BenQ GV30 review | PCMag

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The $ 599 BenQ GV30 has one of the most innovative projector designs we’ve seen. Roughly shaped like a 7 inch cheese wheel, with a built-in bump where the lens sits, it sits on a magnetic mount that prevents it from rolling and allows you to effortlessly rotate it towards up or down to adjust the height of the image. A finger-sized loop makes it easy to carry, complete with the base, and it can survive a drop from the height of the table without damage, according to BenQ. Add to that the highly watchable image, Android TV for streaming and Chromecast, and the ability to function as a Bluetooth speaker, and it’s hard not to be impressed. It only lacks enough brightness to project a large image in ambient light. The Synq M189 Mirror ($ 349.99) remains our choice among portable streaming projectors, but there are plenty of reasons to consider the GV30 smart and capable.


A compromise in brightness

The GV30 is built around an RGBB LED light source, rated for 30,000 hours in Eco mode or 20,000 hours in full power mode, combined with a 720p DLP chip available in diamond. However, in my testing it negotiated a 1080p connection by default with the video sources, meaning it behaves like a 1080p projector with a slightly blurry focus. The brightness is low enough that you won’t notice the smoothness or loss of detail at the image sizes you’re most likely to use.

BenQ rates the projector at 300 ANSI lumens. But to get the brightest picture, you need to use a color mode that is noticeably tinged with green. For modes with better color accuracy, the brightness is lower and dims even more if you use a power mode that extends battery life. The best that can be said about the brightness is that it is sufficient to be useful.

The brightest power mode and the default setting for AC power is Normal. It is also available when using the built-in rechargeable battery, which is not the case with many portable projectors. The default setting when using the battery is Low Power, which is rated for 1.5-2.5 hours depending on volume, brightness settings, and even content. There is no battery life rating for Eco or Normal modes. For most of my visualization tests I used the Normal power mode.

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High scores for features

The GV30 weighs 3.5 pounds, not including the external AC adapter, and is 4.7 inches wide. The height specification is 7.7 inches measured at the point where the lens and control panel protrude from the overall shape of the wheel. The 7.3-inch “depth” in the specification is the diameter of the rest of the wheel. BenQ claims the projector was designed for indoor portability and rates it as drop-resistant up to 27.6 inches, which is the height of a table. If you wear it by your side with your finger through the buckle, you’re probably holding it about 25 inches above the ground, so BenQ basically says you don’t have to worry too much if the buckle slips out and the projector does. ring.

Rotating the projector on the base allows for 135 degree projection vertically, but if you place the base on the edge of a table you can actually go a little further, from almost straight (to project on the floor) to straight up to the ceiling. Keystone correction for squaring the image is enabled by default, but you can use manual correction instead.

Projector and base shown separate

The initial setup is less straightforward than it could be. To access the compartment hidden under a panel on one side for the Android TV dongle, you need to remove the panel using a plastic spike-shaped piece. The instructions are in pictures only, and I’m not sure I could have decoded them if I wasn’t already familiar with similar panels on laptops. (A BenQ representative then directed me to an instructional video that shows the process.) Once the compartment is exposed, you plug the dongle into the HDMI port, connect the USB cable that is already in the compartment for the power supply and replace the cover. to.

Side cover removed, showing dongle and hidden compartment

With the dongle in place, you can plug in the power adapter, turn on the device, wait for autofocus to complete, and then set up the Android TV, which requires a Wi-Fi network with an internet connection.

After the initial setup, using the projector is to plug in the AC adapter and / or an additional video source, if necessary, turn on the projector, and point it at a screen or other convenient flat surface. As is usually the case with portable models, there is no optical zoom. Digital inputs include a second HDMI port and a USB Type-C port on one side of the projector. The control panel near the lens includes buttons for volume, power, and switching to and from Bluetooth speaker mode. However, you cannot control other settings if you misplace the remote.

Right side, showing connectors

Audio quality and volume are both impressive for the size and price of the GV30. The 2.1-channel chamber speakers, with two 4-watt tweeters and an 8-watt woofer, deliver full-bodied sound without the metallic quality so common in small projectors, and the volume is high enough to fill a large family room. If you need even better sound, there is also a 3.5mm stereo audio output port for connecting an external audio system, but the built-in audio easily provides sufficient volume and quality for casual viewing or to serve as a capable bluetooth speaker.


Fine color precision and shadow detail

Each of the six picture modes of the GV30 allow adjustment of brightness, contrast, color saturation and sharpness. As already mentioned, the brightest mode, Bright, has a noticeable green tint. You’ll want to avoid this unless you absolutely need the maximum brightness of the projector to project a larger image or fight against ambient light.

Cinema mode has the best color accuracy, making it the best choice for watching brightly lit digital or live video. The accuracy of Game Mode is almost as good, and it does the best job of retaining shadow detail, making it the best choice for games and for movies and videos with dark scenes (or even dark areas in it. otherwise bright scenes).

Front view

For my viewing tests, I used Game Mode with Normal Power Mode. The color accuracy was easily good enough to be acceptable even to those with a critical eye. I didn’t see any color that was obviously off, even in our test clips, which I’m very familiar with. I saw some loss of shadow detail in dark images, but I could still understand what was happening even in the most difficult scenes.

I was also impressed that the GV30 does a great job of avoiding rainbow artifacts. I usually see these red-green-blue flashes easily, when present, but I didn’t see any during my testing, even with our test clip tending to show them. However, our standard advice still applies: If you find the rainbow artifacts bothersome, make sure you can return the projector at no restocking charge, so you can test it for yourself. Also note that there is no 3D support.

I measured the input lag with a Bodnar meter to be a bit faster than BenQ’s specification for 1080p, 60Hz, at 43ms. Even the 51ms stated in the spec should be okay for most casual gamers.

Top view, showing the control panel

The GV30’s image in normal power mode and in game image mode was roughly what I would expect from a 250 ANSI lumen lamp projector. Using an 80-inch 1.1-gain display in a family room, it offered well-saturated colors with the lights off and was quite watchable in low levels of ambient light, but it wasn’t bright enough to withstand in the daylight coming through the windows. Don’t expect to take this portable projector out to show movies in your backyard, unless the nighttime ambient light level in your neighborhood is very low or you want to reduce the image to 30 or 40 inches.


Verdict: you can take it with you

If the BenQ GV30 were a bit brighter, it would be ideal for indoor room-to-room portability. As it is, it’s still an attractive and attractive choice with a lot of useful features. If you want a larger image than it can give you in any ambient light level, and you don’t need to hide a dongle inside the projector, consider the AAXA M7, a native 1080p projector bright enough to serve as a permanent TV replacement in a family room. If you don’t need portability, consider the InFocus IN118BB, which is tube-powered and even brighter. Or, if you want to stream without a dongle and prefer to choose your own streaming stick, consider the Synq M189 Mirror.

That said, the BenQ GV30 offers a lot for the price, even in an area cluttered with high-performance machines. If it’s bright enough for your needs, it’s easy to recommend it.

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