BenQ is a name I respect in the display and projector industry. So when I got to spend some time with BenQ’s LED GS2 projector, I was expecting great things, and at the end of my time with it, it not only surprised me, but I also found myself recommending it to anyone needing a powerful and portable home projector.
It is the easiest time I had setting up and using a product. It features a sleek and sensible design with performance that honestly punches up from what you expect. It’s also a clear improvement from the previous model, the GS1, which was already well-received.
|Resolution||720p (1280 x 720 pixels)|
|Display Color||1.07 billion colors|
|Native Aspect Ratio||Native 16:9 (5 aspect ratio selectable)|
|Light Source||Osram Q8A LED|
|Light Source Life (Normal/Eco/SmartEco)||20,000/30,000 hrs (Normal/ Eco)|
|Speaker||2W x 2|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||139 x 144 x 139|
The GS2 comes in a medium-sized cardboard box fit under a sleeve with the features listed on the side. The box contains the projector bag, a quick start guide, warranty and the wireless dongle which comes fixed to the side of the box. The padded projector bag is made out of tan coloured canvas with brown accents matching the colour scheme of the projector. Inside the projector bag, the bottom compartment is split into two, one containing the projector and the other containing the adapter, power cable and the remote control.
All in all, the contents of the package include (accessories vary from region to region):
- GS2 Projector
- Power Cord
- Wireless Dongle (WDR02U)
- Remote Control (with one CR2032 battery)
- Projector Carry Bag
- Quick Start Guide
- Regulatory Statements
- Warranty Card
Design & Build
The design of the projector is the embodiment of “sensible”, it’s a no-excess design with every space used responsibly. Neither is there any outrageous fitting nor any extra garnishes made for the sake of “design”. It’s intuitive as well, I was able to figure out most of it without even taking out the quick start guide, an example of this is the hollow space above the bottom stand which hints you towards the notion that you can move it around, which you can. It’s adjustable for 15 degrees of vertical rotation.
The projector features a two-tone design with the front panel having a textured brown accent and the rest of the projector in a rubber-like textured tan. The front panel contains the projector lens, auto focus camera and the auto blank sensor in a black slot. The top of the projector has the usual amount of control buttons, an ambient light sensor and a three LED battery life indicator. On the side are the I/O ports containing a wireless dongle port, 3.5” audio output jack, HDMI 1.4a port, a factory reset button, USB-C port and a USB 2.0 port.
The wireless dongle port is quite peculiar as it’s placed deeper in relation to the other ports, and something else to point out is the difficulty to remove the wireless dongle once it has been put in. I tried to find out if I was doing something wrong but it just seems to be a design flaw. The back of the projector has the speaker and exhaust, and the attached stand has a tripod screw hole at the bottom.
The biggest letdown is the remote control, it feels a bit cheap as the buttons are really loud, it’s especially annoying when you’re trying to type something on onboard apps like YouTube or Netflix. BenQ might have skimped on the remote control thinking that most people would use the Smart Control app but it’s still disappointing.
Another thing I would like to point out (but is slightly nitpicky) is that it would have been great if the adapter and power cable came in tan or black instead of white since it clearly clashes with the projectors colour scheme.
The BenQ GS2’s features are impressively well made and well thought out. From automatic focus and brightness to an extensive onboard app market, the features are surely the GS2’s biggest selling point. I didn’t find myself having a hard time with any of them nor did I find any of them unnecessary, and that’s quite rare.
- Reflected Light Projection, which means that the indirect light projected onto the screen is safer than the direct blue light coming from a monitor.
- Auto Focus, which is easily my favourite feature. Not once in my time with the GS2 did I have to manually focus the projector, and it does it fast! this is in comparison to the projector I usually use which requires manual correction almost every time I use it.
- A parental timer which lets you manage your children’s projector usage time.
- LumiExpert Auto Brightness which like the Auto Focus worked brilliantly and rarely made me change the brightness in different settings.
- Eye-Protection Sensor, which automatically shuts down the light when children get near (See what I mean when I say well thought out).
- As mentioned before, an Adjustable Hinge which lets you adjust the projectors angle up to 15 degrees.
- Smart Control, which lets you control the GS2 through the smart control app available from Google Play or Apple App Store.
- Wireless cast & play which lets you mirror you pc, iOS or Android device with ease.
- The Apptoide TV app market which lets you download tools or media apps for more streaming services, such as YouTube, Netflix, etc.
- 0.5m Drop-proof & IPX2 Splash-proof
Projection & Audio
The display is another surprise under the GS2’s belt, with 720p resolution and 500 lumens brightness, the image is crystal clear, and with Auto Focus you rarely get a blurry image. The LED light source has 20,000/30,000 hours of life (which is around 2.8 years) and the projectors battery life lasts for over 3 hours in my experience, but does slightly degrade the image quality to achieve it. The colours are amazing as well, even under fluorescent lights.
The GS2’s OS is unexpectedly quite good, everything is arranged to perfection and you start to wonder why others don’t do the same. It’s better than most premium Smart TV’s and like the projector itself, is very intuitive. The minimalistic interface is arranged in rows: first the BenQ startup panel, then the source menu, the app shortcuts and finally the settings menu. No flicking between countless boring screens and no searching online to find that certain setting that you want to change.
The audio comes from a small but powerful 4W Bluetooth speaker behind the projector. It does the job well and is more than enough for indoor settings but I would recommend either using your headphones or using the Bluetooth functionality to pair another speaker for the best experience.
The GS2 has both Wi-Fi (for onboard apps) and Bluetooth capabilities, and setting up both was simple and efficient. Screencasting was fairly straightforward as well with the GS2 working well with the google home app (for Android), but I do have to mention that the casted image’s resolution was quite low but I’ll give BenQ the benefit of the doubt and blame my internet for that issue. The GS2 can also be used as a Bluetooth speaker or you can connect to external Bluetooth speakers/headphones.
BenQ’s GS2 portable projector is a joy to use and has everything you would need from a wireless outdoor projector. A 500 lumens 720p LED projector that packs a powerful punch in terms of features, design and performance is something hard to not consider.
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