BenQ and Optoma are rival projector companies that compete in numerous consumer categories from gaming projectors to home theater and now 4K UST laser projection. Optoma's second generation of 4K laser UST is the CinemaX P2, which sells for $3,299 (list and street price). BenQ recently debuted its first 4K laser UST, the V7050i, which carries a $3,499 price tag (list and street). Perhaps because both companies specialize in projectors, these models feel like refined products and offer a high price/performance ratio, despite the relative newness of the UST category.

Before getting into the comparison, let's discuss "why UST?" 4K laser UST projectors have rapidly grown in popularity because they resolve many issues with putting a projector in your living room, including price and placement.

The main attraction of UST projection is the namesake ultra-short throw ratio of the lens that allows these projectors to sit mere inches away from the wall and screen. This configuration combines with a vertical offset optimized for placement on a credenza. When paired with the obligatory UST-specific ALR (ambient light rejecting) screen, the resulting system is comparable to putting a 100-inch or even a 120-inch TV in your living room at a fraction of the cost. And while you do make some compromises going with UST over a TV—namely peak brightness with HDR content—you also gain some excellent qualities, like immunity to room-light reflections and excellent off-axis viewing that's free from color shift as well as loss of brightness, contrast, and saturation.

Optoma CinemaxP2 top angle
Optoma CinemaX P2

The CinemaX P2 and V7050i are DLP projectors that rely on a 0.47-inch, 1080p DMD chip and 4-position pixel-shifting using Texas Instrument's super-fast XPR switching to render 4K resolution. DLP projection is familiar territory for projector fans, both in terms of qualities and limitations. DLP offers good motion rendering, a sharp image, longevity, and excellent 3D performance (in projectors that support it). But consumer DLP is not true native 4K (due to the pixel-shifting), typically offers limited native contrast (mediocre black levels) versus high-end home theater projectors using other technologies, and produces visible RBE (rainbow effect) artifacts in some DLP implementations.

Most of the current crop of 4K laser UST projectors utilize DLP projection technology. The notable exceptions are Sony, which uses LCoS imagers in its one UST model, and Epson, which use three-chip LCD tech in UST offerings. Some higher-end USTs like the LG HU85LA, Samsung LSP9, and Hisense L9G feature triple-laser light sources, but the CinemaX P2 and V7050i leverage the more affordable "blue laser plus phosphor wheel" light engine, which operates in conjunction with a color wheel.

v7050i front 800 closed
BenQ V7050i

Triple-laser units are notable for achieving extensive gamut coverage, in some cases up to Rec.2020 and beyond. The projectors in this comparison cannot do that, but there's a sizeable cost saving as a result. Also, since most content is mastered to either Rec.709 (high definition) or DCI-P3 (UHD with HDR), the gamut coverage of the blue laser plus phosphor wheel light engine is enough to create a compelling viewing experience. And in some cases, such as the recently reviewed BenQ V7050i, careful tuning of the light engine's native color temperature can result in a projector capable of producing a high level of brightness, even when properly calibrated. You can refer to our standalone reviews of the BenQ V7050i and the Optoma CinemaX P2 for more detail on both projectors. Both performed well enough in this price bracket to be honored with ProjectorCentral's rare Editor's Choice award.

Key Specs and Features

Design. The BenQ and Optoma both feature a rectangular console form factor, with squared-off edges and a cloth grill covering the speakers. The Optoma (22.7 x 15 x 4.53 inches) is slightly wider but not as deep. It comes in its original color of white and, as of recently, in black using the model designation P2B. The BenQ (19 x 15.2 x 6.18 inches) is a bit taller and comes in black.

One of the most apparent physical differences is a motorized louver on the BenQ that covers the lens when the unit is powered off. Another notable difference is aesthetic; the speaker grill on the Optoma has a convex design that arguably looks a bit more modern than the BenQ's flat grill.

BenQ v7050i right open
When the BenQ v7050i powers up, the motorized sunroof cover moves from a closed to open (pictured) position.

Lens Throw and Distance. The lens throw ratio defines how far the projector must be from the screen to attain a specific image size. A shorter throw means the projector can sit closer to the screen, allowing the projector to fit on furniture without unduly intruding into the room.

These two projectors feature essentially identical throw ratios; the Optoma is specified at 0.25:1 while the BenQ lists it as 0.252:1. In both cases this ratio results in the viewer-facing side of the projector resting about 25 inches away from a 100-inch screen (26 inches from the wall), and while there are a couple of USTs out there with even shorter throw ratios, the Optoma and BenQ should fit well on many credenzas and TV stands without having to pull the furniture too far away from the wall.

