Posted on September 23, 2016 By Art Feierman
Interestingly, the BenQ HT3050 is the fourth BenQ projector to win this award for Performance under $1000. Last year’s winner, was actually a business BenQ – the HC1200, which in a number of ways is similar.
The HT3050 just squeezes into the under $1000 price category by virtue of significant online discounting.
As a single chip DLP projector it doesn’t sport as many color lumens as it claims in terms of white lumens, but it comes a lot closer than most competing DLPs. BenQ advertises 2000 white lumens, but based on other DLPs, expect about 2/3 as many color ones. Many DLP projectors come in down 50% to 70%. The bottom line there, is that it can produce a healthy amount of lumens with excellent color. But there are a number of brighter projectors in the price range. If you really have a bright room, you’ll probably want to look for a brighter alternative.
A tad better than entry level black level performance, and that DLP look and feel have always been a strength of earlier BenQ projectors, and that applies to the HT3050 as well. I definitely lean toward recommending this projector to budget challenged movie aficionados for the look and feel of the projected image. (And it’s nice and sharp too.)
Downsides are primarily only having a 1 year warranty (like many competitors at the price), and other things that low cost projectors also suffer from, such as limited lens shift – but at least the HT3050 has some shift, which is more than most competitors can claim). Of course, that as a single chip DLP projector, the HT3050 uses a color wheel which affects those of us who are rainbow sensitive (I am!) But in this case, the HT3050 pretty much turns that negative into a neutral, with a 4X color wheel, faster than similarly priced competitors, and resulting in rainbows that I notice less than with almost any other sub $1000 DLP projector.
The other downside, is the lack of CFI – smooth motion. Very ew projectors under $1000 offer it (although, interestingly, the Value winner, the Epson 2040/2045 does have it). I always say, that feature is a nice extra, but not critical.
I like the remote control, it’s got a back light, good range, and it also supports HDMI-Link, which now that I have a Samsung Blu-ray UHD player, I can really appreciate, since that player has a lousy remote. Instead I can just use the BenQ’s. Nice.
3D is pretty good, using DLP-Link, I prefer RF glasses, for various reasons.
If you do have an excellent room (home theater or cave) I particularly like this projector for the price. In a family or “other” room environment, where you probably have to deal with some ambient light (even at night), you might want to with a brighter projector although 2000 lumens is certainly respectable. Still, for the home theater environment, I have to consider it my top choice at its price or less, thus this award.
BenQ has been touting color performance on these new HTs. In the best color modes, it is deserved.
Good brightness, good color, nice feature set, and thanks to discounting, just under $1000. The zoom lens has reasonable range, and as mentioned theres a small amount of lens shift, which can come in very handy if you are ceiling mounting.
Remember, every projector in the under $1000 is really pretty entry level. The differences between the best of these projectors at this price point is minimal compared to the best projectors under, say, $2000, and way below the better $2000 – $4000 projectors.
One missing feature that the competing Epson offers, is one rare under $1000, and that’s CFI – smooth motion (Creative Frame Interpolation). That smooths out fast action, and is most popular for sports viewing. Funny, it’s the lower end projectors – more mixed use ones – movies, sports, Mr. Robot, Game of Thrones, HGTV, where having CFI is most appreciated, but it tends mostly to show up in over $2000 models.
The six segment color wheel helps minimize the RBE – the rainbow effect that a small portion of us can see. If you are RBE sensitive like me, that may well affect your purchase decision, but if not sensitive, you only have to worry about family and friends seeing RBE, and they are less critical than you. It can however really bother a very tiny slice of the population. Hey, if you buy one and you prove to be sufficiently rainbow sensitive, you’ll know immediately. In that case, you can switch to a non-DLP projector as some do.
In other words, all considered, there are a few trade-offs, as would be expected in the entry level price range, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find great happiness with the HC1200.
I count the BenQ as more of a one person’s projector while the “Value” projector – the Epson, is more of a built for “the whole family to enjoy.”
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