The BenQ GS50 is a lunchbox-sized portable projector with 1080p resolution, a two and a half-hour battery life, and some surprisingly potent speakers. Green side panels with rubberized coatings and a faux-leather handle complete the trendy appearance. The BenQ projector comes with a built-in streaming stick that can be used or connected via HDMI. If you’re not near an outlet, you can also power the projector using a USB battery pack.
The overall performance is strong, and the colours are more realistic than on many other compact projectors. Also nice is the 1080p resolution, which provides more detail than 720p rivals. Even a portable Bluetooth speaker can be made out of it. However, the performance and charming appearances have a price. BenQ’s own excellent HT2050A costs around the same as the GS50. Despite being bigger and designed for a home, the projector is substantially brighter and has a far better overall picture.
The GS50 is more expensive than the majority of its rival portable projectors, such as the Anker Nebula Mars II, if you’re searching for something you can use without access to a power source, but it also provides greater image and sound quality. But for the same price, you’d be better off purchasing a genuine home theatre projector if you’re only planning to use it at home.
BenQ GS50 review: Design and features
According to BenQ’s marketing, the GS50 is “particularly built for outdoor lovers.” Since we conducted our testing during a chilly spell accompanied by a La Nia weather pattern, we must admit that the most of our viewing took place indoors, where we could also give it the benefit of a decent screen.
The company’s publicity photos show the GS50 in use on a simple drop-screen, but if you’re having regular outdoor shows, you could invest in a blow-up outdoor screen, which is available from a few hundred dollars up to make the most of your projector purchase. Outdoors, you’ll need at least a large clear surface, at best an outdoor screen which might add some gain to the projector image.
This is because, according to our research, the brightness levels used here perform admirably in complete darkness but start to wash out in low ambient lighting. Before sunrise or after dusk, we took all of these important watching notes. The GS50’s contrast and colours are at their optimum just after that. It states to be splashproof and drop-proof up to 70 cm, respectively (IPX2 specifically means it is protected against streaming water when tilted up to 15 degrees vertically).
You shouldn’t watch Lawrence of Arabia with the GS50 portable projector because its battery life is only rated at 2.5 hours. And maybe most importantly, the projector features wire-free operation capabilities. It has one HDMI input, a USB-C port that works with devices that have USB-C DisplayPort, and a USB-A port that can accept a stick or drive of files for playback. The USB-A port can also provide power to connected devices, but keep in mind that doing so might reduce the device’s own limited battery life.
BenQ GS50 review: Image quality
BenQ assured us at our initial briefing that it has gone to considerable lengths to ensure that the GS50’s advertised specifications weren’t, to put it mildly, bullshit like those of so many other affordable portable projectors. Numerous unknown Amazon brands advertise tiny, highly high-resolution, insanely brilliant portable projectors, but they never live up to their promises. Exactly what BenQ promises 500 ANSI lumens and a 1080p native resolution is what you get. you can purchase this product from BenQ’s official store.
Software can downscale or upscale a picture to a resolution as low as 480p or as high as 4K in order to fit it within a 1080p resolution. In the end, the decision to use 1080p or not will be up to you. Given the budget and intended application, I mostly used it in the 65-80″ range and found the image to be sharp. However, it was definitely less sharp than a 4K TV at home of a comparable size. And even though it can’t be used in direct sunshine, the GS50 worked well when placed in the shade of my genuinely rather sunny cabin deck.
When utilising the built-in apps, I didn’t observe any noticeable or annoying audio or video latency, unlike with projectors occasionally. BenQ claims that input latency is about 22 ms, however my personal testing using it as an external display from my laptop shows that there is approximately 6 frames of lag at 60 Hz, or 100 ms. However, that may be unique to the Displayport Type-C input, or other factors may have been at play.
BenQ GS50 review: Setup
The QS01 streaming services stick installation was my first priority. Once the snap-on cover is put back on, the compartment where it fits is entirely concealed. The Android TV 9.0 interface, which I had previously set up during my assessment of the GV30, is immediately accessible when turning on the GS50. The projector menu and the Android screen may both be accessed with ease using the remote control.
The OSD has a few improvements but is mostly similar to the GV30’s. Seven picture settings in total, plus HDR10 and HLG, are available. Additionally, there are three presets for colour temperature modification. The LED has three settings: Normal (brightest), Low, and Eco, which adjusts the light intensity based on the content. I used the default settings, Cinema mode, and Normal LED power for my tests and viewing.
For various types of content, there are audio modes that alter the soundstage’s form. There, too, I employed the Cinema mode. After installing Android on the stick, I signed into Amazon Prime Video, attached a Panasonic DP-UB9000 Ultra HD Blu-ray player to the HDMI 2.0 connector, and then sat back to watch.
BenQ GS50 review: Performance
Even for fast-paced sports, the video quality is HD and has sharp edges. When using it as a projector for the PS5 and in RPGs, the colour is very vibrant and immersive. True 1080p is amazing because we are used to portable projectors working in 720p. This picture may not be the best value for the money, but it’s excellent for a portable device. I was only able to see any loss in picture clarity and colour depth when comparing it to a 4K projector; otherwise, this image was perfect for game engine and leisure viewing.
The input lag is listed at 62ms, which is unusual for BenQ, and there is no specific gaming mode. It’s fine for casual gaming I breezed through the drinking competition rhythm games in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla without a hitch, and my performance on FPSs was no worse than usual but competitive or hardcore gamers would probably want faster, and should probably look to something like the BenQ X1300i. There were no issues in a dark room, but darker situations with ambient light were a small strain.
The artwork holds up beautifully to natural lighting, appearing great even in the afternoon sun with patio windows open. The projector generated a watchable image outside, even on a poor surface with the sun out, and it obviously performs best after dusk.
BenQ GS50 review: Battery Life
The GS50 combines a 1080p DLP chip with an RGB LED light source with a lifespan of 30,000 hours in Eco mode and 20,000 hours in full power mode, respectively. To some extent, it functions as a 4K projector with soft focus because it can accept input up to 4K (3,840 by 2,160 pixels) at 60Hz and supports HDR10 and HLG.
The projector has a 500 ANSI lumen rating from BenQ. The brightest colour mode has a clear green bias, as is typical, so you shouldn’t use it unless you absolutely must have the brightest image possible. When switching to battery power, the projector also automatically switches to a lower power setting, Low Power, which also reduces brightness.
The battery won’t last as long if you want to return to Eco or Normal settings. According to BenQ, battery life lasts 2.5 hours when playing video from a USB device or YouTube over a steady Internet connection when the volume is set to 15 (out of a possible 50). For the Eco and Normal power modes, there is no battery life rating.
At this price, the BenQ GS50 is a really good projector. It is a robust, well-made projector with a tonne of features that provides excellent viewing and audio quality. Therefore, the BenQ GS50 is a wonderful choice to go with if you’re searching for a portable projector that delivers all the contemporary features without making many compromises.