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BenQ Gets High Marks For High-Def

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As everything in the audio/visual world starts to gravitate toward high definition, manufacturers are scrambling to make their mark. With its new MP730 projector, BenQ is entering the fray with a worthy competitor.

At 2,200 lumens, the BenQ MP730 is not the brightest rated projector to come through our lab, but in actual usage it rivals some of the brighter ones we've seen. Part of this is due to BenQ's utilization of Texas Instruments' Digital Light Processing (DLP) BrilliantColor technology. When reviewers first turned on the projector, it was distinctly noticeable that the blacks were very dark, making the vibrant colors stand out even more intensely. This has been the case with other BenQ projectors we've reviewed.

The sleek black10.8 x 5.1 x 12-inch case has a clean look and, at 7.7 pounds, is lighter than some of the portable projectors on the market. Above the lens, which has a smoke-tinted sliding cover, are recessed zoom and focus controls. This placement keeps them out of the way and prevents them from being accidentally readjusted.

When tested against 17 calibration patterns in the DisplayMate suite, the BenQ MP730 passed all of them straight out of the box. Video input connections include Analog RGB, Component and Composite Video, S-Video, and HDMI, while a stereo mini-jack enables audio input to the internal 2-watt speaker. There is also a 12-volt trigger for use with automatic screens.

Even though the BenQ MP730 is nearly as bright as projectors with more lumens, the lower rating helps keep down power consumption. During tests, our evaluation unit drew 251 watts when in use and 3 watts when off. Audible sound was well below the threshold of our meter, specified at 32 dB.

The well-designed case keeps heat to a minimum, too. Downward-angled vents on the side of the device direct the hot air away from those that may be sitting in its line of fire. In addition, most of the air is directed to the front of the projector through vents next to the lens. After more than an hour of use, we measured a maximum temperature of 81 degrees Fahrenheit on approximately 75 percent of the case. The small panel just above the lamp module reached 108 degrees, and the front vents climbed to 116 degrees.

Although a screwdriver is needed, the control panel is removable for security purposes. The lamp module is also removable by unscrewing just two screws and lifting straight up on a little handle. This makes it very simple to replace when the time comes--after approximately 3,000 hours of use in standard mode.

The BenQ MP730 has a beautiful, vivid output that stayed sharp whether we were displaying an online document, animated presentation or high-definition video game. With an MSRP of $1,199, it is well worth consideration.


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