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The BenQ MW535A is a WXGA business projector with a bit of an identity crisis. It’s marketed to businesses, its price point is appealing to businesses, and its inputs–namely, the presence of not one, but TWO VGA ports–are very business-oriented, and yet it still supports a wide variety of features oriented more for budget media buyers. HD resolution, support for 3D input, and several HDMI ports all suggest a media projector, presenting a unique product. It’s strange to call a business projector one of the best 3D projectors for budget buyers, let alone one of the best long throw projectors for budget buyers, but somehow, it is.
The BenQ MW535A is a decent budget projector that, despite being aimed more at businesses, provides an adequate media experience on a low budget. It’s bright, it supports 3D, and while it’s not 1080p, 800p is fine enough for media consumption on a low budget.
You’re not going to be absolutely blown away by the BenQ MW535A. It doesn’t have the sharp 1080p resolution of the Epson Home Cinema 3700 Full HD 1080p 3LCD Projector, the fancy 3LCD technology of the Epson Home Cinema 2040 3D 1080p 3LCD Projector that prevents the rainbow effect, or support for HDR-like the BenQ TK800 4K and BenQ TK850. With that said, though, those are all $1,000-2,000 machines–this is just $429. It’s very bright, the colors are decent, and while it’s not 1080p, it’s still sharp enough for watching movies on a budget. Though it’s more suited for casting PowerPoint on a big screen to suits in a conference room, it’s bright enough, sharp enough, and packs just enough features to be a competent home theater projector despite its business-focused use. Even its contrast ratio is decent, coming in at 15,000:1; while that’s not going to turn heads or anything, it’s a very solid figure for a budget projector that isn’t primarily focused on providing the best possible image. Another projector worth checking out is the Optoma Short Throw Projector (GT1090HDR) which is an ultra-short throw projector perfect for mid-range home theater setups thanks to its HDR support, a slew of video inputs, and high brightness.
Unlike the BenQ MS517 SmartEco projector, the BenQ MW535A gets incredibly bright, coming in at 3,600 lumens. It’s usable in rooms with a bright light source, and it’s great for dark and dimly lit rooms. Colors will naturally appear dim and washed out in brighter lighting conditions, but it’s bright enough to not be unusable in rooms with strong ambient light; this is one area its business-focused use case immensely helps it, as business projectors tend to be brighter. This is unlike the BenQ TH671ST, which looks washed out in brightly-lit locations.
Featuring three adjustable feet, 1.2x zoom, and vertical keystone correction, adjustability on the BenQ MW535A is great for the price. Adjustability is further enhanced by an included remote control, and port selection is surprisingly decent for the price point; you’re looking at dual HDMI ports, dual VGA ports (which makes sense given it’s a business projector), and of course audio jacks.
Durability is another big win for the BenQ MW535A. Its inbuilt eco mode reduces lamp power to boost overall lamp life, giving it up to 15,000 hours of use; for a budget DLP projector, that’s not too shabby at all, matching even upper mid-range offerings like the ViewSonic 4K Projector. It’s also physically durable, with a thick plastic shell protecting the housing; this, too, is another benefit of it primarily being business-oriented.
Value is a bit of a mixed bag on the BenQ MW535A. As far as business projectors go, it’s phenomenal; it’s HD, it’s bright, and it’s durable. Many business projectors are a paltry 640×800 resolution at this price point, and offer worse image quality overall even ignoring their poor resolution. As far as media projectors go, it’s adequate; there are a few very low-budget projectors like the Vankyo V600 that come in at 1080p, but you’re looking at poorer brightness, less longevity, and less vibrant color at that kind of price range.
Despite its strange identity crisis, the BenQ MW535A is a solid product. For its low price, it’s reasonably durable, it’s reasonably high resolution, it’s exceptionally bright, and it features a solid blend of picture quality and price. You’re not getting the highest resolution or the most cutting-edge picture quality, but for $429, there’s not too much else to ask for no matter what you’re using it for.