BenQ LU950 Installation Laser Projector Review

The BenQ LU950 is a WUXGA (1920×1200) laser projector claiming 5,000 lumens – enough to shine through the uncontrollable ambient light found in some museums, conference and boardrooms, retail spaces, and higher education classrooms. This DLP projector has plenty of special features that make it a good fit for such spaces, in addition to its high brightness claim. That it is a laser projector is a definite plus, as the lifespan of a laser light engine lasts over the better part of a decade, making it a great investment for installations where the projector will be in use daily.

We’ll start this review of the BenQ LU950 with a brief overview, followed by some highlights before moving on to that list of special features. We will also tour the hardware, as well as discuss picture quality and performance before summing it all up for you on the last page. By the end of this review, you should have a pretty good idea about whether or not the BenQ LU950 is the right projector for your business or education applications. Let’s get started!

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BenQ LU950 Specs
Price$2799
TechnologyDLP
Native Resolution1920x1200
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim)5000
Contrast100000:1
Zoom Lens Ratio1.60:1
Lens ShiftNo
Lamp Life20,000 hours
Weight20.7
WarrantyN/A
View Full Specifications Here >>

Overview

The BenQ LU950 is a 5,000 lumen, WUXGA resolution (1920×1200) projector, with a list price of $2,799 – what a great price for a laser projector with WUXGA resolution! That laser light engine has a claim of 20,000 hours, which translates to the projector lasting many years without losing brightness. That’s a major plus for commercial environments where the LU950 may experience heavy use. This BenQ is a DLP projector, so it has a color wheel, but it’s not the one found in most DLPs I’ve reviewed – this one has an RGBY, with a yellow slice.

An RGBY color wheel is not the most usual – typically you’d find an RGBRGB or an RGBW (RGB + clear slice). RGBW color wheels have an advantage over RGBY color wheels, as that clear slice boosts white lumens, making a brighter overall image. Adding a secondary color, such as yellow, gives some of the benefits of an RGBW color wheel, but not as much. The benefit to having an RGBY color wheel is that it gives the manufacturers more opportunity to “get the color right.” Generally speaking, though, the more slices, the less lumens per slice.

The real strengths of DLP are threefold. DLP technology allows for smaller projectors – that’s more portability, and generally lighter-weight projectors, making installation easier. In situations with ambient light, you’ll get more white lumens dollar-for-dollar than a 3LCD projector, but a 3LCD projector will perform better than DLPs in terms of color, when faced with ambient light. So, when you need good color in the face of ambient light, you’ll want a 3LCD, DLP if you want more brightness and don’t need as good of color – like we say, there are always trade-offs. In controlled conditions, both technologies perform well.

DLP projectors also have sealed light paths. This means that no dust particles will settle on the inside of the light path and cause a “dust blob” on your projected image. This is a big plus because having to get that dust removed is a major maintenance call, costing time and money. With a sealed light path, you get protection of the DMD chip, color wheel sensor, laser bank, and other optical components. 3LCD manufacturers are starting to seal their light paths as well, though they do it in a different way.

Back to that laser light engine and its lifetime claim of up to 20,000 hours. That is typical of laser projectors, and translates to about a decade of use before that light engine needs to be replaced. That’s a clear advantage over lamp based projectors, whose lamps generally last from about 3,000 to 8,000 hours and will need to be replaced several times. But, as a plus – lamp replacements are quite affordable these days.

Lamp based projectors will have a lower up-front cost, but maintenance over its lifetime, while laser based projectors will have a higher up-front cost and low maintenance over its lifetime – and, the LU950 being a DLP, it doesn’t have any filters to clean, translating to even less maintenance. Lamp based projectors also have a shift in color and lose some of their brightness within the first several thousand hours, whereas lasers will lose brightness and shift color slowly over its lifetime – by that 20,000 hours, you can expect to lose maybe half the brightness.

The BenQ LU950 has a host of special features for business and education applications, including maintenance-free installation (thanks to the laser light engine and no filters to clean), advanced networking, and wireless capabilities using an optional plug-and-play device. The LU950 also has all of the inputs and connectors necessary for the usual purposes, including two HDMIs, some old-school video inputs, and HDBaseT. There are more, of course, but that’s a discussion saved for the Hardware Tour.

Highlights

  • 5,000 Lumens
  • $2,799 List Price
  • WUXGA Resolution (1920 x 1200)
  • DLP Technology
  • Laser Light Engine – Light Engine Life of Up to 20,000 Hours, No Filters
  • 100,000:1 Contrast Ratio
  • Good Placement Flexibility – 1.60:1 Zoom Lens, Lens Shift (60% Vertical, 23% Horizontal) and HDBaseT
  • Sealed Light Path – No Dust Blobs
  • Wireless Capabilities – BenQ InstaShowTM WDC10 plug-and-play device requires no driver installation and is compatible with any OS
  • BenQ Multiple Display Administrator (MDA) Software for Multiple-Projector Management
  • Supports Extron, Crestron, AMX and PJ-Link

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