BenQ V6050 UST 4K Laser Projector Review

Slide open the sunroof!

SRP: £3,999.00

What is the BenQ V6050?

The BenQ V6050 is an ultra-short-throw DLP projector that uses a laser light source and supports 4K and HDR. It joins a growing range of UST beamers that are often marketed as 'Laser TV Projectors', and designed to offer a more affordable big-screen alternative to flat panels.

BenQ aren't the only manufacturer offering this type of product, with Samsung, LG, Optoma and VAVA all joining this burgeoning market. All these projectors tend to follow the same basic approach: ultra-short-throw lens, laser light source, and DLP chipset with support for 4K and HDR10.

In order to compete with regular TVs, there's also a built-in sound system developed by treVolo. Unlike much of the competition, the BenQ doesn't have a built-in smart system, but there is a cool-looking automatic sliding sunroof that protects the lens and laser-light assembly.

The V6050 comes in black and retails for £3,999 as at the time of writing (May 2021). BenQ also offers the V6000, which costs the same and has exactly the same features, but is finished in white. So let's trip the laser-light fantastic, and see how the V6050 measures up against the competition.

Design, Connections and Control

The BenQ V6050 uses a simple box design, with angular covers reminiscent of LG's UST beamer, rather than the curvaceous cabinets found on models from VAVA and Samsung. The finish is actually dark grey rather than black, with a brushed metal effect on top, air vents at the sides, and a fabric grille at the front, behind which is the two-channel sound system. The overall build quality is excellent, with the projector measuring 500 x 157 x 388mm, and weighing in at 10kg.

BenQ V6050
BenQ V6050

The V6050 has a sliding sunroof that automatically opens when you turn the projector on, and closes when you turn it off. This feature isn't just there to impress your friends, it also prevents dust build-up, and protects the lens assembly from animals or small children. When in use there's a motion sensor that detects if anything is hovering over the projector, and instantly turns off the light source – thus further protecting the eyes of those same wayward pets and kids.

BenQ V6050
BenQ V6050 connections

The connections are located at the wall-facing rear of the projector, and consist of two HDMI 2.0b inputs, with one supporting ARC (audio return channel). The V6050 accepts a native 4K signal (3840 x 2160 pixels) at up to 60Hz, and supports HDCP 2.2, 3D, high dynamic range (HDR10 and Hybrid Log-Gamma) and wide colour gamut. There's also a USB 3.0 port, a pair of USB 2.0 ports, an optical digital output, and RS232 for serial control.

BenQ V6050
BenQ V6050 remote control

The included remote control retains the same aesthetic as the projector itself, with a two-tone black and dark grey finish. The remote is comfortable to hold, sensibly laid out, and easy to use with one hand. It also has a backlight, which is always welcome on a projector controller. There's a central set of navigation buttons, all the keys you'll need to setup the projector and quickly access the menus, plus useful day-to-day controls like the volume.

Features and Specs

The BenQ V6050 isn't native 4K, but uses a DLP chip with XPR technology to create an image that is perceived to have a resolution of 3840 x 2160. This illusion is highly effective, and is only really revealed when looking at Ultra HD test patterns. The projector can accept a 4K Ultra HD signal, and supports high dynamic range in the form of HDR10 and HLG.

The V6050 uses a laser plus phosphor light source, with a claimed brightness of 3,000 lumens and a claimed contrast ratio of 3,000,000:1. The projector supports wider colour gamuts, but uses a four-segment colour wheel, which means you may experience the colour-fringing and rainbow artefacts that often plague single-chip DLP projectors.

BenQ V6050
BenQ V6050 spacers

The laser light source doesn't just benefit from increased brightness, it also has a claimed lifespan of 20,000-hours compared to less than 3,000 hours for a bulb. It also turns on and off quickly, as opposed to the long start-up and cool-down periods associated with lamp-based projectors. There are fans to dissipate the heat produced by the laser, and the BenQ is relatively quiet at 32dB in the Economic mode.

 

This ultra-short-throw DLP projector uses a laser light source, has a built-in speakers, and supports 4K and HDR

The built-in treVolo sound system is based on a pair of high quality speakers, each with 10W of amplification, plus there are Standard, Cinema, Music, Game, Sport, and User modes. While not as powerful as some of the competition, the sound quality is fairly good, whether watching TV shows and movies, or listening to music. This helps the BenQ fulfil its role as a big-screen alternative to a TV, but for a really immersive experience you might want to invest in a better audio solution.

