Posted on February 17, 2021 By Philip Boyle
BENQ X1300i Gaming Projector Review – Performance: Out Of-the-Box Picture Quality; Skin Tones; Black Levels and Shadow Detail; HDR Content; 1080P Movies; Sports and Streaming Content; Brightness; Sharpness; Contrast; 4K Inputs; Low Input Lag; Audible Noise.
There are two out-of-the-box (OTB) modes on the BenQ X1300i. They are Gaming and Entertainment. FYI, you can tell you’re in Gaming Mode because the menu highlights are hot pink.
In Entertainment mode, the X1300 menu takes on purple highlights. In this OTB mode your options are: Bright, Living Room, Sports, Game, Cinema and User. Six modes are available in the Entertainment menu., See the chart above. For each of these modes, you can use any of the four Game Maestro options as well.
BenQ has tuned audio settings to each of these modes as well. It’s not one size fits all, but that’s why there’s an Advanced menu where you can adjust all aspects of the video from brightness, color, sharpness and more. In the Advanced menus, you are able to customize the projectors gamma and color settings in detail. Advanced gamers with just a little knowledge of what they want out of the projector can go into the Advanced options and dial in exactly the video and audio experience needed for the specific game they are running. BenQ is an industry leader in gaming displays, and it’s clear with the X1300i that they’ve brought their knowledge of the gaming display market into their projector business.
The bottom line regarding out-of-the-box performance is that it’s really very good. Hardcore enthusiasts looking for near-perfect color, will calibrate, but most users will be more than satisfied with the OTB presets.
I’m very impressed by the out-of-the-box picture quality on the BenQ X1300i.
When it comes to skin tones, the BenQ X1300 does a commendable job. Cinema Mode makes skin tones look the most natural. Be mindful this is dependent on your room’s lighting situation and screen formulation. My lab allows me to test in both complete dark as well as a more typical living room environment. Candidly, a lot of lower-cost home entertainment projectors do a poor job on color, specifically skin tones, presenting them as pinkish or some other unnatural shade. This is not the case on the X1300i. This projector has some of the most natural skin tones I’ve seen on a DLP. Take a look at my breakdown in the slideshow below.
Bright mode is designed for rooms with lots of uncontrolled amibant light. The picture does get Blue/Green. When you have so much uncontrolled ambient light you have to expect to sacrifice some color accuracy for increased brightness.
Living Room mode gets you into a more natural color pallet without going nuclear on the lamp output. This allows you to compensate for some uncontrolled ambient light without sacrificing more natural skin tones.
It’s hard for me to express how impressed I am at the performance of this $1299 projector. BenQ could have only focused on gaming color and not worried about how it looks as a home entertainment projector. However, to their credit, they paid as much attention to how movies, tv and streaming content looks on the X1300i. With the BenQ X1300i, you’ll enjoy movies, TV, sports, and video games with good color performance all around.
Sub $1500 projectors and good black-level performance typically don’t go together, as that level of black and shadow performance is usually reserved for projectors designed for dedicated home theater rooms, with full control of ambient lighting. I think it’s fair to say that the X1300i is geared more toward living rooms, family rooms and situations where you will be taking the projector to other locations.
The reality is if you expect ambient light to be present, black-level accuracy becomes less likely to achieve, as ambient light washes out those dark colors first.
BenQ changes things around a bit in this regard. Black levels are darker, still more grey than black, but darker than a lot of competitors. Even with a lot of uncontrolled ambient light sources the X1300i still produces good darks and colors. It’s impressive. I’m sure that a lot of this has to do with BenQ’s expertise with color science combined with BenQ Dynamic Black technology. I’d even go so far as to say the X1300i has the best black-level performance I’ve seen in a DLP at this price.
Input lag, or latency (the term used with projectors), refers to the time between the audio/video signal from your gaming console being received by the projector and when the projector actually projects the video onto the screen. To say that the input lag on the X1300i is low is an understatement.
I’m not a professional gamer, but I didn’t detect any visible lag between pressing a button and the action being translated on screen. This projector is fast when put into speed mode. Great job, BenQ!
