The development of 4LED projectors like the BenQ X3000i is the next step in LED projector technology to improve the brightness and color saturation of the 3LED design. 4LED projectors like the X3000i are LED projectors that add a blue “pump” LED to the red, green, and blue LED ecosystem. The added blue “pump” LED light is also converted to green via the ceramic phosphor medium to augment the output of green light, increasing the overall brightness.
Typically, as projector use continues, the LED lights in the projector tend to deteriorate unevenly so that one light (usually the red LED) might deteriorate far more rapidly than the others, causing a greenish-blue tint to the resulting image. The BenQ X3000i also offers an auto color calibration feature that allows for more consistent color during the inevitable decay of the LEDs throughout the projector’s lifespan.
The BenQ X3000i 4LED provides up to 20,000 hours of use in Normal Mode while hitting up to 30,000 hours of use while projecting with Eco Mode. This is almost 10 to 15 times the lifespan of a traditional projector lamp. LED projectors avoid the typical maintenance costs associated with conventional projector’s more frequent lamp replacements.
ANDROID TV 10.0 OS (VIA INCLUDED BENQ QS01 DONGLE)
A hidden third HDMI (HDMI-3) input port, which is designed for media streaming only, is concealed under the projector’s top cover. It is intended for the included BenQ QS0I ATV dongle. End-users can enjoy Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, parental control services, and access all the latest Android apps once the included Google-certified BenQ QS01 ATV dongle is installed. The BenQ QS01 also allows multi-platform wireless casting (Android, iOS, Mac, Windows computer, or Chromebook).
It should be noted that BenQ states, “Netflix only supports specifically authorized devices and is not natively available on BenQ smart home projectors.” However, Netflix can be enjoyed by either casting from a Google Chrome browser, connecting your device with an HDMI cable, or manually installing compatible apps directly from Google Play.
The BenQ QS01 ATV also gives access to BenQ’s FamiLand Kids Channel (TV). BenQ states, “BenQ FamiLand Kids Channel (TV) collects content most suitable for kids to watch from YouTube and channelize these playlists to let kids choose the channel they want to watch.”
The BenQ QS0I ATV dongle also allows Google Voice search and Google Assistant via the built-in microphone on the remote control. In addition, Google Assistant provides voice control of the X3000i. Press the Google Assistant mic button on the remote, and you are ready to control the X3000i with your voice. For example, you could use voice control to ask the projector, “show me the projector settings,” “play some music,” and “tell me the weather outside.” The projector even told me jokes when I said, “got any new jokes,” as usual, the Google Assistant had some pretty funny jokes ready for me.
HDR-PRO™, HDR GAME, HDR10, and HLG
BenQ’s HDR-PRO™, together with Dynamic Black Technology, supports the X3000i to deliver vivid contrast and realistic shadows as its algorithm optimizes the 4LED light source power and adjusts the appropriate brightness shown on the projection surface to disclose fine points in blackness.
The X3000i projector features HDR10 and HDR Game. After the X3000i auto-detects metadata or Electro-Optical Transfer Function (EOTF) info from HDR contents, HDR10 and HDR Game become available for selection. HDR10 and HDR Game mode sends static metadata to the video stream, which is encoded information on color calibration settings required to make images look more like the content creator’s intentions. HDR10 is best for displaying HDR movies. HDR Game mode is used to activate the Game Settings menu for HDR gameplay with Game Modes, Details Adjustment, and Fast Mode options.
With 4K HDR content, extended color space with better highlight details and shadow details can be delivered. BenQ’s HDR Tone and Color Mapping functions are designed to adjust and show the best image based on the specific projector specifications. However, Tone Mapping (whether dynamic or not) requires the projector to compromise something (highlights, brightness, contrast, color, or black level). Since different devices have different specifications, the color and brightness of a projected image might differ from the original content as it was intended to be shown. BenQ says its Tone Mapping and Color Mapping functions will present the best results by taking the projector’s actual specifications into account.
The BenQ X3000i also supports Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), the HDR standard developed for live broadcast by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), in conjunction with Japan’s national broadcaster Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai. Unfortunately, most broadcast TV does not yet support 4K, let alone HDR. However, I do like to point out that NBC Sports did feature 4K with HDR and Dolby Atmos for its 2022 Winter Olympics coverage. The 2022 Winter Olympics marked the broadcaster’s first use of the enhanced format. With X3000i, you are all set to enjoy sports and award shows when more networks decide to start broadcasting content in HDR.
Sony and Microsoft initiated the creation of the HDR Gaming Interest Group (HGiG). BenQ is an official member of HGiG along with game developers and publishers such as Electronic Arts (EA), Activision, Ubisoft Entertainment, Epic Games, and Rockstar Games. So, what exactly is HGiG? Here is the mission statement straight from HGiG’s website.
“HDR gaming further immerses gamers into the content and has become a strong trend in the industry, but the results are not yet optimal, which in some cases can impact gaming experiences. With a variety of HDR formats across TV displays, volunteering companies joined together to discuss how gaming experiences can provide a more immersive experience through HDR and collaboratively identified a set of best practices for HDR game content developers and game platforms as well as for TV display manufacturers. As a result, HDR content, combined with optimized game platforms and TV displays, will be able to further leverage HDR technology for a truly immersive gaming experience. This collection of best practices proposed in the guideline will be easy to implement and will also support improved operability.”
Following HGiG guidelines or best practices to maximize HDR picture quality from gaming consoles like the PlayStation and Xbox.
These gaming systems have HDR calibration menus which can be used to teach the gaming console the lower and upper contrast limitations of your projector.
Problems can arise when your projector attempts to tone map the already tone-mapped image. HGiG intends to prevent this so that once your gaming console has learned the parameters of your projector, it outputs all games accordingly.
ENHANCED AUDIO RETURN CHANNEL (eARC)
The BenQ X3000i has a good built-in dual 5-watt audio system; however, many end-users may still want to attach it to an AV Receiver (or sound bar) to take advantage of high-quality sound. The X3000i has eARC support, even though the HDMI-2 port on the rear of the X3000i simply says ARC.
Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) allows for pass-thru of high-bitrate audio to your surround sound system. HDMI eARC supports lossless multichannel audio, including Dolby Atmos. Apps like Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime are loaded with multichannel content. If you do not use eARC or ARC, the only other option would be to connect the optical audio output or the audio output jack.
Like most smart flat-panel televisions, the optical and audio output jacks cannot pass the multi-channel surround formats so they will only provide your external sound system stereo or Dolby Pro Logic information.
2D KEYSTONE CORRECTION
The X3000i has a 2D Keystone to assist with setup and alignment. 2D Keystone eliminates trapezoid effects when projecting from various locations to help lessen anxiety when setting the projector up. The projector can automatically correct the vertical sides of a distorted image by enabling the Auto Vertical Keystone on the Installation menu. Manual horizontal set up ±30 degrees is also available. However, 2D Keystone adjustment might impact latency in Game Mode. BenQ suggests setting the 2D Keystone values to zero to enjoy low latency gaming. Setting the 2D Keystone to other values will turn Fast Mode off.
As per usual, I placed the X3000i on a level surface and moved the projector until the image matched up to my screen for a perfect image on my 110-inch Screen Innovations (SI) Solo Pro 2 Unity AT Pure White 1.3 gain screen. I took my time and did not have to use any of the X3000i’s Keystone adjustments.
I recommend spending a few extra minutes getting the alignment perfect by adjusting the projector’s position whenever possible. Using digital keystone correction slightly degrades any projector’s image quality and induces latency. Although I did not need to utilize any keystone settings, it is nice knowing it is there if ever needed. If I was traveling and was forced to set the X3000i and projector screen on an uneven surface, I would be happy to have the ability to Keystone.