The BenQ HT6050 is a DLP projector with excellent out of the box color and good installation flexibility for a DLP at an attractive price point. Sharpness isn’t as good as other DLP projectors, and the calibration menus can be hard to use – but for the right installation, the HT6050 is an exciting and approachable option.
Set-Up of the HT6050
|Inputs:||2x HDMI, 1x Composite, 1x Component, 1x DSub15, 1x RS232|
|Projector Size:||6.5" x 16.9" x 12.6"|
|Projector Weight:||19.4 lbs.|
|Review Date:||March 8, 2017|
Using an online calculator, I determined that in my room (13’ deep, 92” screen), that the standard lens would be appropriate. While installation of the lenses isn’t inherently hard, I found it a tad nerve-racking. Instructions aren’t readily available – odd as this is a key step for functionality – and once located aren’t very descriptive. I found myself very concerned about causing some sort of damage by executing the installation incorrectly. I was successful – but a video on YouTube or the BenQ website might give users a little more comfort. Should you be working with a local dealer, it is likely this’ll be handled by folks with experience and not a concern.
Focus and lens shift are all manual with lens shift controls hidden under a door on the top. In practice, the controls are more limited than in my daily projector, a JVC RS-25. Adjustments to my screen and projection mount let me accommodate the HT6050, but DLP remains less flexible than some other projectors.
Inputs are standard – dual HDMI ports are included – one that is MHL capable for providing power. The HDMI inputs are 1.4a vs 2.0a, but given the native resolution you won’t need to feed this projector UltraHD content. There are a handful of other inputs, but I only made use of HDMI. The remote is well laid out, uncrowded, and is backlit.
There are three lamp modes on the HT6050: normal, eco and SmartEco – which adapts brightness of the lamp based on content. I predominantly used Eco in my testing, which produced more than enough light in on my 92” screen. One note: the HT6050 uses an RGBRGB color wheel, which is an upgrade over the RGBCMY color wheel implemented in cheaper DLP projectors. While the RGBRGB wheel yields fewer lumens, it is capable of reproducing a more accurate Rec-709 color gamut. We’ll be able to measure color gamut volume more accurately soon with a forthcoming update from CalMAN.
Fantastic Out of the Box Performance
There are a host of different picture modes on the HT6050, but it is easy to see flipping through them that “THX” is the most accurate. Even before I pull out my test gear, on initial viewing I can tell the colors in THX on the HT6050 are as close to accurate out of the box as I have seen. If all you do correct brightness and contrast on the HT6050 you will have a great image. That said, a bit of work can get you an even better image out of the HT6050 (see Calibration Details).
I have been eager to catch up with last years Star Trek Beyond. Though I wasn’t enamored with this installment when compared to the first two in the trilogy, the Blu-ray is without question reference material. I am really happy with the way that the HT6050 did with Beyond. Scenes on the forest planet of Altamid are rendered well – foliage color is accurate and natural looking and the picture has very good depth & pop. Darker interior scenes are more challenging for the HT6050 – the blacks just are not on par with what you can achieve with with an LCOS projector and this has an impact as action shifts to the interior of the planet. During space battles at the end of the movie, I miss the inky blacks I am use to, which here are more grey than black. In my hands, the automatic iris didn’t work all that well. It is slow to act and can be seen pulsing well after a light scene is transitions to a darker one. SmartEco mode does produce deeper blacks, and the change was far less noticeable than with the iris, but blacks still do not approach what is achievable with other technologies.
While Star Trek is a tough test for the HT6050 with its abundance of dark interior scenes and space battles – when a movie that had less of that type material, the HT6050 shined. I absolutely loved last year’s “spiritual” sequel to Dazed and Confused from Richard Linklater: Everybody Wants Some!!. This movie, set at a small college in rural Texas, follows the pre-term exploits of baseball team as they get to know each other, and party, before classes start. The palate of the movie is soft and trends warm – and you can absolutely feel the heat in the air as we make our way through these few days. The HT6050 looks fantastic here, rendering the Texas days very well.
