BenQ HT4050: The Bottom Line
If you are spending around $1399, and this projector fits what you are looking for in terms of type of viewing, and room conditions it's a really good choice and it's versatile. This is definitely a step up projector from all those sub $1000 models out there.
The picture is Really, Good! It would certainly be on my short list of projectors between $1000 and $2000. And I say that after watching 60+ hours, and switching back and forth between it, the Epson 5030UB, and even a $10,000 DLP (which was way better, btw).
This is our top regular award for projectors. We offer additional awards in our special reports
If your budget is tight, room less than great, and you really are looking for a basic family projector, you should definitely consider those lesser BenQs, Epsons, Optoma's, Viewsonics, Viviteks etc., but if you are looking for a step up projector in terms features and picture quality, you've found one of the better choices here. If you need the maximum brightness for rooms with quite a bit of ambient light the HT4050 wouldn't be near the top of my list, as there are some true light canons out there. But then, most folks don't really need that much brightness.
There are some other factors you should also consider, and most will show up in the Pros and Cons below.
But here are a few other things of note.
Lamp life is on the short side. I assume BenQ is trying to max brightness out of its 260 watt lamp, and that means lamp life that's barely half that of some competitors. If you are going to be a heavy user - say 30-40 hours a week, you will likely be replacing the lamp in a year and a half or two.
Warranty is one year parts and labor on the projector. There are competitors with one year (including Optoma) but many offer 2 years, and even some three years. In other words, the HT4050 is a bit weak when it comes to warranty duration at this price point. Personally I think a projector at this price should come with 2 years minimum.
The remote control - is excellent, and it's not just back lit, but it's white, which makes it possible to find in a really dark room. Also it supports HDMI link so can be used to control your Blu-ray player, etc.
BenQ offers an optional wireless HDMI solution. That's nice if you want to stick with BenQ brand, but I didn't dwell on that because there are now plenty of 3rd party ones that will work with any display.
While the HT4050 does leak some light out of its front vent, it's a lot less than many other sub-$2000 DLP projectors. It shouldn't be a real issue.
The very Bottom Line: This is a clean projector - no really rough spots (I refer to a number of projectors as "rough around the edges," this isn't one of those. An impressive picture that can only be significantly improved by having much better black level performance, and that isn't something readily available down around $1399.
Thus, the HT4050 earns one of our Hot Product awards for a number of reasons, but primarily the color and skin tone handling, plus placement flexibility, and of course, good brightness for most rooms.
Note that I've got a a couple of additional projectors to review in the under $2000 price range before I revise our top 15 projectors list (found on the homepage), but the HT4050 is definitely a consideration for that list. Certainly, to me, at least, the HT4050 seems a solid value for a step up from entry level projector, one with extra features and extra performance.