An ultra-short throw projector like BenQ’s V7050i can be a true television replacement with a bright and colorful image as large as 123 inches diagonal. With Ultra HD resolution, HDR, and 3D support, it brings life to all the latest content from Blu-ray and streaming.
Highlights

An ultra-short throw projector like BenQ’s V7050i can be a true television replacement with a bright and colorful image as large as 123 inches diagonal. With Ultra HD resolution, HDR, and 3D support, it brings life to all the latest content from Blu-ray and streaming. With two HDMI inputs and an included Android streaming dongle, you can pull in content from Ultra HD Blu-ray or the internet. The V7050i supports HDR10 and delivers healthy coverage of the DCI-P3 color gamut. It’s bright enough to be used in most media rooms with some ambient light. Built-in speakers deliver clean sound and make the projector a complete media solution.

BenQ V7050i UST Laser 4K Projector

BenQ V7050i UST Laser 4K Projector

  • Ultra-short throw projector
  • Laser phosphor light engine with 20,000-hour service life
  • DLP chip delivers 3840×2160 effective resolution
  • HDR10 and HLG support
  • 3D support
  • Extended color covers most of the DCI-P3 gamut
  • Built-in speakers with treVolo audio tuning
  • Throws a 100” diagonal image from just 8.7 inches away
  • Includes Android TV streaming dongle
Introduction

Though ultra-short-throw projectors are not a new technology, they are a recent addition to the consumer marketplace. Beginning about four years ago, UST displays began to appear as television replacements. With the ability to install on top of existing furniture, they call little attention to themselves but create bright and colorful images on a white wall or projection screen. Most models have built-in speakers to create a complete media solution and only require a video source. With the advent of HDMI streaming dongles, you don’t even need wires. Just plug in the stick and pick from the vast array of content available on the internet.

BenQ brings its newest V7050i to the party. This UST Laser 4K projector delivers an effective resolution of 3840×2160 pixels with a claimed output of 2500 lumens. It supports all SDR formats as well as HDR10 and Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG). With extended color, it covers a healthy portion of the DCI-P3 gamut too. An included Android streaming dongle takes care of streamed content. The simple and compact styling won’t call attention to itself in any modern décor. Just set it under a projection screen, plug in the streaming stick, and go.

BenQ V7050i UST Laser 4K Projector Specifications
Type:

Single-chip DLP 0.47”

Native resolution:

1920×1080, 3840×2160 with Fast-Switch XPR, 16:9 aspect ratio

HDR:

HDR10, HLG

3D:

frame-pack, DLP Link compatible

Light source:

laser phosphor

Service life:

20,000 hours

Color wheel:

RGBRGB, 5x @ 24Hz, 2x @ 50 & 60Hz

Light output (mfr):

2500 ANSI lumens

Throw ratio:

0.25:1

Image size:

70-123 inches

Video connections:

2x HDMI 2.0b (1 w/ARC)

Audio connections:

optical S/PDIF out

Additional connections:

3x USB, 1x RS-232

Voice control:

Google, Amazon

Speakers:

2x 5 watts

Dimensions:

19.7” x 15.3” x 6.2” (WxDxH)

Weight:

22lbs

Warranty:

1 year

BenQ V7050i UST Laser 4K Projector Price:

$3499

Company:

BenQ

SECRETS Tags:

2021 Projector Review, benq, v7050i, ultra-short throw, 4k, ultra hd projector, dlp projector, hdr, ultra hd, laser projector

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Design

BenQ V7050i UST Laser 4K Projector

The V7050i packs a lot of impressive technology into a compact box that’s only a touch wider than most AV receivers. Its DLP chip is a .47” model with a native resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. It operates in its XPR shift mode at all times to create 3840×2160 addressable pixels. The color wheel is a six-segment RGBRGB part that spins at 5x when showing 24p content and 2x when showing 50 and 60p. In 3D mode, the refresh rate is 120Hz.

The lens has a throw ratio of .25 which translates to a 100-inch image when the V7050i is placed 8.7 inches from the screen. The picture sits about 10 inches above the top of the unit. Geometry is adjusted by physically moving the projector. There is no zoom or lens shift available. Squaring the image is best accomplished by the four independently adjustable feet which can level the box very precisely. A keystone function is provided in the menu, but I recommend against using it because it will reduce the resolution.

