Projector Reviews

BenQ LU950 Installation Laser Projector Review – Picture and Sound Quality

BenQ LU950 Installation Laser Projector Review – Picture Quality: Color Modes, Video Image Quality, Text and Presentation Quality, Audio Quality

Color Modes

I love the color on this projector! I’m usually, truly not a fan of DLP projectors for a lot of reasons, one big one being the color. DLPs tend to have wine reds and mustard yellows rather than vibrant, true-to-color reds and yellows. 3LCDs perform much better in that regard. However, things are looking pretty good when it comes to the BenQ LU950’s color handling! I think the RGBY color wheel, in this case, truly does improve on the color. Everything looks awesome, but I do have a few comments before I get into the specifics of each mode.

Across the board, reds have a tendency to lean toward orange. With some tweaking of the colors via the menu, you should be able to improve on that a bit, but it’s something I only noticed when looking at our test image of the color wheel. As you can see from the photos in the slider above, most modes do a good job on skin tones, and that orangey-red is likely only going to be noticed when looking at a color that you know is supposed to be a true red.

Let’s start with Bright Mode, which is – you guessed it – the projector’s brightest mode. Its color is typical of a brightest mode – strong greens and yellows. We call these your “break glass in case of emergency” modes. In the case of the LU950, you’ll likely never have to use this mode because all of the other “best” modes are bright enough to combat some serious ambient light, as you will see on the next page. Presentation Mode had some pretty great color, and though it is on the cooler side, it does a fine job on skin tones. I did notice that on one of the presentation slides (the one with the PowerPoint presentation in the Text and Presentation Quality slider), had a green tinge to what was supposed to be a sort of sky-blue tone. It wasn’t awful or anything. Other blues looked a bit more true to color.

sRGB has great color, but it is more desaturated than Vivid, which appears to be the same in terms of color handling, only more vibrant. If Vivid’s saturation levels are at 100, I’d put sRGB’s at 75. It’ll be good for video content, to be sure, but I favor Vivid, and as such, took all of my Video Image Quality photos using that mode. The last mode to talk about is DICOM SIM., which is used for viewing high contrast films like X-Rays.

Video Image Quality

As mentioned, I used Vivid for all of the photos in this slider. I was going to choose sRGB, as I originally thought that was my favorite mode based on the color wheel test image. When I switched over to the PlayStation’s usually-bright-blue menu, however, the color looked super desaturated. I changed the mode to Vivid, and the bright blue I am used to reappeared. Viewing all the video content in this mode, I was not disappointed. Of course, you may find that you prefer the color of sRGB or even Presentation Mode over Vivid’s – to each their own!

The image itself is crisp and clean. Journey to Space (Blu-ray) looked incredible, as it tends to on laser projectors, as did the videos from the Netflix show “Explained.” I am liking using this show in my recent reviews, as it has a good mix of graphic images like the brain graphics in the slider above, and shots of people. It allows me to see a variety of elements all at once – text in video, graphics, and skin tones. Overall, I thought the video image quality on the BenQ LU950 was pretty great.

Another thing to note before we move on to Text and Presentation Quality! The Rainbow Effect. This is common on DLP projectors due to their color wheels, and typically only happens on projectors whose color wheels are slower. The Rainbow Effect produces small rainbows across the screen when there’s movement, and is something that can be rather annoying to the 5%-ish of people who are rainbow sensitive. I can generally see rainbows, but not as often as Art. Chances are, you probably know someone who is rainbow sensitive.

In the case of the BenQ LU950, I did not detect any rainbows. When viewing video through my camera, I saw the usual color banding typical of DLPs, but the bands were moving fast down the viewing screen as opposed to the slow scrolling bands I see on most DLPs. This means the projector has a faster color wheel than most, which I believe BenQ is known for. So, bottom line – no rainbows, no problem.

Text and Presentation Quality

Text is super sharp on the BenQ LU950. So sharp that 8-point text was readable from over twenty feet back. It wasn’t a desirable size, to be sure, but I could still read it. I have a long and narrow living room, so typically I can only view text from about 12 feet back from the screen, but I tried something new this time. I’m able to see the screen from my bedroom, though at a 45 degree angle – I went about 20 to 25 feet back and could still read that 8-point font.

No one in their right mind would create a presentation or website with that size font, but it’s nice to know it’s clear from a distance. 10-point font was clearly readable from the same distance, with 12-point looking even better, and so forth. Readability is not an issue with the LU950. I’ve noticed that WUXGA laser projectors generally perform exceedingly well in this regard. 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 LU950 comes with a built-in 10-watt speaker. Most of the projectors I’ve been reviewing recently are commercial grade, and do not have an onboard speaker – they have to be hooked up to external sound systems. That this projector has its own makes it more versatile in how it can be used – classrooms, conference rooms, board rooms, and meeting rooms that do not have their own sound systems can benefit from the projector’s internal speaker.

As for the sound quality, no complaints here. Of course, all built-in speakers are supremely lacking in any real bass, but in a typical business or education environment, you don’t really need it. The only instances where I believe you absolutely must hook this up to an external sound system are if the projector is to be used in a larger venue, such as a convention where multiple projectors will be set up, and if there will be many people in attendance – say, more than 30.

It was plenty loud enough for your typical classroom or conference room environment, even at a lower volume. Turn it up, and you can easily send sound to all corners of a large boardroom or meeting room. That said, if you do want to hook it up to external sound, the projector has an Audio Out port on the inputs and connectors panel. Alright, enough of that – time to talk about how this projector performed in terms of brightness, contrast, and audible noise!