BenQ SH910 vs Optoma TH1060P
April 9, 2012
If you're looking for a high resolution conference room projector, the BenQ SH910 and the Optoma TH1060P both deliver 4000+ lumens of 1080p high definition imagery. A look at their spec sheets shows no glaring differences. Digging deeper, however, swung the needle in both directions, and we found that both projectors were solid performers with subtle but important differences.
Both of these units are a new breed of 1080p projectors that put out over 4,000 ANSI lumens from relatively small packages. The SH910 weighs 7.9 pounds to the TH1060P's 7.8 pounds, and dimensionally they're almost identical with the SH910 an inch taller and one-half inch wider. At 4,500 lumens, the TH1060P is rated 500 lumens brighter than the SH910, but even side-by-side, it's hard to see the difference.
Image quality is excellent from both projectors although the TH1060P's presets are much more accurate than the SH910's. However, image adjustments are usually made only once during initial projector set-up, so this preset accuracy is merely a convenience, not a significant differentiator. The SH910 did achieve slightly deeper black levels than the TH1060P, and its rainbow effects were less detectable. That could be attributed to a faster color wheel speed or more segments in the color wheel, but neither manufacturer specs those characteristics.
Other factors like connectivity and optical performance were pretty much a wash except that the TH1060P's dual HDMI inputs made it easier to accommodate a second digital source without switching cables.
When the dust settled, it was the user environment that brought the differences between these projectors into focus. A fixed installation makes different demands of a projector than mobile presentation does, and when considered in that light, the differences between the SH910 and the TH1060P became apparent.
At first glance, the SH910's dual 10-watt speakers look like a clear advantage over the TH1060P's 3-watt mono speaker, but in fixed installations, external audio systems are almost always included, so built-in audio output is usually a moot point. Of course, if the external amplifier ever fails, that on-board audio capability will come in handy.
Mounting a fixed projector has its own hurdles, and neither projector is strong in the mounting flexibility category although the SH910's 1.5:1 zoom ratio is a little more forgiving than the TH1060P's 1.2:1 ratio. For example, with a 200" image projected, both projectors are about 25 feet from the screen, but the SH910 projection distance can vary over a ± 5 foot range and still maintain that image size where the TH1060P is limited to about a ± 2.2 foot range. Both lack lens shift and horizontal keystone correction, but the SH910 has roughly twice the image offset angle of the TH1060P which may mean a shorter drop tube length for a ceiling mount.
If you need to bring your own audio when transporting a projector from place to place, separate audio amplifiers and cables can be a burden. And this is where the SH910 has an advantage. The dual 10-watt stereo speakers onboard the SH910 give you more audio power than the single 3-watt speaker on the TH1080P. The difference may be enough to save you from having to bring along a separate audio rig.
Audience distraction from fan noise is often overlooked, and here again, the SH910 has an advantage when the projector must be situated near the audience. In normal lamp mode, both the SH910 and the TH1060P have roughly equivalent fan noise, but in Eco mode, the SH910 is noticeably quieter than the TH1060P. Since Eco mode only drops brightness by about 20%, it is an attractive option for many projection environments.
Cabling your computer to a projector is unsightly at best and a tripping hazard at worst. Unlike the TH1060P, the SH910 can avoid that potential entanglement with its optional wireless capability. It is a $129 additional expense, but its convenience cannot be overstated.
Finally, though both projectors offer a laser pointer built into their remote controls, the functionality and layout of the SH910 remote is superior to that of the TH1060P. In a darkened room, that simplicity can eliminate long pauses while remote functions are accessed.
For fixed installations, there is not much to differentiate the SH910 from the TH1060P. The SH910 has slightly better mounting flexibility, but at a street price of $1,479 which is $320 lower than the SH910, the TH1060P puts up equally good images and has the edge for this application in terms of value.
However, in the mobile presentation world, the SH910 is clearly the top choice even for the extra money it will initially cost you. The SH910's robust audio output coupled with the wireless convenience of fewer connecting cables is a powerful combination and trumps the lower street price of the TH1060P. Some of that price differential is erased by the cost of audio amplifiers and cables, and that makes the value proposition of the SH910 compelling for mobile presenters.