In my opinion, portable projectors are the next big thing in tech. They are easy to use and highly versatile. You can use it to replace a TV in a small condo and bring it with you to parties in the summer. With portable projectors, all you need is WiFi and a white wall for endless hours of entertainment.
I’m reviewing the BenQ GV30 720p portable projector. It sports a unique, yet functional design delivering 300 lumens brightness and 720p HD resolution. The built-in battery provides 2.5 hours of wireless entertainment. Best of all, it comes with its own carrying case. Is this portable projector any good? Let’s find out.
Notable specs: BenQ GV30 projector
- 135-degree projection angle projects a screen from any height
- Capable of screen sizes from 30″ up to 100″
- Integrated 2.1 16W treVolo Bluetooth speaker
- Supports Android TV and wireless casting
- 300 lumens, 720p resolution
Design of the BenQ GV30 projector
The BenQ GV30 comes with its own carrying case. In fact, all the components were inside the case once I took it out of the box. This projector has a unique design that immediately caught my attention. It sports a circular shape like a big piece of cheese and sits vertically on a magnetic plastic base. This allows for easy angle adjustments against a wall. This design is unlike any projector I’ve seen before. My first initial impression was very positive.
The BenQ GV30 measures approximately 7”x6”x6” (WHD) and weighs 3.61 lbs. Each side houses a plastic grill for the integrated 16W Bluetooth speaker. A little plastic pick is included to open one side. This is to insert the included Android TV dongle. On the bottom right side is where the ports are located. Here you’ll find a single HDMI port, a USB-C port, a headphone jack, and a power port. A yellow carrying strap is located on the top.
Using the BenQ GV30 portable projector outdoors
The BenQ GV30 can be used both indoors and outdoors. It can produce screen sizes between 30” – 100”. For this review, I wanted to test it outdoors at night. Thankfully, my neighbour built a homemade outdoor projector screen so I had the perfect place to test it. This projector screen is massive, so I was aiming for a screen size of approximately 100”.
Going in, my big concern was the 300 lumens brightness. During sunset, while it was still bright, I couldn’t see the display on the outdoor screen. Once it got dark, the video looked amazing. This tells me that the BenQ GV30 works best in low-light conditions. The one workaround is to project a smaller screen. As with most portable projectors, as soon as you move the BenQ GV30 back to create a larger image, the brightness goes down. Therefore, you need to play around to find that sweet spot based on your current lighting conditions.
Is 720p resolution good in a portable projector?
The next issue I had going into this review is the 720p resolution. Most portable projectors I’ve reviewed have 1080p resolution. Thankfully, I was also reviewing the BenQ 1080p HD portable projector (GS50) at the same time as this review. For the first time ever, I could compare a 720p projector and a 1080p projector at the same time.
I set up each projector on a table and created a 100” screen side by side. I played Animal Planet from YouTube on both projectors. The clips were cued and started at the same time to compare the image quality accurately. I was out of sync by a couple milliseconds, but it worked for this comparison.
To be honest, I could barely tell the difference. There was a slight difference in the colours produced, but both images looked equally good. In fact, if I randomly asked people to pick the 720p HD resolution, I think it would be a 50/50 split. From the eye, sitting about 15 feet away, you can’t tell. I’m so glad I did this because it reminds me that specs don’t always tell the whole story. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding.
Sound quality of the integrated Bluetooth speaker
While the BenQ GV30 has a headphone jack, most people will just use the integrated treVolo Bluetooth speaker. Its circular and vertical design is perfectly suited to push sound from both sides. In short, it sounded great. There is a lot of low-end in the mix which provides an immersive feeling when watching movies. It’s also loud enough to fill up a room, or outdoors in the backyard.
When the projector is not in use, the Bluetooth speaker can be used as a standalone device. This means you’re really getting two devices in one.
Using Android TV dongle on the BenQ GV30 projector
As mentioned, the BenQ GV30 comes with an Android TV dongle. Setup is super simple once you pair it to your Google account. From there, it’s easy to download and access apps from the provided controller. Overall the interface is sleek, user-friendly, and fast. It comes with Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, YouTube, and more.
Notably missing is Netflix. BenQ, Google, and Netflix seem to have some beef, and we the consumer suffer. There is a workaround though. You can use another streaming device like the Roku Express media streamer to get Netflix on the GV30.
Portable projectors are here to stay. The only question is when to get one, and which one to get. In my opinion, the BenQ GV30 has an amazing, functional design. It’s super easy to project to a wall and the built-in battery allows you to go completely wireless for up to 2.5 hours. I also like that it comes with a carrying case. Imagine showing up to a party with a portable projector. That is sure to impress. The carrying case provides extra room for other items, which is always useful. I do recommend you keep an extension cord inside the case. While the projector is battery-powered, an extension cord helps you connect it to a direct power source even outdoors.
As skeptical as I was with the 720p resolution, seeing the BenQ GV30 beside the BenQ 1080p GS50 projector made me a believer. The average person is not going to know which one is which. They both looked equally good. The only issue I have is the 300 lumens. It’s hard to get a bright screen in a brightly lit room. But if it’s dark, then the 300 lumens look fine, even at 100”.
If you’re looking for an affordable, portable projector that is easy to use and sounds great, you will not be disappointed in the BenQ GV30. It’s user-friendly, has an innovative design, and provides a great-looking image in the dark. Shop the BenQ GV30 720p portable projector at bestbuy.ca today.