Portable projectors are starting to get a little better. Recently, BenQ took the wraps off of two new portable projectors, including the BenQ GV30 and the BenQ GS50. The GV30 has a lot going for it, including a decent image and solid audio. But in this review, we’re focusing on the higher-end model — the BenQ GS50.
The BenQ GS50 offers a different design than the GV30, but it has a higher resolution, a larger image, and more. Like the GV30, it also emphasizes great audio — meaning you won’t necessarily have to take extra speakers with you.
How does the BenQ GS50 perform? We put it to the test to find out.BenQ GS50 Portable Projector Price:$799.00 Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission
BenQ GS50 projector design
The BenQ GS50 may essentially be a cube, but BenQ has still made an effort to make the projector unique and interesting to look at. The projector offers a green-and-white color scheme with orange highlights and a brown leather strap on the right. It’s a good look. BenQ could have easily made a simple white box, and I’m glad it didn’t.
On the top of the projector can be found a few physical controls, including a power button, a Bluetooth connect button, and volume buttons. On the left is a door that hides the ports, including audio output, USB-C port, HDMI port, USB port, and a switch to lock the settings. And, on the front there’s a button to adjust the height of the stand, so you can change the projector’s angle.
The projector is pretty light and small, measuring in at 6.06 inches wide, 5.75 inches tall, and 7.32 inches deep. Most should easily be able to pack it for traveling or carry it around.
The remote is also pretty well-designed. It’s the same remote as that in the GV30, and it has software controls, a Google Assistant button, a quick-access button for Amazon Prime, and buttons to control the image.
To use Android TV on the projector, you have to plug in the included QS01 Android TV dongle. BenQ says that it included a dongle for easier firmware updates. Thankfully, it’s relatively easy to permanently install behind a door at the back of the device.
BenQ GS50 projector features and software
The BenQ GS50 is designed to offer a range of connectivity options for those that might not be in an area with Wi-Fi. That means you can connect both wirelessly, and through the HDMI port.
The GS50 comes with Android TV built in, as long as you have the dongle installed. Generally, Android TV is a pretty heavy operating system, and the QS01 doesn’t seem quite powerful enough to power it. While it worked fine, it often skipped and froze for a second, especially when using features like Google Assistant. Again, it works fine, and you’ll get used to using it.
If you use the projector within Wi-Fi range, you’ll interact with Android TV to access your favorite streaming services and content. Unfortunately, you will have to jump through some hoops to access some services. For example, Netflix isn’t natively supported, so to use it, you’ll have to download a series of third-party stores and apps. This seems to be Netflix’s fault, rather than BenQ’s — but in the end it doesn’t matter who’s at fault, you still won’t be able to easily access Netflix.
You don’t have to use Android TV at all if you don’t want to though. You could use the projector’s HDMI and USB-C Display Port, but you can also Cast to the projector. And, the projector can create its own Wi-Fi network for you to stream to it directly. So you don’t need an internet connection, as long as you have content installed on your device.
There’s a BenQ Smart Control app that you can use too, but it’s a little limited, and basically just works like a remote.
BenQ GS50 projector performance and battery
The GV30 has a 720p resolution, but the GS50 is a notable step up with its 1080p resolution. It’s still not really for those that want a high-end home theater, but it’s not terrible. Along with that 1080p resolution, you’ll get a brightness of 500 ANSI lumens, which again, will be fine for some situations, but not incredible.
The projector is able to deliver an image size of between 30 inches and 110 inches, however, BenQ says that for an optimal image, a screen size of 80 inches and 100 inches is recommended.
The resolution is actually good enough for most users. Images are crisp enough for watching on the go, and even pixel-peepers will get over the lower resolution relatively quickly. That said, the brightness is a little harder to look past. The projector easily displays an image that’s bright enough in darker environments, but you won’t want to use it with much ambient light. Considering the fact that it’s portable, it definitely does the job, and gets bright enough for night viewing.
The BenQ GS50 has a battery life of up to 2.5 hours, which isn’t bad. It’s definitely long enough to watch most movies without the need for power, though you won’t really get more than one movie. Of course, battery life will vary widely depending on how you use the projector, brightness, and so on.
BenQ GS50 projector audio
BenQ has really focused a lot on audio for the GS50, and that’s a good thing. After all, decent audio is pretty much essential in a portable speaker. You likely won’t be able to use the device with external speakers. Thankfully, the speakers deliver, offering enough oomph for most. And, the projector can double as a standalone Bluetooth speaker, which is a super nice touch.
The speakers easily get loud enough for the majority of listening sessions. They deliver deep, powerful bass, and while bass extension isn’t incredible, it still handily beats the majority of other portable projectors out there. Mids are well-tuned too, while highs are crisp and detailed.
The BenQ GS50 is an excellent portable projector. The ruggedized design makes it an excellent choice for those on the go. While it doesn’t quite get as bright as I might have liked, it still does very well in night-watching sessions. If you’re willing to spend $799 on a portable projector, the BenQ GS50 is an excellent option.
The competitionNebula Mars II Pro Price:$549.99 Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission
There are plenty of portable projectors, but most of them are quite a bit cheaper, and don’t quite offer an image that’s as bright or high quality. In the end, those willing to spend this much on a portable projector should go for the BenQ GS50. If your budget is a little lower, then it’s worth considering the Nebula Mars II Pro instead.
Should I buy the BenQ GS50 projector?
Yes. The GS50 offers a solid image quality and enough brightness for most dark environments.BenQ GS50 Portable Projector Price:$799.00 Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission