BenQ GV1 evaluation: Tiny transportable projector will break your coronary heart

BenQ’s GV1 transportable projector seems like a robotic you’d see within the background of a Pixar film. Or in the actual world, like a Bluetooth speaker. It is cheap, however its decision is just commonplace definition and its picture brightness is, properly, not so vibrant. There is not even an actual HDMI enter, although it does include a dongle so you may join HDMI sources. Briefly, this pipsqueak’s design is just about the one cause to find it irresistible. It is so cute I could not assist however introduce it to my Dōmo-kun — they’re roughly the identical dimension at simply 6 inches tall, and through my evaluation interval the 2 turned quick associates.

LikeAdorableInexpensive and compactDid I point out cute?

Do not LikeLow resolutionNot very brightWeak built-in app retailer

I did not have the center to inform Dōmo how I actually felt in regards to the GV1. BenQ mainly stuffed a bunch of growing old tech right into a tiny, cute field. I like that there is a built-in battery, however the general package deal is way outmatched by different transportable projectors that price only a bit extra.

That disappointing image high quality, together with quite a few usability points I discovered throughout testing, made me need an up to date model with upgraded internals and the identical cute case design. Because it stands now, the GV1 is tough to suggest even at its low value — it is higher to avoid wasting up for one thing just like the Anker Nebula Mars II Professional. 

Fundamental specsNative decision: 854×480 pixelsHDR-compatible: No4K-compatible: No3D-compatible: NoLumens spec: 200Zoom: NoneLens shift: Tilt onlyLamp life (Regular mode): 20,000 hours

Solely the least costly projectors in the marketplace at present nonetheless have standard-definition resolutions. That 480p picture manifests itself as large pixels you may clearly see, even when creating smallish projected photographs. From all however the farthest viewing distances, the GV1 has the “display screen door” impact that I have never seen in the actual projector world for not less than a decade. When you’re used to 1080p projectors or 4K TVs, the picture from the GV1 goes to seem like it is constituted of Lego. 

The 200 claimed lumens is fairly low, although different battery-powered projectors just like the Anker which have round 500 lumens are additionally costlier. So long as you retain the picture pretty small, it is high-quality.

Learn extra:  From lumens to lens shift: 6 issues to know before you purchase a projector

The interior 3,000-mAh battery has a claimed 3-hour run time, however battery mode drops the lumens by about half. 

There is not any lens shift, however you may tilt the “head” backward to goal the picture upward. That is truly fairly a chic resolution and lets the GV1 match higher in tight areas than many different projectors I’ve reviewed. That tilt additionally reveals the yellow highlights on the case, which look nice.

The main target wheel, on the aspect of the pinnacle, is small, plastic and feels very low cost. Its tiny diameter makes it troublesome to get exact focus.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
Connectivity and convenienceHDMI inputs: 1 (by way of included USB-C dongle)PC enter: NoUSB port: 1 (the one enter)Audio enter and output: NoneDigital audio output: NoneWi-Fi: a/b/g/n 2.4/5GhzRemote: Not backlit

The largest connectivity challenge with the GV1 is the dearth of an actual HDMI enter. As an alternative, it is bought USB-C and features a USB-C-to-HDMI dongle. This maxes out at 1080p30, probably a difficulty since on many sources the default is 1080p60. Sure, in concept the supply and projector ought to handshake and determine that 1080p30 works for everybody, however this reliance on HDMI handshakes to, properly, work, is precarious. 

There is a 5-watt speaker contained in the small case, although it is a bit tinny and never significantly loud. The small distant is ok, although it is typically not sufficient to adequately navigate sure apps. Fortunately, the BenQ app (iOS and Android) works with the GV1 and has a keyboard.

The GV1’s different legal responsibility is the Aptoide retailer, a “curated” subset of the Google Play retailer. Each time I’ve reviewed a projector with Aptoide I have been aggravated by it. It isn’t properly laid out, many apparent apps are lacking, and people you’ll find typically do not work. Spoiler alert! That was a giant drawback on this evaluation, as you will see.

Whilst you can, in concept, mirror your telephone’s display screen to the GV1, you may’t watch copyrighted content material on this manner. So no Netflix, Hulu, Vudu and so forth out of your telephone. You may must get these apps, if you’ll find them. You can too join a streaming stick, which we’ll speak about within the subsequent part. 

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
The most effective-laid comparability plans

Now’s the time in my opinions the place I sometimes evaluate projectors. The Anker and LG are the 2 most blatant comparisons to the GV1. Each are small, transportable, and have inner batteries. Their costs are in the identical ballpark, as is their mild output. I related all three by way of a Monoprice 1×4 distribution amplifier, and seen all of them side-by-side-by-side on a 102-inch 1.0-gain display screen.

