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BenQ GP500 5 1 4K DLP Projector
Projector Central Editor's Choice Award

Editor's Choice Award

Our Editor's Choice award goes to products that dramatically exceed expectations for performance, value, or cutting-edge design.

  • Performance
  • 5
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value
Price
$1,799 MSRP Discontinued
Pros
  • Extremely accurate out-of-box-color
  • Over 90% DCI-P3 gamut coverage
  • Android TV dongle included
  • Robust 360-degree audio system
  • 3D Support
  • Auto focus and obstacle avoidance for quick setup
Cons
  • No Vertical Lens Shift
  • Low brightness in accurate picture modes
  • Mediocre Contrast
  • No direct download authorized Netflix app
Our Take

The GP500, a new 2023 entry in BenQ's Home Cinema Series, provides a wealth of features for an all-in-one cinematic experience, including a solid-state LED light source, Android TV streaming platform, 360-degree speakers, effective auto-focus, and surprisingly good out-of-the-box color accuracy.

BenQ gp500 right angle

The BenQ GP500 is a standard throw projector that utilizes the Texas Instruments 0.47-inch DMD DLP chip and four-phase XPR pixel-shifting to achieve UHD (3840x2160) resolution in conjunction with a 4LED light source. Offering HDR, a respectable 1,500 ANSI lumens brightness rating, and 20,000 to 30,000 hours of light source life depending on Light Source Mode used, the GP500 is feature rich, with quite a bit to offer at a relatively inexpensive $1,799 typical street price.

Features

The GP500 4K HDR LED projector was released January 2023 as a new entry to BenQ's Home Cinema Series. It provides users with a rather robust feature set in terms of performance, convenience, and quality of life features, and offers an unusual rectangular box design that helps accommodate a robust audio system. It measures 10.2 x 10.5 x 7.2 inches (WHD) and weighs 11.9 pounds, so while it is not a lightweight, it is certainly portable and has special accommodations for quick set ups that I'll mention below.

The GP500 uses a solid-state 4LED light source to enjoy the benefit of no lamp replacements over the life of the projector. This LED engine results in fairly fast power on and off times, high color luminance, and from 20,000 to 30,000 hours of life (depending on usage) that is virtually maintenance free. The GP500 is capable of achieving 1,500 ANSI lumens of light output per BenQ's specifications and I'm pleased to say that it did indeed meet this claim, coming in at a measured 1,504 ANSI lumens in the brightest picture mode. The picture mode that meets this specification, labeled as Bright, does have a green bias to the image, though it was not too overpowering and would be suitable for very bright room viewing at the expense of accuracy.

The GP500's single-chip DLP architecture does require that colors be presented to the imaging chip sequentially, which creates the possibility to display rainbow effect artifacts despite the lack of a color wheel. During my time with the GP500 I did see rainbow artifacts on occasion and very minimally; fortunately it was much less frequent and again very minimal to what I have experienced on other DLP models. But this is something that should be kept in mind if you're sensitive to this effect.

BenQ gp500 front angle

Also, as I have seen on some other LED projectors, the GP500 delivers fairly low contrast. Even though the listed specification is 100,000:1 FOFO (Full On/Full Off) with light source dimming, in actuality I measured approximately 914:1. This is noticeable in content, as black will not appear fully black unless the user opts to crush shadow detail. I chose not to do that, which resulted in a slightly-lifted looking black. The poor overall contrast was most noticeable in content with an overall lower APL (average picture level) and darker scenes.

As mentioned, the GP500 uses Texas Instruments 0.47-inch DMD DLP chip, which is technically a native 1080p device bolstered by TI's super-fast XPR four-phase pixel shifting to reproduce 4K UHD (3840x2160) resolution. It does a fantastic job of reproducing a 4K UHD image and the GP500 was capable of fully resolving any 4K test image I displayed on it. The projector will accept YUV and RGB signal types at various bit depths and chroma up to 120 Hz depending on resolution. When the GP500 receives a RGB signal, it will reproduce 4:4:4 chroma at 8-bit, while a color signal format of YUV is accepted at either 10 or 8 bit in either 4:2:2 or 4:2:0. This is very important in reproducing content in the P3 color space used for most HDR, and the GP500 does very well thanks to its extended gamut coverage that's well into the DCI-P3 color space.

Per BenQ, the GP500 per BenQ has a gamut coverage of 97% of the Rec.709 color space and 90% coverage of the DCI-P3 color space (which BenQ refers to as CinematicColor DCI-P3). Measurements were right on point, with a Rec.709 reading of 97.7% in picture modes such as Cinema and Game, while covering 99.1% in the Living Room and User modes. I captured two different measurement values for DCI-P3, which came in at 82.49% in 1931 xy, and 87.73% in 1976 uv, with the latter being based more on human perception of shades.

