Listen to this post:
BenQ has entered the growing laser ultra short throw projector market with the 4K V7050i UST Laser Projector, their take on premium large format projection displays intended to be a workable replacement for the big-screen TV commonly found in your family room. It’s a pitch with its own compromises but minimizes the physical deficiencies of traditional DLP or LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) choices.
However, it’s undeniable that BenQ’s projector delivers superb picture quality and does it with a effective viewing size of up to 120 inches, depending on your living space. Equally impressive is the attractive presentation acting as a supplemental party piece, a nice touch that differentiates this from other dedicated home projectors in its class.
A Living Room Centerpiece
The V7050i is straightforward and monolithic in appearance, measuring in 6.2Hx19Wx15.2D inches and weighing a hefty 22lbs. Beyond that, there’s the Scandinavian-like front speaker grille housing two 5W drivers, and blue accent piping that flank the side vent louvers; dual positioning rulers are also hidden within the rear side and can be pulled out for easier placement. The projector is also available in pure white (known as the V7000i) for international buyers.
But the most noticeable exterior highlight occurs when you power on the projector, because BenQ went to the trouble of adding a motorized sunroof panel that automatically slides open for the lens and eye protection sensors, while doubling as a dust cover mechanism when turned off. Although debatably superficial, the sunroof exudes a certain “wow” factor that gives the V7050i an complimentary sense of occasion for guests, or cinephiles who appreciate a little bit of dramatic flair.
Beyond that initial showcase, connectivity around the back is minimal – probably based on the assumption the V7050i is intended to be stationary and integrated into a fully-fledged theater surround system. There’s only two HDMI (v2.0b/HDCP 2.2) inputs, SPDIF audio out, RS232 input and a bevy of USB Type-A ports (one 1.5 power supply in rear and two 2.0/2.5 on the right side). It should be noted that both the HDMI-1 input and USB 2.5A powered ports are reserved for the QS01 Android TV dongle if you decide to use that as your smart hub. Otherwise, hooking up the V7050i is a low-effort affair that anyone can manage.
The V7050i gets two remotes: a traditional backlit button-filled slab that looks more functional than it is, and a smaller white one specifically tailored for the Android TV dongle with Google Assistant. Both choices aren’t the most intuitive and I found myself using the white one for everyday usage, I wish BenQ would have found a better way to integrate both modules into one satisfying clicker.
A quick rundown of basic specs includes a 2500 ANSI lumen output with an effective screen size between 77-123 inches; great for big format entertainment, but not so much for off-sunlight daytime viewing without a proper ALR screen (Elite Screens Kestrel CLR is a good option). The 0.25:1 throw ratio is in the neighborhood of other UST offerings for minimal laser distortion and comes equipped with a 0.47-inch DLP 4K utilizing XPR pixel-shifting technology, and laser-based RGBRGB color wheel rated for 152W and estimated 20,000-hour lifetime.
HDR and color management is also excellent out of the box, with BenQ proclaiming the V7050i being able to achieve 96% coverage of the Rec.709 gamut. It looks fairly pleasing before adjustment and has just a smidge of hue oversaturation which is often preferable for most content. You could make an argument that the colors appear richer in some cases and can be corrected, but the effect is generally harmless or unnoticeable to most eyes. Most people probably won’t need to touch anything beyond DCI-P3 and Filmmaker Mode presets while playing around with gamma options, because everything is simply well-behaved in execution.
For the truly obsessed, you could spend some time tweaking the color management system, which allows for direct calibration to fine-tune the picture more closely to its source content. There’s also a Cinema Master mode with grants additional frame interpolation and pixel enhancer options and can improve the look of live TV, though this will come down to how people perceive the filmed material with the feature turned on. Either way, the V7050i isn’t lacking in choice depending on how you want to enjoy content.
Overall, the V7050i is probably one of the best projectors I’ve reviewed this year. As mentioned earlier, color science is practically accurate, and contrast is good in darker scenes under the proper environment. Due to the inherent nature of DLP technology and how it produces an image solely with light and utilization of a color wheel, shadow detail and black levels aren’t inky pitch even in the darkest room, but that characteristic is a common trait of nearly all projectors. Ideally you still get the believable contrast depth and dramatic impact, while also delivering its better qualities in brighter scenes.
1080p and SDR performance is great and offers four preset modes, but HDR mode is where you’ll want to spend most of your viewing time. With HDR10/HLG enabled it’s a no-brainer on how natural and well-controlled everything looks in films where cinematography is treated with care, although there are only two main modes to choose from. For those coming from QLED or OLED TVs, the V7050i does find itself lacking by not including HDR10+ or Dolby Vision.
Yes, the V7050i has smart streaming capabilities but BenQ does it in the form of their QS01 Android TV dongle, which is the same external device included with the X3000i I reviewed previously. Everything I glossed over back then still applies here: it’s an adequate way to enjoy most of your favorite apps with some exclusions, such as Netflix being unsupported along with navigation speed and app layout feeling a bit sluggish. As stated earlier, the QS01 also occupies a specific HDMI and USB port to operate so you’ll have to give up some connectivity as opposed to the OS being built into the unit itself.
The V7050i also supports Full HD 3D using DLP-Link glasses. At this point, stereoscopic performance among other DLP projectors look indistinguishable from each other since major DMD components are sourced from Texas Instruments directly, so anomalies like crosstalk, motion ghosting and artifacts were minimal with a far dimmer picture output.
BenQ made it a point to mention that they already make true gaming projectors within their lineup, but the V7050i clearly wasn’t engineered to be one of them. There’s no dedicated Game Mode or response enhancements to be found anywhere, and to bring the point home, BenQ provided expected input lag figures of 83 milliseconds at 1080p 60Hz, and 69.3ms at 4K 60Hz. Hardcore gamers will need to look at the TK700STi or X3000i instead.
DLP projectors on the high-end come with equally demanding expectations on the market today and a lot of them utilize the same chips and similar components. Knowing this, BenQ did a amazing job making the V7050i UST Laser Projector a home theater albatross. As far as the cinematic experience goes, the V7050i handily exceeded what I was hoping for in visual reproduction, outperforming in nearly all parameters that I’ve become acquainted with from other consumer DLPs. HDR and pre-calibrated modes from BenQ were noticeably fined tuned to leave nothing to chance and it paid off in dividends here—something I’d normally expect from the enthusiast-grade and much more expensive LCoS offerings from Sony (SXRD) and JVC (D-ILA).
That alone is a bold claim judging by picture quality, but the BenQ V7050i is one of the more brilliant 4K UST projectors available in its price range and emerging Laser TV category overall. Admittedly, the competition has beefed up from Hisense, XGIMI, to LG, but better represents a complete all-around home cinema projector.