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Does a home theatre projector compare to a TV? It does if you have the BenQ TK860. It’s a 4K projector with HDR, and while I’ve tested out a few 720p and 1080p Full HD projectors, I had never seen a 4K projector in action. After watching a lot of movies and spending a ton of time gaming on it, I think the BenQ TK860 4K projector is more than capable of producing bright, sharp video, even if you’re watching in the middle of the day. The bonus of the projector is that it can produce sharp images on a massive scale. I had a 100-inch screen in my small living room, but this projector can work with screens from 40 inches up to 200 inches if you’d like to. If you’re looking for a daylight projector to add a big screen touch to your home theatre or living room, here’s what I thought of the BenQ TK860i 4K projector.

Features on BenQ TK860i projector

BenQ TK860i projector

The BenQ TK860i is a compact white projector with a black front cover. It’s a long throw DLP projector, so it can project up from 40 to 200 inches from up to 18 feet away. It includes two remote controls – one for general use and one for use with Android TV. BenQ has put a lot of technology into this projector to enhance colour and contrast. It has advanced colour temperature tuning so you can micro-adjust your colour levels. It uses Dynamic Black technology and Local Contrast Enhancer to increase contrast so images look darker and not grey or washed out. It also divides your images up into zones, analyzing each for brightness so the 4K resolution can shine through. You don’t need to know what’s running under the hood to enjoy this projector, but it’s nice to know it has the tech to compete with a 4K TV.  

  • 3300-lumen projector is bright enough for day and night viewing
  • 4K Ultra HD resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio for sharp details, colour, and clarity
  • Enhances colour and contrast including HDR-Pro technology, Local Contrast Enhancer, Active Iris and Dynamic Black technology, and Tone Mapping
  • Input lag of 17.7ms at 4K/60
  • 3 HDMI 2.0b (HDCP 2.2) inputs including eARC for 7.1 Dolby Atmos as well as an audio out and media reader
  • 5W speaker produces very good mid-range audio output
  • Uses vertical lens shift, 2D keystone, and 1.3x zoom to customize your view in any room
  • 4000-hour lamp life
  • Includes BenQ dongle to add Android TV and is pre-loaded with Netflix and other apps
  • Uses your Google login to customize your screen and access the Google Play store

Setting up the BenQ TK860i projector

Unboxing and setting up the BenQ TK860i was very easy, even for someone who is new to home theatre projectors like I am. I unboxed it, put the included batteries in both remotes, and plugged it in. Before I turned it on I removed the top cover and added the Android dongle. To remove the cover you’ll use a screwdriver to remove a screw on either side. Once the screws are loose the cover just slides forward.

To insert the dongle you’ll place it in the HDMI port inside the projector and plug it in with the cable. The projector will prompt you to choose your preferred way of projecting images. You can choose from a few options including front, rear, and overhead. I choose the front as I have the projector in front of my screen.

I’ve used an outdoor projector screen for movie nights so I DIY’d a 100-inch screen. I set it up in my living room and placed the projector in front of it. It took a bit of tweaking to get it set up with the picture in the centre of the screen, but there are a lot of ways to adjust it so it was pretty easy. While this projector doesn’t have auto-focus, I like how there is a focus dial and zoom dial right over the lamp. You can use it to sharpen your images and adjust them so they line up with your screen.

Testing the BenQ TK860i home theatre projector

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The BenQ TK860i is 3300 lumens, so it’s bright enough for daytime use. It’s also fast enough for gaming, and it can produce vibrant colours that I feel rival my own 4K TV. It’s the type of projector I would mount on my ceiling and use every day, but it’s light enough that I would just bundle it up, take it outside, and use it under cover for a family movie night. It has Wi-Fi on board and uses the Android operating system so you can stream your favourite apps, but there’s also a media card reader if you’re away from your home network and want to watch a movie.

Picture quality on BenQ TK860i

As I mentioned, I’ve only ever used 1080p HD projectors. I wasn’t prepared for how sharp and realistic the picture quality on the BenQ TK860i 4K projector would be, especially during the day. I have a very small living room, so the 100-inch screen felt absolutely massive in the space. I placed the projector about 6 feet from the screen to achieve the 100-inch image and spent a bit of time tweaking to make the images line up with the screen. You can use the zoom dial on the top of the projector as well as the keystone correction. I managed to do it for the most part, and while I did have it spill over slightly, it didn’t affect what we were watching.