The CinemaX P2 and V7050i feature lenses with motorized manual focus but no zoom or shift. The lack of these is typical for UST projectors in which zoom and shift are achieved by physically moving the projector. Both models allow you to focus while watching live content with the option to use a test pattern.

Both projectors feature sharp lenses that exhibit low distortion and minimal chromatic aberration. Using a grid test pattern, when the center of the screen is perfectly focused, I observed only slight softening in the top corners with the Optoma and almost no softening with the BenQ. And when it comes to geometric distortion, there's very little of it. Both can fully fill my 100-inch screen, with no spillover, despite its narrow 1/3-inch bezel. Surprisingly, relative to long throw projectors in this price range, you give up little picture quality due to the ultra-short throw lens.

Brightness and Max Image Size. The Optoma CinemaX P2 is rated at 3,000 ANSI lumens, while the BenQ V7050i is rated at 2,500 ANSI lumens, so on paper, the Optoma is 20% brighter. But that's not the whole story because, as reported in our review, the BenQ's 6,000K native color temperature setting in its "Bright" picture mode (i.e., its brightest setting) measured very close to the calibrated "ideal" of 6,500K. In contrast, the Optoma's native color temperature in its brightest mode (also labeled "Bright") is very cold (i.e., blue) in comparison, measuring 12,000K. This isn't unusual in most projectors, including other UST models. But the ramifications here are that the BenQ manages to come close to its maximum brightness even when calibrated for an accurate image that follows worldwide movie and TV production standards . At the same time, the Optoma loses a considerable amount of brightness to achieve spot-on accurate color, so much so that the tables are turned, and the BenQ winds up being the brighter projector in most picture modes.

According to Optoma, the CinemaX P2 works with screen sizes ranging from 85 inches to 120 inches. BenQ states that the V7050i range is from 70 inches up to 123 inches. Most UST buyers will be choosing between the two most commonly offered sizes of lenticular UST screens, either 100-inch or 120-inch, and these projectors work with both.

The Optoma offers a rated 20,000 hours of laser life at full power or 30,000 hours in its less-bright Eco Mode, while the BenQ is rated for 20,000 hours at full power and does not specify laser life when laser power is reduced.

Projection Format. Both these USTs offer front and rear projection viewing modes. However, only the Optoma provides the option of a ceiling mount. UST projectors appeal to those considering rear projection installations because you can get away with a very shallow projection chamber, but this is an uncommon approach. The best ambient light rejecting performance, and the most straightforward installation, comes from using a lenticular ALR screen with front projection and the projector located beneath the screen. The benefit of this arrangement is that a UST-compatible lenticular screen is extraordinarily effective at rejecting light coming from the opposite direction of the projector, in this case, the ceiling.

Frame Interpolation. These projectors each offer motion enhancement/frame interpolation settings with three levels to choose between and the option to disable the feature. You should avoid frame interpolation when watching 24p movies, but it can be beneficial—it's a matter of taste—for other types of content such as sports and TV shows. With both projectors, the effect of frame interpolation is mild, regardless of the setting strength, with no noticeable soap opera effect.

Ergonomics and Menu Options. Optoma provides a minimalist, black, brushed-metal, backlit, rechargeable remote, whereas BenQ supplies a white, plastic, non-backlit remote powered by a pair of AAA batteries but with more buttons and voice search functionality. Because it is white, the BenQ remote is much easier to find in a dark room. However, the backlighting on the Optoma remote makes it easier to figure out what each button does when the lights are dim.

Both remotes have a 4-way keypad for menu navigation, but only the Optoma has an "air mouse" mode, which can be helpful for using its built-in browser. Surprisingly, there is no dedicated mute button on the Optoma remote (mute is accessed via a menu) and also no dedicated input selection. These features are available on BenQ's remote, including controls for keystone correction, Amazon Prime Video, voice search, focus, and "Kids TV."

Audio System. Both USTs tout premium sound, and in effect, these projectors have built-in 2-channel soundbars. The Optoma touts more power with 19 watts per channel versus 5 watts per channel for the BenQ. The BenQ relies on a dome tweeter and a mid/woofer driver for each channel, while the Optoma uses the combination of a full-range driver and a woofer for each channel.

Optoma CinemaX P2 audio system
The Optoma CinemaX P2 built-in soundbar has four drivers—two 2-inch full-range drivers and two 2.75-inch woofers.

