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Review: BenQ GS50 – LED projector with built-in battery

Review: BenQ GS50 - LED projector with built-in battery. It hides a very capable portable projector under that hip look. A good portable projector for you.

A splash-proof LED projector with built-in battery and speakers. With that, the BenQ GS50 checks a lot of boxes if you are looking for a projector that you can easily take with you. With his trendy look, he has graced our test room for a few days. How is he performing?

BenQ GS50 – Specifications

What Full HD DLP projector with LED light source
Line-up 1920 x 1080, light output 500 ANSI lumens, contrast ratio 100,000:1, projection ratio 1.2 (100 inches diagonal at 2.65 m), noise level 29/27 dBA
Connections 2x HDMI (2.0b, ARC), 1x USB (media, power supply), 1x USB-C (DisplayPort, power supply), 1x headphones
Lamp Life LED light source, up to 30,000 hours
Extras HDR10, HLG, 2x 5 Watt speaker, built-in battery, Android TV 10, auto keystone, autofocus, built-in WiFi, Bluetooth, carrying case
Dimensions 186 x 154 x 146mm
Weight 2.3 kg
Recommended retail price 749 euros

BenQ GS50 – Design

This BenQ is a nice change from the often boring designs of portable projectors. It is a rounded, compact housing, finished in cream white, with green side panels and orange speaker grilles. A faux-leather handle on the side gives it some extra flair.

The device is IPX2 splash-proof. In concrete terms, this means that it is resistant to water droplets that fall at an angle of maximum 15°. That’s some light rain, he’s not calculated to pour a glass of water on it. BenQ claims that the projector is also shockproof for a 70 cm drop. We have not tested that, but for a projector that is really meant to be taken everywhere, that is an excellent feature.

The GS50 comes with a handy and beautiful fabric carrying case.

BenQ GS50 – Connections

To achieve that splash-proof rating, all connections are covered. On one side you’ll find an HDMI 2.0 input (with ARC), a headphone jack, a USB port (which supplies power and can read media files), and a USB-C port. The latter is DisplayPort compatible, very useful if you have a recent laptop. The USB-C port can also supply power, but you can’t use it to read media files. At the back of the device, the power connection is hidden behind a small white cover.

You can slide off a cover at the top. It hides a small niche containing an HDMI 2.0 connection and a mini-USB port. The niche is intended for the BenQ Android TV stick. The projector has WiFi and Bluetooth.

BenQ GS50 – Placement

You will not find a lens shift or zoom on portable projectors, the GS50 also has to make do with a fixed projection ratio of 1.2. With this, the projector creates a 100 inch image when it is about 2.65 m from the screen.

But that doesn’t mean that some help with drafting hasn’t been thought of. At the front there is an extendable leg that you can adjust almost infinitely to make the projector shine upwards. And at the bottom there is a standard screw connection for a tripod. After setting up, just press the button to perform the auto-focus and auto-keystone. If desired, you can still adjust both manually. The auto-keystone only corrects vertical trapezoidal deviation, you have to make horizontal corrections yourself. As always, try to keep keystone corrections as small as possible so as not to lose too much detail.

If you need keystone correction in two directions, you can also opt for the ‘corner fit’ method, where you correct the corners of the screen. It all happens very intuitively.

In the ‘normal’ power mode, the projector makes quite a bit of noise, slightly more than its 29 dBA suggests, but the nature of the sound is not really disturbing. Not a shrill squeak from a small fan, rather a mild noise. In the ‘low power’ mode the projector is very quiet.

BenQ GS50 – Ease of Use

The GS50 runs on a quad core Cortex A53 CPU with 2GB RAM and Mali-G31 GPU. That is enough for a reasonably smooth experience. The menu is quite simple and doesn’t allow too many customizations. This is of course no surprise, this is not a home cinema projector that you hope to calibrate perfectly.

Remote control

We recognize the supplied remote from the V7000i. It is a sleek white appearance, with a very limited number of keys. The remote works via Bluetooth, an asset for ease of use.

Unfortunately there are no buttons to adjust the image mode, you have to go through the projector menu for that. If you want to adjust the settings, you have to choose from two buttons. The cogwheel leads you to the Android TV settings, the ‘projector menu’ button goes directly to the projector menus.

There are shortcuts for Amazon Prime Video and BenQ Familand (kids content), and one for the Google voice assistant.

Functions

The Android TV stick gives a full Android 10 experience and is a much better solution than third-party app stores like Aptoid.

This way you can cast to the projector. Or install Plex or VLC, so you have a universal media player. Unfortunately, Netflix is ​​still missing, a flaw that we also noticed on the Xgimi Horizon Pro. Whether the app will ever come is questionable (but not impossible). BenQ indicates that it is possible to install Netflix via the Aptoid app store, but we do not recommend that. Both the user experience and the image quality disappoint. So for Netflix you have to look for an alternative, but it is the only streaming service that is missing.

