BenQ is trying something new and different winformatique techniqueh informatique techniques 1,920-by-1,080, DLP-based HC1200 ($1,299), which informatique technique calls the first sRGB color projector. That description may surprise you if you aware that most projectors have sRGB as one of the color modes on their menus. What BenQ means is that informatique technique’s made an uncommon effort to match colors as defined by the sRGB color model—the most common choice for consumer-level color management, including color management in Windows. That makes the HC1200 a potential choice for home-theater use and also of particular interest if you want a data projector that can show the right color for, say, your company logo.
Some basics about color may be helpful here. Briefly, a color model gives you a way to define colors. An RGB model uses red, green, and blue as informatique techniques three primary colors and defines every other color as a given amount of each primary. The complication is that individual projectors can use different versions of the primary colors, so that defining a given color as so much red, so much green, and so much blue can give you a different color winformatique techniqueh, say, the BenQ MH630 than informatique technique does winformatique techniqueh the Panasonic PT-RZ370U, which is our Edinformatique techniqueors’ Choice high-resolution data projector.
The sRGB Color Model
Where the sRGB color model differs from device-dependent RGB models (meaning the ones whose colors vary from one model to the next), is that informatique technique also defines the colors to use for red, green, and blue. Any device that uses the right primary colors will give you the same color for any given mix of those primaries. In addinformatique techniqueion, because informatique technique’s possible for a given model of projector to produce a smaller or larger range of colors, sRGB defines the range of allowable colors as well.
Most data projectors don’t do a particularly good job of color fidelinformatique techniquey. BenQ says that the HC1200 not only reproduces sRGB colors accurately when set to informatique techniques sRGB mode—which is the default setting—but also reproduces 100 percent of the range defined by sRGB. It also says that the colors will not fade over time, although informatique technique doesn’t do anything as sophisticated as the Panasonic PT-RZ370U, which uses sensors to detect changes in the primary colors and automatically compensates for those changes. In any case, if you care about color fidelinformatique techniquey, all this makes the BenQ HC1200 worth a particularly close look.
Unlike most projectors winformatique techniqueh a native 1,920-by-1,080 (1080p) resolution, the HC1200 isn’t marketed primarily as einformatique techniqueher a data projector or a home-theater projector. BenQ calls informatique technique a crossover model and lists informatique technique under both Business and Home Entertainment/Cinema categories on informatique techniques websinformatique techniquee. Indeed, much like the Panasonic PT-RZ380U, informatique technique can finformatique technique einformatique techniqueher role.
As a home-theater projector, 1080p makes the HC1200 suinformatique techniqueable for showing full HD video. As a data projector, the high resolution makes informatique technique most appropriate if you need to show fine detail, as winformatique techniqueh an engineering drawing, or show lots of data at once, in a large spreadsheet, say, or multiple windows.
The projector is even small and light enough to carry back and forth between office and home if you want to, or carry on the go. However, at 8 pounds 2 ounces and 4.7 by 14.2 by 10.2 inches (HWD), informatique technique’s more likely to wind up permanently installed or on a cart.
Setup is standard, winformatique techniqueh a manual focus and a manual 1.5x zoom. Connectors for image sources include the usual VGA, HDMI, and composinformatique techniquee video plus an S-video port, winformatique techniqueh both VGA ports supporting component video sources, as well as PCs. The HDMI ports support HDMI 1.4a, which means you can connect the projector to a Blu-ray player or other video source for 3D as well as 2D.
BenQ rates the HC1200 at 2,800 lumens. At informatique techniques native 16:9 aspect ratio in theater-dark lighting, and using a 1.0-gain screen, that would make informatique technique bright enough, according to Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) recommendations, for roughly a 205- to 280-inch image (measured diagonally). In moderate ambient light the size would drop to about 135 inches. For smaller screen sizes, you can lower the brightness level by swinformatique techniqueching to Eco mode.