I tested in-room frequency response and peak output for both projectors using Room E.Q. Wizard software and a miniDSP UMIK-1 microphone. I also sat and did some listening to movie sound, video game sound, streaming music, and some sports broadcasts.

It's probably for the best that these projectors have built-in audio and that the sound is good quality. Still, I'll be the first to argue that if you have a picture that is cinematic in scope, your audio experience should match, and that's not what you get from these projectors—you'll want an advanced soundbar or AVR-based system for that.

Nontheless, the supplied sound systems are at least as good and likely better than any speakers you'll find on a TV; this is because they are forward-firing, and there's enough space within the projector's chassis to build a proper enclosure for the drivers. But only the CinemaX P2 matches a competent soundbar in terms of audio fidelity.

In this matchup, the Optoma essentially demolishes the BenQ. It has louder, more transparent, more dynamic sound. There's no comparison—at least for audio, the Optoma is the winner. I queued up some music on Tidal HiFi and listened, noting how the Optoma could handle bass lines without distortion or exaggeration, highs with crisp clarity that's non-fatiguing, and midrange that's got no coloration to it, with dialog that's easy to comprehend.

With the album Rainbow Brain by Griz playing on the Optoma, you can turn up the system to "party volume" levels, and you'd think the sound was coming from a quality standalone speaker system, not a projector. I guarantee someone, somewhere, will be fooled this way. On the BenQ, the same tracks sound thin, and the maximum volume is a lot lower than the Optoma. The only area where the BenQ beats the Optoma from an audio perspective is in the previously mentioned availability of the mute button on the remote, and the quicker response of its volume keys. The Optoma's volume control is laboriously slow, and with the mute hidden in the menu system, you can't quiet it as quickly and easily.

Measurements support the subjective observation that the Optoma possesses a more powerful audio system. With the volume maxed out on the BenQ, you only need to turn the Optoma's volume up to 40 (out of 100) to match it. From there, the Optoma has plenty of additional headroom to work with. While I don't necessarily recommend turning the volume all the way up to 100, you can crank it up to 75, and you'll get approximately 8dB more output, which is consistent with a system that has around four times the power available to it.

A couple of other observable differences within the measurements include superior bass response for the Optoma, where low-frequency extension reached 55 Hz in my room, while the BenQ played from the same spot only got down to around 70 Hz.

Speaking of bass response, the Optoma has an analog audio output that tracks with its volume control and lets you use the built-in speakers in conjunction with a subwoofer; the BenQ does not. If you add a modest, affordable subwoofer to the CinemaX P2, the resulting performance rivals that of a decent soundbar system. If you do choose to use an outboard system, both projectors offer an ARC-enabled HDMI port and optical audio outputs.

Smart Technology. While both projectors have smart features, the implementations are dramatically different. The BenQ has the better web streaming platform, which relies upon Android TV and offers voice command capability via the microphone-equipped remote, but it comes as an add-on HDMI stick. Its main strength is the wide selection of apps, although Netflix is not among them.

BenQ v7050i lifestyle3

Optoma uses the far inferior Aptoide streaming platform that ProjectorCentral has reported on in other reviews. It is conveniently integrated in the projector and leaves all three of its HDMI ports free. You do get a Netflix app, but there's no support for UHD and HDR, and quite a few other popular apps are missing including VUDU, HBO Max, and Disney+. If you want to stream content using this projector, I strongly recommend purchasing a 4K streaming stick or device or using one you might already have.

Similarly, while the BenQ has the better streaming platform, since its streaming device already takes up one of the two HDMI ports, I'd also recommend going with a different device, like a Roku, FireTV 4K, Chromecast Ultra, NVIDIA Shield, or another 4K source with its own streaming platform such as a PlayStation, Xbox, or UHD Blu-ray player. The reasons include the BenQ's lack of Netflix and also the absence of support for UHD with HDR in some apps that prevent you from getting the full quality this projector can achieve. The downsides include added cost and the need for a second remote to navigate your streaming.

The Optoma's other smart features are focused on local media sharing and playback, along with automation. If offers Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands but unlike the BenQ, which comes with a microphone in the remote, it requires a freestanding smart speaker in the room or other mic-equipped device. It also features compatibility with IFTT (If This Then That) automation routines, so a hobbyist can program it to perform tasks like muting the projector when someone rings the smart doorbell. There's also an Optoma InfoWall app for customizing the projector's homescreen.

