BenQ SH910 Conference Room Projector
April 12, 2012,
Image Quality - The SH910 has four preset modes (Dynamic, Presentation, Cinema, and sRGB) which vary brightness, contrast, and saturation to fit their particular applications. These presets work well for data projections, but they are less effective for video material with saturation and sharpness too high and brightness too low. Unfortunately, you cannot adjust any picture controls when in a preset mode, and the default image sharpness setting is distracting. Set at nearly the top of its range, the default sharpness setting renders the image slightly grainy with unnatural-looking edges. This is particularly noticeable when watching movies as the "theater effect" is severely compromised, even in the Cinema preset. Fortunately, there are two User modes which give you control over picture controls including brightness, contrast, sharpness, tint, and three color temperature choices. A little time spent on these settings produces a really impressive video image with plenty of impact and excellent flesh tones. The SH910's 3,000:1 contrast ratio renders a good balance of shadow and highlight details, and video noise is undetectable.
Photos and data images have plenty of depth and color balance is especially good. There are no hot spots, and small typefaces are easy to read even at maximum keystone compensation. Edge-to-edge focus is excellent with smooth scaling of images of other than 16:9 aspect ratios.
Audio Quality - As you might expect in a bright conference room projector, the SH910 has a beefy audio output from two 10-watt SRS-certified speakers. The sound is rich and buzz-free all the way to maximum volume. Most projectors in this class either have no speakers at all or their combined output is under 10 watts. BenQ has really hit a sweet spot with their SH910 because for many situations, no external speakers will be needed.
Connectivity - The rear panel of the SH910 has HDMI and USB connectors for digital sources and thumb-drive media as well as composite, component, and S-video inputs. There is also a LAN input that supports multiple LAN formats including centralized projector management, Crestron, SNMP, and PJ-Link. If remote control and monitoring is important to you, you will find that the SH910 accommodates most LAN environments. For wireless operation, you can purchase an optional wireless display adapter from BenQ for $129.
Remote Control and Menus - BenQ has done a nice job of keeping the remote control simple and easy to understand. Keys are clearly labeled, and some are color-coded. You will appreciate the built-in laser pointer for directing your audience's attention to specifics of your material, and source selections each have their own individual keys (Computer, HDMI, Video, S-Video, and Network). The menu navigation keys are large and well separated which is handy in dimly lit rooms, and the large, round Enter key is placed right in the middle of the key cluster. It takes very little time to get used to operating this remote without looking.
The on-screen menus are equally easy to use. Only one menu is layered, and the most common image settings are grouped on a single menu so setup is accomplished quickly.
Brightness - The SH910 has a theoretical maximum brightness specification of 4,000 ANSI lumens, and our test sample put out 3,810 lumens in its Dynamic preset mode. That makes it one of the brightest 1080p projectors currently available for under $1,800. Its other three preset modes had brightness readings as follows: Presentation - 3,040 lumens, Cinema - 2,180 lumens, and sRGB - 2,250 lumens.
Eco mode dropped brightness by about 22% and also dropped fan noise to a very low level. In large rooms, the noise level at full brightness will not be distracting because the projector is usually located a distance from the audience. But in living rooms, you may want to use Eco mode to reduce noise, and you will still have almost 3,000 lumens available. One other factor that affects brightness is the zoom lens setting. At the maximum telephoto end of the zoom the projector's light output is curtailed by about 12% which is not much light loss for a 1.5x zoom lens. But if you need every ounce of lumen power you can get, set the SH910 up using the wide-angle end of the zoom range.
Warranty - BenQ provides a three-year warranty on the SH910, and since this is a DLP-based projector, there are no fan filters to replace. An occasional vacuuming of the air intake grills will help minimize dust accumulation on the lamp which helps maintain lamp brightness.
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