Projector Reviews

BenQ HT2550 Low Cost 4K UHD Projector Review – Hardware 2

BenQ HT2550 Low Cost 4K UHD Projector Review – Hardware 2: The Control Panel, The Remote Control, Using Auto Source, The Menus

The Control Panel

The HT2550 control panel has an ambient light sensor in addition to the usual controls.
The HT2550 control panel has an ambient light sensor in addition to the usual controls.

The small control panel has an extra couple of buttons, beyond the basic ones. On the left side is the Power button, with the usual press once to turn on, or press twice to power down. To its right is the navigation area, with the four arrow keys in a round formation. The up and down arrows double for keystone correction, while the left/right pair double for speaker volume.

The OK/Enter button is in the center of the arrows. Below all of that are three buttons, the middle one is the Menu button, while Back (for the menus) is to its left, and Mode is to the right. Okay, we’re almost done. On the right are the last two buttons, the top one is the Source button, and below it is the Eco/Blank button.

One last thing – just above the Source button is a light sensor, allowing the projector to adjust brightness based on ambient light. That would help save a little energy.

The Remote Control

Going way back a decade ago when I owned a succession of BenQ projectors, I remember that they had great remotes back then. Seems they still do. This remote has the three major ingredients to please most folks.

  • Good layout with good choice of functions with direct access
  • Very good range (30 feet no problem)
  • Excellent backlight – not to bright, or dim, for dark room viewing

In addition, it offers HDMI link (CEC), allowing this remote to control other HDMI-Link compatible devices, such as many, if not most Blu-ray and Blu-ray UHD players.

Let’s take a look, button by button, from the top.

Starting top left is a large green button for powering on. Next to it is the backlight button, although pressing any button turns on the backlight for 15 seconds. On the right is a separate Power Off button, in red.

Two rows of three buttons come next, with the top left of those being 3D, then Light Mode (lamp setting choices), and an unused button labeled Dynamic Iris. When I first unboxed this HT2550, I spotted that and thought – “great, a dynamic iris, for better black levels… how did I miss that when I had my previous brief look at the pre-production version?”

Well, easy. That button may do something on some other BenQ’s, but not this one. Too bad!

The next row (back on the left) starts off with a button that provides a direct link to the Keystone adjustment menu. In the middle, one that goes to the Picture Mode menu, and on the right, HDR.

Next comes the navigation arrows in a round formation, with a OK a.k.a. “Enter” button in the center. Below that, are three buttons, two relating to the navigation. A Back button on the left, and the Menu button in the middle.

HT2550/TK800 remote control - Nice layout, good range, and a red/orange backlight that's not too bright or too dark.

There’s a small space on the remote, then three more buttons, these relating to image processing. First (left) there’s Cinema Master, which is BenQ’s group of several image processing features. Then comes a separate button for Detail Enhancement, and finally their Lumi Expert – sorry to disappoint, but this projector also doesn’t use this button.

Sound comes next with Mute, Volume Down, and Volume Up, from left to right, no surprises there.

The next three rows you will only find on some projectors – those are for the HDMI-Link, for CEC. This, as mentioned, allows this remote to run basic features on compatible devices, such as three of my Blu-ray and Blu-ray UHD players. Basically, once that’s set up in the menus, for example, hitting the play button on this remote would start play on my player. Or one can use the player’s remote to power the HT2550 on or off…

A great aspect of this feature on this projector is that the remote has an excellent backlight. Consider, my Samsung Blu-ray UHD player has about the worst remote I’ve ever used. Even if it had a backlight, I’d probably still hate it. When I’m using projectors that have HDMI-Link, like this one, or most Epsons like the 5040UB I have here, I ignore the Samsung remote for normal FF, RW, Play, Stop, Chapter Forward, Chapter Back, and Stop, instead using a good backlit remote. Oh, I’ll still need the Samsung’s remote to go into its menus, and for some other features, but geez, it works so much better when I’ve got a good backlit projector remote like this one. Sweet!

But, I digress. Let’s finish off the layout and features. Let me correct a previous statement. Only one of the three buttons on that third row of HDMI-Link controls, is for controlling other devices. The one to the left brings up the Sound menu, while the one on the right of the Stop button, is the Eco/Blank button, which was also on the BenQ projector’s control panel.

Almost done!  Six more controls in two rows at the bottom. Again, more direct access to popular menus:

Brightness, Sharpness, Contrast

Color Temp, Color Management, and Gamma

I think this BenQ remote has pretty much, a button for just about every key menu most folks would access more than just at initial setup.

If there’s one thing they could have put on this remote in addition (they would need more buttons), that would be direct access to each of the Inputs, instead of the current Source button. That said, the Source button menu takes you to a choice of Sources. And, the BenQ supports Auto Source, so it will go hunting for an active source, if you have that turned on.

Using Auto Source

Since I mentioned Auto Source on sources, a comment is necessary: During the review process I had Auto Select on almost all the time. I use an Anthem AV receiver (pretty high end), and multiple disc players, Apple TV, DirectTv, a Roku, and more. Most of the time, Auto Select works fine, but not always. Sometimes, when I’m already on the right HDMI (HDMI 1 – is all I use), the BenQ gets stuck on Auto Source, it just doesn’t find the source, or it takes a very long time.  Most of the time its quick (a few seconds). I think the problem happens mostly when I turn on the player or other device, after the receiver is on.

When it can’t find it, all I have to do is go into the source menu – which will show it’s on HDMI1, and hit Enter, and then it finds the source.  Its simple: If you have a problem with Auto Source with your setup, turn it off.  Problem solved.

Two points: First, my AV receiver is not typical. If it were some mainstream Denon, or Sony, I’d be sure it was the projector, but as this is a low volume, and in theory, an advanced design AV receiver??? I can’t be certain my receiver isn’t making things difficult. That said, most projectors’ auto feature have no problems with it.

The second point is that if one is using an AV receiver like I am, to switch all my sources, then everything is going through HDMI1. In other words, there’s no reason why I should have Auto Select on, as all it can do is slow things down. My projector stays on HDMI1 because there are no other sources plugged into it, other than those from my receiver.

So, count their Auto Source source feature as potentially having some problems, but hardly anything to be concerned with. And it just might be that if I had multiple sources plugged directly into the receiver, that its Auto Source would work perfectly.

 

Bottom line on that: Minor nuisance at worst, and quite possibly/likely, it won’t misbehave with your gear.

The Menus

The above photo player will end up with a whole series of closeups of menus. This is usually the last thing added to my reviews.  In the meantime here’s a photo of the main menu, to give you an idea.  The HT2550 allows you to reposition the menu from the center to corners, if preferred (which you probably will prefer).  When the menus go live, there will be comments found in the captions of some of those images.

That does it for our tour of the BenQ HT2550’s hardware! Next up is our discussion of the projector’s picture quality.

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