BenQ X3000i has excellent HDR performance and produces a great spectrum of colours.
Here’s a projector that will change the way you experience entertainment on screen. BenQ X3000i is not just for those who want a cinematic experience but are also big on gaming. In fact, the device is being marketed as a gaming projector. What BenQ has done is find all the things people care about in a projector and balanced them out.
Before we get into details around picture quality, here’s what you will get in the box. There is a QS01 Android TV stick, which can be attached in a clever fashion. The remote controls the Android TV stick as well as the controls on the projector. Also included are a couple of magnetic adjustment feet which can be used to mount the projector upside down. Basically, there’s everything you need to get the show going with this cube-ish device.
A quick overview of the 4K LED gaming projector. It has a native 4K resolution using pixel shifting on the 0.65-inch ECD DMD chip, 3000 ANSI Lumens, covers a 100 per cent of DCI-P3 colour coverage and has a decent throw ratio, allowing a 100-inch screen from 8-8.2 feet.
What gives the projector the much-needed punch is the 4LED light source. It’s somewhat similar to the 3LED system but there is a fourth LED called pump LED that increases light output by eight to 12 per cent, compared to the other system. Not just that, it ensures less heat generation and, very importantly, give far better colour accuracy during the machine’s lifespan.
Setting up the projector is very easy. It has horizontal and vertical key adjustments but don’t play around with the keystone if you’re going to do a lot of gaming; it may affect image quality, sharpness, and latency. The more electronic adjustments you do, it will slow the projector down. But feel free to use the mechanical zoom, which doesn’t have any effect on latency.
You get an optical zoom of 1.3x, which is handy. And there is a projection offset of 110 per cent, something you need to consider while mounting it from the ceiling. Keystone is +/- 30 degree vertical and horizontal. And clean image size is between 60 inches and 200 inches but you can also aim at bigger images.
Getting used to the interface took me exactly 10 minutes. The interface is snappy and I had no problem using it. It’s delightful to find that there are no long pauses while switching between modes, like from HDR to SDR or between different resolutions; this is something that holds back the experience on rival projectors.
Let’s dig into image quality, which is where the BenQ X3000i wins hands down. BenQ has always been known for offering a great colour spectrum out of the box. Usually with projectors with 3000 ANSI Lumens, you have to trade in colour accuracy for extra brightness. Not here. Here you get the extra brightness as well as 100 per cent DCI-PS colour coverage. There are no compromises.
Some may feel the colours are a bit saturated, especially while watching TV channels. In fact, I watch TV channels to find out how a projector fares with skin tones. It’s natural and nothing is blown out of proportion. The slight oversaturation can be dialed back using the options menu.
What excited me the most is HDR performance. Considering the extra brightness on this projector, it gives rivals a lot to think about. Where it loses perhaps a point is levels of black. Not that a movie like Gravity looks bad, it’s not inky black all the way. At the same time, there are decent details in the shadows… in other words, you do see all the details in dark areas.
A few more things that may tilt the buying decision in the projector’s favour. For those who don’t want to complicate things by diving into too many options, there is a simple menu mode and an advanced menu mode, which is something other tech companies should consider.
Even with some of the blinds open, I was able to get decent pictures but with all the lights off, the picture was stunning. This is a DLP projector and there is no noticeable rainbow effect. And you don’t have to worry about the light source, which offers 20,000 hours in normal mode and 30,000 hours in economy (I prefer the former).
As with other BenQ projectors there are many picture modes — bright, living room, game, sports, cinema and user mode. Feel free to calibrate colour temperatures if you are knowledgeable about colour science. I prefer default settings.
There are enough vents to take care of heat generation
All the ports you need are available on the projector
This, of course, is a gaming projector and I had a fantastic time. Images are razor-sharp and colours look fantastic. It’s rare to see a projector being marketed with the gaming aspect. There is very little input lag (but don’t play around with keystone adjustments to achieve this): It produces 16ms with 4K@60Hz, 8ms with 1080p@120Hz and 4ms with 1080p@240Hz.
There are a few different game modes — RPG (full cinematic immersion), SPG (real-time thrills), FPS (mark nearby threats). FPS works pretty much for everything. Not only does it give you the low latency you are looking for but it offers sharp images.
Audio takes a slight hit in terms of loudness. Since it has sound by treVOLO, there is good audio separation and everything is crystal clear. Working in the device’s favour, there is support for eARC Dolby Atmos.
Undoubtedly the best project you can lay your hands on. It is very quiet and there is only a gentle warm breeze when you are near the projector. If you compare the picture size and quality you are getting here versus a good television set, you will surely look at BenQ X3000i, which is for anyone who cares about enjoying a cinematic experience at home.
The remote control works with the Android TV stick as well as the projector’s controls
Device: BenQ X3000i
• Excellent picture quality and clarity
• Perfect for gaming
• Outstanding design
• Enough menu options and easy interface
• Enough ports
• Very little heat generation
• It will help to have slightly higher levels of black
• HDMI-1 (2.0b/HDCP2.2), HDMI-2 (2.0b/HDCP2.2), HDMI-Internal (2.0b/HDCP2.2), USB Type-A-1, RS232, 3.5mm jack, eARC Dolby Atmos
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