The allure around projectors remains strong and in a market that’s constantly evolving with new and better tech these days, they have become affordable and are within reach for those who are willing to spend a tad bit more than a budget TV. But wouldn’t it be nice if you could lug ‘em around so you could watch your favourite movies and shows wherever you go? That’s exactly what BenQ’s GS1 enabled a few years ago.
While the GS1 had a more traditional design in a miniature form factor and it came with an orange protective case just like one of those high-end hard drives from Lacie, this time around it is a cube. The cube design is a fresh take and keeps up with the current trend. It’s a sophisticated shade of tan and looks real classy and the dual-tone design is a welcome break from the others available in the market. The top of the unit houses the controls and they’re etched into the housing. The build quality is top-notch and the unit feels sturdy and has quite some heft. That’s not to say it is super heavy - the whole thing weighs just 1.5Kgs. BenQ claims it can be dropped from a height of half a metre, but we didn’t have the heart to do that. It is also IPX2 rated.
When turned on, the clever GS2 automatically focuses the image and adjusts the keystone as well. Of course, there’s a manual mode and you can adjust it via the remote or the app but you wouldn’t want to fiddle around too much. While Cast and AirPlay work perfectly well, some copyrighted content can’t be streamed directly. To make things really simple, BenQ has included an HDMI slot that you can simply plug a Firestick or Apple TV into. Another really handy feature apart from the in-laid buttons on top, is the magnetic power chord. It may be a tiny feature but it’s really valuable especially if you have toddlers or who love to yank anything they find.
You won’t get a Full HD projection at this budget, not yet at least, but this 720p cube of joy comes with a lot of promise and is happy to project on a tent, a wall, a car and anything else you can think of and supports up to Full HD input. Our spoiled Stuff eyes are used to 4K and 720p just feels like a blast from the past. But thanks to BenQ, it’s still a good one. Although appearing soft, the image is quite bright especially when plugged in, but lowers down the brightness when it uses just the battery. And only in the world of projectors can that be a good thing. We couldn’t notice any rainbow effect at all and the colours were pleasing if not the richest. There is a slight judder when you feed the GS2 some 24p material however the lower resolution helps with this. The built-in speakers that the GS2 uses are okay at best and not the loudest. They lack low-end heft and sound a bit too thin to enjoy movies with heavy action. Pairing an external Bluetooth speaker is the way to go here
While the BenQ GS2 is a great upgrade over its previous offering, it faces stiff competition. The market is flooded with portable projectors and one of the main competitors being Xgimi which has a 1080p offering for around the same price. However, the GS2 still remains a well-rounded product.