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BenQ GP500 or X3000i 4K Projectors for Movies and Gaming? Which One to Choose?

BenQ
2023/03/13


The days of projectors lagging behind big screen TVs in resolution and features are gone. You can now get 4K visuals on massive image sizes like 120” right at home, for prices that are much lower than anything TVs in that size range manage. If you can find a 100” TV, you may need to get a new mortgage on your home. With projectors, that size of image is the norm for prices that don’t shatter the bank.


BenQ prides itself on leading in 4K projectors and has several models to choose from. The GP500 and X3000i have not only been critically acclaimed by reviewers, they’re also bestselling smart projectors. And so, you may be wondering which one is more suitable for you. For starters, both have superb image quality, with true 4K and HDR. However, the two were designed for different purposes. The GP500 offers excellent home cinema experiences, while the X3000i has been optimized for current-gen gaming on PS5 and Xbox Series X. Thus, you should consider what’s your main priority: movies and TV, or gaming? That’ll be your guiding consideration.

Choose BenQ GP500 projector for movies and BenQ X3000i projector for gaming.

Movie Mania Projector


Let’s take a look at what makes the GP500 such an awesome modern home cinema projector. And by the way, by home cinema we mean more than movies from Blu-ray, although that is the highest fidelity format available. As for modern, that means smart, with your favorite streaming apps included. The GP500 projector for movies works wonders with streaming services for movies and TV shows, and also with home video running off external USB storage.

  • Side Projection, Screen Fit, and Object Avoidance

  • Very discerning movie connoisseurs typically devote a lot of space for their home cinema setup, often choosing a large room or basement. But not everyone has that kind of space available, and so the GP500 has been designed for placement versatility. It works equally well in large homes as it does in smaller apartments, and as a light and quite portable projector, it’s great if you’re renting and need to move.


    Classic home cinema installations have larger projectors mounted on the ceiling far from the screen to recreate the movie theater experience. Again, that requires not just complex installation and drilling into the ceiling, but also lots of distance and room. Those are fine if you’re prepared and have the required assets, but it’s not for everyone. The compact GP500 offers a very similar viewing experience without all that. If you want to save space without compromising 4K movie watching on the big screen, the GP500 is your friend.


    Wherever you place the GP500, setup features include auto 2D keystone to enable side projection, or projection that’s offset relative to the screen, like from a room corner. You also get screen fit and object avoidance features to ensure projection accuracy. These make sure the image fits whichever surface you choose to project onto as perfectly as possible. Object avoidance lets you know if a piece of furniture that you may think isn’t even in the way will cut into the image and cast a shadow. Alternatively, if there’s something on the wall, say a picture frame, object avoidance will ask you if you want to adjust screen size to compensate, or prefer to remove the frame. That’s a really smart setup process.


    You can put the GP500 in the middle of the room or in a corner and it’ll do everything to ensure the image looks great. The old horror stories about setting up projectors can be relegated to the urban legend pile when it comes to setting up your home theater.

  • 360˚ Sound Field

  • Audio is almost as important as visuals for a great home theater experience. With the GP500, you don’t need to invest in a costly and space-consuming surround system. Those are great, no doubt, but like big cinema rooms, they’re not for everyone. BenQ engineers worked hard to leverage experience with treVolo speaker technology to imbue the GP500 with quartet of powerful and optimized 5W speakers, compared to just two on the X3000i. They’re placed at each corner of the projector, secured to prevent rattle or any other disturbance, and generate a full spectrum, spatial 20W sound field that sounds amazing. Movies sound as immersive as can be, and definitely more impressive than anything a flat screen TV provides.

  • Audio Channel Switch

  • One issue is the sync and balance between audio and video based on where you’re sitting relative to the screen and projector. That’s understandable, because unlike the internal speakers of a TV, projector speakers are far removed from the screen.


    For example, if you put the GP500 on the left side of the room, the side projection and keystone adjustments take care of image accuracy, but you may worry that the right speakers may sound stronger than the left ones, distorting the 360-degree sound field. Don’t worry, smart audio management helps you setup sound to adjust accordingly, calculating the best balance between the two stereo channels to even them out with channel switching back and forth and prevent uneven-sounding audio for corner placement or any other situation. The same sound processing applies for front and back, so the front speakers don’t overwhelm the rear ones, and you get the best benefit of all four.

  • Bluetooth Speaker Mode

  • Of course the GP500 is a smart projector with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. And with its four rather impressive speakers, it works great even when you’re not watching anything and just want to stream music from your phone or any other Bluetooth-enabled source. Put the GP500 in its dedicated Bluetooth speaker mode and enjoy really impactful sound for your favorite tunes. That’s very handy when you have guests over or for other special occasions. The GP500 effectively doubles as a sound system, and as we said, it’s quite portable, so you can move it to other rooms or even take it on the road.

    Games Galore Projector


    So, we’ve covered why the GP500 presents such a compelling option for movie fans. Now it’s time to look at the X3000i, which you should consider if a projector for games is your main interest. The X3000i without a doubt offers superb gaming performance, arguably the best of any 4K projector on the market.

