Projector Reviews

BenQ HT2550 Low Cost 4K UHD Projector Review – Picture Quality

BenQ HT2550 Low Cost 4K UHD Projector Review – Picture Quality: Out-of-the-Box Picture Quality, Skin Tones, HDTV and Sports

Out-of-the-Box Picture Quality

Hey, I’m a fan of BenQ, and have been for a long time. Back when I bought my first BenQ – a PE8700, ($5K or so, for 720p), it had more/better, than the not-as-expensive direct competition – faster color wheel, better lens, a very good dynamic iris, etc. But perhaps most importantly, they produced some very realistic, accurate, and natural color, (with that extra DLP “pop”), post calibration, and had some of the best pre-calibration color too.

This HT2550 may be BenQ’s entry level 4K UHD / 4K capable projector, but color is looking good.

Out of the box: Without adjustment, the BenQ has three very nice modes (out of four). If you check out the performance and calibration pages, we’ll go into detail about how accurate, and more. My point, though, is that right out of the box, you can put up a picture with some really good color, that will please your friends and family, and you too, unless you are a “fanatic” demanding really accurate color – not just good looking color.  Typically, this BenQ color is probably better “out of the box” color that most LCD TVs!.

The Sports Mode, and also Vivid Mode have a lot of punch, great for sports, and a lot of regular HDTV. We never adjusted Sports, so mostly, I used Vivid when I wanted brightness, and always used it for my sports viewing.

Most of the time my Canon 60D dSLR (a semi-pro camera) produces reasonably accurate results when photographing a projected image, however, the images are never right on the money. Comparing them on my MacBook screen (which is well known for good color), they are usually off a little. Sometimes, I have to report a slight or moderate shift in color. All photos are taken with the color set to 6500K. I call your attention to this, because this BenQ’s color is not well represented in most of these photos. Overall, the photos are picking up a bit too much, let’s call it dull yellow. This, unfortunately, is most noticeable in “best” mode. Keep that in mind, and please go more by description than these images, which are normally more for – “if you think this looks good, wait until you see this projector in action!”

Skin Tones

The HT2550 does a great job on skin tones, other than my comments about HDR color, which I’ll get to soon enough. Generally, we’ve found that BenQ manages to produce really good color on all their home models. Part of that is that they start out very good even before adjusting, and they have a fully functional set of controls to further improve.

Most of the images in the photo player above have captions. The last four, however, do not. That is the usual Bond sequence I shoot of Daniel Craig in Casino Royale. The purpose is to demonstrate that there is no one fixed right skin tone.  Different scenes are differently, and attention is given to make sure the skin tones come out “as directed.

If anything, BenQ is the DLP manufacturer that most reminds me of Epson and Sony, for example, when it comes to having some great looking modes – “right out of the box.”  That’s true here as well. Cinema was definitely a bit off ideal when measured and viewed, but not so much that the picture didn’t still look really good, and that’s in part because skin tones, overall, even pre-calibration, looked visibly better than they do on these photos, especially the HDR ones.

When you look at the skin tones from Passengers and other 4K, I found that while the overall color balance is about right I get the feeling that they are sort of a little grey. That said, I’m going to have Eric, our calibrator take another quick look, because watching the same scenes on Passengers, in 1080p, the skin tones are great! I think a little more tweaking will probably solve that.

Ultimately though, it goes back to dealing, I think, with HDR, and those compromises I discussed.

HDTV and Sports

No problem here! HDTV, including sports, looked great in the calibrated Vivid mode.  Okay, sometimes the colors can be a bit too punchy to be considered really accurate, so I wouldn’t consider using Vivid, even calibrated, for movie watching, unless I needed the extra brightness due to ambient light issues. OK, it might be fun for some things, including some animation.  Once calibrated, Vivid measures over 50% brighter than calibrated Cinema. Again, those are what we call our “Brightest” and our “Best” modes.

Sports mode is definitely leans to the cool side, whereas Vivid, which calibrated ended up being our “brightest mode”, was warmer than Sports, and similar to Cinema, but with other processing designed to add more “vivid” colors, and more pop to the scenes. Sports mode is on the cool side, “out of the box” with color temps averaging around 7500K, which looks more blue-ish than Cinema (6800K average out of the box), or our target for our “best” mode, which is 6500K, that Eric calibrated Cinema to.

The sports and HDTV photos were all taken using Vivid or Sports modes, unless noted. The Victoria Secret shots were almost all of the HDTV photos taken using the calibrated Cinema mode.