The way we consume content is changing. New portable projectors allow us to stream TV shows and movies outdoors. Better yet, the same projector can be used indoors during the colder months. It’s the proverbial party in a box that you can take anywhere. I’ve been waiting a long time for a new product category that would get me excited. I think I found it.
I’m reviewing the BenQ 1080p Portable Projector (GS50). This is a durable projector with an internal battery and 1080p resolution. Does it have what it takes to replace a TV? Let’s start by looking at some notable specs:
Specs: BenQ 1080p Portable Projector (GS50)
- Three-metre projection distance lets you project to 30 to 112-inch screens
- 500 ANSI lumens of brightness,1080p HD display with a 16:9 aspect ratio
- USB-C, USB 2.0, and HDMI ports
- 20W 2.1-channel Bluetooth speaker
- IPX2-rated, suitable for indoor and outdoor use
Design of the BenQ 1080p Portable Projector (GS50)
The BenQ GS50 has a unique look with retro colours mixed with modern design elements. The main body is white with green sides and orange plastic speaker grills. A brown faux leather handle is on the left and a removable port cover is on the right. The GS50 measures approximately 7”x 6”x 6”(WHD) and weighs 5.5lbs. It comes with its own carrying case that holds the power cables and controller. This makes it super portable, and easy to carry around.
On the top of the speaker you’ll find the power, Bluetooth, and volume buttons. A slot on the back opens up to reveal the dongle input. Once in place, the cover seals it away and keeps it protected. I prefer this design over others where the dongle connects to the HDMI port. However, after opening the cover, a rubber gasket seal came off. I tried to put it back in but to no avail. This might be a design error but the intent of that rubber gasket is to protect the inside from water.
The back has a vent for the built-in fan, a speaker grille for the low-end woofer, and a DC charging port. On the bottom, there is a button-released telescope kickstand. This tilts the projector upwards and it’s adjustable. The bottom is a threaded hole for mounting the projector on a stand. This could be useful for birthdays and other celebrations.
Setting up the BenQ 1080p Portable Projector (GS50)
Once the Android TV dongle is inserted, the rest of the setup happened on my smartphone. I used Google Assistant to set up a new device. Google detected it and paired it to my Google account. Next, it connected to my Wi-Fi network. In all, the setup took less than 5 minutes. As long as you have a Google account, the setup is seamless.
The BenQ GS50 comes with popular apps such as Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, YouTube, and Spotify preinstalled. Users can install other apps from the Google Play store. One notable app missing is Netflix. For some reason, Netflix only allows its Android TV app to work on selected devices. BenQ is not one of them. There is a workaround installing side apps like Aptoide, but my suggestion is to buy a Roku Express Media Streamer. You’ll have to use an additional controller, but it’s worth it for loyal Netlfix users.
Using the BenQ 1080p Portable Projector (GS50)
With an IPX2 rating, the BenQ GS50 is splash-proof. It can withstand rain provided that the rubber gasket doesn’t fall out as it did with me.
My next-door neighbour has a giant outdoor projector screen in his backyard. I tested it there and I couldn’t get an image on the screen with the sun still out. 500 lumens isn’t bright enough for evening viewing outside. As soon as it got dark, the projector really started to shine – pun intended. I created approximately a 100” screen and the colours really popped out. Based on the distance to the screen, the projector automatically adjusts the focus. Very little user effort is required and the 1080p screen looked amazing. The kickstand also made it easy to adjust the position of the image on the screen.
I had the BenQ GS50 on a table that was positioned on uneven grass. Therefore, it was hard for me to get a nice, even picture on the projector screen. One suggestion I have for others is to carry some beer coasters in the projector case. If you have it on an uneven surface like I did, use the coasters under the projector feet. This provides minor angle adjustments to the screen. This tip is for people like myself, who like everything to be nice and straight. I can’t unsee crookedness and it drives me crazy with projector images.
The colours at night were bright, even at 100”. However, it does not work well in brightly lit environments. At night, outdoors, it works great. The darker it is, the better it will be. This isn’t a projector to use outside when the sun is still out. I tried and it didn’t work.
Sound Quality of the BenQ 1080p Portable Projector
The audio quality of any portable projector is something you should always assess. The BenQ GS50 features an internal Bluetooth speaker with 20 watts of total output. That might not seem like a lot, but I found the sound to be terrific. There is enough low end to hear the bass, but it is nicely balanced with the mid and high range. It can also be used as a standalone Bluetooth speaker. I really do love the versatility of portable projectors. Customers should take advantage of these additional features as it’s a two-in-one portable device.
Should you choose the BenQ 1080p Portable Projector?
There are a lot of portable projectors to choose from. The BenQ 1080p GS50 projector is for those looking for a durable projector for indoor and outdoor use. It’s more on the premium side, so people choosing this model are looking for those extra bells and whistles. The compact cube design and accompanying carrying case will appeal to a lot of people. It’s easy to carry and works in a variety of situations. Party planners in particular should have this in their arsenal for event hosting.
Parents should also consider the BenQ GS50 portable projector. It’s a great way to entertain kids during the Summer. In the winter, they can use it in an entertainment room while parents watch TV in the living room. The fact that it has a durable build so it can handle a tumble or a splash of water is a bonus.
If you want a durable, portable projector that you can take and use anywhere, the BenQ 1080p Portable Projector (GS50) is worth considering. Just remember, it works best in a dark environment. If that’s what the main area you’ll use it, enjoy.