Projector Reviews

BenQ LK953ST 4K UHD Laser Projector Review – Picture and Sound Quality

BenQ LK953ST 4K UHD Laser Projector Review – Picture Quality: Color Modes, Video Image Quality, Text and Presentation Quality, Audio Quality

Color Modes

BenQ gives great focus to producing the best color, and, right out of the box, these projectors do tend to have better color than most other DLPs. The BenQ LK953ST has gorgeous color! Like the LU950, the RGBY color wheel improves color from the regular RGBW color wheels we see on most DLP projectors. DLPs characteristically have wine reds and mustard yellows. 3LCDs tend to perform much better in that respect, though few projectors actually replicate true-to-color. There are some that get very, very close!

In the case of the LK953ST, I was particularly impressed by sRGB Mode. I would consider that to be the projector’s “best” mode, as it performed spectacularly on video – especially skin tones. This makes the projector suitable for many applications beyond basic presenting like digital signage, photography and video production museum use, and scientific, engineering, and architectural applications. Vivid is pretty similar in color, but more vibrant, so it would be appropriate for presentations.

In fact, there are three modes suited to presentations – the two mentioned above, and Presentation Mode (of course). Presentation Mode is the brightest of the three, though only by a couple hundred lumens. This mode has the classic green/yellow tinge we see on brighter modes, but as those go, it’s got pretty great color. Dynamic is the brightest mode and is heavier on the greens and yellows than Presentation, as is typical, but I would say it’s highly usable for situations that call for the highest brightness.

We usually refer to brightest modes as your “break glass in case of emergency” modes, though as these modes go, Dynamic on the LK953ST is more than acceptable. The BenQ’s menus offer some opportunity to tweak colors, so if you find yourself using Dynamic and want better color, it’s very likely you will be able to achieve that aim. The last mode to talk about is DICOM SIM., which is used for viewing high contrast films like X-Rays. I’ve included some photos of X-Rays in the slider below so that you can see this mode’s performance.

Video Image Quality

As sRGB had the best color of the lot, I used that for all the photos in this slider – save for the two X-Rays at the end, which we projected using DICOM SIM. Mode. Vivid would also look excellent, though you might get some hot spots on the image that cause it to look overexposed. For me, I’d prefer Vivid for graphics rather than video with skin tones. This may be something you wish to play around with for your specific applications.

Being 4K UHD, it comes as no surprise that the image is beautifully sharp. The images from the Netflix show Explained look sharper than your average 1080p. The photos from Journey to Space (4K UHD), do the best job of demonstrating how well this projector performs. When Art did his preliminary viewing of this projector for the Classroom Projectors Report, he called to tell me that I would absolutely love this BenQ’s picture quality. He wasn’t wrong. I would put this projector among my top 5 favorite business and education projectors, easily.

One thing to mention – being a DLP, the projector utilizes a color wheel to produce the color spectrum, as we already have discussed. This color wheel, as the word “wheel” suggests, spins. The speed at which the color wheel spins is important, as slower color wheels tend to produce something called “The Rainbow Effect,” where those who are sensitive to it will see rainbow artifacts across the screen. This is especially true when there’s a lot of movement going on, or you move your head back and forth. Only about 5% of the population is rainbow sensitive. I am happy to say that this BenQ does not produce The Rainbow Effect.

Text and Presentation Quality

Text is super sharp on the BenQ LK953ST – no surprises there! 8-point font was readable from around 20 feet back. I wasn’t projecting this to fill my full 92” screen, either, as this is a short throw and it would have had to sit on my couch in order to be far enough back to do so. I would say that the projected image was about 60” or so, making the fact that I could read the 8-point font from so far back all the more impressive.

Now, it’s not typical to use 8-point font on any website or presentations, and even the smaller fonts found on infographics tend to be at least 10-point. That size was highly readable as well. Generally, you’ll find websites and presentations use 12-point and above, which looks excellent when projected by the BenQ LK953ST. I took all of the photos for this section in Presentation Mode, which, from the Color Modes section, you know has great color.

Audio Quality

The BenQ LU953ST has a built-in 10-watt speaker. It’s always nice when a projector of this caliber has its own speaker, but you’ll likely be using an external sound system if installing this BenQ in a large venue environment such as a lecture hall, auditorium, museum, convention hall, entertainment venue, or house of worship. For large university classrooms, the 10-watt speaker should be loud enough – but definitely not for those lecture halls. If using this projector in a conference room or boardroom, the speaker should perform just fine.

In terms of sound quality, I’d say its pretty good for an on-board speaker. As a general rule, built-in speakers are supremely lacking in bass, but as the speakers would likely be used for presentation and educational or training applications, bass isn’t really necessary. It was plenty loud enough to fill my entire apartment, at half volume. Turn it up, and you can easily send sound to all corners of a large boardroom, conference room, meeting room, or large university classroom.

If you do want to hook it up to external sound, the projector has an Audio Out port on the inputs and connectors panel, and an HDMI Out that you can use to export audio. HDMI is now one of the best ways to do so. Next up is our discussion of how this projector performed in terms of brightness, contrast, and audible noise!