BenQ Joybee GP1
LED DLP Pocket Entertainment Projector
Odd resolution. The Joybee GP1 has a native resolution of 858 x 600 pixels, with a 1.43:1 aspect ratio. This resolution is nonstandard and a bit wider than traditional SVGA. As a result, you are unlikely to encounter any content which is truly "native" on this projector. 800x600 content actually leaves slight black bars to the left and right of the image, creating a pillarboxed effect. The real benefit to this format, though, is that a 16:9 DVD can be displayed at its native resolution of 854x480 without being compressed.
Lumen output. As we mentioned, the one factor that limits the use of LEDs in projectors more than any other is brightness. The Joybee GP1 is rated for 100 lumens of brightness - yes, you read that correctly, one hundred lumens. To its credit, we measured 96 lumens on our test sample, so it is at least living up to its specifications. However, in anything but a very dark room, you will want to keep the image size down in order to preserve some semblance of visibility.
Lack of "real" case. When a projector's chief virtue is portability, we like to see manufacturers include a good quality carrying case. The GP1 does have a case, but it is only large enough to hold the projector itself -- indeed, it is less like a case and more like a sleeve. You are on your own when it comes to storing the power brick and assorted video cables.
Restricted connectivity. The Joybee GP1 can be connected to a video source in three different ways - using a USB drive in the USB slot, using an iPod in the BenQ iPod dock, or using VGA or composite video via the included breakout cable. However, the breakout cable is only about eighteen inches long, forcing you to keep the projector and the attached device very close together. The connection from the cable to the projector uses a proprietary plug, so there's little chance of obtaining a longer one.
Proprietary iPod connection. BenQ sells an iPod dock for the GP1. If you own an iPod, you know that the standard connection cable uses USB, and may be wondering if you can simply plug the standard iPod cable into the projector. Sadly, this does not work. To connect an iPod to the Joybee GP1, you need to purchase BenQ's own iPod dock attachment, or an Apple iPod A/V Composite cable, which costs $49 from the Apple Store.
BenQ's Joybee GP1 is a new breed of pocket projector. With its LED lamp, it promises to light up your game room - or hotel room - for years to come. While it is not bright enough to be a true home entertainment projector, and connectivity requires a careful selection of cables, it is a great choice as a secondary projector for more mobile applications - especially at $499.