I’m fascinated by tech trends that relate to my demographic group. For example, did you know that the average age of gamers in Canada from 2009 to 2018 was 39 years old? That was up from 36 in 2016.
That suggests that gaming is quickly becoming a lifelong past-time. As the gaming industry grows, manufacturers are creating niche products catered to gamers with disposable income.
Enter the BenQ X1300i, the world’s first 4LED gaming projector. I’ve reviewed many projectors but I didn’t know dedicated gaming projectors were a thing. With low-latency and HDR game compatibility, this projector is purpose-built for gaming consoles.
Design of the BenQ X1300i gaming projector
This projector looks like nothing I’ve seen before. Shaped like a cube, the X1300i weighs 14 pounds and measures approximately 10.5” wide, 7.5” high, and 10” in depth.
While you could place it on a coffee table, it’s better suited on a high shelf. The X1300i supports inverted operation so it can be installed on a ceiling mount. It features a 4LED lamp in the front with a lamp life of 30,000 hours. That’s 8 hours a day of gaming for 10 years before the lamp needs to be replaced.
While most projectors have onboard controls on top, the X1300i has it on the right side. The back features two HDMI ports, 12V trigger, USB-A, SPDIF, RS-232 port, and audio out. The 12V trigger is used to retract a projector screen, and the RS-232 port controls the projector from a computer.
The projector has two internal 5W treVolo stereo speakers. It does not support Bluetooth connectivity. A wired connection to a home theatre or soundbar is done through the SPDIF or audio out ports.
Setting up the BenQ X1300i gaming projector
The BenQ QS01 Android TV Dongle comes with the projector in a separate small box. I used a Phillips screwdriver to open the top panel. Inside was a dedicated area for the dongle. I installed the dongle to the internal HDMI port and connected it to the provided micro-USB cable.
The next step was determining the throw distance to the wall. I placed the X1300i on a coffee table. It didn’t require additional height off the coffee table to get the projection to the center of the wall. This is the first projector I’ve reviewed that didn’t require that.
The screen size can range between 30 to 300 inches. My wall can produce a max screen size of 137”. I’m pretty close to the middle of the range which is the sweet spot. To get a 137” projection screen, my throw distance was approximately 13.5’.
This was the easiest projector setup I’ve ever done. With the Android TV setup, I was up and running with a perfectly calibrated screen in about 10 minutes.
Using the BenQ X1300i gaming projector
The X1300i has 3000 lumen white brightness and 1920 x 1080 native resolution. Although it works with next-generation consoles (i.e. PS5, Xbox Series X), it does not output a 4K resolution. Instead 4K UHD content (3840 x2160) is downsampled to 1920 x 1080p. I’m sure the early adopter gamers will be disappointed to hear that.
The best way I found to review projectors is to assess their daytime performance. If it looks good in the daytime, you can rest assured it will look great at night.
I opened up all the blinds and played various demo games on my PS4. It looked good in daylight, but nothing spectacular. It really depends on the colours being projected. For example, the white ice rink in NHL 21 does not work well in the daytime.
At night, the X1300i really stands out. The 4LED lamp produces a bright screen with exceptional colour and contrast detail. I played some 8K macro footage of everyday objects on YouTube. From the brightness of the screen to details in the colours, the image it produces is spectacular.
The two internal speakers were not impressive. I think a dedicated home theatre system is required for the best gaming experience on a screen this large. Also disappointing is no Bluetooth connectivity. The only option is to hardwire the X1300i to a soundbar or home theatre system.
Gaming features in the BenQ X1300i gaming projector
The X1300i has different game modes such as FPS, RPG, and SPG. These presets optimize audio and visual settings for different types of games. BenQ calls this GameMaestro Technology.
It has three low latency modes, the lowest at 8.3ms at 1080p and 120Hz. I think only experienced gamers will notice the difference between the different game modes. I myself could not see much difference between them.
What was noticeable was the different video modes. This includes Bright, Living Room, Game, Sports, Cinema etc. Anyone who buys this projector should get into the habit of tweaking the video mode to match their environment and content type. I kept forgetting to change it between gaming and watching videos. I suspect others will too. It’s a habit you must form right in the beginning or you’ll never use it.
Dynamic contrast with the BenQ X1300i gaming projector
Contrast is of utmost importance to gamers. High contrast provides accuracy in dark scenes The X1300i uses BenQ’s Dynamic Black Technology to increase the contrast. It detects the fluctuating light and black levels to improve the detail in darker scenes.
Within the gaming community, there is much debate on having dynamic contrast on or off. From what I could see, the Dynamic Black Technology works well. Dark scenes were incredibly dark with high contrast to light colours. Considering contrasts has been a weak spot for gaming on projectors, I think it makes a lot of sense to have dynamic contrast on.
Audio options with the BenQ X1300i gaming projector
I think most gamers will love the picture quality and the gaming modes this projector provides. But the internal speakers are underwhelming.
That means you need to have a plan to get the audio to a soundbar or home theatre amplifier. Without Bluetooth, that requires a wired SPDIF or audio out connection. I don’t like exposed wires, so I would recommend thinking ahead about the potential audio and wiring issues you’ll be facing in your home setup.
One workaround is connecting a Bluetooth receiver to the audio out port to transit the audio signal to a Bluetooth soundbar or home theatre. That will likely bring about latency issues. That’s probably why it doesn’t come with built-in Bluetooth.
This projector is purpose-built for gamers. The question is, do gamers want a dedicated projector for gaming? Judging by the average age of today’s gamers, I think they do.
The projector has one serious limitation to early adopters in the gaming community. It’s not 4K. The gamer buying this projector is also purchasing a PS5 or Xbox Series X. If they’re investing in a gaming projector, I think they want 4K.
Here’s what I know. 4K content scaled down to 1080p looks fantastic. The colour detail and contrast on this projector are amazing. I’m sure a lot of people would think it was 4K. Basically, you can still game in daylight, but still best suited for late-night sessions.
Ask yourself these questions. Do you identify yourself as a gamer, have a large space, and want the biggest gaming screen possible? If that’s you, the BenQ X1300i gaming projector is definitely something to consider.