The $999 BenQ HT3050
is a quality replacement for their aging W1070 and HT1075 home projectors.
The HT3050 is the middle projector of three new home entertainment - home theater entries. We've previously reviewed (and liked) the more expensive HT4050, which has extra features but sells for four hundred more. The HT3050 offers a very good value proposition compared to its more expensive sibling, unless you need the extra placement flexibility that the extra cash buys you. There are performance differences as well. A lower end HT2050 rounds out the new entries as the pure entry level home entertainment projector.
The HT3050 is a single chip DLP projector. As you can see from the specs below, it's pretty bright claiming 2000 lumens, but it isn't a match for the brightest home entertainment projectors around. It has, however a bit more refined picture, overall, than most of the lower cost DLP projectors. In other words, just above entry level.
HT3050 Projector Overview
The HT3050 is rather nicely equipped. A 1.3:1 manual zoom lens combines with a modest amount (10%) of vertical lens shift (similar to those older two BenQs already mentioned.
You get 3D capabilities, but no 3D glasses are included. No problem, 3rd party glasses are inexpensive.
As you would hope for, there are two HDMI inputs, and one of them supports MHL.
Warranty is one year parts and labor, sadly, that is the minimum for projectors around this price. There are brands offering two years or three years, and others with only one year.
BenQ's big pitch for this "Colorific" projector is its REC 709 mode. It doesn't matter what you call it, some might call that mode; Cinema, or Theater or Movie, or??? The point is that BenQ does a very good job, providing rather accurate color right out of the box in their REC 709 mode which is the best looking one.
Because both the HT3050 and it's big brother, the HT4050 both have REC 709 modes, I had hoped that the same calibration settings for the HT4050 would work for the HT3050. They do not! Normally I would have had the HT3050 calibrated in that case, but at $999, where few will ever bother to pay someone to calibrate their projector, I decided it wasn't worth the trouble since that REC 709 mode looks so good without any adjustment.
BenQ has kept their "famous" W1070 in the lineup for an extra year or two (as I see it the HT1075 was its replacement), but because of all the good press for the W1070 they've kept it alive at least here in the US.
Overall, the HT3050 has to be considered a superior replacement. One noteworthy difference though, is that the HT3050 is a shorter throw projector - it will sit closer to any screen, than the older W1070 and HT1075 could. (That's a plus for gamers!).
Gaming the HT3050: Just so I don't forget, the HT3050 has acceptable input lag - measuring in at about 49ms! Not great, but acceptable to all but the most hardcore. More discussion about this on the next page.
BenQ HT3050 Highlights
Our goal here isn't to "give away" the key findings of the review. None-the-less, these are the highlights we consider significant
- Better than average placement flexibility for the price
- Modest amount of vertical lens shift
- Brightness - is "just right" in that its not too bright for a dedicated home theater, but has enough brightness to deal with some ambient light in less ideal room conditions
- 1 year parts and labor warranty (no replacement program)
- Excellent, backlit remote control
- Lamp life up to 6000 hours (3500/5000/6000)
- Two HDMI inputs (one with MHL)
- Faster color wheel than most DLP competitors (it's a 6X color wheel), for less rainbow effect
- Quieter than most entry level DLP projectors
- 3D capable (just add 3D glasses)
- Two ISF modes for professional calibrators
- Built in 10 watt speakers (2) for a healthy amount of sound.
OK, time to look at some of these items in greater detail, as you turn to the Special Features page.