BenQ V6050
BenQ V6050 lens covered
BenQ V6050
BenQ V6050 lens open

In terms of other features, the V6050 includes 4K Motion Enhancer using frame interpolation, which is best avoided with movies, but can be a benefit when watching sports on the big screen. There's also 4K Pixel Enhancer to get more out of lower resolution content. There are no built-in tuners, so you'll need a PVR like the Manhattan T3-R if you want to fully replace your TV, but at least the support for HLG means you can enjoy the benefits of broadcast HDR. There's also no built-in smart system, but that's easily and cheaply addressed these days, thanks to Roku, Amazon Fire, Google Chrome and Apple.

The menu system is intuitively laid out, easy to understand and responsive to navigate. There are submenus for Picture, Display, Installation, System Setup (Basic and Advanced), and Information. The various choices in these sub-menus are fairly self-explanatory, but it's worth pointing out that in the Display sub-menu is an option called Silence. This turns off the XPR tech, which makes the projector quieter but also means you're now watching a Full HD image rather than pseudo 4K.

BenQ V6050
BenQ V6050 menus

Setup is straightforward, thanks to a helpful wizard, and all you need to do is place the projector next to the wall and move it backwards and forwards to change the image size. BenQ helpfully includes an integrated screen size measuring tool, which is essentially a pair of rulers you pull out of the projector to accurately measure the distance from the wall, and ensure the chassis is parallel. The V6050 can produce an image that ranges from 70 to 120 inches diagonally using a throw ratio of 0.252:1.

 

There's a handy setup wizard and an integrated screen size measuring tool for quick and easy installation 

You move the projector left or right to centre the image, and there are adjustable feet to level it. There's a test pattern to help you setup the image, and while focus is automatic, in the Installation sub-menu is a motorised focus control for fine tuning. You can choose between different projector positions, and there's a keystone correction control, which is best avoided because the processing and scaling robs the image of fine detail.

While you can project onto a white wall, for the best results we'd recommend using a dedicated screen. The V6050 is very bright, but in a living room with plenty of windows and white walls, you should consider an ALR (ambient light rejecting) screen. BenQ actually sells an optional 100-inch ALR screen that can be bundled with the projector for a package price. The screen uses a special zigzag structure that it is claimed absorbs 93% of ambient light, resulting in improved colour and contrast performance.

Measurements

SDR Out of the Box

The BenQ V6050 has a Picture sub-menu, where you can choose from five pictures modes: Bright, Living Room, Cinema (Rec.709), DCI-P3, and User. There's also a standard set of calibration controls with Brightness, Contrast, Colour, Tint, and Sharpness. Under the Advanced section you'll find Gamma Selection, Colour Temperature, Colour Management, Cinema Master (Colour Enhancer, Flesh Tone, 4K Pixel Enhancer, and 4K Motion Enhancer), Noise Reduction, Brilliant Colour, Wide Colour Gamut, LumiExpert, and Light Mode. The best starting point for an accurate SDR image is the Cinema picture mode, with the Colour Temperature set to Warm, the light mode set to Economic, and the LumiExpert turned off - so it doesn't automatically adjust the gamma based on ambient light.

BenQ V6050
SDR out-of-the-box greyscale measurements
BenQ V6050
SDR out-of-the-box gamut tracking measurements

As you can see in the graph above left, the greyscale is fairly accurate and the overall errors (deltaEs) are at or below the visible threshold of three. There is a minimal deficit in red energy in the greyscale, which gives whites a slight push towards cyan but, overall, this is very good. The gamma is also tracking our target of 2.4 fairly closely, aside from a slight hump around 80 and 90 IRE.

 

The out-of-the-box SDR performance is generally very good, with an accurate greyscale, gamma and colour gamut

The colour performance is also reasonably accurate, and is good for a DLP projector using a colour wheel, which can often struggle to cover the whole of the Rec.709 colour gamut. No such problems here, with the projector handling all three primary colours and the three secondary colours very well. The tracking is also quite good, aside from some minor saturation and hue errors, and overall this is a decent out-of-the-box effort.

