Portable projectors are becoming popular in homes, enabling consumers to have their private cinemas without investing too much in their portability and functionality. If you want to introduce a movie theater to your house – and only recently, because of the pandemic, it was our only option for a movie experience – then a projector might be a reasonable investment.
Without a hefty price tag, you can’t cram as much cinematic power into a travel-sized device. However, BenQ’s latest GS2 outdoor LED projector is just as large as a square Kleenex box and, in this case, a big exception.
We get to watch what we want, where we want it, whether it’s at home, camping by the beach, or glamping in a spa. Any time you need it, the BenQ GS2 allows you to experience your entertainment on a far wider screen than either of your handheld devices.
Miniature build with an IPX2 rating
BenQ GS2 projector looks unique straight out of the box, missing the rectangular look too typical to projectors. This small cylinder, measuring 14 x 14 x 14 cm and weighing just 1.6kg, is lightweight and ideal for any occasion. It comes equipped with two 2-watt chambers speakers in the rear, offers 1280 x 720 pixels (720p video resolution), and has 500 lumens to deliver clear and crisp pictures.
The unit itself may not have a “zoom” function, but it is so light that it is easy to pick it up and shift it forward or farther away from the screen to control its projection. However, it comes with auto-focus and vertical keystone adjustment which adjusts the projected image automatically without installation hassles.
On top of the projector are the control buttons. They are made up of marks etched into the surface. You press them, and the surface bends slightly, actuating the specific control.
With Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, as well as HDMI, USB Type-C, USB 2.0 (Type A), or an auxiliary cable, you can conveniently connect external devices to the projector. All of which is to say, however, you want to watch, the GS2 can accommodate. Gamers would also love the ability to connect via HDMI to their Nintendo Switch, Xbox, or PlayStation.
The projector does not heat up much after prolonged usage, so you can even keep it by your bedside if that’s more convenient for you. The soft nylon bag that comes with it improves its portability, enabling owners to quickly pop it in with the remote and battery and transport the set around.
720p display with decent color and sound
BenQ GS2 portable outdoor projector executes well in most departments. It comes with a 1.3 throw ratio, and when placed at a distance of two meters from the screen, it can project an estimated 80″ image.
Its 500 ANSI lumens brightness rating is sufficient for low-light or dark environments. For LED light source projectors, the actual brightness would be brighter than ANSI lumen from common lamp-base projectors. Even though the ANSI lumens of GS2 only 500, the actual LED brightness would be brighter than the claimed ANSI lumens. However, you will want to switch off the lights or pull the window curtains throughout the day if you are using the GS2 indoors.
Now, as you would imagine, the image, particularly when our eyes are used to 4K or UltraHD displays, has a somewhat soft focus. Despite this, the colors are pleasing, and the black levels are also very good. The text display was quite crisp and sharp on the screen, and the overall experience was quite pleasant.
In our tests, viewing faster-paced content with more action or color transitions might result in a slight momentary pixelation. While the native resolution is a startling 720p, it supports video signals with a resolution of up to 1080p.
The dual 2-watt chambers of the BenQ GS2 are sufficient for usage in a small room in terms of sound efficiency. But if you choose to use it outside or in a larger space, it’d be better to use a pair of Bluetooth speakers for greater sound and fidelity.
A projector built with your child in mind
The GS2 has an Eye-Protection Sensor built with families and children in mind that instantly shuts down the LED light if it detects someone in front of it attempting to see in as it shields their eyes from light damage.
The GS2 is designed to be splash-proof and drop-resistant for a lightweight, wireless, and durable outdoor projector. You won’t have to be concerned if you splash water on it or worry if the device falls accidentally. However, since the company specifies a height of 0.5 m for its drop tolerance, don’t expect it to set any drop-test records.
You can install third-party applications from Aptoide TV, which is preinstalled, as the Android 6.0 operating system operates the GS2. Aptoide TV is a platform for Android applications by a third party that offers more than 2500 apps. You can also use BenQ Smart Control as a remote controller app for your GS2 projector which helps to navigate your favorite shows on YouTube or Netflix easier.
Built-in battery for entertainment on the go
The integrated battery offers about two and a half to three hours of runtime. You can enjoy a long blockbuster movie without interruption or binge on a few episodes of your favorite Netflix show. We could go from 20 percent battery to 100 percent battery in less than an hour as far as charging is concerned.
Now on the wired power cable, BenQ has adopted an Apple MacBook Pro-like MagSafe power connection with which the power cord is built to separate from the projector immediately if it is unintentionally tugged.
The verdict: BenQ GS2
Overall, the BenQ GS2 projector is a reliable device that can turn any space into a personal movie theatre, even in an outdoor environment. Once set up, it is easy to use, and for such a portable projector, the image quality is remarkably crisp. However, don’t expect the rugged outdoor projector to match home theater projectors that cost the same.
At US$599 (S$849 on Lazada and Shopee), it isn’t the cheapest, especially when you look at the resolution support on its own. There are more affordable, more basic projectors out in the market. Still, BenQ GS2 provides a nice, flexible, and smart display experience in a compact form if you look at it as a portable entertainment projector.