Beamer Test

11/2019

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2
products tested
Hours Icon
23
hours invested
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80
Amazon reviews analyzed
Winner IconOur winner:
BenQ MH535
Beamer

Our test winner is the BenQ MH535: The device convinces with its sharp image quality and is even suitable for movie playback. Our favourite with the test grade 9.6/10!

We tested 2 beamers and paid special attention to the range of functions and quality.

Whether for a series marathon, the big sports final or for the next business presentation: Beamers are used in several areas and prove to be practical helpers.

We test independently. Askgeorge.com uses affiliate links. For a purchase via a link marked with a or our price comparison, we may receive a small commission.

last modified: 15.11.2019, 11:35
Winner Best price winner
Our winner: BenQ MH535 Optoma Optoma HD143X Projector Review

BenQ
MH535

Optoma
Optoma HD143X Projector

  • Very good image quality
  • Bright image
  • Very good image quality
  • Very quiet
  • Poor speaker quality
  • The brightness of the image

Very good image quality. It can also be used for film evenings without any problems.

A quiet beamer with very good image quality, but too dark for its price range.

Image quality
Brightness
Range of functions
Handling
Workmanship
Scope of delivery Beamer, remote control, power supply (1.8 m), VGA cable (1.8 m), quick guide Beamer, power cable (175 cm), remote control
Quality impression Excellent Excellent
Camera resolution 1920 × 1080 1920 × 1080
Image size 60 - 300 inch 28 - 301 inch
Image brightness 3500 Lumen 3,000
Contrast 15.000 : 1 23.000 : 1
Projection distance 0.9 - 9.1 m 1 - 9.8 m
Speaker Yes, 1x 2 Watt Yes, 1x 10 Watt
Height 9.9 cm 11 cm
Width 33 cm 32 cn
Depth 22 cm 25
Weight 2,574 g 2,836 g
Ports 2x HDMI, 2x VGA, 1x RS-232, 1x Monitor Out, 1x USB Typ Mini B, 1x Audio In, 1x Audio Out, 1x S-Video, 1x Composite Video (RCA) 2x HDMI, 1x Line Out, 1x USB, 1x 3D Sync, 12 V trigger
Quality of instructions Satisfactory (only brief instructions) Not available
Manual language GER, EN, FR, ES, IT, PT, SV, RU, NL, PL, TR, CS, TH, TC, SC, JA, KO, AR, FI, NB, DA -
Additional warranty - -
Packaging Excellent Cardboard, simple
Test seal: BenQ MH535, Rating 1.3
read review
Test seal: Optoma Optoma HD143X Projector, Rating 1.9
read review
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*All prices include VAT (if applicable, extra charge for delivery. Check the particular online shop to find information about the availability. Changes of indicated prices since the last update remain reserved.

Tested products

1st place: BenQ MH535

Test seal: BenQ MH535, Rating excellent

The BenQ MH535 with its very good image quality and brightness is an ideal conference room projector. But also the playback of movies is possible with this beamer without any problems. Only the sound quality of the integrated loudspeaker is disappointing.

read review
Optoma Optoma HD143X Projector - thumbnail Test seal: Optoma Optoma HD143X Projector, Rating good

2nd place: Optoma Optoma HD143X Projector

In dark rooms, the Optoma HD143X convinces with its high resolution, its razor-sharp image, and the realistic colours. However, the low brightness is disappointing. If a room is not dark, dark parts of a picture or film are difficult to recognize. But the operation with a focus wheel, remote control and buttons is very easy.

read review

BenQ - MH535

Winner: read review
  • Make sure you are at the right distance from the wall: The picture should be big enough, but you want to keep the picture quality. Often you can find suggestions for the distance in the operating instructions.
  • Especially for presentations, you should take into account that any kind of light can affect the picture.
  • It is best to find out if and which additional cables are required before setting up the system: A HDMI cable is often required. In the case of wireless operation, you should first check whether the battery is charged or whether replacement batteries are available in an emergency.
 

In the run-up to the test, we defined practical requirements and the following test criteria:

  • Image quality
  • Brightness
  • Functional scope
  • Processing
  • Operation

In order to be able to evaluate these criteria, we have defined several tests for the beamers.
First, the scope of delivery, functions, and connection options are checked. As soon as the beamers are put into operation, the operation is evaluated. This includes the menu navigation and the focusing of images. The image quality of the devices is checked with the aid of a test image. This image can be used to evaluate brightness, contrast and colour representation. While the beamers are in use, the room is darkened.

Furthermore, the fan volume is measured from a distance of 1 m and 20 cm. If the devices are equipped with loudspeakers, their volume is also measured and the quality assessed. To check the brightness, the devices are set to maximum brightness and project a white image onto a wall. A lux meter measures illuminance at nine points so that luminous flux can be calculated. After 30 minutes in operation, a thermal imaging camera is used to check how much the devices heat up.

A thermal image of a projector
One of the devices tested under a thermal imaging camera

In order to rule out errors and to ensure the stress of everyday use, each test takes place in several rounds.