Fan Noise. Subjectively speaking, both projectors are quiet enough to make fan noise a non-issue—even with the light source at the highest setting. When measured in my living room (which has a noise floor of approximately 35 dB on a good day) using Room E.Q. Wizard and a miniDSP UMIK-1, I found the Optoma was the quieter of the two, measuring about 35 dB, A-weighted, with the mic situated 3 feet from the projector's front panel (the side facing the viewer). In other words, it's at least as quiet as the room itself. The BenQ is more like 39 dB, and while you won't hear either of these projectors during regular use, it's hard to tell if the Optoma is even on by sound alone; it's that quiet.

Input Lag. Only the Optoma offers a dedicated Game mode, but ultimately neither projector can compete with either dedicated gaming projectors or many modern televisions for low latency performance. In any event, the 4K/60 Hz latency I measured while in the Optoma's Game mode is almost the same as the BenQ offers with 4K/60 Hz. Where the two projectors diverge is with 1080p 60 Hz latency, here the Optoma gives its best reading while the BenQ adds quite a bit of latency.

Rainbow Effect. As with any single-chip DLP projector featuring a color wheel, there is a chance that any given viewer will experience RBE (rainbow effect). I'm not particularly sensitive to it, but I can see it if I look for it.

These two projectors are relatively well-behaved for RBE. With 2D, I didn't spot any while gaming or watching movies or TV, with the singular exception of when there's white text over a black background, and I intentionally dart my eyes around—then I can see RBE. But the same holds true for all single-chip DLP projectors, including triple laser units with no color wheel.

I did spot RBE on both projectors when playing 3D content, and in this mode, the BenQ exhibited more RBE than the Optoma.

Image Comparisons

I used a 100-inch, 0.6 gain lenticular UST ALR screen for all these comparisons, connecting the two projectors to a 4K HDR-capable HDMI splitter and projecting the images side-by-side. Sometimes I did this with one of the projector's image flipped horizontally to scrutinize any differences in the mirrored images.

For source material, I used a combination of an Xbox Series X (UHD Blu-ray and gaming), a Chromecast Ultra (4K/UHD streaming), and a PC connected via HDMI (for photo slideshows and test patterns). My source for live TV (mainly sports) is YouTube TV; I do not subscribe to cable. Neither of these projectors contains a TV tuner, so I could not test with over-the-air broadcasts as a source.

CinemaX P2_front-800
Optoma CinemaX P2

SDR Viewing. For SDR, including HD Blu-ray, TV, and streaming, I set each projector to the brightest reasonably color-accurate settings I could achieve without performing a full calibration. This primarily consisted of finding the right color temperature setting and adjusting the gamma to the room lighting conditions. For Optoma, the most accurate is Reference mode, which is quite dim. Still, it's the only one that came close to the near-perfect neutrality of the BenQ when in its User mode, with color temperature set to Cool (which consistently measured 6,500K in all that projector's picture modes).

When it comes to putting an accurate picture on the screen, the BenQ was the notably brighter projector and did a better job of overcoming ambient light. Even with the lights dimmed, the images from the BenQ had more "pop" to them, there was more perceived contrast thanks to the brighter highlights, and these highlights were achieved with only a slight rise in black level vs. the Optoma. If you want deeper blacks from the BenQ, you can always tap into a different picture mode (commercial cinema is 48 nits, so that's a good target for home theater).

The alternative with the Optoma is to use a cooler color temperature setting that allows for higher peak brightness. Cinema is the go-to mode for that, though the Optoma once again literally and figuratively paled in comparison to the BenQ. You have to stray far from accurate grayscale on the P2 to match the peak brightness of accurate output from the V7050i.

Viewing a still photo slide show (consisting of outdoor images I shot recently and developed on a calibrated monitor), colors on the BenQ were spot-on, and grays entirely neutral. There was intensity where needed but without oversaturating the whole image. Neon signs in test clips glowed, but skin tones looked natural. By comparison, the CinemaX P2 looked color accurate, but the image was both a bit dimmer and a bit flatter. And there was a lack of vibrancy with some intense colors that also put the BenQ ahead for overall impact.

In short, peak brightness levels with the projectors set for accurate grayscale and color was the defining difference between the two, and mostly manifested in the BenQ as highlights with a little extra luminance. The result is images that looked more three-dimensional. In both bright and dark scenes, the BenQ offered greater perceived contrast and images with more "pop" to them.