Unsurprisingly, sports looked good on the HT6050. DLP projectors have always handled motion well, and unlike my RS-25, don’t suffer from smearing or other motion related artifacts. Watching this year’s ACC Football championship game, I was really happy with the abilities of the HT6050. In normal mode, there is ample output to turn the lights up (though if you like watching in a truly bright room, check out our review of the Epson 1440). If you are a sports fan, this is definitely a unit that produces excellent results.
Was there anything I was disappointed with on the HT6050? A few things are worth mentioning:
First, the lens that came with our review sample had a flaw. It was missing the characteristic sharpness of a single chip DLP projector. BenQ sent a second sample, with a different lens, to our editor and his sample did not have the flaw. BenQ confirmed to us that a projector lens that exhibited this issue would be replaced quickly under warranty. Since you can swap out the lens, it would be much easier to do this process than to swap the whole unit as well.
Secondly, as mentioned above black here are still lacking when compared to even my 6-year-old JVC RS25. My wife commented during our watching of The Jungle Book that simply our projector looked better. What I believe she was grabbing on to was that the JVC RS-25 still far exceeds even what a current DLP model is able to produce.
Lastly, if you are particularly susceptible to rainbows, they are definitely visible with the HT6050 in scenes you’d expect them to be like bright objects against a dark background. I didn’t find myself getting fatigued from watching the HT6050, but if you are particularly bothered by the occasional rainbow, you might want to consider a projector based on another technology.
Bench Test Data
Out of the box, in THX mode, the colors look and measure well , and between Eco and Normal modes, there is ample light output for many applications. Contrast and Brightness both can be improved with a calibration disc. Calibration features in the HT6050 are good and can yield meaningful improvements. White balance, gamma and color can all be improved vs what we see out of the box – though this isn’t critical with the HT6050 given how good it looks out of the box.
Conclusions about the BenQ HT6050
I enjoyed my time with the BenQ HT6050. Very good out of the box color, excellent motion reproduction, and installation flexibility make this a very competitive option in the sub-$4000 category. Sharpness isn’t as good as we’ve seen in other DLP units and blacks still can’t approach what we seen in LCOS projectors. We think the HT6050 would be a solid choice for anyone with a larger screen, loves sports, or doesn’t want to fiddle to get a great image. Those with a more reasonable screen size, or who’s viewing tends towards movies, may want to take a closer look at the JVC DLA-X570R, which is similarly priced to the JVC DLA-X550R.
|Pros:||Very good out of the box performance, installation flexibility from both interchangeable lenses and lens shift, ample brightness, great motion.|
|Cons:||Mediocre blacks, annoying calibration menus|
|Summary:||Great out of the box performance coupled with tons of installation flexibility, make the HT6050 a great option for the right set-up.|
All calibrations are done using CalMAN software from SpectraCal. An Accupel DVG-5000 Video Test Pattern Generator is used for test patterns. Measurements are done using an i1Pro2 and a i1Display Pro. On projectors, we measure directly from the lens while with TVs we measure off the screen. We target the Rec.709 colorspace and BT.1886 gamma unless otherwise noted.
The best preset mode for the BenQ HT6050 is the THX mode. We did our measurements using “Eco” mode for the bulb, as it provides plenty of light for most applications. Colors and grayscale are accurate pre-calibration but gamma is high.
In Eco mode I measure ~900 lumens with a full white field. With a 1.0 gain 78” screen this translates to ~50 fL. Using “Normal” lamp power, this increases to ~1100 lumens, or ~63fL.
Controls on the HT 6050 are useful at dialing the unit in even further. Two point grayscale controls are effective at getting white balance to very close to perfect. Out of the box, gamma is high, but two clicks down to 2.3 get you much closer – there is no multi-point grayscale on this unit. The HT6050 has a well-functioning CMS, with individual controls controls for all primary and secondary colors. One annoyance worth noting: it isn’t possible to get the menu to leave the screen when calibrating color or grayscale. You can move the menu, but can’t get it to fully leave the screen while adjusting which is annoying during calibration.
|Average Grayscale dE2000:||1.58||1.45|
|Average Saturations dE2000:||1.51||1.33|
|Average Color Checker dE2000:||1.81||1.02|
|Summary:||The pre-calibrated THX mode is very accurate and there is very little reason to calibrate it aside from correcting for your screen.|