Solid video in a unique design

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Projectors have improved in leaps and bounds over the past decade. There was a time when owning a decent projector meant having a massive box that was heavy and always had to be plugged in. But portable projectors are getting more and more popular, and these days they’re not that great. BenQ recently unveiled a duo of portable projectors, including the new BenQ GV30, which offers a unique design and aims to deliver decent sound.

But what is the actual performance of the BenQ GV30? As a portable device, it has an uphill battle ahead of it. Add to that the fact that BenQ offers a high-quality audio experience and smart software, and there’s a lot to consider. The BenQ GV30 costs $ 599, which isn’t cheap.

We tested the BenQ GV30 to find out how well it performs.

BenQ GV30 portable projector Price:$ 599.00 Buy now Available on Amazon, BGR may receive a commission

BenQ GV30 projector design

BenQ took a unique approach with the design of the GV30, and the product is much better for that. Gone are the boring black box looks in favor of a trendy, easy-to-use design that I really like.

BenQ GV30 Side
BenQ GV30 side image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The projector itself is constructed of white plastic, with a circular shape, and a square tip for the projector lens and controls on the top. The main projector is 7.7 inches high, 7.3 inches deep and 4.7 inches wide. This makes it a bit smaller than many other projectors as a whole. It’s definitely bigger than a lot of others, but that’s just the way it’s built – on the other hand, it’s a lot smaller. The device also weighs only 3.53 pounds, which is quite light.

The projector also comes with a small stand, which attaches magnetically to the bottom of the projector. This is a pretty smart design, as it means that the angle of the projector can be tilted depending on your setup. Considering the fact that the GV30 is designed to be portable, this can really come in handy.

On the top of the projector are four physical buttons for controlling the projector. There is a power button, two volume buttons, and a Bluetooth pairing button.

Before BenQ GV30
BenQ GV30 front image source: Christian from Looper for BGR

On the right of the projector are a few ports. There is an HDMI port, a USB-C port, and a headphone jack, as well as the power input. It’s not a huge selection of ports, but considering it’s designed to be wireless, that shouldn’t be a big deal.

The projector comes with an Android TV dongle, the QS01, instead of just having Android TV built in. Fortunately, the dongle doesn’t need to protrude out the side and occupy the only HDMI port – there’s a second HDMI port covered by the side panel. BenQ told me that this approach is to make firmware updates easier.

BenQ GV30 Rempte
BenQ GV30 Rempte Image Source: Christian from Looper for BGR

There’s the remote to consider as well, and it’s generally pretty easy to navigate. It offers all the basic software controls, a button for Google Assistant and an Amazon Prime Video quick access button.

BenQ GV30 Features and Software

The BenQ GV30 is designed for a modern experience, which means it is packed with wireless features and software.

As mentioned, the projector has Android TV (assuming the dongle is installed), and here it works fine. Android TV in general is a heavy operating system, and it shows here. In everyday use this shouldn’t be a big deal, but we certainly encountered some jumps and brief blockages every now and then. This seemed to be especially true when trying to use Google Assistant, which often took a second or two to get ready to talk.

When you are connected to the Internet, Android TV allows you to stream content from your favorite app or service. That said, you may need to go through steps to access some apps. For example, Netflix isn’t natively supported on the device, so you’ll have to download a bunch of third-party apps and app stores to get it. It’s a little frustrating. It seems to be Netflix’s fault – not BenQ’s – but it’s still something to consider.

BenQ GV30 controls
BenQ GV30 controls Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

You do not have rely on Android TV. Along with the built-in HDMI port and USB-C display port, you can also wirelessly stream to the projector via Google Cast (although that’s still a feature of Android TV). Alternatively, the projector can create its own Wi-Fi network, which your phone can connect to, and stream directly to the projector from media stored on your device. In other words, the projector is quite versatile in its connectivity.

The projector can connect to the BenQ Smart Control app on your phone, but it’s a pretty limited app and doesn’t do much. It is basically a remote control app and does not allow you to access advanced features like streaming.

BenQ GV30 Projector Performance and Battery

As an inexpensive portable projector, it’s not for those who want a high-end home theater experience. It offers a resolution of 720p, with a resolution of 300 ANSI lumens and a projection angle of up to 135 degrees.

I found it relatively easy to look beyond the lower resolution. The projector is capable of projecting an image up to 100 inches, but you will get the best image quality at around 80 inches. It’s large enough to notice that you’re definitely looking at a lower resolution image. But the compromise makes sense to me. After a few minutes of viewing, you will get used to the resolution and be happy that the projector has enough battery life to watch a movie.

BenQ GV30 ports
BenQ GV30 ports Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The device is definitely designed to project in dark environments. 300 ANSI lumens are not very bright, and with any ambient light you will be hard pressed to see a clear image. BenQ incorporates a “day mode” in the projector to increase contrast, and that helps. But I would still recommend buying the projector if you plan to use it at night.

In the right environment, this projector is not bad. Again, it’s not the pinnacle of viewing – but considering it’s portable and designed for smaller settings, it gets the job done.

The projector’s battery life leaves a little to be desired. You’ll get up to 2.5 hours on a charge, but BenQ says most will take between 1.5 and 2 hours. This strength sufficient to watch a movie, but a longer battery life would have been welcome.

Sound from BenQ GV30 projector

BenQ is quick to highlight the GV30’s speakers. The projector offers a 2.1-channel speaker system (two tweeters, one woofer), and while you don’t necessarily get a stereo broadcast or an immersive experience, at least the projector is capable of delivering a relatively well tuned experience. Not only that, but if you want, you can use the device as a standalone bluetooth speaker, which is a nice touch.

Anker Nebula Mars II Pro Price:$ 549.99 Buy now Available on Amazon, BGR may receive a commission

The speakers built into the projector are quite solid. They are certainly better quality than most built-in speakers and can be loud enough for most small format sessions.

The bass response offered by the projector is decent, but a little more bass extension would have been nice. It’s really not bad, and again, better than the vast majority of options available. But this is not a Sonos speaker.

The mids are fairly well regulated, with a little boom in the low mids and slightly relaxed high mids. And, the highs are a lot like the bass – decent sound, with good clarity, but not a ton of high-end extension.

Conclusion

The BenQ GV30 really is the perfect portable projector for those who want to take a projector camping, use it outdoors for summer movie nights, or something similar. It’s not super bright, and therefore, it’s really only for dark environments. But, if you’re willing to spend $ 599 on a projector and want something compact and portable, the GV30 is a great option.

The competition

Perhaps the main competition comes from the Anker Nebula Mars II Pro. It gets brighter and doubles as a bluetooth speaker, besides having longer battery life. The software built into the projector is based on Android, but it is not Android TV like the GV30. Also, the GV30 offers a much more interesting design. If design doesn’t matter to you, the Nebula Mars II Pro may be a better option.

Should I buy the BenQ GV30 projector?

Yes, but you should also consider the Anker Nebula Mars II Pro, which gets brighter and offers a lot of similar features.

BenQ GV30 portable projector Price:$ 599.00 Buy now Available on Amazon, BGR may receive a commission


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