BenQ MP780 ST Short Throw WXGA Interactive DLP Projector Review

Interactive Use

The BenQ MP780 ST projector interactive pen.

BenQ’s PointDraw pen can be used as a wireless mouse, or, with the QDraw software installed on the host PC, a pen able to draw lines and shapes on the screen or whiteboard.  As a mouse, one simply presses a button on the pen to sync it to the projector, then points the pen at the screen and the cursor will appear.  The two buttons on the pen act as left and right mouse buttons to select, drag or perform other mouse functions.

The real fun comes in by using the pen with BenQ’s QDraw software.  When the QDraw software is installed and opened on the host PC, standard presentation files (Word, Excel, Powerpoint etc.) can be opened in the software.  Then the presenter can either draw freehand on the screen or access a variety of line types and shapes.  When used with a whiteboard, the pen can be in contact with the board and draw without any input.  With a screen (or if the pen is not in contact with the projection surface), drawing is done by holding the left mouse button down, just like one would draw with a mouse.  This allows for some instructive and fun use for a presentation.  Overall, an excellent tool for the classroom.

The only caveat is that drawing with the PointDraw pen is only available via the QDraw software.  Some of the competition allows for drawing on anything open in the host PC.

BenQ MP780 ST Projector - Brightness

The MP780 ST is rated at 2500 lumens.  Like other BenQ projectors we’ve reviewed, the MP780 ST had no problems approaching that rating.  In Dynamic mode (the brightest), we measured 2453 lumens.  As there is no zooming ability, all measurements were taken with the projector displaying a 70” diagonal image, with the projector just under 3’ from the screen.  Using Presentation mode, the output only dropped to 2359 lumens, which is still quite bright.  sRGB mode came in at 2250 lumens.  Cinema mode, which provided the best overall color and contrast, had the biggest drop in lumens, coming in at 1781 lumens.  It’s likely that most people will use Presentation mode, as it has less than a 100 lumen drop from Dynamic, while improving the color balance noticeably.

Dropping the lamp into Eco brightness mode resulted in a drop of less than 14%, which still provided 2125 lumens in Dynamic mode.  This makes using Eco mode a viable option in any presenting environment, allowing the presenter to save on power usage as well as extend lamp life.  It should be noted here that all of the measurements were made with Brilliant Color turned on.  Turning off Brilliant Color (only available in User mode) results in a massive 68% drop in output.  Of course, there’s no logical reason to turn BC off, since the picture quality is better with it on.

Audible Noise

The BenQ MP780 ST is an extremely quiet multimedia projector.  It’s rated at only 27 dB in Normal lamp mode, which is equal to many home theater projectors.  Just as Eco mode doesn’t result in much of a drop in lumen output, the noise level only drops 2 dB to 25 dB.  Subjectively, the noise difference between the two modes seems about right, as the Normal lamp mode is not much louder.  Neither mode should pose a problem for a presenter that is speaking during the presentation, even without using a microphone.  With a microphone using the MP780 ST’s built-in, dual 10W speakers, projector fan noise is non-existent.

Networking

Through the use of the supplied QPresenter software, a presenter can control the projector from a networked PC and project from up to four networked PCs.  All major functions of the projector can be controlled from the networked PC.

QPresenter also supports Crestron’s RoomView network service.  Connecting the MP780 ST to a computer network via its RJ-45 jack and using software available as a free download from Crestron (www.crestron.com), allows the user or their IT manager network control of up to 250 networked projectors.   Once set up, RoomView allows for centralized PC monitoring of lamp life, email alerts, notifications, help requests, service reminders, projector failure or theft and event scheduling.

Finally, by using an optional wireless USB dongle, all the features of QPresenter can be performed wirelessly.

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