BenQ MP721c review

Price when reviewed

The BenQ MP721c is a generation ahead of most of the competition, not least because of its dark blue housing. While many of the manufacturers in this month’s test are still offering last year’s formula, BenQ’s latest projector shows what today’s technology can achieve.

BenQ MP721c review

The MP721c raises the stakes straight away by offering not just VGA connectivity, but also DVI, component video and even Wi-Fi through a plug-in module (sold separately for around £140). Very low noise levels and a shutdown time of just 33 seconds further set this projector apart from the crowd. The lamp life of 3,000 hours is notable too and, if you do manage to wear your bulb out, replacements are among the most economical here in terms of cost per hour.

In our image-quality tests, the MP721c gave a virtuoso performance, producing ultra-sharp text and graphics with excellent differentiation between shades. Colours were slightly flat compared to the LCD projectors, but our PowerPoint slides with photos looked pleasing with the default settings, and setting the projector to sRGB mode produced a strikingly warm and well-balanced image. Keystone correction left text looking a little smudged, but not jagged or fuzzy. When we used VGA input for our tests, we noticed that areas of solid grey sometimes seemed to strobe, but switching to DVI fixed that instantly.

The BenQ still has scope for improvement: at 2.7kg, it’s one of the heavier devices here, and its throw ratio is nothing to get excited about. The remote control, although well featured, is a credit card design, which is far from pleasant to use, and the Galaxian-inspired sound effects that greet you when you turn on the projector will, we predict, quickly be disabled.

BenQ’s main competitor this month is the Acer XD1280D, which also offers DVI input and exceptional image quality, and even surpasses the BenQ with a brighter lamp and a better contrast ratio. In the final analysis, however, the Acer’s overall score for image quality didn’t quite measure up to the BenQ’s, even before taking its occasional rainbow effect into account.

The MP721c wins in every area of our tests. Like all this month’s projectors, it lacks a few luxuries such as horizontal keystone correction, and its audio quality is merely adequate. Considering its price, however, it’s simply an unbeatable deal, especially when you take into account BenQ’s exceptional warranty, which covers not only the main unit but also the lamp for the entire three years.

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