BenQ gp500 lifestyle1

However, BenQ includes an option to turn on Wide Color Gamut (WCG), which engages a color filter that results in extended coverage of the DCI-P3 color space. It succeeds at this; when the filter is engaged DCI-P3 color space coverage measures in at 92.3% in 1931 xy, and 95.9% 1976 uv—which is excellent for a projector in this price point. Use of the filter similarly resulted in 70.14% xy and 78.99% uv coverage of the BT.2020 color space. One important thing to note is that enabling WCG and the color filter does result in a very slight decrease in light output, but I was pleased to see it was very minimal—I measured only a 3.3% decrease in brightness. To ensure the performance is kept up to par over the life of the projector, BenQ utilizes their Auto Color calibration feature. This does not calibrate the color in the same sense a professional calibrator would go in and make adjustments for accuracy, but it looks for decay and deviation in the LEDs that would occur over time and makes adjustments to ideally always keep it in spec and provide the same performance over the life of the projector. I measured the projector with this feature both on and off and it measured the same in regards to accuracy.

The GP500's lens has a standard throw ratio of 1.0-1.3:1, with a 1.3X zoom. This allows the projector to be positioned as close as 2.9 feet for a 40-inch diagonal screen using max zoom, to as far as 18.8 feet at minimum zoom to project a 200-inch diagonal image. Per BenQ's documentation, projecting a 100-inch diagonal image using max zoom requires a throw of approximately 7 ft, 2 inches. I found this to be accurate, as in my installation of the GP500 I measured 7 feet, 1-5/8th inches to project a 100-inch diagonal image. To aid in installation and help determine throw distance for your preferred screen size you can utilize the ProjectorCentral BenQ GP500 projection calculator.

The GP500 allows the normal BenQ setup installation methods such as front, rear, ceiling etc. BenQ offers an optional universal ceiling mount (CM00G3) for permanent mounting. Unfortunately, the unit does not have any sort of vertical lens shift and it has a 100% offset to the screen that results in the bottom of the image being aligned to the lens height, so positioning should be dialed in as much as possible with a combination of placement and leveling via the three adjustable feet to adjust tilt and angle. Once installed, the GP500 begins it auto-focus routine, which is actually very impressive—the result is essentially perfect, and it takes no longer than five seconds to get a razor-sharp image.

Additionally, the GP500 has several common and some not so common convenience and quality-of-life features including but not limited to the normal 2D Keystone and Corner Fit (which is corner warping); these two features can be used for less-than-ideal installs where fine adjustment is needed to display a flat image. Please keep in mind that using digital image warping like this does impact the integrity of the image, however these features are available to you if you need them in a quick temporary installation.

Two not-so-common features are Screen Fit and Object Avoidance. Screen Fit utilizes the Focus and Keystone camera to detect three edges of the screen and is to be used when the image is not centered. When it's activated, a test pattern will appear that will expand out to make its detection before it snaps the image into place within the three detected boarders. In instances where three boarders are not detected Screen Fit will attempt to run, though will return a fail message. Meanwhile, Object Avoidance looks at the four corners of the screen, and if it is determined that any of those corners are shaded or not uniform to the rest of the screen, the image will be resized and shifted to project an image that does not interfere with the object. So, for example, if you project onto a wall and the projector encounters a hanging picture frame it will downsize the image to provide an unobstructed image. These features provide ease of use and flexibility in the placement of the unit, particularly for temporary installs.

Included with the GP500 is BenQ's Android TV 10 HDMI streaming dongle (QS01), which gets installed in a hidden compartment. Installation of the dongle requires removing two M3 screws on the rear of the unit and sliding off the top cover which exposes an HDMI input and micro USB cable to supply power to the dongle. Once installed, the Android TV input is treated as the default landing in most cases. During my time with the GP500 I opted to install the dongle before performing initial setup of the projector, and this resulted in getting kicked out of the BenQ setup process and into the Android TV setup process. Another issue I encountered was that during the Android TV setup a message would flash approximately every 5-10 seconds stating I needed to finish setup to proceed. It became a problem because right before the message appeared on screen the interface would become unresponsive, until the message again disappeared and it would return control. But once setup was completed, I encountered no issues with the dongle and it performed as expected, correctly matching dynamic range of the content, and displaying the correct color space in all instances. The only down side to the Android TV dongle is it does not have native Netflix app support and it is not able to be downloaded from the Google Play Store. BenQ does have a roundabout way to install it through the Apps Manager app, which will allow you to download Netflix through there, though it also requires navigation through the BenQ Smart Control app. In most cases a user would be better served using a standalone streaming box such as an Apple TV, Roku, or Fire TV.

