If you came to us and asked which 1080p projector valued below $1000 was the best, without batting an eyelid we would unanimously tell you the BenQ HT2050A. Yes, it is that good. And it is not just us, almost everyone shares the same sentiments. This projector offers top quality performance like the high-end models, but at a fraction of their price. Some notable features include 96% Rec. 709 color gamut, 1080-pixel resolution, 2200 lumens of brightness, 3D output and up to 7000 hours of lamp life. All these features mesh up to ensure that this single-chip DLP projector produces accurate colors, higher brightness, better contrast and overall better image quality than its peers within the same price range. It is no wonder that the HT2050A is ranked number one among its peers.
The BenQ HT2050A is a home-based projector. It is designed to offer the best cinematic experience at home. Aside from just watching movies, you can also watch sports and play 3D games on 100 inches of projected screen. In addition, it can connect with other media devices, such as smartphones, PCs and gaming consoles, which allows you to stream online videos, share digital content with family and friends and even play games at the convenience of a large screen. How cool is that? This projector will suit you perfectly, if you value indoor home entertainment more than anything else.
Although not a limitation, but the HT2050A is a short throw projector which means that it cannot be used in large rooms. So, if you are looking into buying a high definition projector for large room presentations, then this may not be the right choice for you. Also, it has a relatively dim lamp, which affects how it projects in an extremely bright room. The vibrant colors appear washed out when there is too much light affecting the quality of the images. Therefore, you might want to make some structural adjustments in your house, if you have very brightly lit rooms before purchasing this projector.
- Projection System: DLP
- Resolution: 1080p, Full HD – 1920 x 1080
- Resolution Support: VGA (640 x 480) – WUXGA_RB (1920 x 1200)
- Brightness: 2200 ANSI Lumens
- Contrast: 15,000: 1
- Maximum Lamp Life: Normal: 3500hr, Economic: 5000hr, SmartEco: 7000hr
- Throw Ratio: 1.15: 1 – 1.50: 1
- Zoom Ratio: 1.3x
- Speaker: 10.0W Mono
- Weight: 3.3 kg/7.3 lbs
- Native Aspect Ratio: 16:9 HD
- Screen Size Projection: 30” – 300”
- Displayable Colors: 1.07 Billion Colors
- Noise Level: 29dB
- Lens Shift: Vertical +10%
- Keystone Adjustment: 2D – Vertical, Horizontal +/- 30 Degrees
- Color Wheel Segment: 6-Segment (RGBRGB)
- Dimensions: 15 x 4.8 x 10.9 inches
Superior Visual Quality
What makes the HT2050A very special is its ability to produce high resolution images. The single-chip DLP utilizes the DarkChip3 DMD that allows it to produce high image resolution of 1080p at Native Full HD display with a maximum image size of up to 300” (762cm). At just 8 feet, this device can project 100” pictures with ease making it one of the best short throw projectors and a great companion for home-based cinematic experience. Unfortunately, it does not support 4K signals like the rest of the projectors in that price range. However, with 1080p you will still be able to enjoy crisp and detailed images since the projections will be on a smaller wall screen. Although it does not feature high contrast ratio or brightness, its secret lies in its ability to produce true blacks. It can only produce a contrast ratio of 15,000: 1, but it produces far superior images than other projectors with higher contrast ratio.
2200 ANSI Lumens of Brightness
One of the letdowns of this projector is a dim lamp that can only squeeze out 2200 ANSI Lumens of brightness. As a result, it is not the best choice when it comes to projecting in well-lit rooms. In a highly illuminated room, you are likely to observe skin tones losing their healthy glow and looking paler due to colors being washed out. As for the documents, there will be a blue tint on all the white areas between texts and graphs making it harder to discern whatever is on the screen. The BenQ HT2050A is therefore not an ideal choice for high definition presentations. On the flipside however, this projector works exceptionally well in darker rooms. It features four picture modes, each with a different level of brightness but all work at an equal footing provided they are adjusted to the right calibrations. They include: Vivid TV, Cinema, Bright and Game. For the best image quality, use a gray screen.