Colour and 4K resolution on BenQ TK860i

If you’ve never set up a projector screen at home, there is not much that can prepare you for the jump from a 55-inch TV to a 100-inch screen. If you are going to make that leap, I recommend you do so with a 4K projector. I was blown away by how sharp the details are on the BenQ TK860i. It’s hard to believe that 4K resolution could still be so clear on such a huge screen.

Most of my viewing was during the day, and I tested it with the living room lights on and curtains open. While it’s an HDR-Pro projector meant for bright rooms, I also loved watching it at night with the lights off. Colours are absolutely vibrant on this projector, even during the day, and the detail produced was very real to life. Nothing I watched looked too bright, and I thought it was all very natural and easy on the eyes.

A projector can’t achieve the same contrast you’d find on a Mini-LED or OLED TV, but for most movies and TV shows the black levels were fairly deep. I was impressed with how dark the images could get for some of the Marvel movies I watched, and I really liked watching a few 8K videos on Youtube with it. The colours were very bright. Some images did show up more grey than black and some whites were a bit washed out if the video had nothing but neutral colours, but overall the colour and contrast were very good.

While it’s meant to be a daylight projector, I think you get the best overall picture quality if you pull your blinds or your curtains when watching. In a few of my photos you can see that the corner near the window had a lighter image than the corner away from the window, so having your curtains drawn helps reduce the ambient light on the screen.

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Audio quality on the BenQ projector

I thought the audio produced by the BenQ TK860i’s 5W speakers was pretty impressive. It was loud at mid-volume, the dialogue was quite clear, and I could flip from Netflix to Youtube or Disney+ and it was never too sharp or too loud. If I was going to use this projector all the time I would plug it into my sound bar because I already own one, and it does have an eARC port to plug add Dolby Atmos 7.1 channel surround sound. I think it comes down to personal preference. If you’re into surround sound and you want that movie theatre feel at home, you’ll want to add a sound bar or home theatre speakers. If you’re not, you’ll still enjoy listening via the projector’s internal speakers. It’s loud enough for everyday use.

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Gaming on the BenQ TK860i

There are 3 HDMI 2.2b inputs on this projector, and I plugged my PS5 into one of them. The HDMI 2.0b inputs let you game at 4k/60Hz. While it doesn’t have a variable refresh rate, gaming on a 100-inch screen in 4K is enough to impress anybody. Just like watching movies, the colours were vibrant and we kept it set in HDR10 mode to enhance detail in dark games.

The BenQ TK860i has a 17.7ms input lag. My own TV is a bit slower than that, and we didn’t notice any lag or motion issues when playing any games. I’m a Grand Theft Auto fan so we played that for a while, but my son logged some serious time playing Star Wars Jedi: Survivor on the big screen. They enjoyed it so much that they’ve said it’s going to be very hard going back to a 55-inch TV after gaming with this projector, as the detail is as sharp on a 100-inch screen as it is on a 55 and the overall playing experience is very immersive.

Wireless casting made simple

The Android operating system on the BenQ TK860i is easy to use, and the included remotes let you access Netflix directly or use voice search with just a tap. There are also a bunch of options built-in for wireless casting. I used the BenQ wireless casting app to stream apps from my phone and the images were clear and well-defined. It’s fun to show everyone a video or photos from your phone on such a big screen. It reminded me of when my parents would do slideshows on our Super 8 screen when I was a kid, only my photos were 4K and every detail was enhanced.

Should you choose the BenQ TK860i?

The BenQ TK860i projector has spectacular picture quality, and I think it would be a good jump-into-projector option for anyone who’s considering whether to buy a new TV or choose a projector. I like the idea of mounting it on a ceiling and having a motorized screen that you can tuck away when not in use. The image quality is just as good as a 4K TV, so the idea of saving space by using a projector is very appealing.

It was a lot of fun gaming on the BenQ TK860i, and nothing compares to gaming on such a big screen. It would be great to see what it’s like on a 200-inch projector screen too. We ran it through a bunch of different games and were happy with everything we played.

The BenQ TK860i projector runs fairly quietly too. The only thing I noticed about the fans is that you can feel the heat from the bulb when you hold your hand near the side of the projector. It’s not too hot by any means, but it’s warm enough to notice.

I think the BenQ TK860i home theatre projector is pretty amazing, and I’m glad this was the projector that gave me my first look at what a 4K projector looks like in my own living room. You can find your own BenQ TK860i projector at Best Buy right now.

Shelly Wutke
Editor TV & Home Theatre
I'm a Vancouver freelancer and tech enthusiast. When I'm not writing you'll find me on my farm with my alpacas, chickens, and honeybees. Visit my website Survivemag