BenQ gp500 interior
The BenQ gp500's top comes off to reveal a hidden compartment for the QS01 Android TV streaming stick.

The I/O provided on the unit offers a decent level of connectivity. There are technically three HDMI 2.0b ports with HDCP 2.2 support, however, with one dedicated to the internal compartment for the included dongle users really only have two easily accessible HDMI ports. Two USB 2.0 type A ports each offer power delivery of a different rating with one providing 1.0A and the other providing 2.0A, and if not used for power delivery both have the ability to function as a media reader for an attached USB drive, and they appear to read the majority of file formats. In addition, ARC (Audio Return Channel) is available via HDMI Input 2, though it's not eARC so therefore will not pass native Dolby Atmos bitstreams to an outboard Atmos soundbar. An optical Toslink SPDIF connection is available with support for 5.1 audio formats, and there is a 3.5mm analog Audio Out jack that mutes the built-in speakers when headphones or an alternate speaker system is plugged in. Lastly the GP500 has multiple Bluetooth functions allowing the unit itself to serve as a Bluetooth speaker playing audio from an external device such as one's phone, and also allows for additional Bluetooth connections such as to other speakers or headphones.

The GP500 uses a unique approach to its integrated sound system by using four 5 watt chamber speakers (for a total of 20 watts) in combination with an onboard treVolo DSP. With the implementation of the four speakers in each of the cabinet's corners, it provides a 360-degree soundfield. It can also correct for less than perfect setups, allowing the GP500 to be positioned Center, Left, or Right of the user, and depending on the position the audio system will adjust in an attempt to always provide the viewer with stereo sound. Going one step further, the viewer can also set it up in a User mode that allows them to manually assign the Left or Right channel to a specific speaker, so if one of the 3 predefined settings don't work well for the viewer they can simply just make their own. The GP500 provides five sound modes, including a User-defined mode that gives the viewer access to a five-band EQ. The projector's sound was actually pleasant and worked well in my room without the need to increase volume past 8 on a volume range that goes up to 50. I did test it as high as 17 and that was plenty loud, so in a pinch or possibly as the main source of audio it is definitely sufficient. As always, if a more robust cinematic experience is desired it would be best to look at a good soundbar or other external sound option.

The GP500 supports BenQ's Fast Mode which is tied to the Game Mode in SDR and can be Enabled in HDR10 mode as well. This allows the GP500 to achieve input latency as low as 25ms per BenQ's published specifications. When measured, latency came in at 25ms in 1080p/60 Hz, 14ms in 1080p/120 Hz, and 25ms in 4K/60 Hz. Fast Mode was functional with both RGB and YUV signals at all supported chroma and bit depths, so this will work well for PC and next generation consoles such as PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.

BenQ gp500 remote

Another great included feature is support of 3D. With projectors being one of the only display devices to still support 3D I'm always glad to see it included, especially today when some brands seem to be dropping this feature. 3D is supported via DLP-Link glasses. Once a 3D signal is received by the GP500 simply turning on the 3D-Link glasses will pair them. Subjectively, the 3D playback is fairly bright considering the GP500 is only 1,500 ANSI Lumens, which is good, and the 3D picture mode locks the Light Source mode to Normal. As with most BenQ projectors I've tested and reviewed there was little to no crosstalk while viewing 3D, so in most cases viewers should end up with a very pleasing 3D experience.

The remote included with the unit is fairly standard and operates via IR (infrared) and Bluetooth when controlling the Android TV dongle. It is well laid out, with the most-used buttons present such as Keystone, Auto-Focus, Google Play Store, Prime Video, and menu Settings buttons for both the Android TV platform and the projector itself. It was very responsive and I think the only two improvements I could ask would be a button to take the user directly to the Picture Mode menu, and to have it backlit—though considering how few buttons there are it is pretty easy to navigate in the dark even without that.

Performance

Color Modes. The BenQ GP500 has eight picture modes, six for SDR and two for HDR. The SDR modes are Bright, Living Room, Game, Sports, Cinema, and User while the two HDR modes are HDR10 and HLG for those types of HDR content. The picture modes all have varying preset color temperatures such as Cool, Normal, or Warm assigned to them, as well as various gamma options. The color temperature can be adjusted for all modes with exception of Bright mode, where the CT is locked to the Native option. However, Bright mode does allow adjustment of the color temperature values for Gain and Bias even within the Native preset.

