There was a time when you couldn't walk into an office without seeing a BenQ Corp. product on at least one desk, but over the years, exposure of the Taipei, Taiwan manufacturer has sharply declined. Along with fierce competition, problems at the corporate level have distracted the company from maintaining its formerly healthy market share.
With a slew of new product releases since the second half of last year, BenQ is positioning itself for a comeback. The Everything Channel Test Center recently evaluated a slew of new products from the company to see if they stand a chance, including a digital projector and two widescreen LCD monitors.
First, we looked at the SP820 ($1,999 MSRP), which is a 4,000 lumens, DLP projector. One of the initial things reviewers noticed was the built-in grip handle, which extends from the top of the projector over the left side. The location and shape of the handle made it very easy to lift and carry the unit.
Compared to equally bright projectors we've previously evaluated, the SP820 is lightweight. Measuring 11.8 inches x 9.6 inches x 3.5 inches and weighing 8.2 pounds, it is easily carried and stored.
The Texas Instruments Inc., Dallas, DLP BrilliantColor technology produced extremely vivid colors against noticeably dark blacks. When evaluated against 17 calibration tests in the DisplayMate suite, the SP820 needed no adjustments at all.
Due to the size and brightness of the projector, the unit ran a little hotter than most, measuring 120 degrees Fahrenheit on the top and 168 degrees at the fan's vent. Power consumption was a steady 328 watts and the specified 36 decibel sound level was well below the threshold of our meter.
It's also worth mentioning that the SP820 is one of very few devices that have passed through the Test Center with an actual printed manual. The projector has a variety of input connections and there is also an internal 3-watt speaker.
T241W And G2200W Monitors
After evaluating the projector, it was time to move on to the LCD monitors. The T241W is a 24-inch widescreen with an MSRP of $529, and the G2200W is a 22-inch widescreen priced at $299.
The T241W has a native resolution of 1,920 x 1,200 and two internal 1-watt speakers. With an HDMI input connection, as well as a D-Sub 15, its matte-black LCD displayed vibrant colors with no glare at all. As with the projector, the T241W sailed through the DisplayMate calibration tests without any necessary fine tuning.
The sturdy base and stand allows for height adjustment, as well as a -5 to +20 degree tilt and a -45 to +45 degree swivel. With a viewing angle of 160 degrees from all sides, this monitor quickly became a favorite in the Test Center lab.
The less-expensive G2200W has DVI and D-Sub 15 input connections and a native resolution of 1,680 x 1,050. Although it also tilts from -5 to +20 degrees and has 160 degree viewing angles, the stand does not allow for the adjustment of height or swivel. This made finding a comfortable position a little difficult. DisplayMate results were similar to the T241W with bright colors and hardly any glare.
Based on these three models--and the MP730 (see sidebar above)--it appears that BenQ is serious about returning to the market and making waves.
A BenQ spokeswoman told VARBusiness that the company maintains a no-frills and no-hassle channel program, with a cashback feature that acts as a financial incentive. The competition may take action to make it tough for rivals like BenQ to gain momentum from a program perspective, but from the product side, BenQ is making a solid case. n
How About In Hi-Defs everything in the audio/visual world starts to gravitate toward high-definition, manufacturers are scrambling to make their mark. With its new MP730 projector, BenQ is also entering the fray.
At 2,200 lumens, the BenQ MP730 is not the brightest projector to come through the Test Center lab, but in actual usage it rivals some of the brighter ones we've seen, and part of that is due to the use of Texas Instruments' Digital Light Processing (DLP) BrilliantColor technology. When reviewers first turned on the projector, it was distinctly noticeable that the blacks were very dark, making the vibrant colors stand out even more intensely.
The sleek black 10.8 x 5.1 x 12-inch case has a clean look, and at 7.7 pounds, is lighter than some of the portable projectors on the market. Above the lens, which has a smoke-tinted sliding cover, are recessed zoom and focus controls. This placement keeps them out of the way and prevents them from being accidentally readjusted.
When tested against 17 calibration patterns in the DisplayMate suite, the BenQ MP730 passed all of them straight out of the box. Video input connections include Analog RGB, Component and Composite Video, S-Video and HDMI, while a stereo mini-jack enables audio input to the internal 2-watt speaker.
Even though the BenQ MP730 is nearly as bright as projectors with more lumens, the lower rating helps keep down power consumption. During tests, our evaluation unit drew 251 watts when in use and 3 watts when off. Audible sound was well below the threshold of our meter, specified at 32 dB.
The well-designed case keeps heat to a minimum, too. Downward-angled vents on the side of the device direct the hot air away from those that may be sitting in its line of fire. In addition, most of the air is directed to the front of the projector through vents next to the lens. After more than an hour of use, we measured a maximum temperature of 81 degrees Fahrenheit on approximately 75 percent of the case. The small panel just above the lamp module reached 108 degrees, and the front vents climbed to 116 degrees.
The BenQ MP730 has a beautiful, vivid output that stayed sharp whether we were displaying an online document, animated presentation or high-definition video game. With an MSRP of $1,199, it is well worth consideration.