Posted on November 1, 2018 By Nikki Kahl
BenQ LU950 Installation Laser Projector Review – Summary: Summary, The Competition, Pros, Cons
The front of the LU950 has the manual zoom lens and IR sensor for the remote control.
The right side of the projector has the control panel and the cool air intake vent.
The left side of the projector has the hot air exhaust vent.
The back of the projector houses the inputs and connectors panel.
The top of the LU950 has the lens shift controls, located under a door behind the lens.
The control panel and cool air intake vent.
The BenQ LU950 is a WUXGA (1920×1200) laser projector boasting 5,000 lumens. It didn’t quite hit its claim, but came in at a respectable 4,160 lumens in its brightest mode, Bright. That’s plenty bright enough to combat ambient light found in classrooms, conference and boardrooms, museums, houses of worship, retail spaces, and even smaller entertainment or conference venues. This is a DLP projector with dual RGBY color wheels. This $2,799 installation projector has a beautiful, vibrant image with excellent color, is nicely bright, and has some desirable features for a business projector.
The LU950 has excellent placement flexibility, thanks to its 1.60:1 manual zoom lens and a healthy amount of vertical lens shift – that’s +60%, and +23% horizontal lens shift – as well as HDBaseT for running AV signals over several hundred meters. It offers plenty of other advanced networking features in addition to HDBaseT, such as compatibility with control software such as Crestron RoomView, Extron XTP, AMX, PJ Link, and BenQ’s proprietary Multiple Display Administrator (MDA) software. The projector has wireless capabilities via an optional plug-and-play device. This BenQ can also hook up to multiple LU950 projectors for large meetings, thanks to the HDMI In and HDMI Out input pair located on the back of the projector.
Speaking of inputs, the BenQ has all of the inputs and connectors necessary for business and education applications, and then some. I am referring to the fact that the projector has that HDMI In/Out in addition to two other HDMI inputs. The LU950 also has a port for a wired remote control, a RS232 connector for old school command and control, two USB ports (Mini-B and Type-A), a LAN connector for local area networking, that HDBaseT connector, old school S-Video and Component Video ports, two VGAs (one for PC In, one for Monitor Out) and Audio In and Out ports.
A scene from Journey to Space, projected by the BenQ LU950.
A scene from an episode of Explained, projected by the BenQ LU950.
An x-ray of my cat's fat belly, projected by the BenQ LU950, in DICOM SIM. Mode.
A website, projected by the BenQ LU950.
An infographic, projected by the BenQ LU950.
A presentation slide, projected by the BenQ LU950.
The BenQ LU950 has five color modes: Bright, Presentation, sRGB, Vivid, and DICOM SIM. As mentioned, the projector did not meet its 5,000 lumen claim, instead coming in at 4,160 lumens in its brightest mode, Bright. The next brightest mode is sRGB at 3,810 lumens, then DICOM SIM. (3,683), Presentation (3,608), and finally, Vivid, at a respectable 3,598 lumens. Vivid, sRGB, and Presentation all have some pretty great color, with some advantages to each. I do favor Vivid over the other modes, though.
It’s been a hot minute since I’ve reviewed anything in this price range, let alone a DLP projector under $3,000. The primary competition are some 3LCD models from NEC and Sony, and they’re all several thousand dollars more. 3LCD projectors do tend to cost more than DLPs, as mentioned earlier in this review.
The two projectors I’m thinking of are the recently reviewed Sony VPL-FHZ61, a $9,999 laser projector with 3LCD technology and 5,100 lumens, and the NEC NP-PA653UL, a $7,779 laser projector with 3LCD technology and 6,500 lumens (street price is around $5K). These are both WUXGA. There are some Epson laser projectors that could be considered competition, but for their interactivity – the BrightLink 696Ui and 710Ui. Similarly priced, similarly bright, but in a different league (if you don’t need interactivity, they won’t make your short list).
The bottom line? I believe this is one of the most affordable, best value laser projectors you can get for the price, if its features meet your needs. Should you need higher resolution and advanced features, the NEC I mentioned has pixel shifting, projection mapping, and edge blending. The Sony also has some advanced features, including some of Sony’s home theater controls for adjusting color.
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