Posted on September 4, 2019 By Art Feierman
A big “thank you” goes out from Projector Reviews to BenQ. By bringing out the HT5550, BenQ has continued what I have always considered to be the best series of projectors in terms of price performance. Most significantly, this BenQ projector is a bright one, and offers better black level performance than any other DLP projector I can think of, anywhere near its price.
And, by bringing back this series we again see a market where one from this series projectors is going up against one from the latest Epson UB series, for overall picture and handling of really dark scenes. “It’s those really dark scenes that separate serious home theater projectors from the run-of-the-mill.”
The BenQ HT5550 won our Best in Class – Value Home Theater Award in the $2,000 – $5,000 Projector Class. It went up against the new Epson Home Cinema 5050UB, which won the Performance Award. Some of that value comes from price. At $2499, it comes in roughly $500 less (on the street?) than the Epson HC5050UB.
The BenQ HT5550, like the W7000 and W6000 that came before, sports a Dynamic Iris and a 1.60:1 manual zoom lens. The placement flexibility also happens to be excellent for a DLP projector, and includes a heathy amount of vertical and horizontal lens shift – that, of course, is manual like the lens. Its 1,800 lumens has enough power to cut through a modest amount of ambient light, so the projector will be at home in both a dedicated home theater and a media room type environment.
BenQ has been focusing on shipping their projectors with some really good color right out of the box, in the better modes. That’s to be commended. With this goal, they join companies like Sony and Epson, where we now anticipate some pretty good color without calibration. I’ve always really liked how DLP projectors tend to handle color in the dark scenes – I call that the DLP look and feel. The HT5550 has it!
The HT5550’s color will improve with a calibration, but not massively. Do try out our calibration settings, though – they’re “on the house” and found in the full review. It won’t take much more than 10 minutes to drop all the calibration settings for a couple of modes into your new BenQ.
With the HT5550, BenQ combines that really good color with some “ultra-high contrast” black levels. This is a term I use with projectors that can handle dark scenes well enough to achieve a level of quality where improvement in other areas is more important than even better blacks. The BenQ does very well on 1080p content, but it does especially well with 4K content with HDR.
BenQ provides good controls over “gamma,” which is officially EOTF in the world of HDR. I do find the HDR a bit too bright on some mostly very dark scenes, but with some mid-brightness areas. In that way, it differs from the UBs and some more expensive Sonys and JVCs. Still it looks good when doing that, though! For that reason, I tend to adjust the BenQ to one of the two lowest settings on EOTF. I find the end result most pleasing.
A scene from Journey to the South Pacific, projected by the BenQ HT5550.
A scene from Passengers, projected by the BenQ HT5550.
A scene from Black Panther, projected by the BenQ HT5550.
A scene from Thor, projected by the BenQ HT5550.
An HDTV football game, projected by the BenQ HT5550.
What we have here with the BenQ HT5550 is a DLP projector that does really great black levels and excellent color, giving the projector a high value proposition for the $2,499 price. Plenty of placement flexibility, with a healthy amount of zoom and lens shift, makes the projector easy to install.
That 1,800 lumens can cut through a modest amount of ambient light, so the HT5550 will be at home in either a dedicated home theater or a media room with some degree of control over ambient light. A three year warranty comes with the BenQ HT5550 as well. That’s another piece of the value proposition, as most competitors offer one or two years.
Good News! We have published a direct comparison of the BenQ HT5550 and the Epson HC5050UB simultaneously with the publishing of this report:
Read the BenQ HT5550 Vs. Epson Home Cinema 5050UB Comparison Review
BenQ HT5550 Review
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