Projector Reviews

BenQ CH100 Projector Review – Picture and Sound Quality

BenQ CH100 Projector Review – Picture and Sound Quality: Color Modes, Video Picture Quality, Text and Presentation Quality, Sound Quality

BenQ CH100 Color Modes

The BenQ CH100 projector has six color modes: Bright, Graphic (sRGB), Motion Video, Lectures, Cinema (Film), and Vivid Color. Bright mode did have a lot of yellows and greens, but that is to be expected of brightest modes on most projectors. All the other modes had very similar color, with the best mode being Graphic (sRGB), closely followed by the Motion Video and Cinema (Film) modes. Lectures is great for text-heavy presentations, and does well on skin tones. Vivid color adds some extra pop to the color, but looks good on skin tones. Overall, the color modes, out of the box, are very good.

Bright Mode is obvious the brightest mode and, as mentioned previously, has a lot of green and yellow hues. The Casio I just reviewed had a Bright Mode that had only a slight green tint and performed better than this projector’s Bright Mode, which is about average in terms of that green tinge. You can expect most projectors to have a Bright Mode that looks like this or similar. This mode you would only really be using when you need all the lumens you can get, but if you’re big on having good color, opt for Graphic sRGB Mode.

Graphic (sRGB) Mode is the next color mode and is the CH100’s best mode. This mode looks great on skin tones, text and presentations, websites, films – the whole gambit. If you look on that color wheel in the image, you can see each color can be easily differentiated, which is not the case with some of the other modes. Whites may have slight magenta hue but it is hardly noticeable.

Motion Video Mode is similar to Graphic (sRGB) in color, but I found the Motion Video Mode to be slightly desaturated. And I mean very slightly. It’s apparent when comparing the modes in the slide above. The color has slightly more green in it than the previous mode, getting rid of that magenta hue. There’s not too much green, mind you, so the color still looks really natural. This mode would be great for presentations that utilize video and showing YouTube, educational or corporate videos. This mode is the second brightest on the CH100.

The CH100’s Lectures Mode has higher contrast than the previous modes, giving an extra pop of color. That additional vibrancy does made some of those hues in the color wheel harder to see, particularly notable in the red and orange sections of the wheel. This mode has more reds and yellows than the modes discussed above.

The color in Cinema (Film) Mode is very similar to both the Graphic (sRGB) Mode and the Motion Video Mode. There is more saturation and higher contrast but you will be getting fewer lumens. This mode would be ideal for viewing films at home in a low light setting, or in a darkened classroom. You can see from the photo that whites are not as bright as the other modes, but the projector perhaps makes up for it by its excellent handling of skin tones in this mode.

Vivid Color Mode is just that – vivid. It looks great on skin tones and will be desirable to those who dig a lot of saturation. The obvious trade off is a more crunched portrayal of the color spectrum. You can see on the color wheel that the various shades of each  of the blues, reds, and yellows look very similar to each other and it is difficult to differentiate these colors from one another. I did like the way this mode looked once I projected this image, but on my Playstation 4 menu, the blues looked oversaturated which would be bothersome in a presentation if you should need very accurate color.

Overall, the BenQ CH100 has a good variety of modes, all with great color. Bright Mode, with its strong yellows and greens, should be used only in scenarios where you need the maximum amount of brightness. Motion Video, the next brightest mode, has excellent color and you could probably get away with using that over Bright Mode when dealing with ambient light. Graphic (sRGB) and Motion Video are the CH100’s best modes, and will work best for videos and presentations where color (and brightness, in the case of Motion Video), are of the utmost importance.

Video Picture Quality

The CH100 handled films and video spectacularly – so well, in fact, that the projector can double as a solid home entertainment projector by night. As mentioned in the previous section, this projector does great with skin tones. The Hunger Games, Casino Royale and Ender’s Game all looked rather excellent and true to color. I took photos on Graphic (sRGB) mode – the best mode – and Cinema (Film). Both performed admirably, with a slight advantage going to Graphic (sRGB) because of its higher lumens and accurate color handling. If your presentations are heavy on video, I would suggest using the Graphic (sRGB) or Motion Video modes, as Cinema (Film) rated lower in lumens than those two.

I did not perceive any image or mosquito noise – if there is any, it will be very slight. Due to the full HD resolution, the pixels are small and are not likely to be seen unless viewed from a couple feet in front of the screen. No one sits that close, nor should they, so you will have clean, crisp image that accurately portrays the quality and color of your presentation projected by the CH100.

I mentioned that the CH100 can also be used as a home entertainment projector – BenQ actually uses this as a selling point. The color handling, sharp image and high contrast ratio make viewing films and streaming on this projector enjoyable, though it would by no means replace the epicness that is a real home theater projector without a set of internal speakers. If you’re looking to get a lot of bang for your buck, the BenQ CH100 is one to be considered, if its primary function will be of the business or educational nature. That you can use it as a home entertainment projector is a definite plus.

Text And Presentation Quality

Text, again, is quite sharp. Even 8 point font is readable from a distance. Most PowerPoint or Keynote presentations will have far larger font sizes than that, so you will enjoy the sharpness of the text at any size. Excel and Word documents will be crisp at 12 point font, thanks to the DLP technology combined with its HD resolution. In the slider above, you will find several examples of text size and sharpness in presentations.

The first three photos are from “Ender’s Game” and “Casino Royale” and show the sharpness of the text in video/movies. Looks excellent, and even better in person. The next three photos show how the CH100 handles text on websites. The presentation photos following were taken with some ambient light present, as it is unlikely that you will be graced with a fully darkened room. You can see here that the images hold up very well, and the text is still sharp. The last photo comes from our test image, showing the different font sizes.

Graphs, text, and images within presentations looked sharp as well, so score another point for the CH100. I focused a third of the way out from the center of the projected image, and found that text remained sharp even out to the corners of the image. If sharpness is of the utmost importance to you, as it may well be for those giving text-heavy presentations, then consider this projector when weighing your options for your next portable business/education projector.

CH100 Audio Quality

The BenQ CH100 comes equipped with two 5 watt speakers, located on either side of the projector. This duo, combined, produce enough sound to fill a medium to medium-large conference room or classroom. The speakers are lacking in bass, and there are no options in the menu to adjust the sound to your liking, but that’s to be expected on business projectors. The idea is that you don’t need home entertainment quality sound for your presentations, but you be the judge of that.

If you’re like me, high-quality sound is important to you – the CH100 provides an audio output jack for better quality, line-in speakers to satisfy that need. I couldn’t watch the CH100 as a home entertainment projector without external speakers. I’ve got to have some serious bass. I must say this for the CH100’s speakers:  By comparison, the Casio XJ-UT351WN, a more expensive business/education projector, has a single 16-watt speaker, but I found the BenQ CH100’s sound to be way better.

What makes the BenQ’s sound better is the fact that it has stereo speakers, which means the audio is coming out of two channels, spreading the sound evenly and as it was meant to be heard. That is, audio engineers mix certain sounds to come out of the left channel, and others to come out of the right channel. When you are listening with mono speakers, such as is the case with the Casio, the left and right channels are combined and the sound gets a bit jumbled. Neither of these projectors have any decent bass, but I found that the sound was more separated and realistic with the CH100’s speakers versus the XJ-UT351WN’s single speaker.

Now, for business and education purposes, you don’t really need great speakers. If they make sound, that’s generally enough. The preferred loudness of the projector’s speakers will have to do with whether you’re planning to present to a small room of ten people, or a big conference room of 20+. That said, these speakers are plenty loud for most medium-sized conference rooms or classrooms.