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BenQ TK700 review: 4K gaming on a massive scale

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
999
inc VAT

The BenQ TK700 is a great all-rounder that shines for big-screen gaming

Pros 
Big, bright 4K images
Flexible and easy to set up
Low response times and high refresh rates
Cons 
Comparatively weak black level
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It seems that 4K gaming projectors are finally coming into their own. 4K-capable DLP chips have reached the level where you can stick them in a projector costing a grand or even less, and projector HDR keeps getting better. Meanwhile, new graphics cards and the PS5 and Xbox Series X have the horsepower to make 4K gaming worth your while.

While projectors such as the BenQ TK700 are undoubtedly a luxury – with 4K HDR monitors and TVs available for substantially less – nothing quite beats the experience of playing today’s blockbuster titles at a massive scale. Even VR games aren’t as immersive as playing games such as Halo Infinite or Elden Ring on a monster 100in screen.

BenQ TK700 review: What you need to know

The TK700 is a 4K projector aimed at all-round entertainment and particularly games. Like most 4K projectors at this price point, its 0.47in DLP chip doesn’t actually support 4K resolution natively; instead, it uses a pixel-shifting technique to simulate the same effect. However, BenQ claims that by shifting the chip’s 1,920 x 1,080 pixels horizontally and vertically at a speed of 240Hz, it’s actually putting 8.3 million pixels on your screen, so earning a “True 4K” designation.

Its gaming features include a special Game HDR mode, a low input lag and a 16.67ms response time at 60Hz. The BenQ TK700 also has dual HDMI 2.0b sockets for your consoles, audio return channel support, 30-bit colour and a maximum brightness of 3,200 ANSI lumens.

It can’t do 4K at beyond 60Hz, but it can do 1080p at 120Hz. Otherwise, it has just about everything that a gamer could possibly want while ticking most boxes for movie fans as well. BenQ claims it hits 96% of the Rec.709 gamut and can process both HDR10 and HLG.

BenQ TK700 review: Price and competition

The BenQ TK700 comes in at just under £1,000, at which price the main competitor is the Optoma UHD38. This has the same 4K resolution as the BenQ, refresh rates of up to 240Hz, response times as low as 4.2ms and a maximum brightness of 4,000 ANSI lumens. However, the 240Hz is only for PC gaming at 1080p resolutions, as is the response time; you’re looking at 120Hz on the PS5 or Xbox Series X.

Otherwise, you might want to consider a big-screen 4K TV, and specifically one with gaming-friendly features such as HDMI 2.1, 120Hz playback and Variable Refresh Rate support. The 65in LG 65NANO866NA and Samsung Q65 can be had for under £1,000, and what you lose in size you’ll gain in detail, features and HDR brightness levels. Don’t get us wrong: gaming projectors are awesome. It’s just that a TV works better in a wider range of lighting conditions, and will generally make the most of any games that go big on HDR.

BenQ TK700 review: Design

The TK700 is a fairly compact unit with a footprint of 312 x 256mm and a two-tone black and white body. The top carries all the basic controls and gives access to the zoom and focus wheels, so you don’t need to panic every time you temporarily mislay the remote control (provided your projector isn’t ceiling-mounted).

READ NEXT: The best 1080p and 4K-ready projectors to buy

The sockets are all at the rear, including the two HDMI 2.0b ports, an RS232 connector, a single USB 2.0 port and a 3.5mm audio out. On of the HDMI ports also handles eARC for connection to a 7.1 audio system or a soundbar. Our review model even has a special compartment and a secret third HDMI input for fitting BenQ’s QS01 Android TV dongle, which we’ve recently seen bundled with its GV30 portable. It’s not bad, but you get a better UI and a wider range of streaming apps with a Google TV, Roku or Fire TV stick.

The unit sits on four feet, which screw out to raise the projection angle, and the BenQ TK700 features excellent 2D keystoning to straighten the image if you have to project from above, below or the side. Meanwhile, the throw ratio of 1.127-1.46:1 gives you a screen size of up to 100in from 2.5m or 150in from 3.75m. That’s actually better than the Optoma UHD38, which needs 3.3m to reach 100in. I tried the TK700 in a couple of positions in two different rooms, and consistently found it easy to get a good, sharp picture with the minimum of setup.

