BenQ MP721c £488
26th Jun 2007 | 23:00
BenQ takes its first steps into the budget projector market
Unlike many others in the peripherals field, BenQ takes its budget products as seriously as its high-end ones, with individual technologies filtering through its ranges based on need rather than money-saving tactics. This is noticeable in its monitor range, and now here, in its first budget projector.
Unfortunately, BenQ's design department hasn't exactly nailed the MP721c, which does look boxy and unrefined next to other projectors of this ilk.
Considering this is a budget machine - you can pay less, but not without compromising on brightness - you get an impressive 1024 x 768 native resolution, and an equally impressive brightness rating of 2,200 ANSI lumens, with 2000:1 contrast. The serious limitation is that the interpolated resolution won't go above 1280 x 1024. Video is supported up to 1080i, with an optional VGA adaptor accepting component video.
The MP721c is bigger and slightly heavier than many other business models, but not by much. The button panel ergonomics are good, with solid click action and intuitive menus, although the built-in sound effect option is useless unless you enjoy scaring people. The credit-card-sized remote includes a handy keystone setting, but is otherwise rather minimal.
Display modes include a solid range of options, with the usual whiteboard/blackboard/theatre modes, with sRGB for a more neutral colour space. Subjective video performance is great for the price, with deep blacks and crisp whites. Colour saturation lets the side down a little, but it's at least as good as anything else at this price.
Annoyingly, the optional Wi-Fi plug-in module is Windows only. This is a shame, as the ability to pipe video without lengthy and cumbersome cables would have been a superb boon, and at £250 it's one of the best value wireless packages available.
The MP721c is great for the money and offers great results in a sticky-fingered case. It's just a shame about the Wi-Fi.