SDR Calibrated

The calibration controls offer a degree of flexibility, but given the starting point and the inherent limitations of a colour wheel, there isn't much to do. The two-point white balance control allows for some fine tuning of the greyscale, and there's a colour management system (CMS) that allows you to adjust the hue, saturation and gain (luminance) of the primary and secondary colours.

BenQ V6050
SDR calibrated greyscale measurements
BenQ V6050
SDR calibrated gamut tracking measurements

The white balance control resulted in a slightly more accurate greyscale, and the gamma was also improved, aside from a slight dip at 90 IRE. Given the fact you only have two points to adjust, you'll struggle to get a ruler flat greyscale, but all the errors are below three, most are below two, and some are even below one, so there aren't any visible errors.

 

The various calibration controls allow for limited fine tuning of the already reasonably accurate SDR picture

The colour gamut immediately benefits from the minor improvements in the greyscale, but given the measurements were already fairly accurate, there is little room for improvement. The V6050 covers Rec.709 with ease, and the overall tracking and luminance (not shown on the graph above right) are good, so the CMS is only able to tweak the projector's calibrated SDR performance.

HDR Results

As long as the HDR option in the Display sub-menu is set to Auto, the V6050 will switch into HDR automatically when it detects the appropriate signal. As a result, there's no need to select a specific picture mode, with the projector using the PQ curve (ST.2084), and applying the necessary tone mapping for HDR content. In Auto mode the projector had no issues detecting or handling HDR10.

There are limited HDR-related controls, but if you want to cover more of the DCI-P3 colour space turn Wide Colour Gamut on. This engages the colour filter, reducing the overall brightness but allowing you to enjoy more nuanced colours. This control shouldn't be used with SDR content, unless you're watching 4K content that uses DCI-P3 but not the HDR PQ curve. The only other control is HDR Brightness, which can adjust the tone mapping if the image appears too dark.

BenQ V6050
HDR peak luminance
BenQ V6050
HDR DCI-P3 coverage

The laser light source is pretty bright, even in the lower Economic mode, and is capable of hitting a range of levels depending how the projector is set-up. The Normal light mode is the brightest, and without the wide colour gamut filter it can hit over 300 nits, while the Economic mode can deliver over 200 nits. If you engage the filter these drop down to around 220 and 150 nits respectively.

 

The laser light source generates 220 nits, even with the dimming effects of the colour filter that covers 96% of DCI-P3

The best choice in terms of brightness and colour gamut is Normal plus the colour filter, where you'll get around 200 nits of peak brightness and 96% of DCI-P3 – although the Normal setting does result in more fan noise. If you don't engage the colour filter, the DCI-P3 coverage drops to about 79%.

There is a third light mode, called SmartEco – this automatically adjusts the laser light source depending on the content brightness levels. While it generates about the same level of noise as the Normal mode, it delivers slightly darker blacks than the other two modes, and similar peak highlights to the Normal mode, making it quite effective at delivering better perceived contrast ratios.

BenQ V6050
HDR greyscale measurements
BenQ V6050
HDR DCI-P3 tracking

The colour gamut coverage is excellent for a DLP projector, and the greyscale is fairly accurate until it starts to roll-off. The tone mapping is also pretty good, tracking the PQ EOTF within the limitations of the projector. The V6050 handled 1,000 nits content very well, but suffered from clipping at 4,000 and 10,000 nits, although this is only really noticeable with specific test content. The colour tracking could also be better, but that's not unusual with DLP projectors that use a colour wheel. Overall, the HDR performance is very good given the inherent brightness limitations of any projector.

Performance

The BenQ V6050 performed extremely well overall, and the only areas where it struggled were related to the inherent limitations of DLP projector technology. First the positives: the single chip nature of DLP ensures a sharp and detailed image, even though the projector isn't technically native 4K. The ultra-short-throw optics are also very good, ensuring the geometry and uniformity are excellent.

The motion handling is also impressive, with smooth images that are free of judder, smearing or blurring. This is a strong point of DLP projector technology, and you really don't need to engage the motion enhancer, even with fast-paced sports action. As mentioned previously, the laser light source is not only consistent, with long-life and fast on/off, but also bright enough to handle even challenging living rooms.