  • Removing Input Lag from the Equation

  • A regularly-mentioned concern about projectors and gaming is input lag, or the total time it takes for a game to react (or more accurately, show a reaction on screen) to you pressing a button on a controller. It’s true previous generation projectors and even current-gen movie projectors have high-ish latency or lag, although even those aren’t that bad, and are similar to what you get with many high end TVs. However, you can do better than that, and with the X3000i smart projector for games you’re almost into gaming monitor territory in terms of real world total input lag. If you love first person shooters and competitive multiplayer, you’ll be happy to learn that grueling development and testing have resulted in the X3000i doing 240Hz 1080p at 4ms total lag. That’s really like your typical VA or IPS gaming monitor, in real life conditions. So, feel free to hook up the X3000i to your PC via HDMI and load up COD Warzone, Apex Legends, Valorant, or CS:GO and have at it.


    Alternatively, there’s also 120Hz 1080p at 8ms for competitive FPS and third person shooter gaming on PS5 and Xbox Series X, as most console titles in these categories offer a high refresh rate mode that’s 120 frames per second.


    If you’re into graphically-intricate AAA titles with large open worlds or carefully-crafted environments, the 4K 60Hz mode offers precisely what you want. Again, this mode is optimized for use with PS5 and Xbox Series X.

  • Dedicated Game Mode

  • On the X3000i, game mode does more than reduce lag. There’s also dedicated color adjustments for different game genres. First person shooters, role playing games, and sports games have their own sub-modes for color and other image parameters. For instance, FPS mode enhances dark area detail so you can better spot enemies hiding in shadows. Sports mode improves skin tones and elements like grass, while RPG mode enhances color saturation and has a stronger HDR effect. Don’t worry, you can manually adjust screen settings within each mode to your liking.


    Speaking of HDR, the X3000i is a powerful, bright projector with 3000 ANSI lumen output. That’s about 900 nits, if you’re used to TV terminology. Yes, you can get TVs with up to 4000 nits, but those are 8K models that may require you to sell your house and perhaps more. Even premium 4K TVs rarely go over 700 nits, sustained. Projectors do not have the screen zoning issues of TVs, with their projection being constant. That means you get all 3000 lumens all the time unless you lower brightness. The issue of peak brightness is non-existent with projectors, unlike with TVs and their internal light sources.


    HDR also requires great color performance, and guess what, the X3000i has that covered as well. Repeated tests and certifications show the X3000i has 100% coverage of the DCI-P3 color gamut, which means something like 130% of sRGB. Good luck finding a similarly-priced TV with those specs. For $1999 you’d be lucky to get 90% DCI-P3 out of a 4K TV. Games just look better on the X3000i, at screens up to 150”. Have you tried buying a 150” TV? Please don’t.

  • Game Audio

  • The X3000i has excellent audio, with two 5W speakers and Bongiovi DPS technology to generate virtual surround and accentuate game effects. You could hook up external speakers but we’d recommend against it, as you won’t need to spend the money or time on setup after you hear what this speaker is capable of. The X3000i smart projector delivers accurate and impressive game audio on its own.

    Should You Choose GP500 or X3000i?


    There’s a lot of overlap here, we won’t deny. The GP500 can do gaming reasonably well, while the X3000i is good for movies and TV. But you need to think of their main purpose and what you want more. It all boils down to your interests, which only you can evaluate. If you’re more into movies, TV, and music, then the GP500 is the clear choice. If you want more flexibility and even portability and may be worried that space could be an issue, the smart image adjustment features of the GP500 also make it the winner.


    If you’re a gamer and know that enjoying the latest big games is important to you or you want to do multiplayer on a big screen or both, then the X3000i has no substitute. With its ridiculously low lag relative to image size, game-dedicated features, amazing HDR and color, plus three game genre modes, it’s a projector made for gaming.


    Now you know. So make your choice and have fun. Here’s an at a glance comparison of the two BenQ projectors for your reference.

    Remark: V for supported and X for unsupported.

    Highlights

    Key Features

    Smart Movie Projector

    GP500

    Smart Gaming Projector

    X3000i

    Highlights

    BenQ professional picture quality essentials and added features

    Key Features

    4K

    Smart Movie Projector

    GP500

    V

    Smart Gaming Projector

    X3000i

    V

    Highlights

    HDR

    Key Features

    V

    Smart Movie Projector

    GP500

    V

    Highlights

    WCG (Wide Color Gamut)

    Key Features

    V

    Smart Movie Projector

    GP500

    V

    Highlights

    Auto color calibration

    Key Features

    V

    Smart Movie Projector

    GP500

    V

    Highlights

    3D support

    Key Features

    V

    Smart Movie Projector

    GP500

    V

    Highlights

    Essentials and dedicated features for enthusiast gamers

    Key Features

    Input Lag

    Smart Movie Projector

    GP500

    >16ms

    Smart Gaming Projector

    X3000i

    <16ms

    Highlights

    Game mode

    Key Features

    X

    Smart Movie Projector

    GP500

    V

    Highlights

    Specific features for flexible space usage

    Key Features

    Side projection

    Smart Movie Projector

    GP500

    V

    Smart Gaming Projector

    X3000i

    V

    Highlights

    Screen Fit

    Key Features

    V

    Smart Movie Projector

    GP500

    X

    Highlights

    Screen Avoidance

    Key Features

    V

    Smart Movie Projector

    GP500

    X

    Highlights

    360-degree sound field

    Key Features

    V

    Smart Movie Projector

    GP500

    X

    Highlights

    Audio Channel Switch

    Key Features

    V

    Smart Movie Projector

    GP500

    X

    Highlights

    Bluetooth Speaker Model

    Key Features

    V

    Smart Movie Projector

    GP500

    X

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