Prepare to face a sea of clones if you’re looking for a projector between $500 and $1,000. Sizes, designs, and even button layouts are frequently nearly identical between brands. The BenQ HT2050A, on the other hand, is unique. Although it is priced similarly to its competitors, it is larger and has a more aesthetically pleasing, curvy design. It appears to be a repurposed business projector rather than something you’d want in your home. And the difference isn’t just superficial: this projector’s performance is also superior.
Better contrast and colour than its competitors result in some of the best image quality we’ve seen in this price range. A pleasing image is made up of darker blacks and bright whites, all with accurate colour. The cherry on top is a minor amount of vertical lens shift, which is uncommon in this price range and virtually nonexistent in single-chip DLP projectors. This means that more people will be able to house the projector. In short, the BenQ HT2050A is one of the best projectors for the money.
The HT2050A, like the other projectors in this price range, lacks 4K and HDR. It is 3D capable, but no glasses are included. BenQ claims a brightness of 2,200 ANSI lumens. I was approximately 1,591 cm tall. It is normal for projectors to perform below their stated specifications. This is a bright image, comparable to the Epson HC2150 and only marginally less than the newer Epson HC2250.
Lens shift is uncommon in this price range, and even more so with DLP projectors, so its addition here would be one of the HT2050A’s main selling points though it didn’t look as good as it does. However, the lens shift is minor. According to BenQ, the vertical range is adjusted by 10%. You’ll have a few inches of vertical leeway depending on where you place the projector, but that’s it. Still, it’s a big help and better than nothing with most single-chip DLP projectors.
It has 2 HDMI ports both HDMI inputs support HDCP 1.4, you can send any video source to either one. Some competitors, on the other hand, only have HDCP 1.4 on one of the HDMI inputs. The USB connection has a claimed 1.5 amp output, allowing you to directly power a streaming stick without the need for external power adapters.
The HT2050A has several legacy analogue video inputs, which are becoming increasingly rare these days. Not only do you get component video, but also composite. So, if you want to connect something like a Nintendo Wii or, I don’t know, a LaserDisc player, you can do so without any additional adapters. These connections have RCA analogue audio inputs in common. There are also 3.5mm audio input and outputs for connecting to an external speaker or soundbar. For those with more complex home theatre systems, the RS-232 and 12-volt trigger are useful.
The remote has a relatively dim orange backlight. This is a good thing because many of today’s projector remotes have a bright blue backlight. Using them can feel like you’re forming your own personal B-type star while trying to change the inputs in the dark.
Picture Quality Comparisons
I put the HT2050A up against the Epson HC2150 and the Viewsonic PX727HD. The latter is DLP, as is BenQ. The Epson is an LCD projector, as are the majority of Epson’s projectors. I connected them all using a Monoprice 1×4 distribution amplifier and displayed them on a 102-inch 1.0-gain screen. The distinctions were immediately apparent. For starters, the Viewsonic was much dimmer and lacked the contrast ratio of the other two. As a result, I spent the majority of my time comparing the Epson and the BenQ.
We compared Epson Home Cinema 2150 and ViewSonic PX727HD and both projectors outperform even high-end projectors from a few years ago in terms of brightness. What’s clearer than the numbers is how much better the black level, and thus the contrast ratio, is on the BenQ. When watching widescreen movies, the black bars on the BenQ are several shades darker. Because their light output is roughly the same, the HT2050A’s image has a bit more dimensionality and apparent depth.
Another area where the BenQ outperforms the Epson is in motion resolution. Motion blur is present in all LCD-based displays. DLP-based projectors do not, due to the way they generate images. This is most noticeable in how the BenQ retains detail when things move. The HT2050A is an excellent choice for someone looking to replace their TV or who wants a projector for the occasional movie night, thanks to its high light output, excellent for the price contrast ratio, and accurate colour. The lens shift is the cherry on top, allowing the 2050 to fit in a lot more homes than most projectors in this price range.
Measurements and Picture Settings
Prior to calibration, the most accurate picture setting on the 2050A was Cinema, which was satisfactory. Its grayscale was not particularly close to D65, particularly with brighter images. This, on the other hand, was highly adjustable and easily dialled in to be accurate. Colours were reasonably accurate right out of the box, with the exception of magenta, which was slightly off but not significantly. Colours, like colour temperature, could be changed. They were much closer after calibration.
The 2050A lacks an iris, but it does have a variable lamp. Eco mode is approximately 33% darker than Normal mode. The contrast ratio averaged 2,094:1 in Normal and Eco modes, which is quite good for a projector in this price range. The DynamicEco mode, which bases lamp power on the image’s average picture level, produces a dynamic contrast ratio that is approximately 50% higher than the other lamp settings, but the contrast ratio within a single image remains 2,094:1.