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BenQ Joybee GP1 review

Barry de la Rosa
20 Oct 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
402
inc VAT

The low price and amazing portability of the GP1 make it the best mini projector to date, but it's still far from perfect.

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Specifications

858x600 resolution, 100 ANSI lumens, 54x136x120mm, 640g

BenQ's Joybee GP1 is tiny - it literally fits in your hand - and weighs just 640g. This DLP projector achieves this feat by replacing the usual lamp and colour wheel with coloured LEDs.

We've seen similar mini projectors before, such as Dell's M109S and LG's HS102, with the GP1 being similar to the latter. It's not as bright, but is smaller and lighter. Just as importantly, it has a smaller and lighter power supply, too. It's also about £100 cheaper. The GP1's fixed zoom ratio projects a 65in image at a range of 10ft, down to a 12?in image at 2ft.

As far as connections go, there's a proprietary port with a breakout cable supporting VGA, composite and stereo audio inputs. The GP1 has a native resolution of only 858x600 pixels, but it can accept an input resolution of up to 1,280x1,024. Such downscaling reduces image quality considerably, though - text became fuzzy and we lost most of the fine detail in pictures and movies - so you're better off limiting yourself to 800x600. It's also tricky to get an even focus across the whole image. Still, it does have wall colour and auto-keystone correction, which helps you set up quickly.

The GP1 contains a media player that can play movies straight from USB mass storage devices, but it's limited to MPEG1 and MJPEG formats. While there's a copy of ArcSoft MediaConverter 3 in the box, converting to these older formats is tedious and often produces files larger than the originals. As well as the USB input, there's a 3.5mm audio output that bypasses the 2W mono speaker.

Touch-sensitive controls on top of the GP1 let you navigate the comprehensive menu system, and these are duplicated on the credit-card-sized remote, which also has controls for the USB media player. Sadly, these lack feedback, making them fiddly to use, and the remote doesn't have backlit buttons either.

Picture quality falls far below that of a standard DLP projector, with images lacking both brightness and contrast, while turning up the brightness quickly results in a washed-out image. We preferred the Photo preset, which had the most accurate colours, but we still felt the image was too dark. Presentations look acceptable on the GP1, though you'll need a darkened room. Its colours seemed a bit artificial, and blues were hard to pin down, which might affect graphs.

Despite its fussy image controls and colours, we liked the GP1. It's ideal for travelling business people who don't rely on fine detail in their presentations, and with its optional iPod dock it's great for presenting short video clips, too. The GP1 is around £100 cheaper than the HS102 and it's more portable, but its poor colour accuracy and the media player's lack of format support both hold it back from a higher score.

Details

Price£402
Detailswww.benq.co.uk
Rating****

Specifications

Projector technologyDLP
Lamp brightness100 ANSI lumens
Lamp life20
Lamp life in economy modeN/A
Contrast ratio2,000:1

Picture

Native resolution858x600
Max compressed resolution1,280x1,024
Aspect ratio1.43
Other aspect ratios16:9, 4:3
Max diagonal at 7ft44in
Throw ratio1.92
Projection distance0.6m to 3.1m
Mirror imageno
Invert imageyes
HD Readyno
Special view modesBrightest, PC, Movie, Photo, User

Inputs/Outputs

VGA inputyes
DVI inputNo
Sound inputsnone
Composite inputyes
S-video inputno
HDMI inputno
Component inputvia VGA
PAL supportyes
SECAM supportyes
NTSC supportyes
Audio output3.5mm
Others inputs/outputsUSB mass storage port

Other

Noise (in normal use)28dB(A)
Size54x136x120mm
Weight640g
Internal speakersyes (2W mono)
Extrasremote, VGA/Composite docking cable, mains adaptor, pouch
Remote special featuresUSB reader controls
Power consumption standby0W
Power consumption on69W

Lamp

Lamp cost (inc VAT)N/A
Lamp supplierN/A
Lamp cost per hour of useN/A
Lamp cost per hour of use (economy)N/A

Buying Information

Price£402
Supplierhttp://www.misco.co.uk
Detailswww.benq.co.uk

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