Posted on March 28, 2018 By Art Feierman
BenQ HT2550 Low Cost 4K UHD Projector Review – Performance: Brightness, Affect of Zoom Lens on Brightness, Difference In Brightness and Behavior of Light Modes, Image Noise, Sharpness
The HT2550 came up a bit short in terms of brightness claim. Out of 2200 lumens, we found only 1811 in the brightest mode.That’s a bit more than 15% under. Most projectors don’t meet claim, and most come in between claim, and 20% down. We’re less interested in whether a projector meets claims then how bright it is in a practical way.
Bright mode provides the max lumens, but you really don’t want to use that unless no other mode can handle the amount of ambient light you are dealing with. Vivid does a great job with 1369 lumens at mid-zoom. You may like it better for HDR content than the slightly better color Cinema mode, which comes in with 921 lumens. That’s tons of lumens – enough for a 150″ diagonal screen for non 4K HDR content, but it, like many competitors its thin on brightness, for HDR.
Sport mode is slightly brighter still at 1444 lumens, but the main difference is it’s cooler color (more blue, less red, in the whites.
No surprise there.
With only a 1.2:1 zoom, there’s minimal brightness variation as you zoom from wide angle (closest placement to your screen), to the furthest (tele zoom). This amount of difference is barely visible, less than 7%, so of little concern to anyone.
We generally find that todays projectors are very good overall. There’s a lot of detail that could be discussed, but I figure if its inconsequential there are other things to focus on. That said, background mosquito noise which is usually more evident on DLPs than other technologies, seemed to be a bit better than I’m used to. This could be attributable to various image noise filters or other tech. No matter, it’s a good thing.
I do run certain scenes to consider how well projectors handle slow panning. In this regard, on scenes with slow panning like the neighborhood scene near the beginning of the movie Red (Bruce Willis). The HT2550 performed “typically”, which is a fair amount of judder – shaking – of objects. Typically, though is very good, because otherwise its usually worse. I’m pleased to report that the HT2550 had less judder than a $15K Sony I reviewed last year (and some other Sonys).
Short version – I’ve been viewing enough of the higher res DLP chip, with the 2716x1528x2 pixel shifting design, and I’ve viewed the Dell S718QL (a commercial 4K UHD), the Optoma UHD65 and UHD60, and the Vivitek 2288, which all use that bigger more expensive chip. There’s very little visible difference if any at normal seating differences. Those others, from a practical standpoint are sharper natively, but with only slight improvement with 4K content, it’s more about how all the image processing is set, and each projector is different.
I like to use the example of the Epson 5040UB which I’m still using this year as my mid-priced reference. It has an impressive suite of detail and sharpness enhancement capabilities. It can look sharper than other 4K capable projectors – even higher res, if they don’t also sharpen with their processing. The more the processing the more artifacts, but the Epson can do a lot of sharpening with the only visible expense being a slight hardness, showing on closeups of faces. In that regard, I can make it look sharper than this BenQ, but if I play with the BenQ in the same way, it can probably match the $5K true 4K Sony, which in turn will not be hard, and be more natural. – Once again, there are always trade-offs.
Bottom line: It’s as sharp as one would expect. On true 4K content it easily looks sharper than any normal 1080p projector working with 1080p content. That is the goal after all. You get step up sharpness and detail performance compared to 1080p non-pixel shifters. Spend more and you can have the same tech, or have higher native resolution, with better, and more expensive optics, than the HT2550, and you will, upon inspection see even sharper images. I’m reviewing next, the $8K Sony and so far, it looks very sharp. More in that review. There’s a comparison image in the player, of Sony’s least expensive, the $5K VPL-VW285ES you can compare with the same image on the HT2550.
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