BenQ v7050i right closed
BenQ V7050i

With SDR sources, the goal of a UST projector is to match what's commonly expected of a TV in a room, perhaps with shades drawn or somewhat dimmed lights. That roughly equates to 100 nits of peak brightness. And when it comes to color reproduction, all the projector has to do is cover the Rec.709 gamut competently. Both projectors pulled this trick off with ease; they very much look like giant TVs.

These USTs delivered a TV-like viewing experience, even during the daytime, despite the ambient light in my white-walled living room with three large windows facing south. Of course, pulling down the shades vastly improves black levels, but with either projector you can enjoy sports with the shades open. I'd argue that—at least in one fundamental sense—these look better than a TV; zero room light reflections are coming of the screen. By comparison in lighting like this, TVs act like mirrors. Even OLED TVs can start to look washed out in this environment.

With live TV signals (typically 720p or 1080i), both projectors proved more than up to the task, fully resolving the image and even offering some image processing options for upscaling and noise reduction. I found a slight gap between the performance of the two: Aside from the brightness advantage of the BenQ, to my eyes its onboard video processing (the combination of scaling, deinterlacing and noise reduction) rendered TV-quality sources with just a bit more perceived detail.

CinemaX P2-lifestyle-main

As noted, you can somewhat mitigate the brightness gap with the Optoma by utilizing a picture mode with a cooler color temperature like Game or Cinema mode. These modes are acceptable for some forms of content, such as sports or news broadcasts and video games, but less so for TV shows and movies, where accurate skin tones and vibrant colors are more important.

It is possible to manually calibrate these projectors into a very accurate state, such that they look practically identical aside from the aforementioned difference in peak brightness. Because DLP and laser light sources are very stable, a proper calibration will last a long time, so I recommend it. However, when the Optoma is fully calibrated you are looking at around 1,300-1,400 lumens versus 2,200-2,300 lumens from the BenQ for a standard Rec.709 SDR calibration with a 6,500K color temp. The fact that you can set the BenQ to one picture mode that is reasonably color accurate and works well in most lighting conditions is an undeniable advantage.

HDR Viewing. A lot of my HDR comparison was performed with test clips from the Spears & Munsil UHD HDR Benchmark Ultra HD Blu-ray. This is a convenient disc because the test clips cover a wide variety of image types and are available in varying levels of HDR peak luminance, from 1,000 nits to 4,000 nits to 10,000 nits, and in Dolby Vision (which does not apply to projectors). This lets you see how the projectors handle tone mapping with source material mastered to various degrees of peak limits.

I set the HDR mode on each of the projectors to factory defaults. I then adjusted the color temperature of each projector to the presets that come closest to 6,500K.

Here again, the BenQ was more vibrant and about 10-15% brighter (says the lux meter). It was also a touch more color accurate than the Optoma. There was more contrast, a greater sense of depth, and a bit more overall visual impact. After scrutinizing dozens of scenes, it became apparent that there are differences in tone-mapping between the two projectors, and the V7050i consistently performed a little bit better.

In one scene from the Spears & Munsil disc, a lake in winter, you can see a slight magenta cast in the sky with the Optoma; the BenQ renders it faithfully as blue. Small details that stood out in clip after clip distinguished the two projectors. There were areas in the grass where the Optoma stopped rendering grass texture and just showed a gradient, whereas the BenQ retained the texture. The trees in the background had more detail with the Ben Q, there was a better delineation of foliage and individual branches, and the trees did not blend into the hillside like they did with the Optoma.

A different scene, an aerial with vibrant yellow sunset clouds over blue sky and a distant mountain range in shadow, demonstrated the superior tone mapping of the V7050i, which preserved considerably more of the subtlety that makes the clouds look wispy, as opposed to clumpy. And the ridges on the mountains in the shadows were more clearly delineated with the BenQ.

With the highly varied subject matter of the Spears & Munsil disc, there were no scenes where the Optoma looked better than the BenQ, but there were some scenes where the two projectors looked essentially the same. For example, numerous shots of butterflies looked practically identical on the two projectors. The same goes for a scene that is just a sea of red tulips and a single yellow tulip; you'd be hard-pressed to spot a meaningful difference between the projectors.

But often, the V7050i demonstrated superiority over the CinemaX P2. Aerial footage of downtown Los Angeles at night made for an interesting comparison. Overall, the scenes looked very similar, but when I scrutinized the details I saw several differences. There's a bit of extra brightness in the highlights of the BenQ, and the streetlights on the BenQ were much closer to an accurate amber hue versus orange on the Optoma. There were also a few spots with signs or neon lights where the BenQ rendered a vivid magenta that is more accurate to the source versus the more muted purple hues of the Optoma. This was quickly confirmed by viewing the same clip on my HDR-capable DCI-P3 monitor.

