Projector Reviews

BenQ CH100 DLP Projector Review – Special Features

BenQ CH100 Projector Review – Special Features: LED Light Engine, Low Maintenance, HD Resolution, Instant On/Off Function, Optional Wireless Presenting

CH100 LED Light Engine

Lamp-free projectors are on the rise, and for good reason. Lamps need to be replaced every couple of years (on average), and the cost of the lamp plus getting someone to come down and install it into the projector equals a big headache for many business people and educators who have more important things on their minds. If you want something that works, is easy to use, and requires low maintenance, this projector has an excellent value proposition. Of course being solid state, it will cost a bit more than an equivalent lamp powered projector.

The CH100 features an LED light engine as opposed to a regular, mercury-based lamp or a laser light engine. (Not only does the LED light source last a long time without brightness decay, it doesn’t have any of that harmful mercury, either.)

BenQ boasts that this projector’s light engine can last up to 30,000 hours. That’s in eco mode, but still. I was impressed. I recently reviewed a Casio business projector that costs twice as much, and Casio rated that projector’s lamp life at up to 20,000 hours, using its Eco capabilities. The BenQ can last up to 20,000 in full power. Great job, BenQ.  Of course, few users will ever get near using all 20,000 hours. That works out to 40 hours a week – 50 weeks a year – for a decade!

Low Maintenance

A major perk of having a lamp-free projector is the low maintenance – both in cost and labor. The LED light engine, as mentioned above, can last up to 30,000 hours. That means that you will not need to put a call in to replace that light source for a very long time, most likely never! There’s not much of anything to maintain on this projector – BenQ says that the only thing you can do on your own is clean the lens, and they even have a sliding door to protect the lens from dust, so it looks like you wouldn’t even need to do that often. There are no filters – which is true of most DLP projectors.

Full HD Resolution

The BenQ CH100 features full 1080p HD resolution. I get more excited by high-resolution projectors, but many business and education projectors have WXGA resolution, which is 1280 x 800 pixels, rather than HD’s 1920 x 1080. Of course, you are paying extra for the higher resolution. WXGA is pretty much the standard and definitely “good enough” for most business and education applications, such as presentations – but as a filmmaker, for me, it’s HD or nothing at all. Of course, we’re always happy with the “current” favored resolution – until something higher res comes along.

The thing to note is that this projector is 1080p (1920 x 1080), not WUXGA – the business equivalent of full HD. WUXGA projectors are 1920 x 1200 – so they are 16:10 aspect, not 16:9 like the CH100! The slightly less vertical height can cause some programs that are inherently 16:10 to be compressed slightly by the projector, but that will go unnoticed by most.

That the CH100 has HD resolution is a plus in my book. If you’re a start-up millennial making a pitch to potential investors, you’re going to want your presentation to look as good as it does on your computer screen. This projector can do that for you. For those who are perhaps more seasoned in the business world, or teachers in a classroom environment, this projector can make your presentations pop with a clean, sharp image.

Instant On/Off Functions

The CH100 powers on at a touch of a button and reaches full brightness within 15 seconds. Most lamp-based projectors will reach full brightness after 30 seconds or more and take about 1 minute before their colors stabilize.

The Instant On function, combined with the LED light engine, is what shortens the power-on time so significantly. You need to press the power button twice to turn it off, as is the case with most projectors. Another awesome perk of the LED light engine is that there’s no cooldown time before you can turn the projector back on again, which is what makes the whole process “instant.” That said, you shouldn’t unplug and immediately stuff into a carry case. It does need a little time to cool down, but it just doesn’t need to be plugged in to do so.

Time to turn to the next page for a tour of the Hardware!

Optional Wireless Presenting

The BenQ CH100 has optional wireless presenting. This is wireless, not computer-free. You can stream your presentation, video, text document, etc. via the Q Cast Dongle. Whatever is on your screen will be projected by the CH100. As mentioned, the projector does not allow for computer-free presenting, so you won’t be able to present from a thumb drive, SD card, or other external devices of the like.