So how did the X1300i do on our input lag testing? Too be honest all I can go on is my experience gaming using this projector because we were unable to get the X1300i to display data from our Bodnar Input Lag tester. There was nothing wrong with the Bodnar. the BenQ would not display the test. I’ll update this section once I get a chance to talk to BenQ about what might be causing this behavior.
Source and Preset Switching Speed
Ok. I do have a bone to pick with BenQ regarding this amazing projectors slow switching between sources and presets. I know it may seem like nitpicking, but seriously, these actions were such a distraction every time I went to perform one of them. This even includes the Power On speed. From Power On to Ready-to-use, it was 42 seconds before Android TV finished loading. Slow switching on the X1300i is like putting crank down windows on a Ferrari!
The X1300i did a really good job on the movies I used for testing. In the photo player below you can see some images I took from some of my favorite movies to use for testing. I took photos of Aladdin, Avengers Endgame, Valerian and the Mandalorian. These movies and shows just looked great. There’s just so much color and even contrast! The color and contrast is helped along by BenQ Dynamic Black. It does make quite the difference. The BenQ X1300i has some of the most dynamic yet natural looking color I’ve seen on a projector in this price range!
My experience with Sports and HDTV was excellent. Whether watching ESPN or content from HBO max, it looked very good. Colors were great without being overly unnatural. No radioactive lime green or blown out reds. Just a great overall experience.
When it came to watching HDTV content, I used Last Week Tonight on HBO, the X1300i did a great job. Jon Oliver’s skin tones were natural without the clay like faces often seen on DLP projectors.
HDR has become very widespread. TV sets, monitors, and projectors all seem to have an HDR badge on them these days. However, the truth is that the definition of HDR might vary with different display devices. A big part of the BenQ solution is to re-define the meaning of HDR for projectors.
BenQ believes that projectors should have their own unique calibration process and their own HDR standards, different from that of TV’s. Because so many factors can vary with projectors, such as the distance between the projector and the screen, and the screen material used or the brightness of the projector. Many manufacturers are now trying to create cinema projectors that meet defined HDR standards.
BenQ has begun implementing a Dynamic Iris on some of its projectors to control how much light gets through the projecting lens. Sadly, BenQ doesn’t offer Dynamic Iris on the X1300i. What BenQ does offer is color engineers with years of experience and expertise in precise color and tone mapping. Those expert engineers have found the best performance within the projector’s capabilities of keeping all the details and tonal changes of an image.
Overall, the news hasn’t been great when it comes to displaying HDR content on a projector. HDR on a TV can work amazingly well because televisions like OLED and LCD, can turn off individual pixels or zones, creating very dark black areas. LCD televisions with local dimming can actually control the brightness in quadrants. Projectors don’t do that. Projectors can’t turn off individual pixels. Projectors don’t offer local dimming. There’s another issue observed here on Projectorreviews.com and other review websites. It’s that HDR implementation can actually result in an image that looks worse than SDR. So, what’s the answer AND how does the BenQ X1300i look when displaying HDR content? Flip through the photo player above and I think you’ll agree that BenQ has done an excellent job with their implementation of HDR on the X1300i.
The BENQ X1300i has a rated brightness of 3,000 lumens. I took 3-4 readings about 15-20% out from the center of the lens, which usually gives a pretty good approximation of ANSI lumens. At full wide-angle, I measured the X1300i in its brightest picture mode, BRIGHT, with the lamp power set to NORMAL.
BENQ X1300i Brightness:
At wide zoom, Normal Lamp, Bright mode, the X1300i measured 3393 lumens which was slightly higher than BenQ published number of 3000.
For the seven available modes, I also measured them at wide-zoom, since this is the brightest possible result for the projector as well as the way the manufacturer likely measured it. In addition, I took a tele-zoom measurement in the X1300i’s brightest mode (bright) to give you an idea of the amount of light lost by zooming in the lens.
Brightness at wide-zoom = 3393 ANSI Lumens
Brightness at tele-zoom = 2507 ANSI Lumens
As you can see the tele measurement comes out at a 26.11% lumens sacrifice.
The fan noise produced by X1300i was on average with other compact 3,000 lumen projectors. BenQ lists the noise as 31db in NORMAL and 27db in ECO mode. I never found the fan noise from the X1300i to be distracting but I would have preferred it to be quieter.
© 2021 Projector Reviews