BenQ MP772ST Short-throw Projector
Has your presentation ever been disturbed by an audience member strolling in front of the projector and blocking the image on the screen? Do you ever use an electronic whiteboard and find your own shadow obscuring the image on the board? If so, there's a modestly priced solution available in the form of BenQ's MP772ST short-throw projector which will put up a 74" image from a mere three feet. This 2,500-lumen projector is aimed at the classroom market, but it suits small- to medium-size business conference rooms, too.
Brightness: It's nice to see a projector meet its brightness claim, and the 772ST does just that. In Dynamic mode, it delivered 2,735 ANSI lumens which actually exceeds its spec of 2,500 ANSI lumens. Presentation and Cinema modes dropped the light output to 2,325 and 890 ANSI lumens, respectively, but those lower values are appropriate to the content for those modes. Eco mode will reduce the brightness of any operating mode by 22%, but it extends lamp life from 3,000 to 4,000 hours. Eco mode also reduces power consumption and lowers fan noise while image brightness can still be up to 2,130 ANSI lumens.
Uniformity: Brightness uniformity was less than stellar at 60% with a bit more light on the left side of the image. This imbalance is visible with an all-white calibration image, but it isn't particularly noticeable on most media content.
The MP772ST will always be placed near the screen and away from the audience, so there's no annoying blast of warm air or high audio volume impact for those that might otherwise be seated near the projector. That means you can ease the strain on your vocal chords when speaking during your presentation.
Focus is excellent across the entire screen. Small text is easy to read in the corners, and spreadsheets were crisp and clear from edge to edge. Even 8-point type, which is hard enough to read on a laptop, was easy to discern on the screen.
While there isn't a lot of 3-D educational material published yet, it's a coming trend and this projector will be ready when it arrives in force. The MP772ST utilizes Texas Instruments' 3-D DLP technology, and although it currently requires the use of special LCD shutter glasses whose cost will probably not fit most classroom budgets, this technology may change over time as 3-D plays an increasing role in classroom education.
Speaking of classroom environments, the MP772ST has the requisite Kensington lock capability, and it's compatible with Crestron's remote control systems via its RS-232 (DB-9) connector. In addition, there's a RJ-45 input which facilitates Internet connectivity. You'll also find the usual complement of RGB, S-video, and component video inputs. It does not have a digital input, but that is of minor consequence for its intended uses.
In the maintenance category, the 210-watt lamp is accessible through the top of the projector so it's easy to replace even in ceiling mount configurations. Another safety feature is the reinforced cage around the lamp should it ever shatter . . . it's rare, but it happens. Lamp replacement cost is relatively low at $219, and lamp life is a healthy 3000/4000 hours in Normal/Eco modes. Finally, BenQ uses a sealed DLP chip so there's no air filter to replace. All in all, maintenance is relatively cheap and easy.
Image quality is good with both PC and video sources although presets in both cases have a slight tint. In PC mode, the Dynamic setting is essentially tint-free while the screen image in Presentation and sRGB settings is slightly red and the Cinema setting has a green tint. Still, in PC mode the overall impact of these color biases is minimal. In video mode, sRGB is tint-free, Dynamic is slightly green, and Presentation and Cinema settings tend toward red. For movie viewing, the best flesh tones, color balance, and screen brightness are achieved in User mode with the Dynamic setting, Eco mode on, and color temperature at the T4. It may not be the equivalent of a home theater experience, but on balance, it's a good result from an inexpensive projector.
One thing to keep in mind is that with a short-throw lens, the bottom of the image won't be much above the level of the lens. To get the image high enough for all to see, you'll either have to place the projector on a stand or AV cart that's chest high, or you'll have to angle the projector upward by adjusting its front foot. If that's necessary, the keystone adjustment can take care of image distortions, but you might also consider angling the screen to reduce the keystone effect. Of course, this isn't possible with a wall-mounted screen or a whiteboard, but if you get the chance, angle the screen (top out or bottom in) and you'll reduce any keystone correction needed.
|Review Contents:||General Impressions||Advantages||Limitations|