BenQ Joybee GP1 review

Price when reviewed

While the concept of pico-projectors is undoubtedly appealing, the reality has so far failed to excite us. The last we saw, though, Acer’s K10, took a step forward by upping the brightness to a respectable 100 ANSI lumens, and BenQ’s Joybee GP1 follows suit. So, that brightness is matched, along with the same 2,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and 858 x 600 native resolution, but the BenQ brings a few notable additions to the table.

BenQ Joybee GP1 review

First there’s the choice of ports. The GP1 has a USB input for easily displaying files directly from any storage device, along with a proprietary port with an adapter for VGA and composite connections. Switch the source to USB and you’ll see a separate menu, and the projector automatically detects compatible photo or video files the latter limited to MPEG1 and MJPEG, so it’s best to use the bundled conversion software.

Direct USB playback makes use of the 2W internal speaker, an improvement on most pico-projectors we’ve seen. True, it’s not quite a room filler, but for impromptu presentations it will do the job with a surprisingly full sound and volume on par with a large laptop. It’s worth bearing in mind, though, that for laptop connections you’ll need a 3.5mm-to-phono cable to get sound from the GP1. There’s a 3.5mm audio output for use with headphones or separate speakers.

The projector itself is a tad larger than previous pico models but not by much, and the black and white design is attractive. The blue-lit buttons on top don’t work entirely as hoped, giving the impression of a touch interface but requiring a deceptive prod to operate when needed. Then, when we went to adjust the focus dial, those same stubborn buttons decided instead to respond to the slightest brush, causing much frustration. The small and fiddly remote control isn’t much better.

But the image is what counts, and it’s not bad at all. In our tests we measured a 49in diagonal at 2m, which is smaller than some others we’ve tried, but the picture was reasonably clear in a dimly lit room. We lowered the lighting as much as possible and found a well-focused and sharp picture, and the auto-keystone worked well at whatever angle we placed the BenQ. Colours were understandably a bit muted next to proper projectors, but the GP1 certainly has the edge over any other pico-projector we’ve seen.

It’s not perfect, though. The large power brick detracts from portability somewhat, despite the bundled carry case. The focus dial is also a little small, making adjustments fiddly to get right. The price also looks high: at £357 it’s a little dearer than the Acer K10.

However, for the picture quality and the inclusion of that USB port and speaker we’re willing to pay the premium. The BenQ Joybee GP1 has its flaws but it’s the best pico-projector yet.


Image quality4

Basic specifications

Projector technologyDLP
Resolution858 x 600
Lumens brightness100 lumens
Keystone correction?yes
Speaker typeMono
Speaker power ouput2W


Dimensions136 x 120 x 54mm (WDH)


Max diagonal image size1.6m
Measured image size at 2m1.2m

Lamp & running costs

Lamp life, standard mode20,000hrs

Power & environment

Typical power consumption60W
Peak noise level28.0dB(A)

Video inputs/outputs

VGA inputs1
DVI inputs0
S-Video inputs0
Composite video inputs1
HDMI inputs0
VGA (D-SUB) outputs0

Data ports and connectors

Front panel memory card readerno
Other memory media supportN/A

Audio inputs/outputs

3.5mm audio input jacks0
3.5mm audio jacks1
RCA (phono) inputs0


Carry caseyes

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