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BenQ V5000i projector review: Gamers, movie lovers take notice

The BenQ V5000i ultra-short throw projector makes a strong case for itself with detailed 4K picture and video performance. But it commands a steep price

The BenQ V5000i, a 100-inch capable 4K HDR RGB laser projector, comes at an asking price of 4,99,000.(BenQ)

By Tushar Kanwar

LAST PUBLISHED 28.02.2024  |  12:00 PM IST

I’m unabashedly a fan of ultra-short throw (UST) projectors. You know, the kind that sit almost right up against the wall and are still able to project a 100-inch or larger picture without having to move a whole lot of furniture around to center the projector just right or arranging for a dedicated ceiling mount.

They’re also great for groups watching sports and movies in well-lit environs without all the groans elicited from the gang when someone gets up and walks around.

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No wonder, brands are marketing UST projectors as TV replacements. Like the V5000i, BenQ’s latest 100-inch capable 4K HDR RGB Laser projector that will unburden your home theater setup with a footprint smaller than a 65-inch TV, all for a princely asking price of 4,99,000. Is the steep pricing warranted by the convenience and ease of setup? I’ve lived with the V5000i for a month to answer just this.

Build and design

Unboxing the V5000i requires quite a bit of heavy lifting, pulling the 13.2kg projector out of the box and setting it down on a surface close to a large enough wall – bear in mind, the footprint is significant and you’ll need a table at least 30 inches wide and 15 inches deep, plus some offset from the wall or the included 100-inch ALR screen (yes, there’s a 100-inch ALR screen plus installation bundled in at the price).

The unit itself has an understated, all-black look about it and, with the dark gray mesh in front concealing the built-in soundbar, is perfectly at home in most setups without drawing too much attention to itself. At a glance, it looks like a high-end speaker with its faux leather top and four heavy-set chrome-banded adjuster feet. That is until you spot the matte gold BenQ logo.

Connectivity and ports

Looking around, the V5000i packs in a full complement of connectivity options – three HDMI ports, of which two are HDMI 2.0 spec with eARC support and one HDMI 2.1 (for 4K 120Hz support), and two powered USB-A ports, and legacy infrared and RS-232 ports, plus optical audio out and 3.5mm audio out for external speakers.

BenQ includes a dongle that slips into a user-accessible chamber and brings Android TV to the projector, which means all the streaming apps and Chromecast support, plus Google Assistant for voice control/search. There’s also a decent-sized remote control with backlit keys for picture control and focus/keystone adjustment, although the latter should be a one-time thing if you set it down on a spot and use the adjustable measuring rods to determine the correct distance from the wall/screen.

Although I plugged in an Apple TV 4K for most of my usage period, there’s direct AirPlay support on the V5000i to connect your Mac or iPhone. Bear in mind, the V5000i lacks any sort of sliding cover to keep dust out, so that’s on you.

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Color calibration is top notch on the BenQ V5000i. (BenQ)

Performance

With the V5000i setup against the largest wall I could find at home (the ALR screen is highly recommended for its ability to maintain a sharp, bright image regardless of ambient light), I put the projector’s 2,500 ANSI lumens pumped out by its RGB laser light source to the test.

There’s support for a ton of HDR standards – HDR10/10+, HLG but no Dolby Vision – and some extra tricks by way of a local contrast enhancer (that divides the entire image into 1000 zones and individually adjusts brightness and gamma on the fly for better realism) and granular color temperature tuning that you tend to see on TVs.

Color calibration is top notch, with the V5000i capable of showing 98% of the DCP-P3 and 100% of the Rec709 standard, and even though its rated brightness didn’t seem class-leading on paper, the V5000i was able to beam a sufficiently bright image for daytime viewing, despite the presence of large skylight above.

Watching the sweeping landscapes in Prehistoric Planet (Apple TV+) and Life on Our Planet (Netflix) immediately dispelled any concerns about brightness, and the wide dynamic range imagery looked impressively dramatic without any crushing of detail in the darker areas of the image. In panning shots, the projector handled detail well, showing only minimal motion blur and judder without having to make any adjustments to the Motion Enhancement setting (though some may prefer it turned off).

Switching to an old favorite, the Battle of Helm’s Deep from Lord of the Rings, the 40W speaker setup (two 5W left and right channels and two 15W woofers) rumbled into action, filling the room with full-bodies sound with a decent stereo separation and passable amounts of bass. The only thing I noted in some of the darker scenes were the black levels, which tended to be deep dark grey in some scenes, but this will really be visible onto to those watching stuff on OLED TVs on a regular basis, and you’re going to be paying a LOT more for OLED TVs pushing 100-inches in size!

Finally, I plugged the V5000i into an Xbox Series X console, and its low 18ms input lag in game mode made games look and respond fantastically. Playing games at 4K resolution on a 100-inch screen is something else.

Verdict

At 4,99,000, you’re paying a premium (as with most UST projectors of repute). The detailed 4K picture and video performance makes a strong case for the BenQ V5000i, and there are plenty of picture adjustments for the most nitpicky of viewers. Gamers looking for a large-screen experience should particularly take note.

Tushar Kanwar, a tech columnist and commentator, posts @2shar.

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