After the successful introduction in 2022 of its flagship X3000i gaming projector, BenQ is set to launch three new X Series models this fall with an update to that model and two more to accommodate different gaming environments.
Like the X3000i, the X3100i and its new siblings, the X500i and X300G, will feature BenQ's 4LED light engine technology, which eliminates the need for ongoing lamp replacements and has a rated life of 20,000 hours or 30,000 hours in ECO mode. And like the X3000i, the projectors will feature a variety of fresh innovations, the result of BenQ's ongoing dialogue with the gaming community borne originally from its work on gaming monitors. All three models are 4K DLP projectors with HDR, using the Texas Instruments 0.65-inch micromirror array.
The new top of the line will be the X3100i. Similar in cosmetics to its predecessor, it's got a modern cube design that can either be rested on a surface or invertered for a ceiling mount. Spec'd at 3,300 ANSI lumens brightness and 500,000:1 contrast ratio, it adds 300 lumens vs. the X3000i while maintaining that projector's ability to achieve full 100% DCI-P3 coverage with its wide color gamut settings activated. Also added is vertical lens shift capability to further ease installation; it accompanies a 1.3X manual zoom with a 1.15-1.5:1 throw ratio and 2D keystone correction if it's needed.
Currently, BenQ and all of its competitors remain in waiting mode for a new generation TI chip that will make 4K/120Hz playback from the current Xbox and PlayStation consoles viable for single-chip DLP projectors like these. But BenQ has given the new X Series models broad options for gaming at different input resolutions and frame rates, all with low latency: 4K/60 Hz at 16.67ms input lag; 1440p/120 Hz at 8.3ms (with output downconverted to 1080p for display), 1080p/60 Hz at 16.7ms, 1080p/120 Hz with 8.7ms, and 1080p/240 Hz at 4.2ms.
Like the X3000i and 1080p X1300i that preceded it, BenQ has carried over its Game Modes feature, which provides specific tunings to the image and on-board audio based on your current game type. Three options introduced in those earlier models include RPG (role-playing games), FPS (first-person shooter), and SPG (sports games), which are offered for all three new models. Exclusive to the X3100i is a new RCG mode for racing games, providing vivid color and enhanced engine-sound detail.
Additionally, BenQ is touting its Details Adjustment, which helps pull up shadow detail in dark FPS or RPG game scenes, and a new "Crosshair" option that superimposes a target crosshair on the center of the image for use with FPS games. The projectors also automatically recognize which of your consoles have been selected for use based on their HDMI EDID information and will adjust the image accordingly. On that front, BenQ has made these models compliant with their new SettingXchange web service, where users will be able to download color settings from the internet created by BenQ's color experts and eventually, by other users who have uploaded their projector's profile for sharing.
Audio on the X3100i is provided by a similar system to the X3000i, with a pair of 5-watt treVolo audio speakers (accompanied here by Bongiovi sound processing). Additionally, this and the other new projectors feature eARC on one of their HDMI ports for feeding up to 7.1-channel lossless audio to an outboard audio system, as well as 3.5 mm stereo analog outputs; the top two models X3100i and X500i also offer Toslink digital audio outputs.
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As with earlier streaming projectors, BenQ supplies an HDMI dongle for Android's Google TV platform that gets hidden in a covered compartment in each of the new models. However, the latest update to the company's QS02 Android dongle offers a significant upgrade from the older QS01 streamer in offering a fully certified Netflix app, a capability that is usually missing from Android projectors and forces many users to rely on their game console or another streaming device for viewing this popular service. Beyond Netflix, the Google Play store offers downloadable apps for virtually every other major web service a user could want.
While the X3100i, with its medium-to-long throw lens, is targeted for what BenQ calls the "High-End Game Room," the x500i, with its more conventional projector housing and 0.69-0.83:1 short throw lens, will deliver a 100-inch image from about 5 feet and is meant for converting small rooms into a gaming zone. It's rated for 2,200 ANSI lumens with a 500,000:1 native contrast, and is spec'd to achieve up to 84% DCI-P3 and 95% Rec.709 color gamut. It features a 1.2X zoom and 2D keystone correction, but no lens shift. The projector also boasts a pair of 5-watt treVolo speakers with Waves MAXXAudio processing, and both the Game Modes and new Netflix-friendly streaming dongle as described above.
The X300G, for it's part, looks like a shrunk-down version of the X3100i—a small white cube approximately 7 to 8 inches all around, with a black face with a lens peering out from it. At 6.6 pounds, it's light enough to be carried around or placed easily on a stand or surface in a bedroom. Its short-throw lens is spec'd the same as the X500i, though it's motorized zoom helps facilitate quick setups with ease. A single 8 watt treVolo speaker with a pair of passive radiators provides the on-board sound.
The BenQ X3100i and X500i are scheduled for preorders at BenQ.com on November 3rd, at the prices of $2,399 and $1,699 respectively, and for purchase in December at Amazon, BestBuy, Adorama, B&H, and ProjectorPeople. The BenQ X300G is slated for January 2024 preorders at BenQ.com, at a price of $1,799.