REC. 709 Color Gamut
With more than 1.07 billion colors generated in each pixel, the HT2050A is among the few projectors that offers a 96% Rec. 709 color coverage. It is able to deliver the truest reproduction of images and color schemes, as the envisioned by movie directors thanks to a combo of high native ANSI contrast ratio, 6x speed RGBRGB color wheel and the Rec. 709 HDTV standard color coverage. Colors are so nicely saturated that even in its brightest mode, they still fall within a realistic range. One common problem with most projectors is the green bias in the brightest mode. The HT2050A keeps this green bias to a minimum and you are likely not to notice it, unless you have a reference image.
The Vivid TV picture mode does not have any green bias and as a result, it produces the best color saturation of all the picture modes. While the default settings for the other picture modes, bar the Bright Mode have the same color accuracy as the Vivid TV, they fall short when it comes to contrast and 3D functionality. Another great feature of this projector is its ability to produce the best shadow details. Particularly on the Vivid TV’s brightest setting, it is able to show the darkest shades of gray without brightening the shades of black or even turning the darkest grays to black, which is a very common problem among many projectors. What results is color saturation and accuracy that you will not find in any other projector below $1000.
Short Throw Projection
The BenQ HT2050A is one of the best short throw projectors in the market with an ability to project an amazing 100” from just 2.5m (8.2 feet) away. At its widest angle setting, it can project a 120” 16:9 image from just 10 feet, which means that it can be used in virtually any room. It also features a 1.3x zoom range and has 2D keystone correction that eliminates trapezoidal effects when placed at an indirect angle in relation to the screen. One feature that sets the HT2050A apart from the rest is a 10% vertical shift on its lens. With this feature, you can basically use it on a low table or in a ceiling mount in an inverted position.
However, we wouldn’t recommend using it on a higher platform, because you will have to tilt it downwards to be able to target the screen. This will force you to use the keystone adjustment, which usually compromises the quality of the image by reducing its lumen, softening its edges and even adding rainbow artifacts into the image. In addition to the lens shift, you can also manipulate the position of the image by adjusting the height of the legs of the projector, one spring-loaded leg at the front and two levelling legs at the back.
The projector comes with various ports conveniently placed at the back for a wide range of connectivity. It features two HDMI 1.4a ports, a VGA connector and two USB ports – USB A provides power for accessories and USB Mini is for a service interface. It also includes a 12v trigger (3.5mm jack) output for control of motorized screens, RS-232 port, 3 RCA connector, RCA stereo in, 3.5mm stereo in and 3.5mm stereo out. You also have the option of buying a wireless FDH Kit (WDP02) for uncompressed streaming services or BenQ’s wireless dongle that provides seamless wireless connectivity for a stress-free presentation.
Remote Controlled Operation
The HT2050A comes with a small and compact remote that controls most of its functions. It features various controlling options, such as on/off power buttons, calibration controls, keystone, image blanking and HDMI CEC sources transport keys. The remote is fully backlit, which adds beauty to its already aesthetic design and allows for easier use in dark rooms. This projector is also very powerful and can pick up remote commands from any direction thanks to IR sensors that are installed on the front and back.
It is therefore very easy to work with, since you do not have to point the handset towards the projector for it to respond to the commands. This is very convenient especially when you are calibrating the settings and you have to keep all your eyes glued to the screen. As a backup option, the projector comes with a set of buttons on its body for power, menu and source and also includes three status lights. The lens controls are also kept on the body. On top of the controls is a sliding door that prevents any interferences or alterations to the lens calibrations once installation is complete.
Longer Lamp Life
The lamp takes the most beating of all components of a projector. As a result, it is the most replaced part. The 240-watt UHP lamp on this projector has a relatively longer lifespan compared to most of its competitors, offering up to 7000 working hours. It features three lamp modes: Normal, Economic and SmartEco. Under the Normal mode, the shelf life of the lamp is only 3500 hours. The Economic mode on the other hand reduces brightness levels considerably compared to the Normal mode, which improves the lamp life to 5000 hours. The most efficient mode is the SmartEco, which lowers power consumption by up to 70% and in the process, extends the lamp life to 7000 hours.
