BenQ MH530FHD Review: Exceptional Performance at Pocket-Friendly Budget

BenQ MH530FHD

For most projectors, cheapness comes at a cost – a compromise of quality and performance. However, this is not the case for the BenQ MH530FHD. At its price, this projector delivers exceptional performance thanks to a ton of great features that it comes with. Although it is a slight improvement of the BenQ MH530, it still retails at the same price as its predecessor. It also offers 1080p native resolution at Full HD, 1.62 short throw ratio, 3D functionality and can project up to 300” of image size.

The most notable improvements are the contrast ratio of up to 15000:1 and 3300 lumens of light output. The BenQ MH530FHD therefore produces great color saturation and crisp and well-detailed images. It also works exceptionally well both in dark and well illuminated rooms.

This projector is an entry level device and is therefore the perfect projector for a beginner. It is super easy to use with simple setup and calibration procedures. It is the right device for you, if you want to get a hang of how a projector operates without getting down to the nitty-gritty of things.

The MH530FHD is designed for primarily for home entertainment, although it can also be used for presentations. It is one of the best projectors for movies and gaming due to high quality images and 3D functionality. It is also very cheap, which allows you to enjoy the experience of watching movies and playing games on a large screen, without having to invest in one of those expensive 4K screens.

Like most home-based entertainment projectors, the MH530FHD is not the best choice for presentations in classrooms and conferences. Although you can still use it for presentations, there are better projectors for that line of work such as the Epson Pro EX9220. Also, it is a basic or rather an “old school” type of projector with no smart features. So, if you are looking for a projector with Wi-Fi or wireless connectivity, then you will be disappointed. You only have an option of two HDMI, two VGA, one S-video and one composite ports that allow for wire connection to various devices.

Considering the cheapness of this projector, this drawback should not be of much concern to you, if the end goal is to enjoy great picture reproduction on a large screen. However, if you want a smart device (and who doesn’t?), then you can go for the BenQ HT2050A or the Epson Home Cinema 2150. But, you will to have to fork out an extra 200 bucks or more to get either of them. It is also a short throw projector and only works well in small to medium sized rooms.

Specs

  • Projection System: Single-chip DLP, DarkChip 3 Technology
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Brightness: 3300 ANSI Lumens
  • Contrast: 15000: 1
  • Maximum Lamp Life: Normal Mode- 4,500 Hours; Economic Mode- 6,000 Hours; SmartECO Mode- 10,000 Hours
  • Throw Ratio: 1.37: 1- 1.64: 1
  • Zoom Ratio: 1.2x
  • Speaker: 2.0W Mono
  • Weight: 5.3 lb.
  • Native Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Screen Size Projection: 60” – 300” (0.9 – 9m)
  • Displayable Colors: RGBYCW Color Wheel
  • Noise Level: Eco Mode- 29dB, Normal Mode- 32dB
  • Dimensions: 3.9 x 13.1 x 8.4 Inches

Key Features and Advantages

Simple Design, Easy to Setup and Operate

As mentioned earlier, this projector is super easy to setup and operate which makes it a great projector for beginners. Straight out the box, the only requirement is to plug it into a power supply and then connect it to a video source using the various ports at the back and you are good to go. It does not feature an OS, therefore there are no complicated procedures required. It even includes a Quick Install button which is very convenient and saves time.

The MH530FHD is also quite small, weighing just 5.3 pounds and measuring roughly 13 x 4 x 9 inches, which allows for easy mounting and portability. Nothing stands out about its outward appearance, aside from a glossy white finish with a textured top cover that is resistant to both fingerprints and reflections. You also notice that the lens is offset to the right or left depending on your position in relation to the device, either in front or at the back. At the top, it features various buttons for operation, including Focus and Zoom dials.

High Resolution at 1080p Full HD

Even at such a low price, the MH530FHD manages to produce crisp and detailed images. With a native resolution of 1080p Full HD, the image quality of this projector is amazing. It falls short of the 4K resolution, but the Digital Light Processing (DLP) system found in this projector uses the same projection technology utilized by most digital cinemas and IMAX theatres. This means therefore that it delivers quality reproduction of images and colors that will make your home theatre experience far exceed your expectations at such a price.