BenQ V7050i UST Laser 4K Projector Top

Styling is simple and functional. On top, the V7050i has a sliding panel that covers the lens and sensor array when the projector’s turned off. This is the first UST model I’ve seen with this feature and it makes a lot of sense. Protecting the delicate bits from children and guests is always a good idea. When you power up, the cover motors quietly toward the wall. This is something I expect to see copied by others in the future.

Inside the lens pit are sensors that automatically cut the light when someone leans over the top. This prevents the inevitable flash of light which can temporarily blind you. The V7050i is very bright, and the light is concentrated in one small spot behind a glass pane.

Speaking of light, it’s provided by a laser phosphor rather than a traditional UHP lamp. This has many advantages, the chief one being lifespan. The V7050i is rated for 20,000 hours of continuous service with no maintenance or lamp changes required. Additionally, lasers do not change their color output over time the way bulbs do. Once calibrated, you won’t need to adjust it again.

BenQ V7050i UST Laser 4K Projector Inputs

For video signals, the V7050i has two HDMI 2.0b inputs. The first one is intended for the Android streaming stick which I received with my sample unit. The second supports Audio Return Channel (ARC) but only in two-channel mode. There is also a S/PDIF optical output but that too is limited to two-channel audio. For control, there is an RS-232 port and an IR sensor on the front. You can also set up the remote for voice control through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

BenQ V7050i UST Laser 4K Projector Remote

The remote departs from BenQ’s usual key-filled backlit handsets. It has a smaller array of keys but still addresses all the important functions. You’ll mainly be using it for menu navigation and to toggle the power. But it can also navigate the Android TV interface. The central nav pad doubles as transport control when watching content. The center button is play/pause while left and right are fast forward and reverse. You even get a dedicated Amazon button up top. I was a little bummed to see it wasn’t backlit, but the keys are different shapes, so I adapted quickly to working it by feel. It also provides a microphone for voice control. Just press the mic icon and talk.

The V7050i supports 3D frame-pack content at 120Hz. It’s easy to set up if you have a pair of 3D Link glasses. BenQ will happily sell you a pair for $59 but you can use any third-party models you wish. I did my 3D tests with a pair from XPand. The glasses pair automatically when the projector is in 3D mode.

Setup

The physical setup of the V7050i was a breeze. I put a small table just below my Stewart Studiotek 130 Luminesse, a rigid panel-type screen, and set the projector on it. Sizing and squaring the image was easy since the table was perfectly level. I suggest anyone installing a UST display level their furniture first and make sure the screen is perfectly vertical and flat in every plane. Sizing the image was simply a matter of pulling the box back until it filled the screen. The picture rises up as you move back so when I hit the top edge, I stopped with an image that was about 84 inches diagonal.

Though my screen is intended for traditional projectors that sit at the back of the room, it presented a great image from the V7050i. Ultra-short throw displays are also well suited for ambient light rejecting (ALR) and lenticular screens which only accept light from below. Screen choice depends on your room. If you have some ambient light, ALR or lenticular is the better choice. In my completely dark theater, the Studiotek worked very well.

Focus was difficult to achieve. The control is motorized but the image has no visible pixel gaps. This is a product of the DLP shift feature which is always turned on. I tried a few different test patterns and finally settled on a sharpness field that places black lines of varying widths on a 50% gray background. Once dialed in, the picture was razor sharp from edge to edge. It was worth taking the extra time to get this right.

The menu system is just like the one found in all BenQ projectors, full-featured and logically laid out. There are six SDR picture modes, two for HDR and a 3D mode. I used Filmmaker for all my tests and calibration. By default, it’s reasonably accurate and can be enjoyed without adjustment. But with a few tweaks, it approaches reference level. Like all BenQ displays, the V7050i’s color accuracy is excellent. BenQ provides a two-point color temp control plus full-color management and gamma presets in .1 increments.

The projector has three lamp modes, Normal, Eco, and SmartEco. Normal is the brightest of course with over 220 nits reflected back from my 1.3 gain screen. If you want more contrast, SmartEco reduces the black level significantly and improves picture depth noticeably. It takes the measured ratio from around 1000:1 to over 8500:1. My only complaint is it reduces the peak white by around 60 nits.

