BenQ CH100 DLP Portable Projector Review – Summary

BenQ CH100 Projector Review – Summary: The Bottom Line, Pros and Cons

In this section, we have provided a brief summary of the projector’s specs, qualities, and performance. Also discussed is how the CH100 handles ambient light, with photos for your reference, as well as pros and cons of the projector.

The Bottom Line

The BenQ CH100 is a great little business/education projector. Slim enough to be held in one hand, its compact design and light weight of 5.5 pounds make it as portable as a 13″ laptop. BenQ has a carrying case for it as well, though that is optional. You could probably even fit this projector in your professional bag or briefcase, depending on its design. Not only is the projector portable, it can be table-top or ceiling mounted. The CH100 is a short throw, but has a longer throw distance than is average for short throws. The long-life of the LED light engine is up to 30,000 hours – higher than most of the competition.

The value of using a projector with a solid-state, long life light engine is seen most in school districts and corporate implementations where multiple projectors are being used. Lamps often need to be replaced within a few years, and when you have 500+ projectors that all need lamp replacement around the same time – that’s going to get pricey, not to mention the added inconvenience of having someone come out to install the lamp and perform other maintenance. With a low-maintenance, solid state light engine like that of the CH100, you won’t need to consider that for a very, very long time.

The CH100’s HD 1920 x 1080 resolution produces a detailed and sharp image. Text, graphics, people – all look rather excellent. The unit provided for this review measured below BenQ’s 1,000-lumen claim, though it came pretty close at 886 lumens in its brightest mode. The CH100 is bright enough to handle quite a bit of ambient light. I tested the projector with varying degrees of ambient light – blinds pulled up, blinds down but still open, and blinds completely shut with ambient light leaking in on the sides of the window. Below, I have images showing the CH100 handling that ambient light.

BenQ CH100 Ambient Light Bright Mode
The BenQ CH100 handling a lot of ambient light in Bright Mode. In this photo, the blinds are up and completely open.

This photo shows the CH100 in projecting through a considerable amount of ambient light in Bright Mode. You can see that the image is washed out but still very viewable. The greens and yellows of the Bright Mode are also less noticeable with this amount of ambient light, so you can still get pretty decent color with it. All the light of high noon is spilling through this window, and given that fact, it’s pretty impressive as the Acer H7550ST I reviewed – 2,300+ lumens – did not look as good as this. Blinds down but still open, there wasn’t much of a visible difference seen in the projected image as that action did not darken the room much at all.

Blinds down but still open, the CH100 still handles ambient light well even when projecting in Graphic (sRGB).
Blinds down but still open, the CH100 still handles ambient light well even when projecting in Graphic (sRGB).

 

The photo above shows the CH100 projecting through a lot of ambient light. The blinds are down but still open in this photo, and the color mode is Graphic (sRGB). It looks better than I expected at 564 lumens, as opposed to Bright Mode’s 886. It seems as though most modes can handle ambient light when there you have slight control over the darkness of the room, and that Bright Mode will be bright enough to handle the lighting in most conference rooms or classrooms. I recently attended a first birthday party where they had a projector fighting against a lot of ambient light in a country club ballroom (and losing, horribly) for their slideshow of their baby’s first year, and I couldn’t see anything. At all. That was also a BenQ. This BenQ, the CH100, would have done a much better job.

The BenQ CH100 does not have networking support built in, though there is an optional dongle for wireless presenting from a computer. This will not be a projector for those who require a port for Local Area Networking. There are very few inputs and connectors on this projector, making it simple and easy-to-use. Connecting video sources can be done via two HDMI ports – one for MHL – and a VGA input. There’s the obligatory service port for old school command and control, as well as a Kensington lock.

Graphic (sRGB) and Motion Video Modes are its best modes. They both have excellent color, but Motion Video has more lumens so it will your best bet when dealing with a lot of ambient light, as it is almost as bright as Bright Mode, but has better color. When in the presence of a lot of ambient light, Bright Mode even has acceptable color. All in all, the color modes of the CH100 are fantastic at portraying the actual color of the projected image.

That the BenQ CH100 is only $999 and can be found for $100 less is a definite plus. With such a long lamp life, low maintenance, high contrast ratio, portability, great color, the CH100 is a steal-of-a-deal. The warranty is good – 3 years parts and labor. The picture, with its full HD resolution, will be sharp enough for presentations and videos. No zoom, but that is common for such a projector – if you need zoom, look elsewhere.

BenQ’s CH100 is a serious contender in the business and education space, providing an excellent value proposition in a solid-state, low maintenance solution.  But remember, that’s true only if you don’t need a whole lot of brightness, as the average lamp based projector is 3-4 times as bright.  Other than that, great job, BenQ.

I’ll almost be sad to have to return this little projector.

 

Pros

  • Long-life LED light engine lasts up to 30,000 hours
  • Lamp-free, low maintenance design
  • Compact and portable
  • Vertical Keystone Correction
  • Wireless presentation capabilities
  • Very sharp text
  • Excellent color accuracy, with all modes providing fantastic color
  • Built-in dual 5-watt speakers – loud enough for conference rooms and classrooms
  • Mercury-free
  • Instant On/Off – 15 seconds to full brightness and two-touch off with no cooldown time
  • Can be ceiling mounted
  • Good warranty, 3 years parts and labor

Cons

  • Did not meet 1,000-lumen claim (measured 13% below claim)
  • No backlighting on the remote
  • Low fidelity speakers (typical on business/education projectors)
  • No zoom
  • Low placement flexibility when it comes to table-top positioning or ceiling mounting
  • Paying a premium price for the advantages of a solid state light engine, in terms of more money, and less brightness (and features) than much of the lamp based competition

 

Current dealer prices for BenQ CH100

SellerState taxPriceDescription
Projector People 
Projector People
FL 899.00Free Shipping! In Stock Now! 30 day no-hassle guarantee and FREE lifetime tech support from projector experts. We are an authorized dealer.
Visual Apex 
Visual Apex
WA 879.00Free Projector Mount & 2day Shipping! Save Today and experience exceptional customer service, expert advice, timely delivery, free tech support and your best price from an Authorized Dealer!
hp

You May Also Like

News and Comments