BenQ TK800 Review
The new BenQ TK800 is the company’s most affordable big screen projector, packing a wealth of features and a super-bright image into a relatively compact design. But does it deliver a good picture for the money? Read on to find out…
BenQ TK800: Design
With a lens offset to the right as you look at it from the front and an air vent over on the left, the BenQ TK800 looks like a typical single-chip DLP projector. Hardened plastic is used in the chassis, and it feels sturdy: meaning you can move it around without worrying about it falling apart. Despite being white, the TK800 has a stunning aqua blue finish that sets it apart from the competition.
To the right of the lens is a remote sensor, and in a recessed area above it are manual zoom and focus controls. An extendable foot is located at the bottom of the projector, towards the front. There is no lens shift. Although this can cause keystone distortion, it allows you to adjust the height of the image. Fortunately, the TK800 has auto-correction, which makes it simple to install and allows you to quickly set it up whenever you feel like watching big-screen action.
In the rear, you’ll find a typical set of connections, including two HDMI inputs: one is HDCP 2.2-compliant and can handle 4K/HDR sources, while the other is HDCP 1.4-compliant and can handle high definition sources. Additionally, it has two USB ports, a PC/VGA input, analog audio in and out, and a 12V trigger. Using the latter, the first can be used to update the service, while the second can be used to power other devices.
The TK800 has some basic controls on the top rear of the projector, but the main way to set up and operate the projector is with the included remote control. It features a backlight so you can use it in the dark, and it is well-made and well-designed. All of the main buttons are easy to reach with your thumb, and overall this is a very effective remote.
BenQ TK800: Features
The BenQ TK800’s primary selling point is that it supports 4K. While this is true, it’s also worth mentioning that the projector’s DLP chip isn’t 3840×2160. In a nutshell, it uses XPR technology, which essentially flashes a 1920×1080 pixel DLP chip four times in succession in order to create an image with a perceived resolution of over eight million pixels. It is amazing that this actually works, and even with test patterns, the images appear to be 4K in resolution.
It uses a high-quality glass optical system for superior image quality on the TK800, which is designed for 4K resolution. With a precision seven-element, four-group lens array, higher resolutions can be achieved while reducing chromatic aberrations and enhancing clarity. Low-dispersion lens coating minimizes chromatic aberrations.
This projector’s single-chip makes for a sharp image, and there are no alignment issues as with three-chip machines. However, this does mean that the TK800 must use a color wheel, and this can cause rainbows in sensitive individuals.
The TK800’s color range will also be limited compared to projectors without a color wheel. The new 4K color wheel from BenQ, however, is designed to deliver 92% of the Rec.709 color space with improved accuracy. Moreover, the 120 Hz refresh rate of the projector eliminates image blur, resulting in both accurate and bright images.
With a maximum brightness of 3000 lumens, the TK800 is certainly bright. That makes it especially suitable for rooms with white walls or a lot of ambient light, so you can invite your friends over for the big game without worrying about plunging the lounge into pitch blackness just to see the projected image.
In addition, HDR10 support is another key feature. The TK800 can deliver HDR with greater brightness and contrast range than SDR thanks to BenQ’s Auto HDR Color Rendition technology. Additionally, there are image optimization features that enhance the detail in a 4K source.
Due to the TK800’s target market, BenQ has included a game mode and a football picture mode. Getting rid of the input lag and delivering a more responsive gaming experience is definitely beneficial. The latter results in an image of too much artificiality, as the colors and processing are boosted.
In addition, the TK800 comes with five speakers and five watts of amplification, but we’d recommend using a soundbar, or better still an AV receiver and speaker package, to ensure you have a big soundstage to go along with your equally big image.
BenQ TK800: Performance
While watching 4K content on the BenQ TK800, the first thing we noticed was how detailed the image was. Perhaps the projector is using some visual trickery to get the perceived resolution up to eight million pixels, but it certainly works. We watched The Revenant on Ultra HD Blu-ray and the image was incredibly detailed and bright.
This 4K disc was equally impressive, bursting with fine details, bright highlights, and natural colors. In our testing of the TK800, we found that the color wheel limited the range of colors it could display, but BenQ did an excellent job of mapping HDR content to the projector’s native capabilities. Watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, and you’ll see the film’s riot of color well represented.
In addition, the projector is extremely bright, which means that even when using SDR content, it can deliver images with real impact, even in less-than-ideal lighting conditions. This means that even if you have white walls or large windows, you can still enjoy a big projected image with the TK800.
The BenQ is actually better suited for rooms with light-colored walls, as we experienced more issues with light spill when we installed the projector in our dedicated home cinema. The light from the bulb was escaping through the air vents on the chassis, and we could now see a lighter area around the edges of the image.
There are two areas where DLP struggles: black levels and shadow detail. As a result, the blacks tended to be a darker grey, while the shadows lacked detail. Nevertheless, since the TK800 is designed for rooms with a lot of ambient light, these particular issues will be less noticeable.
The most likely thing you’ll hear is the fan noise, combined with the sound of the color wheel whirring around. It cannot be avoided: the brighter the bulb, the more heat it produces, and the more cooling is needed.
TK800 has built-in speakers, but they are woefully inadequate, especially when you consider the fan noise. If you’re projecting a big Hollywood blockbuster like Guardians of the Galaxy, then you want an equally big sound to match. We recommend investing in a good soundbar like the Samsung HW-N950, which delivers an immersive audio experience worthy of the big screen.
FOR & AGAINST
|Big, bright, colorful picture||The color wheel can result in rainbows|
|Excellent motion handling||Poor black and shadow detail|
|Cracking price||Noisy even in Eco mode|
|Sharp 4K and HDR images||Light spillage|
BenQ TK800 is well-made, has all the connections you’ll need, and boasts an impressive set of features. This is an easy-to-use device that is easy to set up and simple to operate. If you don’t have a screen, a white wall will suffice.
The TV is not a native 4K panel, but it still produces detailed images, and it’s also very bright, making it perfect for rooms with white walls or large windows. Besides having excellent motion handling, it has a low input lag, which is also good news for gamers. (BenQ even supports 3D, though you will need to purchase the glasses separately.)
On the negative side, the black level and the shadow detail are both poor, but those issues won’t matter in a room with ambient lighting. Also, the TK800 uses a color wheel, which limits its color range, particularly when it comes to HDR. There is also the possibility that some viewers will see ‘rainbows’, but this is a limitation of single-chip DLP projectors. Furthermore, it’s quite noisy both because of the color wheel and because of the fan, although it’s necessary given how much heat is generated by the bright bulb.
In spite of a few negative attributes, the BenQ TK800 is an impressive projector for those on a budget.