BenQ X3000i Gaming Projector Review : The Ultra-HD 4LED Projector | Tech Reviews
Lasers were yesterday, now LEDs are taking off. More brilliant than ever, they deliver a color volume in the BenQ X3000i that can compete with TV sets for the first time, as our test shows.
We know and love BenQ as a manufacturer of high-quality DLP projectors, who always have a good feel for the market and – more importantly – excellent color reproduction. Devices such as the somewhat older Full HD projector W1400 or its 4K successors W2700 and W5700 are legends among home cinema fans who want to hit the market price under 2000 euros.
However, there is still a price gap that is causing demanding home cinema builders to migrate to the high-priced world of three-chip projectors above 5000 euros, while 4K single-chip DLPs have to become increasingly cheaper and have a dubious reputation for their economical picture quality, which is not necessarily the case is justified.
The technique of pixel shifting, which was accused of being “fake 4K”, sometimes conjured up clearer images on the screen in our measurements than expensive 3-chip devices with native 4K if they showed suboptimal convergence.
Optimal settings: BenQ X3000i
|RGB-Gain||,98, 97, 102|
Be that as it may, BenQ hasn’t added anything to the demanding home cinema projector segment for a long time and is concentrating on the affluent target groups of gamers and living room movie buffs with design standards. And now, with the X3000i , a device has emerged that surprisingly easily outperforms many full-fledged, outrageously expensive home cinema projectors in one very important image aspect: HDR brilliance with an extended color space.
This is made possible with a new type of 4LED light source that delivers the purest primary colors with an enormous luminous intensity of 3000 lumens and is said to last for 20,000 hours . The projector does not need a mechanical color wheel, and due to the fast switching time, rainbow artifacts are no longer a problem. For years, when the first pocket-sized LED projectors appeared, we have been waiting for such a device that scales the advantages already recognized back then to home cinema.
However, the X3000i only succeeds to a limited extent, because, as mentioned, its target group is not home cinema fans, but customers with a lifestyle who spontaneously set up a projector in the living room to stream a sporting event or a film with friends or to gamble on the console. Because the BenQ X3000i is an ingenious all-in-one solution for this.
The device, which weighs 6.4 kg and is not necessarily tiny, but extremely attractively designed, can be set up very quickly thanks to the manual, short 1.3x zoom and vertical auto -trapezoid. Fixed ceiling mounting is also possible, and screw-on additional feet are supplied even for placing the projector upside down, for example on a high shelf .
The “ i ” in the name puts the smart capabilities in the foreground, which start with installing the included HDMI stick QS01 in the slot provided in the device. After that, Android 10 (2 GB Ram, 7 GB free ROM) is the system basis, but it is also possible to connect to the screen copy of Android phones, iPhones or Windows PCs at the push of a button.
Only media playback via the USB port was denied to us. With the right app, access to our home network worked immediately, and apart from Netflix, all major video-on-demand providers are also available. Bluray players or game consoles can be connected to the two HDMI sockets, which offer V2.0b with eARC, after which the full splendor of HDR enjoyment can begin.
LED instead of Laser
Normally one would think that the future of the projector world belongs to lasers due to the enormous light output. But our experiences in the laboratory were mixed. When it comes to blue lasers that use yellow phosphors, a color wheel is still needed, so nothing is gained in terms of HDR color space and rainbow errors.
In the worst case, Brilliantcolor limits the color volume. With an additional red laser, the danger of glitter begins, three lasers are HDR motley, but incredibly expensive. LED light sources would be the perfect alternative, but we haven’t seen anything beyond 800 lumens. BenQ relies on 4 primary color LEDs , using two different technologies including a luminescent layer for green. In fact, we were able to verify almost 2900 lumens, but with a, as usual, unbearable green tint in “Bright” mode.
Calibrated, we got an impressive 2000 lumens out of the X3000i – almost twice as much as from the home cinema specialist W5700. The ingenious thing about this is that 90% of the DCI cinema color space is already covered here, for which you had to connect the color filter in the old lamp projectors, which cost too much light output.
The X3000i also has such a filter. It makes the image 30% darker, but brings 100% DCI colors for the first time, which corresponds to a BT.2020 color volume of 84.4%. This is the level of the best QLED televisions, much more colorful than OLED, and something like this has so far been absolute wishful thinking in the projector segment.
When it comes to HDR colors, pro home cinema enthusiasts can now eye the gamers who own this beautiful X3000i with envy. Unfortunately, there is still room for improvement when it comes to contrast. It is in the good range of the most modern 4K DLP chips and is only fun in the nice and quiet Smart ECO mode, where the projector curbs the light power in dark scenes.
This is perhaps not so important for gaming, what counts here is brilliance and, above all, that real 240 fps are offered in Full HD – with a latency time of 5 ms , which we measured . At 60 Hz it’s still an excellent 18 ms. Variable refresh rates or 120 Hz at 4K are left out. So we played a few rounds of PS5 and Xbox, which was hyper-realistic immersive in our home cinema, but then switched back to the quieter HDR films a little dizzily.
As you can see in the measurement chart below (measurement chart, top left), BenQ doesn’t let anyone take the butter off the bread here. With a contrast of 1000:1, there are deviations from the color positions of less than 2%, i.e. colors almost suitable for the studio. The gamma curve fits perfectly, the white balance is excellent. Incidentally, it is noticeable that 24p cinema films are displayed without pulldown stuttering and that domestic television also has its 50 Hz cut to fit.
Even 3D is possible, but we only called it up briefly. Thanks to the fast chip and the LED technology, false contour errors are negligible, but critical quantization noise was hardly noticeable either. The image sharpness is very good, but not at its best for Ultra HD.
In the lab we use the Calman Ultimate color measurement software from Portrait Displays, see www.portrait.com
In the HDR area, the tuning ex works was not yet fully developed. We first had to calibrate the excellent measurement results and save setups with and without “large color space”. Then the color palette was phenomenal, especially when it came to red tones. We can only hope that BenQ will bring comparable technology to a dedicated home cinema projector that fits into our enthusiast installation in terms of projection ratio.
Intended for lifestyle, streamers and gamers, the BenQ X3000i actually opens up new horizons in the home cinema market with its 4LED lighting technology and many smart scenarios. It achieves a quality of HDR colors that is new for projectors.