No less than, that was the plan. The GV1 would not settle for a 1080p sign. Effectively, it does, however solely 1080p30. And it doesn’t matter what I attempted, it simply wasn’t capable of talk that by way of the distribution amp to any supply. I am unsure if this is a matter you will ever come throughout, since more often than not the supply and show will agree on the perfect decision and body charge they’re each capable of produce. But it surely was an odd quirk I wished to say. So I ran the GV1 on its inner apps whereas the Anker and LG ran collectively from the D/A.

No less than, that was the plan. I had the thought to begin my testing with one thing on Disney Plus, since that was accessible on the BenQ, whereas the opposite two performed the identical film on Vudu. On the BenQ the Disney Plus app masses, however if you attempt to log in, no keyboard exhibits up, nor does it present up within the smartphone Disney Plus app so Disney can “take it from there” because it says to do on the login display screen. Not an issue. I downloaded the BenQ app, which conveniently has a keyboard to log in that manner. 

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

No less than, that was the plan. As soon as coming into my login data, there was an error message that mentioned I wanted to replace my machine’s firmware. That is my first step in any evaluation however I test once more. Nope, I am on the newest firmware. Not an issue. I switched it round to make use of the Vudu app on the BenQ and Disney Plus on the others.

No less than, that was the plan. The Vudu app opens sideways, then crashes. Even higher, it rotated every part else 90 levels counterclockwise together with the primary homepage and different apps. Fortuitously opening the settings flipped it again horizontal. So as a substitute I used a distinct streaming stick, related on to the BenQ, to observe content material that manner. 

No less than, that was the plan. The Vudu app nuked the GV1. Each few seconds the app would attempt to reopen, flipping the display screen sideways, crashing, after which dropping again to the now-sideways foremost homepage. This loop continued even after restarting the GV1. I contemplate drop testing the GV1 from progressively better heights beginning with Jupiter. 

I reach deleting the cancerous app. I reach switching to the exterior streaming stick. The opposite projectors have gone to sleep. The world is asleep. The universe has cooled into entropic nothingness. 

However I’ve a picture! On all three projectors! Let’s get this get together began. This factor is gonna be nice!

Image high quality comparisons (lastly!)

The GV1 shouldn’t be nice. It will probably greatest be described as “high-quality.” Decision is an effective place to begin, which, sarcastically, shouldn’t be high-quality. I am unable to bear in mind the final show I reviewed that wasn’t HD. For the BenQ’s value and dimension, I do not assume 480p is a deal breaker, however for those who’re used to watching HD or 4K, the picture from the GV1 goes to look smooth. You needn’t sit very shut, or make the picture very massive, to see huge honking pixels both. Facet by aspect with the LG, with the identical dimension picture and sitting simply far sufficient that pixels aren’t seen, the LG seems noticeably extra detailed.

Regardless of having very related mild output and distinction ratio numbers, the BenQ seems flatter and extra washed out than the LG. Understanding that they measure so equally, I’m wondering how a lot nearer I might have been capable of dial within the BenQ had there been any image controls in any respect. Just a few generic image modes, however no adjustment for distinction, brightness, or colour/tint.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Colours nevertheless, are surprisingly correct. No less than, extra correct than most different finances projectors. That appears to be BenQ’s factor.

Sometimes, the GV1 would begin dropping frames, inflicting the picture to look juddery. I am not fairly positive what induced this, however unplugging the supply and plugging it again in appeared to repair it.

Throughout all content material, the LG simply seemed a bit higher, and whereas it is a bit more cash, the brighter Anker blows it away.

There may be one different projector I need to point out. When you’re searching for one thing for infrequent film nights, however do not want a battery, you may get so much higher efficiency in a extra conventional dwelling projector, even for related cash. The Optoma HD146X, for instance, is greater than twice as vibrant because the Anker, for a similar value. When you use a brighter mode you get barely worse colour accuracy, however an excellent brighter picture. Take a look at some extra choices in our Greatest Projectors for 2020 information.


I wished to like the GV1. It seems like one thing out of a Pixar film. Its efficiency is not nice, nevertheless it’s additionally not very costly. Nonetheless, there are too many oddities to offset its seems. For a bit more cash the Anker Mars II Professional is simply a better to make use of transportable projector and has the additional advantage of being brighter, greater decision and with higher audio system. 

In addition to overlaying TV and different show tech, Geoff does picture excursions of cool museums and places all over the world, together with nuclear submarines, large plane carriers, medieval castles, airplane graveyards and extra. 

You may comply with his exploits on Instagram and YouTube, and on his journey weblog, BaldNomad. He additionally wrote a bestselling sci-fi novel about city-sized submarines, together with a sequel. 

About the author: SubSellKaro

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