All the picture modes that utilized the Cool color temp had an overly blue tone to them, where Normal had a more neutral tone and was the most accurate and closest to the D65 color temperature target. Warm had an overly red bias to the image and was too warm. Bright, however, had an overly green bias to the image which was noticeable but not extremely offensive as seen on some projectors.

Out of the box (OOTB), Cinema was the most accurate picture mode after changing the Color Temperature to Normal, followed by Game. The User picture mode tracked well in terms of grayscale when Color Temperature was set to Normal, however red, magenta, and blue were highly over-saturated, which was easily noticeable by eye, especially in red. This proved to also be the case with the Living Room picture mode. Technically, grayscale for all of the picture modes with exception of Bright tracked well when using the Normal Color Temperature.

BenQ gp500 left angle

The GP500 provides controls to tune Color Temperature using Gain and Offset, and a CMS (Color Management System) offering Hue, Saturation, and Gain. The basic controls such as Brightness, Contrast, Color, etc., are also available, as well as BenQ's Color Enhancer feature which is used to further increase saturation of color. A Flesh Tone control is also provided to adjust hue only within the region of colors found in flesh tones. The GP500 further provides the ability to turn on the WCG (Wide Color Gamut) filter to provide more coverage of the DCI-P3 color space when an HDR signal is detected. Additionally, when viewing HDR, the GP500 has an HDR Brightness setting that helps in resolving detail and highlights in content. This setting can be changed from -2 to +2. I found in most cases that 0 gave the best balance, though in extremely high APL/nit scenes (i.e., very bright) the -1 setting would be viable, and the opposite was true for low APL/nit (dark) scenes where +1 is usable. I found no scenario where +/-2 worked well with content.

The GP500's gamma settings measured exactly as they are listed in the menu options, which is good to see—often with projectors in this price range the measured result is one setting off than what is labeled in the menu. Luckily, the GP500 is correct, so if 2.2 or 2.4 gamma is selected that's what you'll get. Gamma did measure relatively flat as well, which is also a great thing to see. The available Gamma options are 1.8, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, and one simply labeled "BenQ." The BenQ Gamma curve sits around the same as 2.0 to 2.1, though when it's a brighter, high APL scene it will match 2.1 and on a lower, darker APL scene it will match 2.0.

Viewers who opt to use the GP500 with OOTB settings will find the ideal picture mode to use for the most accurate image will be Cinema using the Normal Color Temperature. This will also apply to Game picture mode as well. HDR10 is the only picture mode option that is available for HDR unless the HDR content flags as HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma). Gamma can be selected based on preference, though I found 2.2 and 2.3 to be the most pleasing on my screen for my viewing environment. The Light Source Mode I leaned towards was Normal, though SmartEco is also a viable option as well.

I began calibration of the GP500 using Calman Ultimate calibration software from Portrait Displays, a Colorimetry Research CR-250 Spectroradiometer, a Colorimetry Research CR-100 Colorimeter, and a Murideo 8K Seven Generator. The GP500 was calibrated to 100-inch diagonal on a 1.3 gain Stewart Filmscreen, at a little over 7 feet throw distance. Prior to beginning calibration, I ran various measurements to confirm what I saw in OOTB viewing.

The GP500 proved very accurate OOTB, especially in regards to the grayscale, as per measurements for the Avg and Max dE errors. DeltaE is the metric used to determine visible errors; it has been determined that anything over a dE of 3 is visible, anything over 2.3 is a just noticeable difference for trained eyes and anything below 2.3 should ideally not be seen to the eye.

During initial analysis measurements and running various patterns including a very large Color Checker (approximately 150+ swatches) the GP500 produced fantastic results. Pre-calibration, using Cinema picture mode and the Normal color temperature setting, the GP500 grayscale showed a very low average of just 1dE with a max of 2.4dE. Color gamut measured an average of 1.4dE with a max of 3.1dE. A large Color Checker scored an average of 1.6dE with a max of 6.2. In all other tests the average was no higher than 1.5dE. When one considers the price point of this projector this is an outstanding level of accuracy that I did not expect to see. The User picture mode did not fair quite as well due to red, magenta, and blue being so far outside of the target color space, however grayscale was in line with what was seen in the Cinema picture mode. Grayscale within HDR was pretty tight, as expected, with only a small deficiency in blue in the higher stimulus patterns at 60% brightness and higher. In all picture modes that used Flesh Tone setting, the setting did require being changed to the value of 0, as any other setting resulted in extremely high errors in red, orange, and yellow.