The two projectors were approximately equal in terms of black levels. But there were differences worth discussing. One of the most interesting comparisons involved the starfield demo loop on the Spears & Munsil disc. With ambient light in the room, it appeared that the Optoma for once was definitively outperforming the BenQ, with brighter and more visible stars.

But there's more to it if you dim the lights: It becomes apparent that the BenQ is modulating the light output to create a deeper black, but in doing so, is also sacrificing some brightness in the stars, at least at first pass while the stars are small and not too numerous. The clip progresses to the point where there are many more prominent stars on screen, at which point the BenQ revs up the light source, but you can't see the rise in black levels. Optoma's approach works better in the daytime, but BenQ's is superior for darkened rooms.

1,000-nit peak HDR performance from the Spears & Munsil disc was excellent on the BenQ and very good on the Optoma. Not surprisingly, feeding the projectors 4,000-nit demo clips presented a more significant challenge, and both projectors struggled somewhat with tone mapping. With 4,000-nit footage, I saw clipping in many scenes on both projectors. But I saw ever so slightly less clipping with the BenQ. The same goes for 10,000-nit mastered HDR of course; neither projector loved it, and both resort to clipping and create an image that is worse than watching the same content in SDR. Fortunately for these and most other HDR projectors, we haven't seen much real content yet with 10,000 nit peaks beyond test material.

Using the HLG HDR format results in a dramatic picture quality difference between the two projectors. It might also be the least relevant difference due to a paucity of content in the format. Nevertheless, the BenQ did a lot better at tone mapping HLG than the Optoma, although to its credit, the Optoma had some of the most accurate colors I've seen from it. Taken separately, both projectors did a great job with HLG. But the night aerial of LA from Spears & Munsil showed the BenQ had the better contrast and looked almost OLED-like (SDR OLED, anyhow) when the lights were dimmed.

The two projectors seem to be evenly matched when it comes to rendering motion. The "Stock Ticker" test clip from HDR Benchmark contains text, line patterns, and photos scrolling horizontally and at various speeds. With motion rendering, the performance of the projectors is identical.

3D Viewing. I was pleased with the 3D performance of both projectors, although there were some notable differences. As with non-3D modes, the BenQ was more color accurate, with notably neutral grays. It also eked out a little bit of extra brightness, even in 3D mode. But, I found that with 3D on the Optoma, I was less susceptible to seeing rainbow artifacts. 3D was the mode on the BenQ where I noticed RBE without going look for it.

My test movie is Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, which uses the 3D format to create visually engaging, artistic scenes. A lot of the scenery is black and white and high contrast, which is challenging in terms of the color accuracy needed to render the neutral grays and also is the sort of content that is most likely to result in RBE.

Optoma BenQ Sin City
Both the Optoma and BenQ showed great detail and dimensionality in the 3D version of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. (Photo Credit: The Weinstein Co.)

Both of these UST's rendered 3D scenes with great depth, plenty of detail, and smooth motion. They are more than bright enough to make watching a 3D movie in a dark room a pleasant experience. But for overall 3D quality, I'd again go with the BenQ. It was the slightly better performer, but with the caveat that if you are susceptible to RBE and watch many high contrast 3D movies, you'll probably see a bit more of it with the BenQ.

Conclusion

When you have two projectors side-by-side for a comparison, all you can do is report what you see. And what I noticed was the BenQ repeatedly beating the Optoma in areas that count for a lot: Color accuracy, perceived contrast, and overall brightness. There was no default picture mode on the Optoma that could match the BenQ in the "User" picture mode, with the color temperature set to Cool.

4K UST laser projectors are a hot category, and that inevitably spurs competition. It is to BenQ's benefit that its first UST offering is among the newest and was developed against pretty much all of the present day competition at this price level. By comparison, Optoma was one of the earliest brands to the laser TV projector market with its original CinemaX P1 in the fall of 2019, and its second-generation P2 revision announced in September of 2020 is already a year old.

BenQ v7050i lifestyle2

But perhaps the most important takeaway from this comparison is that ANSI lumen specs do not always tell the whole story, even when strictly discussing brightness. The 2,500-lumen BenQ is the brighter projector for all practical purposes, only beaten by the 3,000-lumen Optoma if you allow the P2 to use its brightest mode's highly inaccurate default color temperature. Again, to be fair, it isn't unusual to see a projector only make its full brightness spec with color that's highly tinted toward blue or green. That's something you see in most projectors, and with some you can use this mode for less critical viewing in high ambient light. But few projectors achieve something close to their rated brightness with industry-standard color, and the BenQ does just that.

