The BenQ HT3050 is yet another addition to the company’s extensive lineup of powerful projectors that give the rest of the competition a run for its money. The HT3050 sets itself apart with the inclusion of Cinematic Color Rec. 709, an industry standard that screams “looks as good as real life”, but will that feature alone be enough to give the projector the boost it needs to make it into the ranks of the greats? Like our best projector under $1000 list?
Read on in our BenQ HT3050 DLP projector review to find out!
Price: $999.00 on Amazon
Summary: The BenQ HT3050 is a stunningly designed projector with color accuracy and picture quality to back it up, and is only burdened by its larger size and confusing, clunky menu system that’s in dire need of a “smart” update.
What We Liked
- Incredible color representation
- Gaming performance was fast
- Speakers were loud enough to fill a room
What We Didn’t
- Heavy, might not fit all setups
- Speakers were also tinny and lacked bass
BenQ HT3050 Specs
|BenQ HT3050 DLP Projector|
|Screen Size||60" - 180"|
|Native Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Refresh Rates||60Hz (120Hz in 3D)|
|HDMI Ports||2 1.4/MHL|
|Device Dimensions||8.5 x 7.9 x 3.5 inches|
The BenQ HT3050 shares less design notes with its brother the BenQ HT4050, and more with the newer side of the company’s gold-on-white color scheme, similar to what we saw in the BenQ i500 mobile LED projector.
Overall this gives the projector a classier, almost posh look that blends well with a lot of different decor styles. The HT3050 may be a little less polished than the i500, but still not nearly as dry and lifeless as the Acer H6517ST, and its rounded edges and gold accents help set it apart from a slew of other projectors that look similar enough to the point that it’s almost impossible to pick one out from the other in a direct lineup.
At 7.93lbs and just over a foot wide end-to-end, the HT3050 may not lend itself to every mounting scenario out there, so be sure you take careful measurements of where you plan to put the projector before picking on up for yourself.
The BenQ HT3050 uses DLP technology to create its images at a maximum HD display resolution of 1920 x 1080 at a contrast ratio of 15,000:1. The BenQ HT3050 can output a display size of anywhere between 60″ – 180″ while maintaining full picture clarity, though this can be scaled to a maximum of 300″ if you’re doing outdoor watching on a dark night and don’t mind if things get a little bit blurry.
The BenQ HT3050 includes a decent number of ports, including the now-outdated RGB component slots with L/R audio, two HDMI 1.4/MHL ports, one USB 2.0 port, one 3.5mm audio in/out, one LAN port, and one PC connection.
User Interface and Settings
Unfortunately, the HT3050 has yet to catch up to SmartTVs and its cousins like the BenQ i500, using only an onboard display of settings rather than the newer “Dashboard” style that other more recent projectors are opting for instead.
As a result, finding the setting you want to change is easy, but also weirdly hard at the same time. For example, when we went to keystone the image on the initial setup, we couldn’t find any actual menu selection for keystoning in the main menu. Instead, you had to push the “Keystone” button on the remote, something that was totally inaccessible from the controls mounted on the unit itself.
Not only that, but when we tried to reposition an image to fit our screen setup, we found the option completely grayed out for no good reason. After going through multiple FAQs and menus we still weren’t able to find an answer, despite trying multiple sources including a laptop and an Xbox One. Otherwise the settings were relatively straightforward, though we would have liked to see a little more cohesion between all the different adjustment options overall.
Testing and Performance
Confusing menus and keystoning problems aside, where the BenQ HT3050 really earns its stripes is in its stellar, jaw-dropping image quality, thanks in large part to the inclusion of “Rec. 709 Cinematic Colors”.
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What does that mean exactly? Well, in so many words Rec. 709 is a film/television industry standard for how all shows and movies are color balanced during post production in order to produce a consistent image across all devices, no matter where it’s being displayed. In much the same way designers and programmers rely on AdobeRGB to tell them when something is color correct, Rec. 709 is used as a baseline that filmmakers refer to when they want to balance how a particular piece of media looks across thousands of different devices at once.
The result in the case of the HT3050 is vibrant, full-spectrum color that pops off the screen unlike anything else. The brightness levels could be better (we tested a max lux rating of only 895 from a distance of 10ft), but when all the lights are off and you’re fully enveloped in your favorite show or movie, the image quality of the HT3050 is truly something to behold.
Gaming performance was just as impressive as the image quality, with sub-10ms response times (solid for a projector), and little-to-no blurring when action picked up on screen.
Noise and Heat
As a larger, high-performance projector it wasn’t surprising that the BenQ HT3050 ran hotter than most, but where it really scored points was its noise levels. Although the projector was putting out some serious temperature from its several vents, its noise levels were almost non-existent, and easily drowned out by the surrounding speakers we had hooked up while watching various pieces of content and playing games.
Speaking of sound, the speakers on the BenQ HT3050 were as loud as all get-out. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean they were a pleasure to listen to. While the two opposing 10W speakers were noticeably louder than the competition, they were also helplessly bassless, resulting in a grating, tinny sound that no one would ever want to crank up to max volume unless they were trying to blow out their own eardrums through an assault of unbalanced mids and endless treble.
BenQ is no slouch when it comes to making solid sound work (as evidenced by the Bluetooth speaker on the i500), but like most projector makers, it seems they’ve opted for the easy assumption that if you’re spending nearly $1,000 on a home theater projector, you’ve probably got the home theater stereo setup to back it up.
The BenQ HT3050 doesn’t do anything particularly revolutionary or exciting, but that doesn’t feel like so much of a problem once you lay your eyes on its spectacular, irreplaceable image quality. Fine-tuned to meet the specifications set out by Hollywood itself, the addition of Rec. 709 Cinematic Color reproduction gives the HT3050 a vibrancy and image quality that is unmatched by almost any other projector on the market.
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