In addition, the airtight design of the DLP engine protects the micro mirrors of the DLP chip from heat damage and dust buildup, which farther ensures the image quality is not affected as time goes by. It supports a 16:9 native aspect ratio and can produce images from 60 inches to 300 inches in size from just a short distance.

High Brightness and Contrast Ratio

The MH530FHD features a 203 watt UHP lamp that registers up to 3300 ANSI Lumens of brightness. In the Economic mode, it can produce more than 27fL (foot-Lamberts) of white level. The Normal mode produces more light and can offer up to 40fL, while the Bright picture mode can produce an astounding 200fL of light. As a result, this projector works exceptionally well both in dark rooms and in rooms with ambient lighting. You can even use it outdoors without a fuss. One thing we have noticed with Texas Instrument projectors is that they tend to have lower contrast ratios, but produce the superior image quality when compared to their peers with higher contrast ratios.

The MH530FHD continues with this tradition and delivers a relatively low native contrast ratio of 15,000:1. Though not high, it still outperforms many projectors that register a higher dynamic contrast ratio in that price range. It will therefore meet your home entertainment needs adequately. It is also a great projector for presentations producing the right balance between text and background making it easy to discern even tiny texts. The sharp and crispy texts make it easy to zoom in without making them blurry or pixelated.

Another great addition to its design is the top lamp door that allows for quick access of the lamp either for maintenance or replacement purposes. It also reduces the time and inconveniences of having to uninstall a mounted projector just to access the bulb, since the projector is mounted upside down.

Brilliant Color Reproduction

The MH530FHD utilizes the RGBYCW color wheel, instead of the popular RGBRGB color wheel. While the RGBRGB based DLP systems produce better color accuracy and saturation, RGBYCW based projectors are generally brighter. On its Brilliant Color setting, this projector is exceedingly bright that it can be used to project in a room with excess lighting without a problem. The major drawback of the Brilliant Color setting is that it affects the color, gamma and saturation of the image making it inaccurate. It is also not advisable to use this setting in a dark or dimly lit room, as it may affect your eyesight. Turning off the Brilliant Color setting works well in dark rooms and also produces better color saturation and image reproduction.

It comes with six picture modes, Presentation (Default), sRGB, Cinema, Bright, User 1 and User 2. The Brilliant Color setting is default in all six modes, which means the modes are very bright out of the box. However, you can always turn it off for dark room viewing. The Bright, User 1 and User 2 modes are the brightest, but they suffer from a strong green hue- a common problem with many bright projectors.

Of all the modes, the Cinema and sRGB produce the most natural looking images. Cinema mode is best suited for daytime viewing, while the sRGB will work perfectly during night time. Unfortunately, like all the RGBYCW DLP projectors, the MH530FHD is also affected by rainbow effect artifacts. Luckily, it features a color management system that you can use to get the right color, gamma and saturation balance for the perfect image quality.

Short Throw Projection with Keystone Correction

One thing you notice about this projector is that the lens is offset 107% to one side. This is not much of a problem, as you can easily use it on a table or even mount it upside down on the ceiling. It also does not feature a lens shift, which means you will have to calibrate it personally to get the right alignment with the screen. You will have to install 7% of the screen either above or below the lens axis to get the best picture quality. It also features vertical keystone correction function that removes trapezoidal effect and adjusts the image to a perfect square.

The three adjustable feet offers placement flexibility, which allows this projector to be moved up and down to align the lens perfectly with the screen. As a result, it can be used in a wide variety of rooms both at home and in conference or class rooms. The MH530FHD offers a throw ratio between 1.37 – 1.64:1 and is able to project up to 300 inches of image size with 100 inches of it from just 9 feet away from the screen. It also comes with focus and 1.2x optical zoom functions with the dial controls conveniently placed above the lamp.

Multiple Connectivity

Although it does not feature wireless connectivity, it comes with a variety of interfaces to help you with your analog and digital connections. It comes with 2 HDMI and two VGA ports that allows you to connect it to a variety of multimedia devices including smartphones, PCs, set-top boxes and game consoles. It also includes a USB Mini port for your presentation and slideshow needs.

