Projectors

BenQ GP20 Ultra-Lite LED-lit-DLP Projector Review

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BenQ GP20 Ultra-Lite LED-lit-DLP Projector Review Highlights

The BenQ GP20 LED projector houses a single DLP chip in a small lightweight chassis barely larger than a hardcover book. Its light engine is rated for 20,000 hours and will never change in brightness or color. It comes with a WiFi dongle to stream content wirelessly and a convenient carry bag so you can quickly set it up for an impromptu movie night. A complete set of inputs are provided including HDMI with MHL for easy connection to smart phones or tablets. It's compatible with a wide variety of still image and video formats so content can come from a laptop as easily as it does from a Blu-ray player. Today I installed it in my reference theater and put it through my benchmark suite as I have done for our prior BenQ projector reviews.

For $850, the BenQ does quite well. It is an unusual projector in that the light source is LED. Fiinally, LEDs are bright enough for projectors. The imaging device is a single DLP chip, and I could not detect any rainbow effect.

The color balance was pretty much usable right out of the box, which will make impatient consumers very happy. How about "Plug and Watch" as a new catch phrase for such projectors? Although 700 lumens is not really bright, it can be dealt with. It's brighter than the $5,000 projectors we had when digital projectors first emerged in the market.

BenQ GP20 Ultra-Lite LED Projector Review

BenQ GP20 Projector Review Highlights Summary

  • • LED light engine rated for 20,000 hours with no change in brightness or color.
  • • Small lightweight chassis makes for easy portability in the included carry bag.
  • • Multiple inputs including HDMI with MHL means you can charge your tablet or smartphone while streaming its content.
  • • Wireless streaming with included WiFi dongle.
  • • USB port accepts a variety of computer image and video formats.
  • • Built-in speakers eliminate the need for a separate sound system.
  • • Setup is streamlined with a simple menu system and automatic keystone correction.

Introduction to the BenQ GP20 Ultra-Lite LED-lit-DLP Projector Review

A few months ago, in Secrets' Best of 2013 Awards roundup, I lamented about the apparent death of the LED projector. Several high-end products were introduced at the CEDIA Expo in 2009 and I reviewed Runco's Q750i way back in the summer of 2010 but since then, there has been zero progress in bringing this revolutionary technology forward – until now.

BENQ GP20 ULTRA-LITE LED PROJECTOR REVIEW SPECIFICATIONS

  • Type: Single-chip DLP w/RGB LED
  • Native Aspect Ratio: 16:10
  • Native Resolution: 1280 x 800
  • Anamorphic Lens Support: No
  • 3D: PC Only
  • Throw Ratio: 1.2:1
  • Lens Shift: No
  • Light Output: 700 Lumens
  • Contrast Ratio: 10,000:1
  • Image Size: 20" – 240"
  • Inputs: 1 HDMI 1.4a (MHL), 1 Composite, 1 VGA, 1 3.5 mm Stereo Audio, 2 USB, 1 SD Card
  • Audio Output: 1 3.5 mm Stereo Mini-jack
  • Rated Lamp Life: 30,000 (Eco) / 20,000 Hours (Normal)
  • Dimensions: 2.4" H x 8.6" W x 4.6" D
  • Weight: 3.5 Pounds
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • MSRP: $849
  • BenQ
  • SECRETS Tags: Projectors, LED, BenQ, GP20 Ultra-Lite

When I received the initial press release on BenQ's new GP20 Ultra-Lite projector, I was immediately drawn to its LED technology. I hadn't seen a new LED model from anyone in quite some time! And for it to suddenly be part of a sub-$1000 product, my interest was piqued.

An LED light engine has several advantages over a traditional UHP lamp. First and foremost is lifespan. Where a lamp might last 3000 hours, an LED can last as long as 30,000. And with said lamps costing $300-$400 a pop, you're looking at a major cost savings over the lifetime of the projector. Secondly, LEDs don't grow dim as they age. UHP lamps gradually lose power, and shift in color as they accumulate hours. Most will be down to half their original output by 1000 hours. An LED engine remains at its original output level with no color change for its entire service life.

Needless to say, an LED projector for 850 bucks is pretty significant. The aforementioned Runco sells for just a bit more than that, $14,150 more to be exact. BenQ is using the compact form factor of LED to create a portable entertainment display that's easy to set up and use. It even comes with a carry bag! Now that you've been properly intrigued, let's take a look.

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