BenQ HT4050 Home Theater Projector
3D Brightness. The HT4050 produces a reasonably solid and watchable 3D image, but it is among the least bright we've seen. The HT3050 is noticeably brighter, and it was the least bright of the five we tested in last week's shootout of home theater models under $1000. If you watch 3D just occasionally, this is not a big issue and you'll get sufficient performance from the 4050. But if you are an avid 3D fan and among those who complain about 3D images not being bright enough, this one is not likely to satisfy you.
Extended Input lag. The 96 ms input lag on the HT4050 makes it unsuitable for any type of serous gaming. It also means that using an audio delay to fix the inherent lip-synch problem is mandatory. This is enough lag to make the viewing experience distracting unless an audio delay is used. Now, all projectors have some lag, and they all benefit from the use of an audio delay. So the fact that you'd need to set the delay for 96 ms on this unit, while needing to set it for 49 ms on the HT3050, makes no difference. Once it is set, the problem is fixed and you don't worry about it anymore.
A little bit o' lens shift. This is both an advantage and a limitation. It is an advantage because many projectors in this price niche or lower don't offer lens shift at all. So to that extent it is a genuine benefit. The only reason it is a limitation is because there are home theater models that don't cost much more that have much more extensive vertical and horizontal lens shift range.
Slow synch on new signals. The HT4050 takes its own sweet time figuring out new signals. Once it locks onto a steady signal it is fine, but when you fire up a Blu-ray disc, it is initially confused by the changing formats in the start up sequences. You may or may not see the MPAA Rating screen, the FBI alert screen, the Interpol screen, and you may miss some or all of the movie studio splash screen -- you'll hear the fanfare on your audio system but the screen will be dark. Once it locks onto the movie signal it is fine, but this not a good way to start a film presentation if you are using Blu-ray or any other source that has some variant signal formats as it starts up.
NOTE: BenQ indicates that engineers are working on a firmware update to resolve this. We will update this review with any new developments.)
UPDATE 12/21/15: BenQ reports today that a new firmware version will reduce input lag and improve time to synch on new signals. Please contact BenQ Tech Support for information on how to get your projector upgraded to the latest firmware. [EP]
One-year warranty. Several vendors in this market niche offer two or three year warranties, but some offer just the conventional minimum one-year. BenQ is one of them.
The BenQ HT4050 is a mixed bag. It has an elegant, smooth picture that will appeal to videophiles. The more sophisticated home theater aficionado will appreciate the incremental picture quality and gladly pay the extra price. The HT4050 also has some desirable performance features that do not exist on the lower priced BenQ models, most notably very nice implementations of frame interpolation and 2D to 3D conversion. Our sample came with a factory default Cinema mode that requires no calibration to enjoy right out the box. And its brighter and richer Vivid mode also has a refined quality that a lot of users will find extremely appealing. In our view, the 1.6x zoom that lets you position the projector farther from the screen is also a noteworthy and attractive asset.
However, most consumers just getting into entry level home theater are not likely to view the nuanced seamlessness of the HT4050's image as a major advantage. They will instead be more attracted to the somewhat better contrast and three-dimensionality offered by the HT2050 or HT3050. And gamers are more likely to go for the much lower priced HT2050 for its 33 ms input lag rather than the 96 ms of the HT4050.
In the end there is no such thing as a projector that meets everyone's needs for all uses. The HT4050 will be perfect for some users and not right for others. But it will certainly contribute to BenQ's growing reputation for producing cost-effective home theater projectors that deliver excellent picture quality.
(See current BenQ HT4050 prices.)
|Review Contents:||Picture Quality||Key Features||Performance||Set Up|
|Limitations and Conclusion|
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