The Optoma does have its charms and advantages: it sounds better, you can hang it upside-down, it has three HDMI inputs instead of the two found on the BenQ, the remote is backlit, it has IFTT automation built in, and it costs a bit less. But after my extensive audition of both models, I'd say the overall winner of this 4K UST laser projector comparison is the BenQ V7050i.

Measurements

Brightness. Brightness measurements for both projectors are taken from ProjectorCentral's standalone reviews for the Optoma CinemaX P2 and BenQ V7050i. All measurements are in default settings. Details on the measurements for brightness uniformity, input lag, and fan noise can also be found in the Measurements section of the original reviews.

Optoma CinemaX P2 ANSI Lumens

Picture Mode 100% Brightness
Cinema 1,747
HDR Sim 1,990
Game 1,995
Reference 1,273
Bright 2,864
User 1,730

BenQ V7050i ANSI Lumens

Mode Normal SmartEco Eco
Bright 2,464 2,464 1,453
Bright Cinema 2,204 2,204 1,300
Filmmaker Mode 1,973 1,973 1,164
DCI-P3 988 988 583
User 2,339 2,339 1,378
HDR10 2,273 2,273 1,341
Filmmaker Mode HDR 2,273 2,273 1,341

BenQ V7050i Connections

BenQ v7050i connections
  • HDMI 2.0b (x2 with HDCP 2.2)
  • USB 2.0 (x2)
  • USB 3.0
  • RS232
  • Digital-optical audio output

Optoma CinemaX P2 Connections

OptomaCinemaxP2 Connections rear side
  • HDMI 2.0b (x3) with HDCP 2.2, one with ARC
  • S/PDIF optical digital audio out (Toslink)
  • Analog stereo audio out (3.5 mm)
  • Bluetooth wireless in
  • USB Type A 2.0 (4K media player)
  • USB Type A 2.0 (media player, power)
  • USB Type A (firmware and service)
  • Ethernet (RJ-45)
 
Comments (19) Post a Comment
Troy Posted Oct 22, 2021 12:11 PM PST
Great review. Any chance you could do a head-to-head between the BENQ and the Epson LS500?
Guy Posted Oct 22, 2021 1:21 PM PST
Thanks for the comparison. I was waiting on this particular review to assist in my purchasing decision . I really needed to see how these two were going to stack up against each other. Projector Central always gets out of the gate first. Thanks!
Mike Posted Oct 23, 2021 4:56 AM PST
Really nice comparison review. Liked the way that you did the comparisons and the detail to …detail.

You talked about lag, but didn’t give any data. The descriptions of the lag are kind of fuzzy. The Optoma was supposed to get a firmware update to improve the lag, but it’s hard to tell if anything has changed since the PC review.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Oct 23, 2021 5:00 AM PST
Mike, thanks for your comments. The Measurements section of the original review should have the lag data for each, and our BenQ sample reflected most recent firmware when the review was published.
Mark Henninger Posted Oct 23, 2021 5:05 AM PST
Hi @mike, the firmware has not affected input lag in any appreciable manner. Apologies for not putting the actual numbers in the input lag comments here. They were super close in 4K/60 Hz mode, 69.1 (BenQ) vs 69.2 (Optoma) milliseconds.
blaze2051 Posted Oct 23, 2021 4:36 PM PST
i would like a comparison between vava chroma and wemax Nova
Brandon Posted Oct 26, 2021 10:40 AM PST
Ok so in the CinemaX P2, it's said that you cannot hang it upside down on a ceiling. Here it says you can. So which is it?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Oct 26, 2021 10:50 AM PST
Brandon, the original review is wrong as it currently reads. The P2 allows inverted ceiling mount.
Thomas Basil Sullivan Posted Oct 28, 2021 10:01 PM PST
What kind of glasses do the two brands use? Passive or Active?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Oct 30, 2021 8:41 AM PST
Thomas, both of these projectors require active DLP-Link glasses.
Dan Posted Oct 30, 2021 10:48 AM PST
What method do you use to measure input lag/latency? Would you consider posting your measurements (rather than the manufacturer's claimed value) for your reviews?