Not surprisingly, post-calibration DeltaE errors were also great. In Cinema mode the grayscale average was 1dE with a max of 2.4dE, color gamut came in at 1.3dE average with a max of 2.5dE, and the Color Checker came in with a pretty impressive 0.9dE average and 2.7dE max. The User picture mode grayscale avg was 1.1dE with a max of 1.8dE, color gamut came in at 1.2dE average with a max of 2.1dE, and the Color Checker came in with 1.2dE average and 2.5dE max. It was actually tracking with an average of 0.8 to 0.9dE in many points in subsequent tests. HDR did well even though it slightly over-tracked the EOTF curve up to about 50% stimuli, and then it rolled off early, under tracking the remainder of the way up the ramp. Grayscale was very tight, while color had a small amount of oversaturation though remained fairly close to target.

Ultimately these are superb results, and the picture was easy to dial in with the controls provided. The starting point was so strong in terms of accuracy there just wasn't a lot that needed to be done in Cinema mode, and even in the User picture mode all it took was just pulling in the color space to the Rec.709 targets to allow everything to fall into place very nicely.

The devices used for reviewing content post calibration were an Apple TV 4K, Oppo UDP-203 Blu-ray player, Windows 11 gaming PC, and PlayStation 5.

1080p/SDR Viewing. Post calibration I began by watching Pulp Fiction on Blu-ray via Oppo 203. The image quality looked good. Skin tones looked natural for both Julius (Samuel L. Jackson) and Vincent (John Travolta), as well as Butch (Bruce Willis). The lighting was well represented in all of the scenes, such as when Butch was talking to Marcellus (Ving Rhames) in the dim red-hued bar. Shadow detail, even though slightly lifted, looked good and resolved the detail I would expect to see. This actually helped bring out the detail in both Julius's and Vincent's suits. The GP500 produced clean, very distinct shades, such as the subtle differences in white when Vincent came to pick up Mia (Uma Thurman) and he was making his drink while waiting for her. Overall, the image looked great.

BenQ gp500 pulp fiction
Skin tones of both Julius and Vincent in Pulp Fiction on the BenQ GP500 looked natural. (Photo Credit: Miramax)

4K/HDR Viewing. I decided to watch The Outfit with Mark Rylance via Apple TV 4K, as I've seen this movie several times in HDR10+ as well as HDR10, so I'm pretty familiar with what it looks like. I found that while viewing this movie the HDR Brightness setting of 0 was a better fit for this 1,000 nit max title. From the very start of the movie the color was great, and skin toes were very natural. The detail on the fabric used for the suits Leonard tailored was all present, as well as the rich color in Mable's (Zoey Deutch) clothing. The presentation looked excellent. There were a few times where I did find myself going back and forth between HDR Brightness 0 and -1, but more often than not the 0 setting helped resolve more shadow detail as opposed to -1, which tended to crush this detail even though it gave the image more depth. A good example was when Mable and Leonard were folding handkerchiefs and Mable just came back to the table with more to fold. Behind her is a suit and a detailed brick wall. With the -1 setting the suit was almost hidden and the detail of the wall was not seen. Setting HDR Brightness to 0 allowed the suit to be more visible while also exposing some of the detail of the wall, but without washing the picture out and still providing a decent sense of depth to the image.

The last HDR movie I viewed on the GP500 was The Adam Project on Netflix via Apple TV 4K. When the movie started and showed the Skydance logo it was very punchy and properly saturated, thought I noticed that it lacked some luminance, which became even more evident in the opening chase sequence as the highlights just didn't pop as much as I've known them to do when I've viewed this movie previously. Everything else was reproduced very well, from skin tones to shades seen in clothing and in the sky. I found that HDR brightness needed to be set to +1 for this movie during the entire duration. If not, too much detail was crushed in the dark scenes, such as when the child version of the main character Adam (Ryan Reynolds) went into the forest at night. The GP500 did do a great job displaying the subtle differences in color in most scenes, such as with the lighting effects on the ship or from weapons. A fair amount of these effects have small hints of rainbow colors in them (not to be confused with DLP rainbows), for example, when Adam is fighting off an attack and slams a light staff into the ground. The GP500 performed well overall while viewing The Adam Project and I wasn't disappointed at all.

3D Viewing. I looked at several 3D movies to get an overall feel for how the GP500 performed with a variety of content, watching a bit of Despicable Me, Avatar, and How to Train your Dragon. All of the movies did well, though the best experience was Despicable Me because it is such a bright, colorful movie. There was little to no crosstalk experienced while watching the film and the depth was good. On the other hand, with How to Train your Dragon I did experience some crosstalk during the scene at night when the dragons came and the Vikings had their torches. This is also a fairly dark scene, though the slightly lifted blacks of the GP500 didn't hurt the scene any. Avatar also performed well, with great depth, but with a lack of brightness. The GP500 provides a decent 3D viewing experience, and the only thing that could enhance it would be greater brightness.

