Why splurge on an 85-inch TV when laser projectors do more for less money?

Updated on Feb 03, 2022 03:45 PM IST

The BenQ V7050i Laser TV projector is in a straightforward battle with the Optoma CinemaX P2, which is now selling for around ₹4.82 lakh

BenQ’s new V7050i Laser TV projector. (Supplied photo)
BenQ’s new V7050i Laser TV projector. (Supplied photo)

Projectors can now be genuine alternatives for TVs at home. The ultra-short throw (UST) genre allows you to place the projector on the same table your TV would be kept and use the wall behind it to project a visual size as large as 120 inches (that’s significantly more than a 65-inch or 85-inch TV you may have otherwise spent money on).

Within the projector space, BenQ’s new V7050i Laser TV projector is one in the rare new breed that’s using laser phosphor light engine and ultra-short throw in design, with competition coming in the shape of the Optoma CinemaX P2. Couch potatoes, movie buffs and sports fans alike have never had it this good

Laser TV projectors vs large TVs

It is a serious investment, there are no two ways about it. At 5,49,000 or thereabouts for the BenQ V7050i Laser TV projector, you will peg this against what you’ll pay for very large TVs. Let us look at some examples. The 85-inch Samsung QN900A QLED TV costs around 13,49,990 while the 85-inch Sony Bravia Z9J Master will make you pay 14,99,900.

A 77-inch LG C8 OLED TV carries a sticker price of 13,99,990. You’re paying less than half for a 4K HDR projector that can do visuals of around 120 inches with absolute ease. With a TV, you cannot stretch the physical screen size, can you?

A straightforward battle

The BenQ V7050i Laser TV projector is in a straightforward battle with the Optoma CinemaX P2 which is now selling for around 4,82,000. You may find lesser-known brands listed on Amazon claiming a lot, but to be fair, those really cannot match BenQ and Optoma’s quality or feature set.

The advantage that the BenQ V7050i Laser TV projector has is this price includes a 120-inch ALR screen. Usually, a screen is something you’d have to buy separately. ALR is basically ‘ambient light rejection’. For once, and this is a rare proposition, a screen is part of the projector package. Walls are fine, screens are just that much better.

Watch out for the HDR magic

On the performance front, we should warn you that the BenQ V7050i Laser TV projector does HDR extremely well. In the opening scenes of Fast 9 and indeed certain moments in Don’t Look Up, you’ll notice a retro grainy effect. That isn’t anything but the projector flexing its muscles to reproduce the effects exactly as the movie makers want you to see.

Screens can add to the projector experience

Let us talk about the advantages of a screen, since you’re getting one anyway. It is 120-inch wide. This specific screen type is multi-layered, which has a unique zigzag pattern that will reduce the reflection of ambient light in the room.

This isn’t something that most conventional screens with smoother texture and lesser layers can do as well. You will find this relevant in living rooms (which almost always have a lot of light), specific home theatre rooms (the screen allows better colour reproduction) and just in case your walls aren’t pure white (in which case not using a screen will skew the colours you see).

Loaded with finer touches

First things first, you will notice that the BenQ V7050i Laser TV projector has a slide-back cover for the laser projection system. The Optoma CinemaX P2 and Samsung’s The Premiere series don’t integrate this protection measure against dust. Switch on the V7050i and this cover slides back like a sunroof in your car – and the mechanism is extremely silent, and you will not hear the whirring of the motor.

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Audio has always been an irritation with projectors, at least in the previous generation of their evolution. The design of a UST laser projector is more welcoming of a proper speaker system integrated, and that allows you flexibility of using these in a living room without a soundbar or home theatre system cluttering the space at the same time. BenQ has embedded two 5-watt speakers, which do a fair job of delivering audio for your movies, TV shows and sports viewing. If you choose, there is HDMI ARC and optical audio out as well for external speakers.

In this case, the Optoma CinemaX P2 has a definite advantage because it has a wider system at play – two audio drivers and two woofers. It can handle lower frequencies better and delivers bass a couple of notches more in comparison. Very close between the two laser projectors in terms of vocal delivery, but the CinemaX P2 just goes a step ahead with the addition of appreciable bass.

Much larger than an 85-inch TV

There are inherent advantages of the laser projection system – longer lasting, brighter and closer to colour accuracy than projector generations from before. BenQ’s laser light source can last 30,000 hours, which is double the expected life cycle of standard LED projection systems. In our experience during testing, this didn’t heat up and the fans never dialled up into the loud mode.

There are so many picture settings to play around with, you’ll need to select the one that works best for the content you watch more (and the sort of brightness and illumination level you’d prefer). For the most accurate colours, there’s the Filmmaker Mode, which has been tuned according to the standards set by the UHD Alliance. The result is more accurate colours than any projector that stands up as a rival.

The BenQ V7050i Laser TV projector ticks off the HDR-Pro feature with support for HDR and HDR10 standards. What’s missing is Dolby Vision – a lot of content on Netflix and increasingly on Disney+ Hotstar is in this format. That aside, the controls for the picture are quite detailed. One feature you may want to keep an eye on is Brilliant Colour (Settings > Picture). Dial this up notch by notch and the colour richness really comes through for TV shows.

BenQ calls this an Android TV projector, but it is not strictly that in its truest sense. There is an Android TV Stick bundled with the V7050i Laser TV projector, which adds the smart TV features. You can always choose to use something else – an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, Apple TV or an Nvidia Shield TV, to get access to OTT apps.

The new benchmark?

There is no doubt that laser projectors are very much here to stay. They are much less attention and maintenance hungry than LED projectors, can go up to 120 inches, which TVs cannot, and now have powerful spec sheets, too. It must be said that the BenQ V7050i Laser TV projector is the benchmark in the projector space at this time — attention to detail, features, price advantage over rivals and the price as well as physical edge over large and expensive TVs.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Vishal Mathur is Technology Editor for Hindustan Times. When not making sense of technology, he often searches for an elusive analog space in a digital world.

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