To create its DCI-P3 gamut, the V7050i uses an internal filter. You can hear it motoring into place whenever you activate the wide gamut mode or watch HDR content. It also reduces brightness though the extra color saturation makes up for this.

I also found the usual picture enhancement options in the menu called Cinema Master. These make various tweaks to video processing and color, but I found the image looked its best without help. Also in there is a frame interpolation option which creates the expected soap opera effect. It’s fine for sports though.

With my calibration in place for both SDR and HDR, I connected a Panasonic DP-UB9000 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player and an Apple TV 4K. BenQ included their QS01 Android streaming stick in my review kit which I also tried briefly.

In Use

The V7050i includes two built-in speakers behind a fabric grill in the front. They are powered by five-watt internal amps and tuned by treVolo; a system employed by BenQ in many of its audio products to produce a convincing approximation of surround sound. I used the projector’s speakers for all my viewing and found them clean and balanced. Even at maximum volume, there was no audible distortion. Bass was tight and present as well. My only complaint is they are a little underpowered. I had to max the volume to just fill my medium-sized room with sound. A larger space will find viewers straining to hear fine detail.

Since the HDMI/ARC and S/PDIF audio outputs only support two-channel sound, I recommend using the V7050i like a traditional display. Route your source audio through a receiver or processor to the speakers of your choice. This is the best way to get true room-filling surround effects. This isn’t a deal-breaker by any means. There’s only so much BenQ can do to pack speakers into a box this size. The real star here is the video and there, I had no complaints.

BenQ V7050i UST Laser 4K Projector Blu-ray Movies

Though we are currently experiencing something of a golden age of television with the vast universe of streamed content available, there is still no better video quality found in the consumer realm than Ultra HD Blu-ray. With that in mind, I started with a classic on standard Blu-ray, Grand Prix. This film was originally shot on 65mm film and sports some of the most vivid and bright color I’ve ever seen in a movie. The V7050i had no problem with this high-quality content. Reds were so vibrant that I had to check the OSD to make sure the wide gamut wasn’t in use. It’s grayed out for SDR signals so no problem there. The projector’s balance and robust light output made this film pop. I doubt it ever looked this good in the cinemas of the 60s when it was first shown. A subtle layer of film grain made a visible and effective enhancement in creating a time-machine-like effect. The V7050i captured the feel of the movie and its creators’ intent.

Moving on to more modern fare, I checked out a few night scenes from A Quiet Place. This disc is mastered in HDR10 and the extra contrast really showed up here. Projector HDR is something of a compromise when compared to premium OLED or full-array LCD panels but the V7050i creates the effect as well as any high-end HDR projector I’ve seen. Blacks rang true with clear shadows and deep tones. Though it couldn’t quite match the best from the LCoS camp, the BenQ’s DLP engine did an excellent job. The laser’s SmartEco power mode shifted output to match content without calling attention to itself. It was also easy to spot the extra color in play.

BenQ V7050i UST Laser 4K Projector Avatar

I finished my disc viewing with Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker. There are several long sequences with a lush green jungle as the background. The extra gamut volume really took this film to another level. Green was rich and saturated with punchy highlights and deep shadows. These extremes helped make the leaves and other vegetation more 3D and realistic.

To evaluate the V7050i’s 3D capability, I loaded up my copy of Avatar. There is no better reference for the genre and BenQ has implemented the feature very well.

The visual stage was very deep thanks to a 120Hz refresh rate and almost zero crosstalk. My only wish was for a little more brightness. While 3D is perfectly watchable here, it would really pop if there were more light output. But if you’re a 3D fan, the V7050i will do your library justice.

BenQ V7050i UST Laser 4K Projector Streaming

If a projector is to be a television replacement, it must be able to stream the latest content easily and conveniently. To this end, BenQ includes its QS01 Android stick in the box. It runs an intuitive interface but has one major omission, Netflix. In fairness, this is not BenQ’s fault. Running Netflix on Android platforms is a hit-or-miss affair. It can be done with the QS01 by casting from another device like a laptop computer. But you won’t get 4K or HDR. For this reason, I checked out the QS01 briefly, then hooked up an Apple TV 4K.