1080p/120 Hz Gaming. For testing 120 Hz I opted to play Deathloop on PC at 1080p/120 Hz in HDR. The gameplay felt very good; it was smooth and had little to no screen tearing. The saturation and hue of the sunset when Colt wakes on the beach was rendered well, though exhibited some clipping. I felt that HDR Brightness 0 or +1 worked best with this game overall. In many cases the blacks had a slight lift to them and they were never fully black in either 0 or +1, so I opted to make the highlights brighter. I felt the game was responsive enough that I could play through the entire game on the GP500 as Deathloop doesn't have anything with very tight or strict timing as found in fighting games, for example. It was an overall pleasant experience being able to play at 120 Hz in HDR.

4K/60 Hz Gaming. To test out 4K gaming I played a bit of Guilty Gear Strive on PlayStation 5, which runs at 4K/60 Hz SDR. I generally go into training mode and practice combos that I'm familiar with that I know I will land without much trouble. Most players of fighting games understand how the systems work with linking attacks and cancels from normal attacks into specials, etc. This is why I tend to test on fighting games, because the higher the latency the sooner you have to input a command in order to get attacks to link. I found while playing Guilty Gear that latency is noticeable and I had to perform special attacks much, much sooner than I would normally have to in order to get links. It's something that can one can get used to, however if you're used to playing on a monitor or TV such as an OLED it will be noticeable and will require time to adjust. In terms of visuals, the game looked good with nice detail; it was very sharp with appropriate levels of saturation. The projector provided a nice big screen, pleasant experience for gaming, though highly competitive games would ideally best be played on a more responsive display.

BenQ gp500 left angle speaker

Conclusion

The BenQ GP500 is one of the most capable projectors I've seen at its $1,799 price point. It offers a very high level of out-of-box accuracy and it's capable of being dialed in even further. The detail from the 4K DLP chip is excellent and can full resolve an extremely sharp 4K UHD image with precision. It offers users a wealth of convenience and quality of life features such as very precise auto-focus, object detection, built in audio that is actually very capable, 3D support, HDR support, great DCI-P3 coverage, and Android TV smart features.

There are always areas to improve, and one for the GP500 is its contrast. However, its contrast is in line with most projectors in this price point that honestly perform not nearly as well as the GP500 in multiple areas. Another area for improvement would be higher ANSI lumens output, to make for more impactful HDR. Nonetheless, potential buyers looking for the most bang for their buck should have the GP500 near the top of their list because of how well it performs in most areas. There really isn't much to dislike about the GP500, and it is an excellent projector for starting a small home theater without breaking the bank.

Measurements

Brightness. The BenQ GP500 is rated for 1,500 ANSI lumens. The brightest picture mode is Bright, which had a green bias. Though not overly offensive, it's not really suitable for viewing unless accuracy is not a concern and the unit is placed in a very bright room that requires the projector's full power. This picture mode measured 1,504 ANSI lumens or essentially equal to BenQ's published specification.

Selecting Eco or SmartEco for the Light Source Mode measured a 24.2% light decrease vs. the Normal Light Source Mode.

BenQ GP500 ANSI Lumens

SDR/HDR Modes Normal Eco SmartEco
Bright 1,504 1,139 1,139
Living Room 1,101 834 834
Game 1,113 843 843
Sports 1,063 805 805
Cinema 1,088 824 824
User 1,152 873 873
HDR10 1,031 781 781
HLG 1,031 781 781

Zoom Lens Light Loss. The BenQ GP500's light loss when shifting from the widest zoom position to its longest telephoto position was 6.9%.

Brightness Uniformity. The BenQ GP500 projecting a 100-inch diagonal image resulted in measured brightness uniformity of 81% while in wide angle zoom, and 81% in telephoto zoom. The brightest portion of the screen was the Middle Center sector, and the dimmest the Left Top sector. The difference in brightness on a full white and solid color screens was not noticeable on a full white screen or in actual moving content.

Fan Noise. BenQ reports the GP500's fan noise at 30dBA in Normal Light Source Mode and 28dBA in Eco/SmartEco Mode, using the industry-standard averaged measurement taken in a soundproof room from positions all around the projector. Using Room EQ Wizard software and a Umik-1 microphone, with my theater room ambient noise floor reading 33.3 dBA, I took five measurements at a distance of approximately 3 feet away from the top, left, right, rear, and front sides of the unit. The projector was in the Bright picture mode. With the Light Source Mode set to its brightest Normal setting, fan noise ranged between 35.2dBA and 35.9 dBA at the various positions. With the Light Source set to Eco or SmartEco, the range lowered marginally to 34.5 dBA to 35.3 dBA.