The test criteria are given percentages depending on their importance. The final score is then objectively calculated from the test criteria using an algorithm.

beamer test image
The test image is used to evaluate values such as brightness and contrast

Selection of products

Our product selection is based on an observation of the current market. In addition to popular branded products, we also include insider tips in our selection. Criteria such as price and range of functions are an important factor for us. The test field is also determined by analysis and evaluation of customer reviews and external tests (e.g. Stiftung Warentest).

The devices are purchased anonymously or lent to us by the manufacturer. Dealers and manufacturers have no influence on the tests and our evaluation.

As soon as new relevant products come onto the market, our test field is extended by these. The new products go through the same test as the already tested devices.

The term 'beamer' comes from English and is used as a synonym for a video projector. Literally translated beaming means "to illuminate". In technical usage, a beamer is always called a projector. There is, therefore, no difference between a projector and a beamer.

In the case of officials, a basic distinction is made between five types. There are:

  • LED projectors
  • LCD projectors
  • LCoS projectors
  • Laser projectors
  • DLP projectors

Depending on the personal preference and the intended use the suitable beamer can be selected. Beamer are characterized by their compact design. The small devices are easy to transport and therefore excellently suitable for on the way. Most beamers are equipped with modern LED technology so that a longer lamp life can be expected with low energy consumption. However, beamers with LED lamps produce only low brightness. These beamers are frequently used for presentations in schools, universities and at work, as they are only a minor strain on the eyes. The lamp type is the main differentiating criterion when selecting a suitable beamer. Almost all projectors use LED or DLP technology.

LED projectors to use LED projectors (LEDs) as light sources instead of conventional light bulbs. The resulting light is either directed through different display layers of liquid crystals or reflected by tiny mirrors. The LEDs have virtually no maintenance costs, deliver clear colors and have low power consumption. Furthermore, because LED projectors generate less heat, this type of projector is more durable and environmentally friendly.

DLP projectors use Digital Light Processing (DLP) to reflect light on the screen using tiny mirrors. Most DLP projectors are equipped with a color wheel that produces a sequential color. DLP projectors are generally a bit more expensive. On the other hand, they have the advantage that high contrast values are generated and the devices have only a low dust sensitivity.

An LCD beamer works by means of liquid crystal projection. With this technology, a small mirror system is used so that a complete image with all colour values can be displayed and projected onto a screen. However, there is a certain risk of a so-called LCD memory effect. In addition, the optics of LCD beamers are very sensitive to dust or dirt particles. The advantages of LCD beamers are good color reproduction and compact design.

The LCoS projector also works with liquid crystal projection. In contrast to LCD beamers, these devices allow a denser arrangement and better display of the image elements. This makes the image appear more natural and sharper. However, an LCD memory effect can also occur with these beamers. With increasing operating time the picture quality can decrease strongly. The laser beamer works with laser projection so that an absolute black can also be displayed.

Laser projectors are characterized by the fact that they are extremely low-maintenance and can display the complete RGB color space.

Before you decide on a particular beamer, you should first compare different devices. You can use important purchase criteria to objectively evaluate the projectors and find the right one for your needs.

Luminous intensity is one of the most important factors when choosing the right projector. Since brightness is measured in lumens, you should pay attention to the two-lumen specifications, white brightness, and color brightness.

Resolution is the number of pixels in an image. The higher the number of pixels, the better the resolution and the more detailed and sharper the images appear on the wall.

The difference between light and darkness is called contrast. With a beamer, this difference is expressed on the screen by a number. In addition, the contrast ratio indicates how clear the projected image will appear.

To reduce the keystone effect, many projectors are equipped with vertical and/or horizontal keystone correction. Keystone correction is an important function as it helps to display images correctly and in proportion.

WiFi support is one of the great advantages of beamers, as it allows you to connect your projector to other devices over the Internet. Since no cable connection is required, this option is very useful for streaming.

When choosing a beamer, you should also consider the connections, because the picture quality depends greatly on the connection types.

There are different types of image correction. The two most important methods are Lense Shift and Keystone Correction.

Lens Shift Correction allows you to move the image projected by the beamer onto a screen. Shifting is possible both horizontally and vertically using a manual or motor setting.

Most projectors have an integrated lens shift, so there's no loss of image quality or keystone distortion. This function is activated whenever the beamer is not centered and perpendicular to the screen and prevents the image from being distorted.

Keystone distortion distorts the projected image. Such a distortion can also occur if the projection axis is not at right angles to the screen.

If the offset value is not maintained or if the projector is set up in an unsuitable location, distortions in the lower or upper area of the projection will occur more frequently.

If the beamer is not at a 90-degree angle to the screen, a sideways distorted image will be projected. The Lens Shift prevents such keystone distortion without you having to correct the location of your projector.

If you want to adjust the lens shift manually, use the joystick located directly on the beamer. A motorized or automatic adjustment of the lens shift is usually possible with newer and more expensive beamers.

However, you should avoid moving the lens as far as it will go. Otherwise, there will be a slight loss of sharpness.

