Projector Reviews

BenQ HT5550 Projector Review – Performance

BenQ HT5550 Review – Performance: Brightness, Contrast, Audible Noise

HT5550 Brightness (In Lumens)

Color Mode Lumens
Bright 1421
Vivid TV 1073
Cinema 828
D. Cinema 546
User 847
HDR10 wide color 635
HDR10 Rec709 1233

BenQ claims 1800 white lumens (like almost all DLP projectors they don’t quote color lumens).  Bright mode – the brightest, is definitely heavy green – it is a “break glass in case of emergency” mode (caused by too much ambient light), this is a lot of green (and virtually no red).  Generally: Avoid!

Vivid TV, on the other hand, has some pretty good color, and plenty of punch.  Fine for sports, and most TV viewing even movies, when there’s more than minimal ambient light.

These modes are all uncalibrated.

Cinema we calibrated as our Best (1080p) REC709 mode – and was actually a bit brighter than uncalibrated – with 885 lumens post cal.  We did not measure HDR10 pre-cal, with REC709 color.

The combination of BenQ’s somewhat bright handling of HDR, means a healthy amount of brightness with HDR using basic REC 709 color (1233 white lumens).  Even the 649 calibrated lumens with the HDR10 w/P3 color attempt, manages not to look dim, but there isn’t any headroom for tackling ambient light.

Contrast

The HT5550’s contrast – with the help of their dynamic iris, is really good, enough to now be my least expensive, current “ultra high contrast” projector around.  Forget contrast numbers, manufacturers all do them differently, so they are only useful, typically within a brand’s line-up of projectors.  If a more expensive BenQ has a higher contrast ratio than a lower contrast one (ie. the HT5550 vs HT3550), that’s a good indication, but one company’s 300,000:1 is another company’s 100,000:1 or maybe 1,000,000:1.

In other words, we judge contrast by watching the projectors, especially handling very dark scenes.

As per all my comments in the sections on black level performance, this BenQ’s inherent DLP contrast, plus the dynamic iris, results in some very good handling of some very dark scenes.  And there’s plenty of contrast in typical brighter scenes (where a dynamic iris is basically idle).

The bottom line on  Contrast:  Very simple, overall, this is the best we’ve seen of current model projectors under $2500 list price.  It handles dark scenes very well, and blacks look nicely dark on brighter scenes.  Want better?  You’ll be spending more!

Tom Brady
Sports image – bright, dynamic, Vivid TV mode

Audible Noise

Projectors have been becoming brighter – in some cases to leave the dedicated theater/cave, but overall, because HDR and 3D demand more brightness.

And with more brightness comes more heat (be the projector lamp or laser), and with the extra cooling needed, comes fans that run faster, or at least louder.

The HT5550 isn’t particularly noisy.  It is, in full power, for example, a little bit quieter than the Epson HC5050UB, which as you’ve heard, is serious competition at a somewhat higher price.  Leave full power mode on the lamp, and the HT5550 is very nicely quiet.  You can still hear the fan, certainly, especially if it is a stone quiet scene, and you are sitting only 3-5 feet from the projector, but most likely, you just won’t notice it except at full power.

I would prefer if the HT5550 was, perhaps, an additional 3-4 dB quieter at full power, but most folks will not have a real problem.  Those of you who are truly noise adverse will definitely want to drop down to eco mode, for the extra quiet. As with contrast, we can’t really trust audible noise specs from manufacturers – as far too often we’ll encounter one projector that proves quieter than another despite the other claiming lower noise levels.

Bottom line on audible noise – not an issue at full power for most, and pretty much everyone will be happy with eco mode.