BenQ TH685: Ginormous picture specialised for gaming

Generally, a specialised device is required. Possibly that Swiss Military knife has gotten you out of some jams, however it lacks helpful issues like a hammer or a belt sander. Most house theater projectors are generalist instruments as nicely, equally adept at a wide range of content material. BenQ TH685 shouldn’t be a Swiss Military knife. It is a hammer. With low enter lag and an enormous, shiny picture, that is the type of show players can use to successfully pwn the noobs, on a 100-plus-inch display screen, whereas even leaving some lights on. 

LikeExceptionally brightAccurate colorsLow enter lag for gaming

Do not LikeMiddling total picture qualityShort-ish throw distance

The draw back is that its distinction ratio and total picture high quality come up just a little quick, and when utilized in its most correct mode for shade, its brightness is mainly the identical because the competitors. The TH685’s short-ish throw distance enables you to get an enormous picture out of your espresso desk, however mixed with lack of lens shift it limits placement in comparison with different projectors.

The BenQ TH685 was designed to fill its area of interest as a gaming projector, however outdoors that function it falters a bit. The cheaper BenQ HT2050A has a superior image with punchier distinction and comparable brightness in correct image settings, making it a more sensible choice for every kind of common viewing. But when your main use is taking part in video games, and also you wish to fill an enormous wall doing it, the TH685 is a wonderful device for the job.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
Primary specsNative decision: 1,920×1,080HDR-compatible: Yes4K-compatible: Sure (1080p decision)3D-compatible: YesLumens spec: 3,500Zoom: Guide (1.3x)Lens shift: NoLamp life (Regular mode): 4,000 hours

The TH685, just like the Optoma HD28HDR ($649 at Greatest Purchase), can settle for a 4K decision sign, however it’s a 1080p projector. Extremely HD photographs can be scaled all the way down to 1080p. That is probably finished as a result of 4K and HDR typically go hand in hand, despite the fact that that is not technically vital. Each HDMI inputs can settle for 4K. 

Should you’re nonetheless a fan of 3D, the TH658 can do this too, although the glasses aren’t included.

BenQ claims 3,500 lumens of brightness. In its most correct setting, with shade near what you need in a house theater setting, I measured simply over 1,600. Within the Shiny image mode the picture is noticeably and unpleasantly inexperienced however measures a formidable 2,782 lumens. I do not suggest watching on this mode for any size of time, but when the room has ambient gentle, gaming with the lights on throughout a celebration, say, being able to be this shiny can come in useful. 

Although I ought to point out, no projector can compete with ambient gentle. All projectors will look higher with some gentle management.

There is not any guide lens shift, a characteristic discovered on the TH685’s cheaper brother, the HT2050A. The TH685’s digital lens shift is not pretty much as good, however it’s one thing. It strikes the picture middle up or down on the DLP chip, cropping no matter a part of the picture would not match. Should you’re watching a widescreen film, for instance, you’ll be able to place the picture up or down the display screen because the again bars might be cropped out with out shedding any pertinent data.

Learn extra: Residence theater projectors: Eight suggestions for arrange, placement and movie settings

Throw distance is on the shorter facet. Regardless of having a 1.3x zoom, it requires nearer placement to the display screen than a few of its direct competitors. Should you do not wish to mount it on the ceiling, it isn’t going to work behind your head until your couch is pretty near the display screen, or the display screen itself is sort of large. Conversely, you’ll be able to put the projector nearer to the display screen, so espresso desk placement would nonetheless enable an enormous picture. It isn’t, nonetheless, a real short-throw projector.

For perspective, I’ve a 102-inch display screen, and most sub-$1,000 projectors can fill that sitting on a stand behind my couch, roughly 12 toes from the display screen. The TH685 joins us on the sofa like an untrained pet. Additionally like a pet its breath is scorching and its bark is loud — while you sit too near any projector you’ll be able to really feel the warmth in addition to hear extra fan noise.

Lamp life is a reasonably common 4,000 hours within the Regular mode. This jumps as much as 10,000 hours within the Eco mode, although you lose about 35% of the sunshine output. There are two different lamp modes that sound like they do the identical factor, however work barely completely different. SmartEco mode decreases lamp energy in darker scenes “whereas optimizing show high quality,” as BenQ describes. This ends in a claimed lamp lifetime of 8,000 hours. LampSave, however, decreases lamp energy in darker scenes “whereas providing an extended lamp life.” It does this primarily by limiting most gentle output to what you’d get within the Eco mode. It balloons lamp life out to 15,000 hours. Because the lamp itself is round $160 as of this writing, and even within the Regular mode will final upwards of three years, you in all probability needn’t sweat this an excessive amount of.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
Connectivity and convenienceHDMI inputs: 2PC enter: Analog RGB (additionally Analog RGB out)USB port: 1 (1.5A energy)Audio enter and output: 3.5mm for eachDigital audio output: NoLAN port: No12v set off: NoRS-232 distant port: YesMHL: NoRemote: Not backlit

Each the HDMI inputs are HDMI 2.Zero and have HDCP 2.2, to allow them to settle for 4K HDR alerts from any present supply. The USB has 1.5 amps of energy out there, which means you’ll be able to drive a streaming stick just like the Roku or Amazon Fireplace ($42 at eBay). 

Apparently, there is a legacy analog PC enter and output, although I am unable to think about both can be utilized by many individuals. The identical goes for the RS-232 port, one thing required by some high-end house theater management techniques.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

There is a 5W inner speaker that’s about pretty much as good as you’d anticipate. A 3.5mm audio output is obtainable to attach an exterior speaker. The distant is not backlit, however it’s small and easy and has devoted and shade coded on and off buttons.

