Projector Reviews

BenQ CH100 Projector Review – Hardware Tour

BenQ CH100 Projector Review – Hardware Tour: Hardware Overview, Connector Panel, Lens, Remote Control, Menus

The first thing I noticed about the BenQ CH100 is its size. The box BenQ shipped this projector in was large and led me to believe the projector was going to be much heftier itself.

CH100 Hardware Overview

The CH100 measures approximately 12.75 inches wide and 8.25 inches in length, making it a pretty portable projector.  It’s lightweight, and the carrying case makes it as easy to haul around as a 13” laptop.

The simplicity of its design was striking to me as well. The CH100 has a small, off-center, recessed lens on the front right of the projector that has an easy-slide door to protect the lens from dust while it’s not in use. Directly to its right is the RF receiver for the remote control and the cool air intake vent on the lens’ other side. The focus ring is on the top of the projector, also recessed – note that the lens does not have zoom capabilities. To the right of that are three indicator lights: LED, Temp, and Power.

On the projector’s left side, toward the front, is the hot air exhaust vent. Next to that is one of the two of 5W speakers, and another cool air intake vent. That second 5W speaker is located on the other side of the projector. The back of the projector has a USB port, an Audio In/Out input, two HDMI ports – one for MHL, a service port, PC connector, a mini USB port, RF receiver and Kensington lock. The projector has two screw-thread adjustable feet and one non-adjustable foot.

CH100 Inputs and Connectors Panel

The BenQ CH100 has a simple input and connector panel located on the back of the projector. We’re talking minimalist, with no frills. I truly appreciate the straightforwardness of the hardware, as this makes the CH100 a great choice for those who need an easy-to-use projector and don’t consider themselves to be very “techy.” In most business and classroom applications, one doesn’t need so many inputs and connectors, and this CH100 provides all the necessary ones.

BenQ CH100 Back Panel Inputs and Connectors

In the upper left-hand corner, you’ll find a USB port, which is used for charging an MHL dongle such as BenQ’s QCast (this port is not used for flash drives because, as mentioned earlier, the projector does not have computer-free presenting capabilities). Directly below that is the input to plug in the power cable. To their right are a pair of HDMI inputs, one of which is for MHL/streaming. Next to those is the service port, a VGA input for connecting a PC to the projector, and a mini USB port. Then there are the RF receiver and a Kensington lock. That’s it. Like I said, simple with no frills.

The Lens

This thing is tiny. We’re talking just over an inch in diameter. The lens (F = 1.5), is recessed and off-center mounted, with a small easy-pull sliding door to protect the lens from dust and dirt. This makes the already low-maintenance of this projector even better. Essentially, the only self-maintenance for you to do is clean the lens, so score one for the CH100.

Projectors of this class will rarely have fantastic zoom, but this lens, as mentioned before, does not have zooming capabilities. That it is so small makes it easy to position and I doubt you will regret not having zoom, if you are setting it up on a table.  It could, however, be an issue if you are ceiling mounting.

Its focus ring is recessed as well, and located on the top of the projector. That ring is stiff – jerky, but it will often jerk right into razor sharp focus. Lucky for it, as that could have been more than a minor annoyance and a big con for this projector. Nice save.

The Remote Control

BenQ CH100 Remote ControlThere is not much of a control panel on the projector itself – in fact, there’s no control panel at all. What you can do is press the Power button for Instant On/Off, but that’s it. All other functions must be performed from the remote control, which comes with batteries. Sweet.

The remote control is thinner than an iPhone and, in keeping with the simple design, does not have many buttons at all. The top three buttons are as follows: Power, Blank, and Auto. The Power button has an Instant On, Instant Off function, meaning there is hardly any wait time before the projector reaches full brightness, and that it can be turned off with one touch. The Blank button will wipe the screen, displaying a blank screen in place of the source image. The Auto button can only be used when a PC is connected, and automatically adjusts the image quality for best results.

The volume buttons are located beneath the top three, and are straightforward as well: Mute, and two buttons to lower or raise the volume. Below those is are the four arrow keys surrounding an “OK” button. The up and down arrow keys, used to navigate the menus, also adjust the Keystone Correction when the On-Screen Display menu is off.

The next set of buttons includes the Back, Source and Menu buttons. The Back button is used when navigating the menus to go back a step. The Source button brings up the Source menu, and the Menu button activates the On-Screen Display menu, your main menu. Next, we have all the regular controls for viewing, but these can only be used for MHL.

The Previous and Next buttons, on either side of the Play/Pause button, will respectively play the previous or next video, audio, slideshow, document, etc. The Play/Pause button will play or pause the content. Then we have the Rewind, Stop, and Fast-forward buttons. You know the drill.

CH100 Menus

The BenQ CH100’s menus are more complex than the projector itself. There are six sections that allow for various adjustments: Picture, Audio, Display, System Setup: Basic, System Setup: Advanced, and Information. Each menu is pictured in the slideshow, with captions describing each section of the BenQ CH100’s menus.

BenQ CH100 Menu System

No particular surprises with the CH100 from a hardware standpoint. Two already-mentioned notable items are the lack of a zoom lens, and no control panel. You’ll want to be sure, if mounting this projector, that it can be mounted at the right distance for its lens.  Other than that, however, no real limitations to report.