The remote control is fine, but the layout isn’t particularly intuitive and it doesn’t have the backlighting of the UHD38’s remote. During the early stages of testing I had to keep turning the lights on just to see what I was doing, although I learned where the buttons were over time.

BenQ TK700 review: Picture quality

As a gaming projector, it’s hard to fault the TK700; it has roughly the same strengths and weaknesses as the very similar UHD38. The image is crisp and highly detailed, colours are rich and vibrant and the HDR effects are quite convincing, even if you’re never going to get the same deep black and eye-searing highlights from a projector that you’re going to get from a QLED or OLED TV screen.

Why? Well, remember that the 3,200 lumens is what comes out of the projector, not what bounces off the projector screen. In tests, I measured brightness levels of up to 277cd/m², albeit with a black level of 6.81cd/m², up from the lowest 2.11cd/m² we saw during adjustment. Reaching those levels involved switching the lamp from Eco to Normal and tweaking the HDR brightness and brightness levels upwards, and you can’t have the brightest whites and the darkest blacks at the same time.

This doesn’t sound ideal on paper, but in practice the image looks fantastic, especially in games as rich in colour and detail as Destiny 2: The Witch Queen and Elden Ring (both on PS5). Any lag is virtually indiscernible and the sheer size of the image at 100in gives you plenty of scope to wonder at the stunning world design and artwork. And if you prefer something faster-paced? Well, Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War on PS5 is lovely and smooth at 1080p and 120Hz. Given the right conditions and the budget, I’d play all my games this way.

As well as minimising input lag, the Game and HDR Game modes are designed to bring out shadow detail in darker areas without reducing contrast, and this actually seems to work. Whether venturing underground in Elden Ring or investigating the deepest, scariest spaces of The Witch Queen, I was able to see my way forward and approach enemies with ease.

If you’re more interested in watching movies or streaming the latest hot series, then there may be better options out there, such as BenQ’s own W2700 or the Optoma Cinemax P2 (although the latter is twice the price). Yet, even here, the TK700 delivers good performance, handling the big action scenes of Thor: Ragnarok and the Snyder cut of Justice League with ample vigour and tackling the vivid colours and period detail of The Marvellous Mrs Maisel with just as much skill. You won’t get the darkest black or the brightest HDR highlights, but you will get a big and exciting picture.

Two other things surprised me. One is that the TK700 has onboard sound and that it’s actually sound worth using. There’s no stereo separation, which is going to be an issue in many action games, but there’s plenty of volume and what’s there sounds decent, with a strong low end and respectable detail. I happily played Destiny 2 and Elden Ring without plugging in headphones or a soundbar and had disgruntled family members demanding that I turn the volume down.

The second is that the high brightness levels make the TK700 usable in daytime. Sure, you lose some contrast, making it hard to make much out in the murkier dungeons of Elden Ring, but otherwise all is fine. What’s more, the projector is still usable in the Smart Eco setting, which doubles the Normal lamp life of 4,000 hours without reducing the brightness levels to a daft extent.

Only two things spoil the good vibes. First, while testing with a Roku 4K Streaming Stick, I found that plugging it into HDMI 2 resulted in a weird, slightly darker, posterised image on the right side of the screen. There was no sign of this with other sources, though, or with the Roku stick connected to HDMI 1. Second, I found the notorious rainbow effect a little more noticeable with this projector than I did with the Optoma UHD38. It wasn’t a constant concern by any means, but it’s something to be aware of if you’re sensitive to it.

BenQ TK700 review: Verdict

We previously had the UHD38 down as the best 4K gaming projector for under £1,000, but the TK700 gives it fierce competition. The Optoma has a slight edge on brightness but, otherwise, they’re neck and neck, and the shorter throw and easier setup on the TK700 might swing things in BenQ’s direction for some buyers, as might the handy built-in sound.

You can’t really lose by going for either, and if you want to take your gaming experience to a whole new level, the BenQ TK700 is a fantastic buy.

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