BenQ GS1 Projector: Full, in-depth review

BenQ Australia GS1
  • BenQ Australia GS1
  • BenQ Australia GS1
  • BenQ Australia GS1
  • Expert Rating

    2.50 / 5

Pros

  • Android OS
  • Detachable battery pack
  • Rugged design

Cons

  • Compatibility issues
  • High price
  • Lackluster brightness

Bottom Line

A great idea, not without its strengths, saddled with plenty of pain-points.

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    $ 999.00 (AUD)

Performance

The cable-free GS1 is almost nonsensically easy to set up. You simply point it at wall or sheet, press the power button and are pulled into the projector's Android-based interface. From there, it’s a simple matter to select and view the different content or apps. However, I quickly encountered a fair amount of compatibility issues with popular apps.

For example, we could get Netflix working - but not Amazon Prime Video or Twitch. YouTube was easy enough to get into but using the remote as a proxy for a mouse and keyboard is far from ideal. Thankfully, BenQ have built-in support for plugging in a mouse or keyboard (via USB) and using that instead. Unfortunately, this does just add to the number of things you’ll have to carry around.

In terms of the experience itself, the GS1 delivers reasonably watchable results. However, it wasn’t at a level where I could really see myself using product outside of this review. Images were clear but still muddy and faded enough that I felt like I’d honestly prefer to huddle around a phone or tablet screen - even in outdoor settings. Across both the audio and visual sides of the equation, I came away wishing the GS1 had a little more to offer.

BenQ GS1 Portable ProjectorCredit: BenQ
BenQ GS1 Portable Projector

Part of this is definitely down to the brightness. At 330 lumens, it’s a fair bit dimmer than lot of the competition - and it shows in the results. Images don't really pop and being limited to 720p really takes a toll on the viewing experience. It feels like you're missing out on the versatility of the GS1 could offer as a result of how it looks.

Likewise, the GS1’s built-in speakers sounded pretty lackluster. They don’t sound awful but it often felt muffled by the noise generated by the projector itself. While you can offset this by hooking up a dedicated speaker to the project, it’ll be yet another thing you’ll have to carry around to get the most out of the GS1.

If there’s any silver lining to be found here, it’s the in the battery life. The GS1 does a good job of living up to BenQ’s claim of 3 hours of battery life on a full charge. We ran the device down a few times through use and got pretty close to that benchmark - which, for what it's worth, is a little above the average for this kind of projector.

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