You already know my stance on home projectors, specifically as a realistic replacement to large-format TVs. Whether you live in a suburban mcMansion or single apartment, there’s very few things that can challenge the instantaneous appeal of producing a 100-inch image on most types of wall.
BenQ is no stranger to this market and have embraced the notion of bringing raw prowess to the big screen with the X3000i Immersive Open World Gaming Projector; This model being one of the latest flagships within their lineup. It is billed a “gaming” DLP projector but can get the job done for watching blockbuster movies, television, and streaming content with straightforward ‘oomph’.
First off, the X3000i is a big boy and isn’t ashamed of its hefty 14.1lb weight and cube-like 10.7 x 7.8 x 10.2-inch dimensions. It’s definitely one of the sizeable consumer-grade DLPs I’ve recently reviewed and has a prominent front design that screams “gamer-friendly”, with a orange trim surrounding the face and 4LED type 3200 ANSI lumen lamp that is housed and encased within the chassis. Around back you also get modern connectivity with three HDMI 2.0b/HDCP2.2 ports (the third one is hidden and designed for the included Google Cast dongle), USB-A, audio out, 12V trigger, S/PDIF, and a RS-232 port for custom installations. If you didn’t know anything else about this projector, you could almost confuse it for a lunchbox or GameCube without a carrying handle.
Speaking of that Google Cast dongle: it’s more of complimentary than actual necessity since it requires you to partially disassemble the top shell to plug in it and doesn’t take advantage of your external audio since it’s connected by a separate HDMI source. The UI navigation runs like molasses and certain streaming app (i.e. Netflix) are mysteriously absent, and you can run Google Assistant natively with the remote—it’s just that Google Cast is more of an extra than essential.
Obviously, BenQ took some of the better components and features, and put them into the X3000i to good effect. You won’t be lacking in basic options because you’ve got enough picture presets (Bright/Living Room/Game/Sports/Cinema/3D/HDR10/HDR Game/HLG/User) to get a generally presentable image depending on environment or what type of content you’re watching. There are the additional options that you can expect too, such as gamma adjusting that you can further dial in picture brightness in relation to input source.
A Normal Projector Too
The main issue I had with the X3000i is the lack of advanced keystone, digital zoom and vertical lens shift adjustments that would make it easier to set up in tighter rooms. This is an oddity, considering I already reviewed the PX701-4K from ViewSonic about a year ago, which has all those calibrations for roughly half the price. Fortunately, the X3000i does retain better focus quality when viewed beyond 110-inches (diagonally) as a tradeoff.
There’s audio too. Being a mainstream DLP projector it has dual 5W internal TreVolo chamber speakers which are…passable, but it’s the eARC (Dolby Atmos capable) and S/PDIF outputs you’ll want to stick with if you have a soundbar or AV receiver to compliment the X3000i. That said, choosing the output formats requires you to manually switch things up on your separate equipment because sound will occasionally cut out, this is a digital handshake issue that requires more effort on the user’s part.
Gaming Chops and Expectations
But the X3000i is still billed as a bona-fide gaming projector so everything relating to refresh rates and response time you certainly get what BenQ advertises here. If you’re perfectly fine sticking with 1080p performance, then you’ll be pleased to know that this projector can easily do 120Hz and 240Hz performance at 8 milliseconds (@120Hz) and 4 ms (@240Hz) respectably.
It should be noted that HDMI spec 2.1 is not included on the X3000i (and any other mainstream DLPs for that matter), so next-gen consoles won’t be able to output full 4K at 120Hz in lieu of its gargantuan screen sizes. The reason being is the Texas Instruments DMD (DLP650TE) chip, which employs pixel shifting to achieve a upscaled 3840×2160 resolution as a production/cost workaround. Clearly, compromises had to be made in order to attain the performance features you’ve been hyped up to care about, just not within the 4K/60p and generic HDR10/HLG parameters.
Fortunately, The enhancements when displayed in 1080p do work as intended if you have a PC for 240Hz (RTX 2080 and above or AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT) or lucky enough to own a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S for 120Hz, it does look great for compatible cross-platform titles like DOOM Eternal (PS5, Xbox X/S, PC), Call of Duty: Warzone (PS5, Xbox X, PC) and Gears 5 (Xbox X/S, PC). 4K/60Hz looks nicely detailed for games like Gran Turismo 7 (PS4, PS5) and Death Stranding (PS4, PS5, PC), however the HDR/HLG imaging doesn’t offer the same adjustability in ‘HDR Game’ mode that I’ve seen from other brands.
BenQ delivers a quality DLP with the X3000i Immersive Open World Gaming Projector, a projector that’s geared towards the gaming faithful and an all-around entertainment room-filler with looks to match. However, the X3000i isn’t as sophisticated for more discerning cinephiles, and the lack of digital zoom and lens shift adjustments significantly limits its placement potential in smaller spaces (unusual nitpick, I know). Despite those drawbacks, BenQ nails down the general execution of mass-scale viewing here.