Input Lag. Input lag measurements were done using the Game Picture Mode with Fast mode enabled. The following supported resolutions and framerates were tested: 1080p/60Hz = 25ms, 1080p/120Hz = 14ms, 2160p/60Hz = 25ms.

Connections

BenQ gp500 connections
  • HDMI 2.0b (x3; HDCP 2.2) (1 hidden, ARC on HDMI Input 2)
  • USB 2.0 Type A (1A power supply, media reader)
  • USB 2.0 Type A (2A power supply, media reader)
  • Analog audio out (3.5mm)
  • SPDIF

Calibrated Settings

Calibrated image settings from any third-party do not account for the significant potential for sample-to-sample variation, nor the different screen sizes and materials, lighting, lamp usage, or other environmental factors that can affect image quality. Projectors should always be calibrated in the user's own space and tuned for the expected viewing conditions. However, the settings provided here may be a helpful starting point for some. Always record your current settings before making adjustments so you can return to them as desired. Refer to the Performance section for some context for each calibration.

These settings can be used in the Game picture mode as well by simply copying settings of the desired picture mode into Game.

Picture Mode: User (Reference Dark Room viewing)

Fast Mode: N/A
Brightness: 49
Contrast: 37
Color: 34
Tint: 50
Sharpness: 4

Advanced Color Settings
Gamma Selection: 2.3

Color Temperature Tuning

Color Temperature: Normal
R Gain: 99
G Gain: 100
B Gain: 101
R Offset: 256
G Offset: 256
B Offset: 256

Color Management

Color Hue Saturation Gain
R 240 194 262
G 199 197 197
B 154 196 233
C 213 206 203
M 200 156 233
Y 173 195 200
W 200 200 200

Wide Color Gamut: N/A

Cinema Master
Color Enhancer: 0
Flesh Tone: 0
Pixel 4K Enhancer: 2
Motion Enhancer 4K: Off

Light Source Mode: Normal
HDR Brightness: 0
Noise Reduction: Low

Picture Mode: Cinema (Bright Room viewing)

Fast Mode: N/A
Brightness: 51
Contrast: 50
Color: 50
Tint: 50
Sharpness: 4

Advanced Color Settings
Gamma Selection: 2.2

Color Temperature Tuning

Color Temperature: Normal
R Gain: 99
G Gain: 100
B Gain: 101
R Offset: 256
G Offset: 256
B Offset: 256

Color Management

Color Hue Saturation Gain
R 239 194 212
G 241 202 180
B 141 219 186
C 239 200 196
M 254 158 219
Y 134 182 210
W 200 200 200

Wide Color Gamut: N/A

Cinema Master
Color Enhancer: 0
Flesh Tone: 0
Pixel 4K Enhancer: 2
Motion Enhancer 4K: Off

Light Source Mode: Normal
HDR Brightness: 0
Noise Reduction: Middle

Picture Mode: HDR10

Fast Mode: N/A
Brightness: 48
Contrast: 51
Color: 60
Tint: 50
Sharpness: 4

Advanced Color Settings
Gamma Selection: 2.2

Color Temperature Tuning

Color Temperature: Normal
R Gain: 100
G Gain: 100
B Gain: 101
R Offset: 256
G Offset: 256
B Offset: 256

Color Management

Color Hue Saturation Gain
R 200 202 217
G 207 209 228
B 209 200 205
C 178 200 234
M 200 188 234
Y 181 196 247
W 200 200 200

Wide Color Gamut: ON

Cinema Master
Color Enhancer: 0
Flesh Tone: 0
Pixel 4K Enhancer: 2
Motion Enhancer 4K: Off

Light Source Mode: Normal
HDR Brightness: 0 (+/-1 content dependent)
Noise Reduction: Low

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our BenQ GP500 projector page.

 
Comments (12) Post a Comment
Victor Posted Mar 31, 2023 3:46 PM PST
Good review sammie I will put this in kids room
Jagseer Posted Apr 1, 2023 5:47 AM PST
Thanks for the detailed review. Appreciate your efforts. Can we have a coming soon section on the website that shows the projectors being reviewed (in progress) and the coming soon ones. It just gives us users something to look forward to if they are waiting to buy a particular projector.
Ricky Posted Apr 10, 2023 1:53 AM PST
Great review and very interesting projector! I am looking to replace my Benq W1070 somewhere in the near future and this ticks almost all my boxes. However, my W1070 has 2000 ansi lumens, which is a bare minimum for my room during daytime. This one has 1500, even less. Is it in reality less bright indeed, or does the LED compensate somehow in this?

Kind ragrds
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Apr 10, 2023 4:45 AM PST
Ricky, these 1500 lumens should theoretically be perceived as brighter than the same 1500 lumens produced by a lamp projector, but there are other factors such as the brightness associated with the most desirable/accurate picture modes, which can vary among projectors even those rated similarly with the same type of light source. I can’t say with certainty how this comparison would shake out for you. Keep in mind that contrast isn’t a strong suit with this model, which may also affect your opinion.
Ricky Posted Apr 10, 2023 6:58 AM PST
Many thanks Rob! I still have a while to replace, so perhaps a better model comes along. But this one is on the list for sure.
Victor Posted Apr 11, 2023 11:16 AM PST
How can the contrast be improved with us projector.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Apr 13, 2023 9:17 AM PST
Victor, the inherent black level usually is what it is, assisted only by whatever dynamic contrast mechanisms/features may be present in the projector menus. So the only way to improve contrast would be to go with a gray contrast-enhancing screen...but that will usually sacrifice some peak brightness in the contrast, and this projector doesn't have too much brightness to spare.
Mike Posted Apr 18, 2023 4:10 AM PST
Can you explain why this projector goes beyond getting a “recommended” evaluation to become an “editor’s choice”? With poor contrast and low output accurate brightness, it seems like it shouldn’t get a recommendation at all. After all, the two most important considerations in picture quality are brightness and contrast.

I come to PC for reviews because of the critical nature of the recommendations. Is PC just going to turn into another site where every projector reviewed gets a top rating?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Apr 18, 2023 6:39 AM PST
This one was definitely a highly considered decision, Mike. There's a subjective process we go through with each review to establish the star ratings and whether or which award designation if any gets placed on the review. I could talk about it in more detail in a blog and will do that at some point since we haven't really explained it for readers in any other forum. But the short of it here is that the reviewer makes the initial recommendations when he/she submits the review and I, as editor-in-chief, act as the arbiter/final say, either signing off or making alterations based on what I read in the review and how well I think the substance of the review is reflected in the ratings/award. One of the considerations that puts the ratings and the award in context is the price point and direct competitive set -- we don't, for example, expect the 4 or 5 star performance rating for an $1,800 projector to match the image level of a 4 or 5 star $5,000 model.

When I saw Sammie's enthusiasm and recommendation of the Editor's Choice designation for what amounts to a budget projector, I initially raised my eyebrows, but he's a guy who makes a living calibrating high end projectors to within a hair of perfection and is not easily impressed. And he has perspective now from having done a decent number of reviews in this $1,000-$2,000 price range. After reading the review, I eventually came to feel that, especially given the price point, the GP500's outstanding/unusual out of box accuracy, solid-state light engine, unusually robust and well-thought-out sound system, and the excellent user/set-up experience (all of which help it fulfill it's intended purpose as a casual lifestyle projector) overcame its primary image quality fault of less than stellar contrast, which should not be a deal breaker for those who intend to use this as the portable it is designed to be. This projector is unique in its design and has enough going for it that I ultimately decided that it crossed the threshold. But I very much appreciate your question and the opportunity to explain the reasoning, and I labored over the decision. I can't say we'll always get these kinds of things right, but I can at least assure readers that we proceed thoughtfully and with caution, and take this part of the process seriously.
Jack Posted Apr 22, 2023 8:55 AM PST
Could I ask how does it compare with a fairly similar BenQ X3000i as a home theater?

They both seem to share the problem with black level, but X3000i review does not mention any problem with contrast.

Does 3,000 lumens that X3000i offers make difference compared to 1,500 lumens of GP500, in a really dim to dark environment? Does this also improves the contrast?

Official BenQ article "BenQ GP500 or X3000i 4K Projectors for Movies and Gaming? Which One to Choose?" simply recommend X3000i for gamers and GP500 for movies. However, reading your reviews, X3000i sounds slightly better to me.
xixou Posted Jul 27, 2023 6:02 AM PST
I own the projetor for several months, it is brilliant! No need for external audio system anymore.
Simon Posted Oct 28, 2023 1:10 AM PST
Hello Rob. Thank you for the review.

In your opinion is there any Benq projector that provides a better image , led or laser? I have the GP500 and very happy with the image . I added a neutral density filter to give a better black level especially when blending 2 projectors.

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