Other interfaces include: one RCA Composite Video In, one Mini Jack Audio Out, one S-Video In, one Mini Jack Audio Out, one IR Receiver and one 2W speaker. There is an onboard 2 Watt speaker, however it does not offer the best sound output, especially when you are watching a movie. Using 3.5mm Mini Jacks, you can connect it to an external sound system for a more entertaining home theatre experience. It also supports 3D sources, such as game consoles and 3D Blue-Ray players. There is catch to this however, you will have to invest in a pair of DLP-Link glasses.

Remote-Controlled Operation

The BenQ MH530FHD is fully operated with a remote controller. Its small and ergonomic design fits well in the hands. It however has only one weakness, it is not backlit which can be a bit of a turn off for some people. However, the distinctively shaped black buttons with white texts makes it easy to make out the buttons even in the dark. Aside from that drawback, the remote controller has all the functions you need to properly operate the projector.

One particular button that is very resourceful is the Quick Install, which allows for a stress-free first time installation and calibration. Another great feature of this projector is that it has a powerful IR receiver that is able to pick up bouncing commands from the screen. Therefore, you do not need to point the remote controller towards the projector for it to respond to commands. There are also onboard buttons on the projector, as a backup option in case you misplace the remote controller.

Extended Lamp Life

The MH530FHD has a longer lamp life than most budget projectors. It has three lamp settings: Normal, Eco and SuperEco. Under the Normal setting, the lamp can last for 4,500 hours as it emits a lot of light. The Eco and SuperEco modes economize on the light output, which extends the lamp life to 6,000 hours and 10,000 hours, respectively.

This projector also features the Eco Blank mode, which blackens the screen after three minutes of idleness without a display source. This saves 70% of energy and also extends the lifespan of the lamp. In addition, the projector also includes a one year warranty for the lamp.

Pros

  • Sharp and crystal clear images
  • Exceptional performance in well-lit rooms
  • Easy setup and use
  • Extended lamp life
  • Reasonable price
  • Eco Blank mode conserves energy and lengthens lamp life
  • Quiet fan
  • 3D compatibility with zero crosstalk
  • Compact, light and portable
  • 1080 Full HD with good color accuracy
  • Vertical keystone correction
  • Zoom and Focus functions

Cons

  • Remote controller is not backlit
  • Built-in speaker is not loud enough or suitable for movie watching
  • Rainbow artifacts

Alternatives

Optoma HD27HDR

The Optoma HD27HDR is basically a home theatre entertainment projector. Although it has a maximum resolution of 1080p HDR, it can also support 4K HDR. Couple that with 3,400 lumens of brightness, 50,000:1 contrast ratio and a wide REC.2020 color gamut, then you have unmatched performance at this price range.

It produces stunning images, rich in hue and sharpness perfect for movies and gaming. It also offers flexible connectivity and you can virtually connect it to any multimedia device including 3D gaming consoles, 3D Blue-Ray Disc players and Optoma 3D glasses. It also features vertical keystone correction and 1.1x zoom function and offers a longer lamp life of up to 15,000 hours. Check out our comprehensive Optoma HD27 review here.

ViewSonic PX706HD

This projector resembles the BenQ MH530FHD in so many ways. Apart from the basic exterior design, it also features a Full HD resolution of 1080p, supports 3D connectivity, has vertical keystone correction and can project up to 300 inches from a short distance. Although it offers a lower level of brightness of 3000 lumens in comparison to the MH530FHD, it registers a longer lamp life of 15,000 hours on its Eco mode.

The built-in sound system is where the PX706HD edges the MH530FHD. It features a superior sound system with a powerful amplifier that can deliver between 20Hz and 20KHz sound range. It also includes a wide color gamut and its reduced latency of up to 16ms allows for faster transmission of images without delay, which is perfect for intense action packed gaming.

Bottom Line

The BenQ MH530FHD is a great option for a beginner. It is super easy to use and the installation process comes with extra friendly functions that do not require you to penetrate through the nested menus to get the right calibration. The images are also crisp at 1080p Full HD with great color saturation for perfect movie and gaming experience.

It is also a good projector for presentations, although there are better options for this type of work. It offers 2 megapixel high resolution, which offers sharp and detailed texts allowing for easy readability. And above all, it is pocket friendly.

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