The Apple TV 4K is a legitimate video source component with multiple signal types and even a calibration routine. For the V7050i, I set the default output to 4K SDR and told the Apple TV to match frame rate and dynamic range. This way, any 4K and/or HDR10 streams would show in the correct format. This worked perfectly when I tried a few episodes of Star Trek Discovery from Paramount+. Netflix works fine too though Dolby Vision content shows in HDR10 mode. It’s better than SDR but not quite up to the level of what’s possible on a Dolby Vision display.

Overall, the V7050i is well suited for streaming. I recommend something like an Apple TV as the source rather than the QS01 but whatever product you choose, the projector will handle this content correctly. The only thing missing is Dolby Vision but HDR10, 4K, and extended color all look great here.

On The Bench

SDR Tests and Calibration

For my SDR tests, I started in the V7050i’s default Filmmaker mode. It leaves all Cinema Master options off with Brilliant Color set to 0. The lamp power was set to Normal for testing, then switched to SmartEco after calibration for all viewing tests.

BenQ V7050i UST Laser 4K Projector Pre-calibration Grayscale Tracking

The V7050i’s grayscale tracking is the tiniest bit warm, but you’ll have a hard time spotting the error. Values are right around the visible threshold with an average error of 3.13dE. You can enjoy the projector without calibration if you wish. Gamma is set by default to 2.4 and it adheres perfectly to that reference. The picture was a tad dark for my taste but that is a personal preference. The good thing is that gamma settings are accurately labeled. Set 2.4 and you get 2.4

BenQ V7050i UST Laser 4K Projector Pre-calibration Color Tracking

In SDR mode, the proper gamut should be Rec.709 and the V7050i complies. You can choose the wide gamut option if you want to watch all content using the projector’s extended color gamut. For accuracy’s sake though, leaving it off is the correct option. Color tracking is excellent with only a slight oversaturation in blue. Green is slightly off in hue, but the error is below the visible threshold.

BenQ V7050i UST Laser 4K Projector Post-calibration Grayscale Tracking

After a few small tweaks of the RGB gain and offset sliders, grayscale tracking is at reference level. There are no visible errors and only the 0 and 10% are over 1dE. Gamma is still right on the reference line, but I set it to 2.2 to help the picture pop a bit more. 2.4 makes it a bit murky. Again, this is a personal preference and dependent on the viewing environment. Gamma settings are in 0.1 increments, so I suggest trying values between 2.1 and 2.5 to see which you like best.

BenQ V7050i UST Laser 4K Projector Post-calibration Color Tracking

Color is visually similar after calibration. All targets are now below 3dE except for a slight error at red’s 100% saturation point. Green is still slightly off in hue, but the error is invisible there too. Gamut luminance is better balanced as well. This is the excellent performance I’ve come to expect from BenQ’s premium displays.

HDR Tests and Calibration

When an HDR10 signal is applied, the V7050i switches automatically and makes two picture modes available, HDR10 and Filmmaker. HDR10 is the default but I found Filmmaker to be a better starting point for calibration. Like its SDR counterpart, it leaves picture enhancements turned off. But it sets Brilliant Color to its maximum value of 10 which turned out to be a good thing. Here, I engaged the SmartEco lamp mode before starting the tests to ensure it generated a proper EOTF curve.

BenQ V7050i UST Laser 4K Projector HDR Grayscale and Luminance, Pre-calibration

Before calibration, the V7050i’s HDR grayscale tracking is distinctly warm in tone. Red errors persist from 45% on up. The tone-map transition point is quite far from neutral in tone. The EOTF curve is a bit smoother than reference showing a little lightness in the darker areas of the image. Luckily, an independent HDR calibration is available.

BenQ V7050i UST Laser 4K Projector HDR Color Tracking, Pre-calibration

The V7050i’s pre-calibration HDR color doesn’t require too much adjustment. Red and green are a bit under-saturated. Those are the two colors that come up short in the gamut volume measurement. But they track their targets linearly, so the gamut still looks more saturated in HDR mode than SDR.

BenQ V7050i UST Laser 4K Projector HDR Grayscale and Luminance, Post-calibration

With minor adjustments to the RGB gains and offsets, the V7050i’s HDR grayscale tracking is much improved. The warmth still exists in the brightest steps, but you’ll only see these brightness levels in tiny specular highlights. The errors are not a factor in real-world content. The EOTF curve is unchanged.