Keystone correction is another way to prevent or correct keystone distortion. Keystone correction compensates for the original keystone distortion by creating artificial distortion in the image. After the Keystone Correction is applied, the device displays a normal image on the screen.

With the keystone correction, a considerable loss of quality must be expected. On the one hand, parts of the image surface, as well as the light output, get lost, on the other hand, a part of the image information disappears.

Nevertheless, the keystone correction is a simple solution to prevent keystone distortion. This is why this function is also found in inexpensive models.

The lens shift, which prevents distortion in advance and makes the display appear correct, is mainly a component of somewhat more expensive devices. However, both the lens shift and the keystone correction have certain advantages and disadvantages.

A beamer with keystone correction is usually offered at a reasonable price. If you set a high value on a high and constant image quality, a beamer with an integrated lens shift is the right option.

Certain accessories are available for beamers. These include projector lamps, screens, audio systems, cables, and loudspeakers. With many beamers, certain accessories are already included in the scope of supply.

Before you order additional accessories, you should, therefore, check which accessories are included with your beamer. A beamer lamp is used to project images.

Lamps

Most lamps need to be replaced after one or two years, especially if the beamer is in daily use. Light bulbs are a real investment because they can cost several hundred euros. Not every projector is equipped with good loudspeakers.

Sound

Such systems are often not sufficient for an optimal sound. The purchase of an audio system is useful if you want to use the beamer to watch videos. A separate audio system, preferably a surround sound system, is usually required for a home cinema.

Screen

A screen is also a sensible acquisition because the quality of pictures or video material often does not really come into its own on semi-glossy, simple walls. Buying a screen is the best way to get the most out of your new projector.

Other accessories

When selecting accessories, be aware that some projectors will only work with original brand accessories. Whether you need additional cables depends on what you want to use your projector for and which devices you connect.

Special HDMI cables and USB cables are available for projectors. Usually, a power cable is already included. Beamer is often also offered with other cables such as an AV cable. Remote control is also often included in the price.

With the remote control, you can operate the beamer comfortably from the sofa. If you compare offers, you will notice that the batteries for the remote control are often already included.

A carrying bag is practical and protects the beamer from dirt and damage. Sometimes a carrying case is included with a projector accessory. You can then use the bag to transport your projector.

It is often necessary to mount a beamer on a tripod. If the tripod is not included, you can purchase it as an accessory from most retailers.

In June 2018, Stiftung Warentest inspected numerous beamers. The test field consisted of 12 devices, 10 of which received a good quality rating and were only slightly apart in their marks. Thus, the EH-TW5400 and the EH-TW5650 from Epson share the first place with an overall score of 2.2. For the beamer HD144X from Optoma, it was no longer quite enough for a good rating, which is why it occupies the penultimate place. The loser of the test is VPL-PHZ10 from Sony, with an overall score of 3.7 (Sufficient).

The results were composed of 3 criteria: Image quality (60%), handling (20%) and environmental characteristics (20%).

The image quality was assessed by five experts. The focus was on image sharpness, brightness, edge sharpness as well as colour and brightness gradients. To test these aspects, excerpts from films and sporting events were played back via the beamers. Graphics and photos were also used for evaluation. In addition, the image quality was assessed in a brighter environment and sloped projection. With the exception of Optoma, all projectors showed good results in this respect.

In terms of handling, the instructions for use, installation, operation and menu navigation were checked for user-friendliness. Here, all devices scored with a good intermediate result.

Finally, the operating noises of the beamers were measured in normal and power-saving mode and also assessed subjectively. In the test, all devices except one were too loud so that the volume had to be turned up clearly, in order to drown out the fans. Furthermore, the power consumption was measured in the available modes. This is questionable for all beamers, only sufficient to inadequate results were achieved. The devices also did not perform well in the heat development test. The case of the BenQ W1050 was tested as hot as 80 degrees. The remaining beamers also warmed up to temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees. Only the last-placed beamer from Sony could show a very good result with 42 degrees.

None of the products tested by Stiftung Warentest were included in our practice test. Only the manufacturers overlap.

How do we test at askgeorge.com?

Live and authentic: We get the devices into our Hamburg test laboratory. Here we take a close look at everything.

Each test is preceded by an extensive search:

  • Which suppliers are on the market?
  • What current products are there?
  • What are the comparison criteria?
  • What tests are we going to run?
  • What is the test procedure?

When everything's settled, we'll bring the devices to us. For each product the test procedure, the measured values and product properties are documented in detail. We create photos and videos. We evaluate the results for you, summarize everything in a test report and calculate the test grade.

Have fun!

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Questions

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2019-11-15
What is the best beamer?
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AskGeorge.com

Our test winner is the BenQ MH535: The device convinces with its sharp image quality and is even suitable for movie playback. Our favourite with the test grade 9.6/10!

We tested 2 beamers and paid special attention to the range of functions and quality.

Whether for a series marathon, the big sports final or for the next business presentation: Beamers are used in several areas and prove to be practical helpers.

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