Posted on November 1, 2018 By Nikki Zelinger
BenQ LU950 Installation Laser Projector Review – Performance: Brightness, Contrast, Audible Noise
The BenQ LU950 claims 5,000 lumens, but, like many others, it did not meet its claim. This is typical of projectors in both the business/education and home theater markets – most measure up to 25% below claim. I’m not overly concerned about this development. Bright Mode measured at 4,160 lumens, and all others are around the 3,500+ mark. That’s plenty of brightness for some serious ambient light, like what is seen in my living room when the blackout curtains are not closed (see the photo below, taken in Vivid Mode).
Presentation Mode measured at 3,608, but that’s not even the brightest of the better modes. Surprisingly, sRGB was the brightest of the three, at 3,810 lumens, but it didn’t appear so – Vivid looked brighter, probably because it’s desaturated and Vivid is, well… vivid. Speaking of that mode, it came in at 3,598 lumens, and the final mode, DICOM SIM, measured at 3,683. 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 LU950 may be used.
The contrast claim of the BenQ LU950 is 100,000:1. We generally don’t pay too much attention to the number, but rather, how the projector performs in terms of black levels. That is, whether or not blacks are close to true blacks. In the case of the LU950 – they’re not, but that’s to be expected. Rarely do business and education projectors have what we would call “good black levels,” and there’s really no need for them to. If blacks are recognizable as blacks on a projector for these markets, then I’m satisfied.
An image from Journey to Space, overexposed to show you the black levels as seen by the naked eye (in color).
An image from Journey to Space, overexposed to show you the black levels as seen by the naked eye, in monochrome so that you can easily see they are not true black.
The blacks projected by the BenQ LU950 are more of a medium dark grey, or, as shown in the color photo of the Bigelow rendering above, a dark blue. You can easily tell this is a graphic against a background that is supposed to be space. The next photo in the slider is the same image, but in monochrome. This is to further demonstrate what the black levels are like. Keep in mind that we overexpose these images so that you can see a more accurate representation than what our DSLRs would portray at a normal exposure. I overexposed these images to the point that they closely match what I saw on the screen.
The BenQ LU950 has a rated fan noise level of 37db at full power, 35db in ECO mode. Though that’s kind of loud, it didn’t bother me as I stood less than a foot away from the projector to take these photos. Sure, there’s a hum, but after a while you start to acclimate to the sound and cease to notice it altogether.
The projector will likely be ceiling mounted, at least 6 feet above a seated person, and I doubt that person would be able to hear the fan. If they did, it wouldn’t be any more distracting than the gentle hum of the air conditioning. And that’s at full power. In ECO, it would be slightly less noticeable.
That does it for our review of the BenQ LU950 installation 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 U950. See you on the last page!
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