BenQ V7050i UST Laser 4K Projector HDR Color Tracking, Post-calibration

HDR color looks slightly more saturated after calibration. The changes are mostly to the inner targets between 20 and 80%, which is where most picture content lies. Though red and green don’t quite hit the 100% mark, they do touch the edge of the gamut perimeter. The V7050i delivers visibly more vivid color with HDR content. I calculated its DCI-P3 gamut coverage at a respectable 87%.

Brightness and Contrast

The V7050i is a very bright projector in SDR mode. With my calibration in place and the laser set to Normal mode, the peak white was 220.094 nits, black was .2289 nit and native contrast was 961.7:1. Eco mode takes the peak down to 128 nits with about the same contrast ratio.

For the best contrast, SmartEco is the way to go. There, the peak white was 159.9875 nits, black was a deep .0186 nit and contrast was 8593.4:1. This was achieved with no clipping of shadow detail. I used SmartEco for all my SDR viewing.

In HDR mode, the color filter needed to produce the wider gamut cuts output by 40%. In Normal lamp mode, the peak white was 132.4169 nits, black was .1234, and contrast was 1072.7:1. SmartEco resulted in a peak measurement of 103.1425 nits, a black level of .0108 nit, and a 9524.3:1 contrast. Again, this is the way to go for maximum image depth and quality in HDR mode. I used SmartEco for all my HDR viewing.
For 3D tests, I switched my Accupel signal generator to frame-pack mode. The peak luminance was 20.4471 nits. Black was unmeasurable so I couldn’t determine the contrast ratio. The V7050i delivers average 3D brightness when compared to the majority of projectors I’ve reviewed. Crosstalk measured just .04% so you won’t have any issues seeing the maximum 3D effect with properly mastered content.

BenQ V7050i UST Projector Settings

SDR

  • Mode Filmmaker
  • Contrast 49
  • Gamma 2.2
  • Rgain 97
  • Ggain 103
  • Bgain 103
  • Roffset 254
  • Goffset 250
  • Boffset 254
    H S G
  • R 176 204 243
  • G 276 244 171
  • B 138 215 153
  • C 179 255 196
  • M 314 182 252
  • Y 143 173 194
  • Brilliant Color 0
  • LumiExpert Off

HDR

  • Mode Filmmaker
  • HDR Brightness 0
  • Rgain 97
  • Ggain 100
  • Bgain 100
  • Roffset 256
  • Goffset 254
  • Boffset 261
  • CMS defaults
  • Brilliant Color 10
  • Wide Color Gamut On
Conclusions

BenQ V7050i UST Laser 4K Projector

For less than the price of a jumbo OLED panel, the BENQ V7050I UST LASER 4K PROJECTOR delivers a 123-inch image with clean sound and an elegant look.

Likes
  • A bright, sharp picture with richly saturated and accurate color
  • Easy installation and setup
  • Clean audio from built-in speakers
  • Simple and elegant styling
Would Like To See
  • Higher volume from built-in speakers
  • Surround audio support from HDMI/ARC and S/PDIF outputs
  • Dolby Vision support
  • Brighter 3D image

An ultra-short-throw projector makes an effective television replacement. You can drop around $6000 on an 83-inch OLED, or $30,000 on LG’s 8K 88-inch OLED. Or you can have a 123-inch image from the BenQ V7050i for $3499 plus the cost of a nice screen. This is certainly a price/performance win. The V7050i is bright and colorful and delivers solid contrast for both SDR and HDR content. It’s a shame there’s no Dolby Vision support and the built-in speakers are a bit polite. But as a premium video display, when paired with an outboard speaker system (as most TVs would be) it shines.

With accurate color out of the box, there’s no great need for calibration. But a few tweaks take the image to reference level. You can plug in the included Android streaming stick and pull in lots of quality content from the internet. Or hook up an Ultra HD Blu-ray player for the best possible playback.

However you choose to use it, the BenQ V7050i UST Laser 4K projector is a superb display. It embodies all the quality I’ve come to expect from BenQ and is easy to set up and use. I enjoyed watching movies and TV shows on it and have no hesitation about giving it my highest recommendation.