Image high quality comparisons

I related these three projectors through a Monoprice 1×4 distribution amplifier, and seen them on a 102-inch 1.0-gain display screen. The TH685 was like a combo of the Optoma and the HT2050A, sharing the above-average shade accuracy of the HT2050A with the middling distinction ratio of the Optoma.

The BenQ TH685’s shade accuracy is welcome, and uncommon with projectors on this worth vary. Most sacrifice shade for gentle output. The TH685 has each, which is nice. Greens, like grass, crops or a TIE fighter’s lasers, are all particularly real looking. What, are you saying TIE fighters aren’t actual? How dare you. Each the BenQs outdid the Optoma right here, with the 28HDR simply trying a bit much less vibrant.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Distinction ratio, as has been the case with all of the projectors I reviewed this 12 months, ended up being a no-contest win for the HT2050A. It is simply noticeably higher on this extremely essential check. The TH658 and 28HDR are mainly tied, by way of distinction. Their slight variations aren’t seen facet by facet. The HT2050A has practically 3x the distinction ratio, and it is apparent. Shadows are darker, the picture has extra obvious depth, it simply has extra punch. The opposite two look flat as compared. I would not name them “washed out” like early LCD TVs or projectors, however the 2050A simply attracts the attention to its extra pleasing picture. 

The HT2050A is not HDR, so for my last check I targeted on the Optoma and the TH685. The Battle of Crait within the Final Jedi was check of the HDR, with shiny white salt/sand, explosions, and the vivid reds of the underlying minerals. The TH685 had extra pure colours, and a extra pure shade temperature, the Optoma having a inexperienced tint. The sky, nonetheless, was a richer blue on the 28HDR. In the long run, the TH685’s further brightness and higher shade accuracy gained out, however it was laborious to select a favourite right here. Neither regarded massively completely different with HDR in comparison with SDR, which is to be anticipated with projectors.

There’s one final oddity. There are slight chromatic aberrations, brought on by, I believe, cheap lens components. It is not likely apparent from a standard viewing distance, however with effective traces, like white on a darkish background, the difficulty turns into fairly apparent. Closing credit in a film, as an example. One edge could have a inexperienced tinge, the opposite magenta. It seems like a panel misalignment, besides this can be a single-chip projector. This slight tinted halo is not one thing that you simply would possibly discover when watching a film, however when you’ve received a menu up, you would possibly discover it. 

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
Conclusion: Recreation on

There are two issues that stand out in regards to the TH685: the brightness and the colour. It is nice to have each these issues out there in the identical projector. Including in low enter lag, and it is simple to see a spot for this projector in some folks’s properties. 

That stated, extra folks would in all probability have higher luck with the HT2050A. Placing out the right shade temperature, these two projectors have mainly the identical gentle output, with the HT2050A having a considerably larger distinction ratio. The HT2050A additionally has a recreation mode that matches the HT685’s enter lag, and it has lens shift. 

So when it comes all the way down to it, the TH685 is basically only for individuals who want the acute gentle output potential, both for a ginormous display screen or in the event that they wish to depart some lights on in a room. If that is not you, the extra well-rounded HT2050A is a greater possibility.

Geek Field

Take a look at

End result


Black luminance (0%)



Peak white luminance (100%)



Derived lumens



Avg. grayscale error (10-100%)



Darkish grey error (20%)



Shiny grey error (70%)



Avg. shade error



Crimson error



Inexperienced error



Blue error



Cyan error



Magenta error



Yellow error



Avg. saturations error



Avg. shade checker error



Enter lag (Recreation mode)



Measurement Notes

For essentially the most correct image, I used the Cinema mode, together with the Regular shade temperature mode. This resulted in a reasonably constant and pretty correct shade temperature throughout the brightness vary, although it was a bit hotter than D65 with an extra of pink. With these settings, the TH685 was able to 182 nits on a 102-inch, 1.0-gain display screen, which calculates out to round 1,641 lumens.

Swap to the Shiny mode and issues change fairly a bit. Colour temperature accuracy goes out the window, every thing seems fairly inexperienced, however there is a practically 70% improve in gentle output, roughly 309 nits, or 2,782 lumens. In a darkish room that is extremely shiny. So shiny, I doubt most individuals would use it on this mode to observe a film. Film theaters, for comparability, are a faction of this.

Again within the Cinema mode, colours are surprisingly correct. Crimson is just a little orange, magenta just a little pink, and inexperienced just a little undersaturated, however total fairly good for a projector on this worth vary. You possibly can alter these some within the image menu, however not completely. Colour temperature adjusts much better, although it is fairly shut out of the field.

Distinction ratio is pretty common for this class, measuring a mean of 853:1 throughout a number of lamp modes. For comparability, the BenQ 2050A, which can also be a DLP projector, averages over 2,000:1. This improves a bit within the Shiny mode, because of the far higher gentle output. SmartEco, which varies lamp output relying on video content material, has a dynamic distinction ratio of two,844:1. This mode retains the sunshine output of the Regular lamp mode. The LampSave mode does the identical, however makes use of the max gentle output of the Eco lamp mode. This mode has a dynamic distinction ratio of two,208:1.

Image Mode: Cinema

Professional settings:

Lamp: Regular, Eco, or SmartEcoBrightness: 47Distinction: 49Sharpness: 12Colour: 50Tint (G/R): 50Sensible Colour: 6-10Colour Temp: NormalGamma: 2.2

About the author: SubSellKaro

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