Game developers and hardware manufacturers have been striving to enhance the gaming experience. While gaming on a computer monitor is great, playing on a projection screen is an excellent way to level up your gaming experience. In this monthly gaming article, sponsored by BenQ, we will look at the hottest new game releases and give our honest review on each game and how gaming on a projector really enhances the experience. We will look at a new game each month, so be sure to check back to see the latest review.
IMMERSIVE GAMING EXPERIENCE
When I talk to people about gaming on a projector, I often get asked why anybody would want to game on a projector. People who know me know that I have a custom-built liquid cooled gaming computer running an EVGA GeForce RTX 3070 graphics card. The gaming computer is connected to an Alienware curved gaming monitor and numerous Razer accessories. The answer is evident once you experience gaming with a projector. Still, I will tell you that gaming with a projector and a massive screen is an immersive gaming experience you just can't get with a gaming monitor.
Think about it, would you rather see a First-Person Shooter (FPS) character on a small or large screen? Better yet, would you want to see your adversaries in an FPS game trying to sneak up on you on a 38-inch curved gaming monitor or a 110-inch projector screen? If the space is available, I bet most would choose the significantly larger projector screen. The level of immersion utilizing a projector and a massive projector screen is unmatchable with a gaming monitor or TV. Projecting onto a 110-inch screen made me feel like I was really in the game!
Let’s stay on the topic of FPS games for a few more moments. FPS games are played from a first-person perspective. The gamer actually plays through the eyes of their character. I find that gaming with a projector on a big screen gives me a significant advantage over my opponents in that is just plain easier to see them!
CHOOSING A GAMING PROJECTOR
BenQ sent Projector Reviews demo samples of the TK700 and X3000i Gaming Projectors for this article. Of course, BenQ having a series of gaming projectors is not a big surprise. After all, BenQ owns ZOWIE gaming monitors for eSports, a brand dedicated to developing professional eSports equipment. Gaming is in BenQ’s DNA.
LOW INPUT LAG
What makes a good gaming projector? For starters, a gaming projector must have the proper refresh rate. Basic video content such as movies, is usually created with 24hz or 30hz refresh rate/frame rate, with some hitting 60Hz benchmark. For many gamers though, a 60Hz refresh rate should not be the benchmark; instead, it should be the bare minimum. Modern Day gaming consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X, can push out visuals of up to 120Hz, so only a projector that supports such refresh rates are able to ensure the most optimal gaming experience available.
Low input lag is also important, especially for fast-paced, FPS games, where reaction time is crucial. If you are a casual gamer, a serious gamer, or a competitive gamer, nobody wants to game on a laggy projector, gaming monitor, or TV. When you press the dodge or the shoot button on your game controller, you definitely want that signal to be received and your character to react accordingly. If not, your game will be over before you really get started.
Input lag for projectors refers to the time between when the audio or video signal from the gaming console (input source) is received by the projector and when the projector actually responds and projects the video that corresponds to that signal, which can cause things such as lag time or image stuttering. We will need a lightning-fast response time for the FPS games we plan to test with the projectors.
As far as input lag goes, BenQ states 0-20ms is high speed, 20-40ms is fast, 40-62ms is slow, and anything lower than 63ms is very slow. The TK700 has a BenQ rated input lag of 4K@60Hz: 16.67ms, 1080p@240Hz: 4.16ms, 1080p@120Hz: 8.33ms, and 1080p@60Hz: 16.67ms. In addition, it should be noted that this competition-level gaming projector comes with a unique HDR Game mode for FPS gaming along with audio, visual, and optimized latency settings to give you an advantage over your rivals.
GAMING PICTURE AND AUDIO MODES
While ultra-low lag is great, if you can’t see what's going on around you, gaming defeat is imminent. Nobody likes to be killed by an adversary they had no hope of seeing. The good news is that many games in 2022 have enhanced graphics in HDR. The human eye is more sensitive to color and contrast than it is to resolution, and the inclusion of HDR support in games means you see everything in the bright and dark areas
Having a projector with some sort of HDR game mode is a huge bonus because it allows you to take advantage of these enhanced graphics and peek into those deep dark corners for threats tucked away in shadows.
Having an HDR game mode to take advantage of all the new gaming titles with enhanced graphics, enhanced dark details so you can spot threats hidden in the shadows, and sharp resolution are just a few of the more desirable gaming projector features.
With a gaming projector, you undoubtedly have immersive visuals pulling you into the experience. What about enhanced audio to further draw you into the gaming experience? If you genuinely want to be fully immersed in your game, you will need the audio and visuals to match. Your projected image can be breathtaking, but if the audio sounds like pennies banging around in a tin can, you will not really feel like you are in the game.
Having dedicated preset audio-visual game modes is extremely helpful on a gaming projector. There are three game modes to be on the lookout for, FPS, RPG, and SPG. It is quite useful to have an FPS mode with optimized latency and enhanced details to help reveal enemies, RPG mode for full cinematic immersion, and a SPG mode with vibrant details for incredibly realistic looking sports teams and stadiums are additional features that make up a good gaming projector.
A game mode can also manipulate how audio is delivered from the projector. Once again, the idea isn’t necessarily to focus on the game itself, but how the storytelling component of the game can be best portrayed using audio as a way to highlight some of the key aspects of the game.
While the projector manufacturers like BenQ are working hard to improve sound systems built into their units, no gaming projector can match the power of an external sound system or a soundbar.
The latest gaming projectors like the TK700 include an HDMI eARC input that allows compressed Dolby Atmos and 7.1-Channel Audio passthrough to an external sound system through one HDMI cable for an immersive audio experience.