This projector is also compatible with any 3D source, including 3D Blue-Ray players and game consoles. However, you need to own a pair of DLP-Link glasses to watch 3D. With 3D, you still enjoy image quality of the 2D mode, although it also has its own set of calibrations that you can take advantage of. Also, this projector’s 3D mode does not lose its brightness or appear dimmer when you switch from 2D mode, which is very common among many projectors. It still maintains top quality performance in its 3D mode and has few instances of 3D-based motion artefacts, a rare feat among projectors at this price range. It also features low input lag of around 16.6ms and microsecond DMD response time. Therefore, if you are into gaming, then you will enjoy ultra-smooth gaming experience with no image lag and motion blur.
Built-in 10W Mono Speaker
A commendable addition is the built-in 10W mono speaker that will cater to all your audio needs. This onboard audio system offers high quality sound, which is also very rare among many projectors in this price range. Despite its small size, the CineMaster Audio+ 2 Speaker offers enough kicks and bass to get your juices up. It can cover a relatively large area at full volume and does not include distortions and high pitched squeals like audio systems in many projectors. The sound system also includes various audio modes for Cinema, Music, Game and Sports and also has a separate user mode that allows you to fine-tune equalizer settings to your personal taste. If you feel however you need better sound output, there is a port for external sound systems that you can utilize.
- Longer zoom range
- Delivers large images from short distances
- Has rich colors and high contrast which produces crisp and crystal clear images
- No rainbow artifacts
- Longer lamp life
- Vertical and horizontal keystone correction
- Supports various media sources including smartphones, PCs, game consoles and 3D players
- Vertical lens shift
- Low input lag
- Stylish and compact design
- Low fan noise
- Features one 3D mode only
- Expensive lamp replacement
- Fixed vertical offset
- Not conducive for HD presentations in well-lit rooms
Epson Home Cinema 2150
The Epson 2150 is among the highly rated projectors below the $1000 mark. It includes almost all the same features of the BenQ HT2050A with minor improvements. It also features the same 1080p resolution and can produce widescreen Full HD image sizes up to 11 feet or more. It also has a vertical lens shift, built-in speaker, streaming services and even includes a frame interpolation feature, which creates interstitial frames on the video to make it smooth and action fluid. Some notable improvements include 2500 ANSI lumens of brightness and a dynamic contrast ratio of up to 60000: 1. Despite these commendable additions, the Epson 2150 is still no match to the HT2050A. It even costs more than the BenQ HT2050A, which we believe is not worth it. If you are conflicted as to which one is better, the HT2050A is a far superior projector.
Epson Pro EX9220
This projector also has its own share of great features including 1080p+ WUXGA resolution, 3600 lumens of color/white brightness, wide color gamut and strong wireless connectivity that includes HDMI, MHL and screen mirroring with Miracast. It also offers colorful and crystal clear images. However, it still not comparable to the HT2050A, even though it is more expensive. In fact, it also falls short compared to the Epson Home Cinema 2150.
This projector is a slight improvement of the HT2050A. It features Full HD 1080p in both 2D and 3D modes and even produces 100% REC.709 color accuracy. It also comes with two built-in 10W speakers and registers a lower brightness level of just 2000 lumens. As a result it is ranked higher, even though this is far from the reality. Aside from these minor differences, there is not much difference between the two in terms of performance and the HT3050 is just a glorified HT2050A. Do not fall for the hype by spending an extra $200 and still end up with the same performance of a HT2050A.
Although the BenQ HT2050A is not perfect, it is the best projector you will get below $1000. What sets it apart from the rest is its deep rich black levels, which ensures that it produces the best image quality. From accurate skin tones to richly hued landscapes to poorly lit indoor scenes, trust this projector to always deliver the truest reproduction of images. Its flexible connectivity also makes it possible to use it with almost all modern media entertainment devices including smartphones, PCs, 3D Blue-Ray players and game consoles. With this projector, you will get more than you pay for. Good luck.