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What is the Best High Brightness 4K Laser Projector for Home Cinema and Simulation – BenQ or Epson?

  • BenQ
  • 2022-03-15
How does the new Epson LS12000 stack up against BenQ’s best-selling 4K laser projectors? Check out our fair comparison and decide for yourself

In 2022, 4K laser projectors are the hottest model of projectors people are using to integrate into larger home theaters and golf simulators – or “SimTheaters.”   Epson’s first true 4K UHD laser-powered projector is designed for larger home cinema projectors, and, unlike other Pro-UHD models they offer, the Epson LS12000 has the ability to show all 8.3 million pixels of the industry-standard UHD specification. So how does it compare against the top-selling 4K laser projectors from BenQ for use in a larger home theater or golf simulation?  Here is a fair comparison that addresses the following areas.

 

·         Brightness levels

·         HDR & Color Accuracy specifications

·         Maintenance requirements

·         Throw ratios & Lens Shift

·         Purchase Price 

Brightness

The Epson LS12000 uses a laser instead of a lamp to generate a rating of 2700 lumens, just slightly higher than the lamp-based Epson 5050UB.  While this is enough brightness to fill a typical home cinema screen, it is much dimmer than the 4K laser models from BenQ that are designed to display their images on either a large home cinema screen, a large impact screen for golf simulators, or in a brighter room. 

 

 

Both the BenQ LK952 and LK936ST 4K laser projectors provide 5000 lumens or more brightness.  The fact is, a larger screen enables you to see all of the minute detail from your 4K projector, and one reason that models these 5000-lumen models from BenQ and Sony have been so popular.  For golfers, it can enable their simulator set up to double as an amazing home theater for movies or watching the Masters in true 4K resolution.

HDR & Color Accuracy

BenQ has been making laser projectors since 2011, and getting the color right is important.  For their lamp-based home cinema projectors, Epson includes the color accuracy specifications using industry-standard metrics such as Rec. 709, but for their higher brightness laser projectors, including the LS12000, there are no color accuracy specifications. 

 

By contrast, even the BenQ LK953ST classroom projector includes a color accuracy specification, and Projector Reviews says “the color is gorgeous”.  The latest BenQ 4K LK936ST not only delivers over 92% of the Rec. 709 color but also has advanced HDR capabilities, and a special simulation mode to ensure an immersive experience in a 4K “SimTheater” on a 14-foot-wide screen where you can watch movies, play X-Box, stream video, or play golf on a single projector. 

Maintenance Free vs. Cleaning Filters

Most people using a home theater or home simulator want to focus on having an immersive experience – not maintaining the projector.  So, while both projectors have long-lasting laser light sources, the Epson LS12000 has filters that have to be kept clean to keep the projector cool.   The Epson LS12000 filter must be regularly maintained and the manual warns users not to wait until the “Clean filter” light comes on.  If the filter is not maintained, this could invalidate the warranty on the projector.

 

By contrast, all BenQ 4K laser projectors use an advanced sealed laser engine – which doesn’t require a filter.  BenQ tests and certifies every model using an industry-standard IP5X certification to ensure that the projector will operate even when dusty –eliminating the risk of a “clean filter” warning during use.

Throw Ratio and Lens Shift for Easy Placement

Projectors can be complicated to mount and set up in the right location where they are out of the way, but still enable you to properly fill the screen.   A projector lens throw ratio is similar to lenses found on phones or digital cameras, where some versions allow you to be closer to the screen, or farther away.  Both the BenQ 4K laser projectors and the Epson LS12000 have generous zoom and lens shift capabilities, enabling you to fill a 12-foot wide screen from about 20 feet away.  The BenQ LK936ST has a short throw lens that will fill up the same screen from just 10 feet away.

 

The other component of a projector is “lens shift” which makes it easy to move the image up and down or side to side after you have it mounted so that you can fine-tune the picture to fit inside your screen.  Both the BenQ 4K laser projectors and Epson LS12000 have vertical and horizontal lens shift, and the BenQ LK936ST also has a handy feature called “corner fit” which enables you to drag the image to each corner of the screen for a fast and easy setup.    

But How Much Does A 4K Laser Projector Cost?

Here is a breakdown of the cost and features of the Epson LS12000 compared with a leading 4K lamp projector as well as two other 4K laser projectors mentioned in this article designed for home cinema and simulation use.  All projector pricing data comes from projectorcentral.com.

 

BenQ TK700

BenQ LK952

 

BenQ LK936ST Short Throw

Epson LS12000

 

Brightness

BenQ TK700

3000 Lumen

BenQ LK952

 

5000 Lumen

BenQ LK936ST Short Throw

5100 Lumen

Epson LS12000

2700 lumen

 

Resolution

BenQ TK700

4K UHD

BenQ LK952

 

4K UHD

BenQ LK936ST Short Throw

4K UHD

Epson LS12000

4K UHD

 

Specified Color Accuracy

BenQ TK700

92% Rec.709

BenQ LK952

 

92% of Rec 709

BenQ LK936ST Short Throw

92% of Rec 709

Epson LS12000

Not specified

 

Maintenance-Free Design

BenQ TK700

Yes

BenQ LK952

 

Yes

BenQ LK936ST Short Throw

Yes

Epson LS12000

No – requires filter cleaning

 

Throw Ratio

BenQ TK700

Normal

BenQ LK952

 

Normal

BenQ LK936ST Short Throw

Short Throw

Epson LS12000

Normal

 

HDR 10 Support

BenQ TK700

Yes

BenQ LK952

 

Yes

BenQ LK936ST Short Throw

Yes

Epson LS12000

Yes

 

Est. Street Price

BenQ TK700

$1499

BenQ LK952

 

$4499

BenQ LK936ST Short Throw

$4899

Epson LS12000

$4999

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