The media player supports a very limited list of codecs, and does not read Dolby or DTS audio. Those hoping to download a fuller player like VLC from the app store will have to disappoint. Those players cannot access the files on the USB stick. You can use them to play files on the network.

BenQ GS50 – Image Quality

This one DLP projector delivers Full HD resolution. You can connect 4K sources, but they are downscaled to Full HD.

The image processing of this BenQ is decent, but there is also nothing to adjust. Fortunately, the projector is fairly forgiving with noise, the image seems to naturally hide that. The DLP chip does not succeed in accurately displaying all the details of Full HD, you miss the finest detail. There is some judder visible in cinematic pan shots. All in all, a very decent result, especially for a portable projector.

The LED light source delivers 500 ANSI lumens on paper. In the ‘normal’ lamp mode and the ‘Bright’ image preset we achieve 468 lumens, which corresponds perfectly with the specification. However, that image mode is excessively green, and therefore not really usable for movie fun. In the ‘Cinema’ image mode we achieve 318 lumens, a solid result. If you darken the room, you can project an 80-inch screen diagonal, for 100 inches the projector is just a bit too dark. If you look at a bit of light, it is better to lower it to 60 inches. We wouldn’t recommend using it in a lot of light, unless with a very small image (45 inches). If you switch the lamp to ‘Low power’, the light output will drop to 193 lumens. That is only usable with eclipse, then you can still project 65 inches.

Compared to the fairly decent light performance, the moderate contrast is rather a disappointment. We measure around 270:1 and you notice that very clearly. Black is rather greyish, and in predominantly dark scenes such as Gravity or Harry Potter, the projector hides a lot of black detail behind a veil of gray. However, as soon as there are significant light areas, the moderate contrast is less noticeable, as in the photo of Rapunzel above. And with clear images, the BenQ is really at its best.

The Cinema picture mode delivers quite good results. The color temperature is almost correct, the gray scale is largely neutral, with only a slight overweight of red in the darkest shades. The color rendering certainly charmed us, even if red and blue are far outside the required standard. They are a little too intense, but it certainly doesn’t bother me.

BenQ GS50 – HDR

The GS50 supports HDR10 and HLG, but our expectations are not very high given the limited contrast. Nevertheless, the projector can still pleasantly surprise us. With its 79% P3 color gamut, although it falls well below the 90% that we consider to be the limit for HDR performance, the BenQ makes good on what it has.

As long as the HDR images are mastered at 1,000 nits, he still presents very nice results. Yes, they lack that typical HDR impact, due to limited contrast and color, but on the other hand, they look really good. It goes less well with clearly mastered HDR content. A 4,000 nits mastered image loses a lot of white detail and the colors then lose intensity. The HDR calibration is quite decent, and it shows that you can still get reasonably nice images even with limited basic performance.

BenQ GS50 – Gaming

The input lag of 45.1 ms is reasonable, although we can hardly call it a top result. Unless you play competitively it will suffice. There are no HDMI 2.1 gaming features like ALLM, VRR or 4K120 (also no 2K120, 4K60 maximum).

BenQ GS50 – Sound Quality

The 2×5 Watt speakers are supplemented with a 10W woofer. This combination provides a very nice sound that is quite full and powerful. There is a lot of bass in it, enough to deliver a good soundtrack. The volume can be high enough to fill an average room. Even those who want to listen to some music do not have to hold back. The GS50 can serve as a Bluetooth speaker. Our only complaint was that you can’t choose other sound modes during that function (the projector turns the image off), but that’s a detail. In short, excellent performance for a portable projector.

 

BenQ GS50 – Conclusion

BenQ GS50 hides a very capable portable projector under that hip look. The trickiest flaw is the missing Netflix app. The weak contrast is unfortunate, but in the right circumstances, and as long as you stay away from very dark content, it’s not a deal breaker. The lens and DLP combination hide a bit of the Full HD detail.

Still, we think you can have a lot of fun with this projector. It is perfectly portable, especially since BenQ comes with a handsome fabric carrying case. And that IPX2 splash water resistance and shock resistance provide some extra security for a device that has no fixed place. Setting up is easy, the auto focus and auto keystone take care of that. The GS50 has an excellent light output, although we recommend using it for darkening for the best and most enjoyable results. BenQ also supplies the device with an excellent calibration that delivers very beautiful and balanced colors. The audio performance is very good, and Android TV provides you with a lot of options, making the GS50 a good overall package. The price may be a little higher than we hoped, but certainly not excessive.

Pros

  • Portable, with included bag
  • Splashproof and shockproof
  • Auto focus, auto keystone
  • LED light source with good light output
  • Solid calibration
  • Android TV
  • Great sound quality
Negatives

  • Weak contrast
  • No official Netflix app
  • Missing a little detail

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