match, playing your favourite game, or catching-up on the latest 4K HDR movie, BenQ has you covered with its expansive range of projectors.
Of course, a BenQ projector won’t be for everyone, although their limitations are largely related to DLP itself. As already mentioned, there’s the possibility of ‘rainbows’, so make sure you don’t suffer from this particular issue before buying. If you do, you’re better off considering LCD projectors from Epson, which don’t use color wheels.
While a DLP projector is very easy to setup, it does have a restricted throw distance, and limited lens controls with no motorised memory features for different aspect ratios. Finally, if you want a genuinely native 4K projector, you’re going to have to look at models from Sony and JVC, although these are significantly more expensive.
How much do BenQ projectors cost?
BenQ offers four main ranges of projectors: Home Entertainment, CineHome Series, and CinePrime Series.
The Home Entertainment and CineHome line-ups are aimed at the more casual projector user, where the emphasis is on ease of setup, brightness and very low input lags. Prices ranging from the 1080p TW535 at just £499 (around £645 / AU$920), up to the 4K W1720 at $1,199 / £799 / AU$2,190.
The CinePrime Series is designed for the home cinema fan, with a more sophisticated range of 1080p and 4HK HDR projectors, where the emphasis is on accuracy and wider color gamuts. These range from the 1080p W2000 at $1,199 / £899 / AU$1,499, to the high-end 4K HDR W5700 at £2,399 / AU$3,999 (around $2,330).
BenQ projector reviews
However, price and specifications only tell half the story. More importantly, how do these projectors actually perform, and what has TechRadar made of BenQ’s latest models?
We’ve reviewed BenQ projectors in a number of price ranges – and you can check out our full thoughts with the links below:
BenQ TH685 1080p projector
This super-responsive BenQ beamer is ideal for last-gen gamers who fancy some big screen immersion for a minimal outlay. An input lag of less than 10ms, and 3,500 lumens of brightness are sure to please, but those looking for 4K support will be disappointed.
BenQ HT3550 (W2700) 4K HDR projector
This 4K HDR BenQ projector delivers vivid and detailed big screen pictures at a competitive price. It’s a bit noisy and the limited brightness means you’ll need to pull the curtains, but otherwise this is a great choice for those seeking top notch image quality.
BenQ TK800 4K HDR projector
If you want big, sharp 4K HDR images but you’re on a budget, this is the BenQ for you. This projector has its limitations when it comes to black levels and shadow detail, but its bright, colorful and detailed images are hard to resist considering the price.
BenQ TK850 4K HDR projector
The BenQ TK850 is a stunning example of a 4K HDR projector with the brightness to do its picture justice. You’ll have to make do without many smart features but, if that’s not an issue, you should have little reason not to enjoy what the TK850 offers.
BenQ HT2550 (W1700) 4K HDR projector
This 4K HDR DLP projector from BenQ boasts all of the technology’s strengths and weaknesses. Not only are the images bright, colorful and detailed, but they’re also very accurate, with only mediocre blacks, some fan noise and no lens shift to spoil the party.
BenQ W2000 1080p projector
This BenQ projector might be limited to 1080p, but not everyone has made the jump to 4K. So for those with big Blu-ray collections, this particular beamer may be the answer with its outstanding Rec.709 colors and impressive Full HD images.