Posted on July 9, 2018 By Art Feierman
This BenQ TK800 review has been a long time in the making. I got a look at a pre-production unit in April and published a respectable “First Look” review and a comparison between the TK800 and their HT2550 from the standpoint of which you should purchase based on your room and viewing habits. We finally received at TK800 a few weeks ago. I watched it a bit, took a few “out of the box” photos of picture quality, and sent it off to be calibrated.
Since then, I’ve put dozens of hours in watching the BenQ, replaying scenes, etc.
Short story: Want 4K capabilities, a very sharp image, a healthy amount of brightness for rooms with more than minimal ambient light, and a rock bottom price for all of the above? The TK800 very likely will fit your needs. There are a few competitors out there. We’ll help you figure out if this BenQ projector is the best choice for your setup.
Editor’s note: I was hoping to get this review published before leaving on an Alaska cruise. That didn’t quite happen so I’m publishing what I can from the ship, on the first full day of cruis’n. The performance page will have to wait until I get back, as will some clean up/proofing. Eric will finish his calibration pages in about a week, and I will add them when I return.
Regarding performance, here’s a very short version. The TK800 came in just a bit short of the 3000 lumen claim. Eric came up with an eco (low lamp) best calibration with about 1000 lumens, and a 4K HDR mode was created with more emphasis on brightness, and that came in at 1933 lumens. Impressive, considering the ending color results. More when the page is up. Sharpness is also on that page. Suffice to say that the TK800 is a very typical 4K UHD projector – very sharp on 4K content. If you aren’t siting really close you probably can’ tell the difference between the BenQ and an entry level true 4K projector. -art
Yes the TK800 is near identical to its HT2550 sibling, and the differences so well defined, that much of this review is pulled directly from the HT2550, for example, only the color wheel and the front color of the projector differ regarding all the aspects of hardware. But I watched and have written here about the TK800 a bit differently. This time, because of the differences, between the two, I primarily watched the TK800 with some lights on, or some light coming in from partially or even mostly open shutters on my windows, sometimes a bit of both. In other words, I have treated this BenQ as a “brighter room” projector, in that we’re talking rooms brighter than the traditional man cave/dedicated home theater.
The TK800 claims 3,000 lumens. 3,000 lumens which is a not uncommon number for 4K UHD projectors to declare and those like the TK800 have a “brighter” color wheel.
Image from Marvel's Jessica Jones on Netflix - streamed in 4K!
4K stream from Netflix: Blacklist pilot
1080i GameMix content from DirectTV. Projected by the TK800. Even the smallest type is readable (if you aren't sitting too far away).
Last of four consecutive HDTV images. This from a Florence and the Machine performance at a UK music festival.
The TK800 is a physically small home theater/home entertainment projector. Optoma and other DLP manufacturers, just like BenQ, typically offer two models, generally identical regarding most things, except for using a different color wheel. (That’s the difference between those more expensive Optoma UHD60 and UHD65 4K UHDs.)
The TK800 uses an RGBW color wheel (red, green, blue, and white slices (white is really a clear slice). This is a typical color wheel configuration found on most business and education DLP projectors.
Traditional home theater projectors avoid using a white/clear slice. The plus side is that with this color wheel, the TK800 gets a significant boost in white lumens (although color lumens suffer).
When watching something like sports with a lot of amount of ambient light present, that extra boost of white tends to make the image look less washed out, provides more pop to the image, even if colors take a bit of a hit.
I will show you some comparison images of the same scenes on both, to further explain those differences. The real trick for you is not whether to choose the TK800 over the HT2550, but whether to choose one of these, instead of a competitor.
One difference that counts for BenQ is they priced both of theirs the same. Everyone else so far charges more money for the RGBRGB projector – the one claiming to be not as bright, but claiming the better picture.
There are plenty of preset color modes to choose from. We’ll discuss and show comparisons between them for those who love the details.
Overall I’ve been pleased with the TK800. It does very nicely in its brighter modes when I have all my rear lighting on in the theater. Or with my four window’s shutters open more than usual for sports viewing.
Let’s get this review moving. Highlights!
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