Posted on February 12, 2021 By Philip Boyle
BenQ TK850i 4K Smart Home Entertainment Projector – Performance: Out of the box picture quality, 4K HDR content, 1080p Movies, Sports and General HDTV/streaming viewing, Skin Tones.
4K CONTENT WITH HDR
So how does the TK850i look out of the box? Pretty good! Like most lamp based projectors, the color space seems to be more narrow than a laser or LED-based projector, because it is. While Laser and LED projectors do have an advantage, the TK850i does a really good job out of the box.
More to the point, skin tones look excellent compared to other DLP projectors I’ve reviewed. Is the color perfectly balanced? No, it’s not. While that may leave some of you disappointed on some content, overall, BenQ has done very well with the overall color balance. BenQ has been perfecting their color science for years. The TK850i tone and color mapping combined with BenQ HDR-PRO technology really makes a difference in the TK850i out of the box picture quality. In the end, skin tones might look a little better in some scenes than in others. With a perfect calibration (assuming excellent production values in the content), skin tones should look equally good, no matter the scene.
Let’s talk a little about HD content, especially YouTube and live action streaming. During my testing this content I found that this specific HD content looks a little soft. This was less noticeable with 1080p movies, but I found it a little distracting. Here’s the deal folks, if you’re reading this review, your priority is not 1080p but 4K, and out of the box, this DLP projector performs better than most DLP. Colors are a “little” skewed to the reds and oranges, but that is to be expected from DLP.
The TK850i has plenty of horsepower to deal with watching sports in rooms with moderate ambient light. I definitely liked to see the deeper blacks that the projector produced along with the brilliant colors and wider dynamic range on the TK850i.
The BenQ TK850i unitizes the Texas Instruments 0.47” DMD chip, so it won’t look as sharp as the other 4K UHDs that use the 0.66” DMD chip. Still, the image is nicely crisp. During my testing, I did note a little softness at the corner of the image, but you would have to be very close to the screen to spot that.
Skin tones look good on the TK850i, especially considering that no calibration was applied to this projector. I find that on HDR content, sunlit faces tend to have a very slight red cast. That, however, is slight, overall and typical of DLP.
On 4K HDR content, oranges and reds were definitely a bit oversaturated, but this can be mitigated by a relatively small amount of adjustment. Skin tones, even right out of the box, are really very good in the best modes, even unadjusted! Calibrated, they should be noticeably more accurate. One major change I noted was that the TK850i uses a four-segment color wheel. I’m assuming that going from six segments to four allowed them to increase the brightness of the projector. This was a calculated move on BenQ’s part, as that increase in brightness ends up sacrificing some color range and accuracy. This solution relies more heavily on their tone and color mapping to compensate. That’s not a surprise, as BenQ has a history of focusing on color performance. Brilliant Color was on for almost all viewing. Use it.
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