Posted on April 29, 2019 By Nikki Zelinger
BenQ LK953ST 4K UHD Laser Projector Review – Performance: Brightness, Contrast, Audible Noise
The BenQ LK953ST claims 5,000 lumens, but, as Art predicted in the Classroom Projector Report, this one beat its claim! When measured at full wide angle, Dynamic Mode measured at 6,089 lumens. Nice! We measure each mode at mid-zoom, since most installations will have the lens around mid-zoom. This same mode came in at 4,965 lumens when measured at mid-zoom. That’s a lot to go around! All other modes hover around the 4,000 mark, which is plenty bright enough to combat some serious ambient light conditions.
The BenQ LK953ST projecting the SpaceX website in a fully darkened room.
The BenQ LK953ST projecting the SpaceX website in the face of ambient light.
Presentation Mode measured at 4,180, and is the brightest of the better modes. DICOM SIM. is the next brightest, at 4,091 lumens. sRGB is the next brightest mode, coming in at 3,853, closely followed by Vivid, which measured 3,779 lumens. All of these modes will be able to handle the ambient light seen in conference rooms, boardrooms, classrooms, museums, and other such venues where the BenQ LK953ST may be used.
The BenQ LK953ST has a high contrast claim of 3,000,000:1. For us, it’s less about whether a projector hits its claims, and more about how the projector performs. It is rare for a business and education projector to have what we call “good black levels,” so what we look for is whether or not the blacks are recognizable as blacks, and determine performance based on how close the projector can get to true black.
A scene from Journey to Space that shows the projector's black level performance, in color.
A scene from Journey to Space that shows the projector's black level performance, in monochrome for comparison purposes.
This LK953ST, though a business and education projector, could be a “cross-over” projector as well – meaning it is also suitable for home use. Though neither Art or I would choose this over a dedicated home theater projector for movie viewing, its excellent color and respectable black levels would make this projector a great one for a media room, for watching sports and TV, even with a healthy amount of ambient light present.
We didn’t expect the projector to produce pure black, of course. Many home theater projectors, save for some Sonys and JVCs, are incapable of doing so themselves. The blacks projected by the BenQ LK953ST are dark grey. In the slider above, I have two images of the Bigelow Rendering from Journey to Space. The first is in color, and the second, in monochrome. The images are overexposed so as to demonstrate what the projected image looked like in person. For business and education applications, these are pretty great black levels.
The BenQ LU953ST has a rated fan noise level of 40db at full power, 38db in ECO mode. I could hear it, but I was standing quite close to it when measuring the lumens and taking the photos. With the speakers in use, it was much less noticeable. And, of course, after being exposed to the sound for a while, I became quite acclimated to it and it faded into the background.
This projector will likely be ceiling mounted, probably at least six feet or more above the heads of anyone under it. In a classroom setting, as this is a short throw, the projector will be quite a ways in front of any of the students, and isn’t likely to cause any distraction during presentations, despite the higher fan noise rating. As I recall, the LU950 also had a high fan noise rating, and that one wasn’t distracting either.
That does it for our review of the BenQ LK953ST 4K UHD laser projector! On the next page, I summarize everything you learned in the review, provide some insight as to the competition, and pros and cons to the LK953ST. See you on the last page!
© 2019 Projector Reviews (V0625)