Not in its nascent stages anymore, the UST projectors have come of age and Benq has had many years of experience making some of the better ones out there. The biggest push has come in the last year or so, with the advent of LED and laser light engines, giving more impetus than ever to this form factor. So much so that brands have started dubbing them “laser TV” due to their instant on nature, the convenience of keeping the room lit at all times and the flexibility of movement between the screen and the primary seating, unlike conventional projectors.
BenQ V5000i review
Up close and brighter
We’ve reviewed Benq UST projectors in the past, but this is undoubtedly the largest of the lot with a significant footprint. One that will require a table wider than 30 inches and deeper than 14 inches and placed at the right distance from the optional ALR screen. Available with a 120in screen option from Benq, you could even get away with a smaller screen, should your room or budget not cooperate with you. The V5000i comes well equipped to the party though, with the QS02 Android TV dongle and its own dedicated remote for quick control of the basics. The headlining features still focus on the picture quality and Benq does take its video specs more seriously than others. Rated to output 2500 ANSI lumens with an RGB laser light source, there no dearth of brightness to bring its HDR-Pro implementation to life. The V5000i does support HDR10+ but there are no signs of Dolby Vision with any of the major projector brands yet. Benq does have some of its tricks though, like the local contrast enhancer that plots the image into around a thousand zones and applies its algorithm to adjust brightness and gamma for each zone on the fly for better depth and realism. Capable of showing 98% of the DCI-P3 colour space and 100% of the Rec709 standard, where the V5000i stands out is its out-of-the-box colour calibration and motion processing. Both traits are rapidly becoming Benq’s calling card and within the suite of Cinema Master, the controls are fine-tuned to make light work of getting the picture you prefer. Pixel Enhancer, Fesh Tone, Motion enhancer, Pixel enhancer and Local Contrast enhancer all reside here and work largely independently of each other, allowing you to tweak the picture without a calibration degree.
Wrapped in high-quality plastic that has a leather pattern on the top and a contoured speaker grille up front to conceal the Trevolo sound bar, the V5000i almost resembles the high-end Naim Muso sound system from certain angles. The circular Benq badge in matte gold gives it gravitas and it continues the moment you power it on.
Using the built-in apps from the Android TV module, a beautifully detailed HDR image of Life on our Planet was rendered on our non-ALR screen. Mind you, with an ALR screen, the brightness would be boosted even further, but even on our regular cinema screen, the 2500 lumens made themselves count with a wide dynamic range and whites that can give LED TVs a run for their money. The CGI-enhanced landscapes, replete with dramatic sunsets and ominous skies took on a surreal tone that was free of colour banding or crushing of darker detail. As has become the norm, keep the motion processing off and the Benq does a brilliant job of playing back content shot at 24fps, with a dedicated mode. Gamers won’t have much to complain about with its 17.9ms input lag and while not in the realm of PC monitors, for a 120in image played back in 4K resolution, the V5000i will please all but the nitpickers. The only real area of improvement we could find are the black levels, which are still some way off Mini-LEDs and OLEDs and if you’re stepping up in size from one of these TVs, you will feel the dark grey pinch. You could play around with Gamma and a value of 2.3 with the ALR screen does come the closest to an OLED TV, but at the expense of some shadow detail.
Practically speaking, the V5000i should be a one-time, fit-and-forget installation and its noise and heat management ensures you won’t hear the fans or feel the room heat up over daily use. It provides generous connectivity with three HDMI inputs including one with eARC, USB, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth and audio outputs.
Of course, the soundbar with its 40W of power and four drivers is adequate for the occasional news or sports viewing and it does an alright job of it. Due to the wide nature of the chassis, there is a good amount of channel separation and dialogues are rendered with intelligibility. There isn’t any perceptible bass and you will need to use the HDMI e-ARC or optical ports to send the audio to a dedicated HT system if you want the best possible big-screen experience.
Benq’s all-in-one aspirations are better fulfilled with the V5000i, providing a dynamic yet accurate picture that is truly addictive, easy to set up and convenient enough to add any app via the Google Play Store and a decent soundbar to boot! If this isn’t a sign to look at expensive large-screen TV alternatives, we don’t what is!
A brilliant all-in-one device that brings the joys of big-screen picture to even the non-technically inclined cinephile.
|Light source:||RGB laser|
|Connectivity:||HDMI x 3, USB x 3, RS232, SPDIF, 12V trigger, 3.5mm audio out|
|Dimensions (WHD):||30 x 6.4 x 14 in|