BenQ MP780ST Widescreen Interactive Short Throw Projector
Short throw. Most interactive projectors offer a short throw or ultra short throw for good reason. It lets you project a large enough image from a short enough distance so you can stand close to the screen without getting in front of the projector and casting a shadow. The MP780ST falls in the short throw category. We measured a 94" diagonal (80" wide) image from 3.2 feet, which is easily close enough to let you stand to the side of the projector and still have good control over pointing the wand.
Surprisingly bright. The MP780ST was a touch brighter in our tests than its 2500 lumen rating. We measured it in its brightest mode at 2548 lumens, which makes it somewhat brighter that many projectors with ratings as high as 3000 lumens. Turning on interactive mode lowers the brightness substantially, to a measured 1486 lumens. However, even 1486 lumens is bright enough to project an acceptably large image that can stand up to the typical ambient light in a small to medium size conference room or classroom. If you turn on Eco mode as well, you may have to lower the lights a bit or settle for a slightly smaller image size - we measured the brightness at 1229 lumens with both modes active - but that's still bright enough so you shouldn't have any serious issues with brightness or image size.
Good data image quality. The test unit's data image quality was more than good enough for any conference room or classroom use. Greens were a little on the dull side, rather than vibrant, but colors were generally well saturated and yellow was definitively yellow, rather than a mustard color. Even with an analog connection, the image was close to rock solid, with exceedingly minor pixel jitter showing only on images that tend to cause jitter.
The projector also handled text well overall. White text on black was almost unreadable at the smallest size we test with. However, it's unlikely you'll ever see this problem in real world use. White text on black is unusual, and we test with a smaller font size than you're ever likely to use. For black text on white, which is far more important because it's more common, the text was highly readable down to and including the smallest size.
Excellent Data Connectivity: The MP780ST offers every connector you're ever likely to need, including an HDMI connector for either a computer or video source. The other choices include two VGA inputs for computers or component video, a pass-through VGA port for a monitor, and both composite video and S-Video inputs. For audio, in addition to the HDMI connector, one of the VGA ports is paired with a stereo minijack, and the two video ports share a single set of RCA phono jacks. In addition, the projector offers minijacks for microphone input and stereo output.
Additional connectors include a 12v trigger to let you lower and raise a screen automatically, a LAN connector and mini B USB port that each let you send data to the projector, an RS-232 port and Type B USB connector that each let you control the projector from a computer, and two Type A USB connectors that let you plug in a USB memory key to read JPG, BMP, GIF, Tiff, and PNG files or connect a $49 optional dongle that lets you display images by WiFi.
Surprisingly Good quality audio. The MP780ST's built-in audio is loud enough for a small to medium size conference room or classroom, with better sound quality than most projectors in its weight class - just 8.4 pounds. For large rooms, however, or if you want to hear the sound in stereo, you'll need an external sound system.
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