Posted on May 3, 2013
The BenQ MS517 is a DLP projector that produces a manufacturer rated 2800 lumens in its brightest mode. It is competitively priced with a MSRP of $409.00. Street prices show it at around $349.00. The MS517 has a very high contrast ratio of 13000:1. Defnitely a strong performer in the black levels. The native resolution is SVGA(800×600) with a 4:3 aspect ratio. The fact that it is a 4:3 aspect ratio projector and not a 16:10 projector does mean you will produce an image that is more square as opposed to the wide image we are used to with 16:10 and 16:9 laptops and televisions. It used to be the norm, just like your old CRT television.
Whether to choose a 4:3, or a wide screen projector, really is all about the application, but for the most part, if you are using older computer equipment, or really want a lot of brightness at a very low cost, you might find a lower resolution projector that has a 4:3 aspect ratio might meet your budget constraints without sacrificing strong lumen output.
The MS517 is also very capable in terms of inputs. It is definitely full featured and hosts all of the most often used sources. HDMI? No problem. This projector also has a long lamp life. In full brightness mode the manufacturer rates the lamp life at 4500 hours.The BenQ MS517 actually has three brightness modes. Normal, Eco and SmartEco. If you put the projector in Eco Mode you can expect about 6000 hours of lamp life. Keep in mind that you can easily run this projector in Eco Mode and still have it be stunningly bright for your presentation.
One of the most impressive features of the MS517 is Blu-Ray 3D capabilities via the HDMI port. You will need to purchase 3D glasses from BenQ to see view 3D content, but it was quite interesting to see a low cost unit have 3D capabilities from a Blu-Ray player via HDMI. That certainly is not the norm. In the rest of the review we will talk more about the projectors performance, its physical attributes and image quality.
3D Can accept a HDMI signal from a 3D capable Blu-Ray player. Glasses sold seperately. That, in a projector with 2800 lumens of brightness and price tag of around $400. Lamp Life Particularly impressive is the projectors three brightess settings. Estimated lamp life of 6500 hours when you project using SmartECO mode primarily. Inputs Sources The MS517 has a whole host of inputs, and comes with two VGA inputs. Even has a monitor out. HDMI is included as well for High Definition content. Image Quality The projectors ability to handle high resolutions was very impressive. Feeding the projector its max rated resolution still produced a very nice, small text readable image. Low Maintenance The only maintenance required on the projector is replacing the lamp and keeping the case clean for airflow.
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