Projector Reviews

2018 Best Home Theater Projectors Report – Non-Winners $5000-$25,000 Class

This page contains comments on projectors that were considered in this year’s Best Home Theater Projectors Report, but did not win awards.

BenQ HT9050/HT8050

BenQ HT9050 left angle

The BenQ HT9050 immediately seems to be a much better value at $8,995 than the $1,000-less HT8050. For the price difference, you get a solid state, long-life LED light engine (no need for expensive lamps) and support for BT.2020 color. Besides that, they are pretty identical. Manual zoom with a 1.6:1 ratio and no Lens Memory for those who want a widescreen for movies (seems to be the thing with these new 4K UHD projectors), and no 3D.

The optics on the BenQ HT8050 and 9050 are excellent. The BenQs do natural what other projectors need image processing for – projecting a razor-sharp 4K image. These projectors, while they support BT.2020, do not have HDR. That’s a shame, and what cost the projectors an award this time around (as well as last year). One thing it has going for it, thanks to its sharpness, if your thing is sports, it’s great on 1080p and should prove stunning on 4K sports, some of which are coming rather soon.

Dell S718QL

Dell S718QL - Laser projector

Though the Dell S718QL is pretty impressive, it was up against some tough competition in this category. Some will really like this projector, especially for its ultra short throw design, laser light engine, and ability to handle 4K content with 4K UHD resolution. Paired with the right screen UST ALR, this 5,000 lumen projector could easily replace an LCD or LED TV in your living room, and it has plenty of brightness for rooms with less-than-ideal lighting conditions.

It’s color, even calibrated isn’t the best around, but the S718QL is capable of some pretty good color, as we point out.  Black levels could be better, and the color wheel could be faster, so I (who am rainbow sensitive) see more rainbows than I would like.  If you are rainbow sensitive (5% of the population ??? – no one seems to know), I wouldn’t recommend. There are other projectors with faster color wheels. The wheel, however was faster than the Acer VL7860, the laser projector I preferred, that has much better black levels.

All considered – as a home projector, the Dell S718QL serves nicely as a brute force home entertainment projector.  Good color, and some pretty basic black level performance can combine to make a great projector for sports viewing, but less great for movies.  There are plenty of lumens for this Dell to do a fine job in most rooms with at least some decent lighting control – such as shades on windows in daytime, and lowering lights at night.  Remember to pair with a UST – ALR type screen.  You can use the S718QL with a standard matte type screen as well, but you will lose the light rejecting properties of the best match in screens, so that ambient light would be far more problem with  a matte screen.

It has three HDMI inputs – something we’ve been nagging manufacturers to do for years – and two 6-watt speakers. Of course, you’ll want to get yourself some external speakers if you want to do it justice on movies, as on-board speakers are always lacking in any real bass.