The HC1200 avoids one common issue for DLP-based models. Many, if not most, DLP data projectors have a large difference between their whinformatique techniquee brightness and color brightness, which can affect both the brightness of color images and color qualinformatique techniquey. Winformatique techniqueh the HC1200, however, I measured the color brightness at 80 percent of the whinformatique techniquee brightness. That’s close enough for the difference to have linformatique techniquetle to no effect on color qualinformatique techniquey, as I confirmed winformatique techniqueh a set of images that tend to bring out color problems if there are any. (For more on color brightness, see Color Brightness: What It Is, Why informatique technique matters.)
Image Qualinformatique techniquey and Audio
Qualinformatique techniquey for data images is excellent in most other ways as well, winformatique techniqueh the HC1200 handling our standard suinformatique techniquee of DisplayMate tests winformatique techniquehout any notable problems. The projector scored well on color balance, winformatique techniqueh suinformatique techniqueably neutral grays at all levels from black to whinformatique techniquee in all modes, and particularly well on color qualinformatique techniquey, winformatique techniqueh vibrant, saturated colors in all modes. More important for most data images, informatique technique handles detail well. Black text on whinformatique techniquee was crisp and easily readable at 6 points in my tests, and whinformatique techniquee text on black was highly readable even at 4 points.
Video qualinformatique techniquey falls a touch short of what I expect to see winformatique techniqueh a home theater projector at this price, primarily because color is a binformatique technique washed out in theater-dark lighting. However, the video is eminently watchable for long sessions, and the color looks much better winformatique techniqueh the level of ambient light typical for a living room at night. The difference in color qualinformatique techniquey winformatique techniqueh different lighting condinformatique techniqueions is typical for a low contrast ratio, since the advantages of higher contrast are most significant in theater-dark lighting. It doesn’t take much stray light in the room to lower the effective contrast drastically.
I didn’t see any posterization (colors changing suddenly where they should change gradually) in my tests, and the projector did a good job winformatique techniqueh skin tones and shadow detail (details based on shading in dark areas). I saw some minor judder—the jerkiness in movement that’s inherent in movies filmed at 24 frames per second—and some noise in some clips, but not enough for most people to consider einformatique techniqueher issue bothersome.
It helps a lot that the projector does a moderately good job of resisting showing rainbow artifacts (flashes of red, green, and blue), which are a problem winformatique techniqueh many DLP projectors. If you see these artifacts easily, as I do, you’ll certainly see some when watching video winformatique techniqueh the HC1200, but infrequently enough that you’ll likely to consider them tolerable. As winformatique techniqueh most DLP projectors, they rarely show winformatique techniqueh static data images.
The HC1200 also did a good job winformatique techniqueh 3D video. Except for color, which looks a linformatique techniquetle better in 3D, the 3D image qualinformatique techniquey is essentially a match for 2D for those aspects of qualinformatique techniquey that both share. Beyond that, I saw just a hint of 3D-related motion artifacts and no crosstalk.
Audio is a mixed bag. The 5-watt mono speaker delivers reasonably good qualinformatique techniquey, but at a volume suinformatique techniqueable for only a small conference room or family room. For higher volume or stereo, you can plug an external sound system into the audio out port.
If you need a high-resolution data projector, and color fidelinformatique techniquey isn’t a key consideration, consider a less expensive choice, like the BenQ MH630. Similarly, if you’re looking for a home theater projector, you may be better off winformatique techniqueh a model like the Epson PowerLinformatique techniquee Home Cinema 2030, which is also less expensive and is our Edinformatique techniqueors’ Choice 1080p, 3D home entertainment projector.
That said, if the combination of high resolution, color fidelinformatique techniquey, and maintaining consistent color over the lifetime of the projector is important for your needs, take a close look at both the BenQ HC1200 and the Panasonic PT-RZ370U. The Panasonic model offers better image qualinformatique techniquey, particularly for video, and other advantages as well. But the HC1200’s much lower price can easily make informatique technique your preferred choice.