If you have an accurate way of measuring, it would be especially useful for projectors that can do 1080p at 120hz and above--a projector with legitimate <10ms input lag would be competitive with gaming monitors.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Nov 2, 2021 7:27 AM PST
Dan, we don't post the manufacturers claimed latency and always measure unless our Bodnar 4K lag meters don't have the signal type as an option. Right now, that device tops out at being able to test 1080p/120 following a recent update.
IPD Posted Nov 3, 2021 11:56 AM PST
Excellent review. Glad to see that the segment is progressing. I would guess that we aren't going to get response times low enough for high-caliber gamers for a while. I would posit that pixel shifting and electronic keystone cause considerable lag; native 4k chips and manual-only alignment is probably what the UST segment needs to be "Gamer compliant".

I think the prices can be driven down even further with omission of on-board streaming applications software--since even this review said both were sub-optimal compared to external options. Or perhaps the money saved there can be used to partner with a speaker company to provide full integration into surround sound that will not only include on-board speakers, but best utilize their "fill" to compliment the remaining speakers.

I love my P1. At the same time, I look forward to what the market can develop in the coming months.
Dominic Fleury Posted Nov 10, 2021 8:14 AM PST
Hi, thanks for the comparison. I did base my decision over the two partly based on this article, and bought the V70501. One thing I think would be interesting for future video reviews would be to record fan noise with no other sound, as I found the V7050i extremely annoying with a a high pitched buzzing noise on all the time when using.
Michael Murphy Posted Nov 16, 2021 10:18 AM PST
Thank you very much for this review. I am still in my research phase and trying to learn all of this new technology. I am not as technically savvy as most on this forus and some of these terms and calibration techniques are rather intimidating so looking for an easier, less complicated set up. That being said can you answer two questions: 1) which ALR screen brand did you use (model number) in your review and is that the one you would recommend? 2) other than price and the rainbow effect, can you explain the main advantages of the triple laser vs having the color wheel and one laser? I am still confused as many sites offer little information on the triple laser advantage and/or differences. Thank you in advance.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Nov 16, 2021 11:13 AM PST
Hi Michael. I can jump in here and help with these questions. The screen Mark used is actually the screen supplied by Epson with its own LS500 UST projector, but it is essentially similar in its specifications to others on the market including the Elite Aeon CLR and the Screen Innovations UST. The important things to know is that these are "lenticular" ALR screens with a 0.6 gain. This type of screen uses a sawtooth construction to reject overhead light while redirecting the light coming from the projector below out to the viewer. You can read more about these screens in the article linked below:

https://www.projectorcentral.com/How-UST-Screens-Let-You-See-the-Light.htm

The 0.6 gain means that you are sacrificing some brightness from the projector in return for the superior light rejection and the deepening of blacks, which really helps the contrast. We have reviewed the Elite version of this screen here:

https://www.projectorcentral.com/Elite-Screens-Aeon-CLR-Screen-Review.htm

Hope this helps.

Dan W Posted Nov 23, 2021 9:33 PM PST
I'm wondering why so many UST reviews make reference to them as being good replacements for flat screens, vs. as alternatives to conventional projectors. I understand this from the standpoint of brightness in a high ambient light environment, where UST clearly excels, but what about going head-to-head with projectors in a home theater? Some of us can't rip open walls to run lines to a ceiling mount, and I'd like to know whether I can expect a UST to not disappoint. Thanks for any insight anyone out there can offer.
Mike Posted Nov 25, 2021 11:14 AM PST
great review. could you compare with Fengmi C2? much cheaper but with same feature and perf
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Nov 26, 2021 9:03 AM PST
Great question, Dan. When these home theater USTs first started appearing in the market they were a huge step up from the commercial USTs that were previously pressed into home theater service by some -- they were designed and tuned from the ground up for HT, which was great. But they were clearly not at the level of even some better budget projectors in terms of contrast and 4K clarity for movies, largely because they were designed for a very specific purpose, which is TV viewing in a lit environment. I'm happy to say that a couple of years in, we're seeing some UST living room projectors--notably the BenQ 7050i and the Hisense L9G that we just reviewed--that are also very capable dark room projectors. These will always have the "disadvantage" of being natively brighter than many of the best dark-room lamp models out there, which makes it more difficult to achieve deep blacks without also shutting down the highlights. But the laser modulation used to achieve dynamic contrast in these projectors has been growing in sophistication, and I think it's reasonable to think now that with careful product selection and the addition of the mandatory lenticular ALR screen, you can achieve a very high quality home theater projection in a dark room with today's best USTs.

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