 

The big-screen pictures are detailed, accurate, bright, and punchy, motion handling is good, and the HDR impresses 

There is a downside to all this brightness and, as you'd expect from a DLP projector, the black levels aren't great. The resulting contrast ratio is around 3,000:1, which is actually not bad for DLP, and this increases to 6,000:1 if you use the SmartEco setting. While nowhere near BenQ's ridiculous claims of 3,000,000:1, the real world results can be quite impressive, and the detail in shadows remains fairly good.

The weak black levels and contrast ratio aren't really an issue because this projector is intended as a replacement for a TV, and thus will primarily be used in rooms with windows and light coloured walls. As a result, any reflected light will wash out the contrast performance anyway, although an ambient light rejecting screen would certainly help in this regard, resulting in improved perceived black levels and contrast.

BenQ V6050
BenQ V6000

Watching the Samsara Blu-ray reveals a clean and detailed image, with effective upscaling. The pictures appear natural, with accurate colours and plenty of brightness that's sure to please the most demanding AV fan. The delivery is generally free of any unwanted artefacts, but given this projector uses a four-segment wheel, anyone who suffers from rainbows could see colour fringing on moving objects.

The HDR performance is equally as impressive, and the riot of colour that is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 looks superb. The images really pop for a projector, thanks to the inherent brightness, the wide colour gamut, and some effective tone-mapping. While not technically a native 4K projector you would never realise unless you used test patterns, so an excellent 4K DI like Tenet looks incredibly detailed.

 

Along with the excellent SDR and HDR images, the 3D performance is superb, and only a high input lag disappoints

The combination of detail, brightness and effective tone mapping result in some very impressive HDR images, and when watching Planet Earth II the pictures are often beautiful, with nicely rendered highlights. The contrast limitations are more obvious in the nighttime scenes but, in general, this projector will produce a pleasing HDR experience to compete with many big-screen TVs.

If you're a hardcore gamer the input lag of 70ms might disappoint, but most will enjoy the bright, detailed gaming images and buttery smooth motion. If you're a 3D fan, and have the necessary glasses, the results are genuinely awesome. The 3D images are bright, detailed and clear, with plenty of depth and no crosstalk – so a classic like Avatar looks amazing in 3D on this projector.

Verdict

Pros

  • Bright, punchy and detailed images
  • Decent greyscale and colour accuracy
  • Good geometry and uniformity
  • Excellent motion handling
  • Impressive 3D performance
  • Built-in sound system

Cons

  • No built-in smart platform
  • No built-in tuners
  • Input lag too high for serious gamers
  • Possibility of rainbows
  • Mediocre black levels

BenQ V6050 UST 4K Laser Projector Review

Should I buy one?

The BenQ V6050 is an excellent 4K HDR ultra-short-throw laser projector that delivers detailed, colourful and punchy big-screen images. The laser light source generates enough brightness to handle the average living room, and while it can't hit the peak highlights of a TV, it's still capable of impressing under most conditions. If you make the room darker or invest in an ambient light rejecting screen, you can reap further benefits of this particular light canon.

As you'd expect from a DLP projector the motion handling is impressive, and if 3D is still of interest, this projector can deliver superb images with plenty of depth and no crosstalk. The colours are nicely saturated, and cover most of the DCI-P3 colour gamut, and the tone mapping with HDR is also highly effective. As a result, this sophisticated projector proves capable of getting the best out of both SDR and HDR, and while not technically native 4K, you'd never know.

The built-in sound system is good, but not as impressive as some of the competition. There's also no built-in smart platform, but that's easily addressed, and there are no built-in tuners, so you'll need a PVR if you plan to use this beamer in lieu of a TV. The only other issues are inherent with any DLP projector – weak black levels and contrast ratios, plus the possibility of rainbows. If you're a gamer the input lag might also be a bit high, but otherwise the BenQ V6050 comes highly recommended.

What are my alternatives?

The VAVA VA-LT002 makes for a more affordable alternative at £2,799. This 4K HDR ultra-short-throw projector also delivers detailed, bright and saturated images using a DLP chipset and laser light source. You get similar connectivity and a decent sound system, plus there's even built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a smart platform. The VAVA isn't as accurate, the colour gamut isn't as wide, and the input lag is higher, but in most other respects you get a similar performance for less.

If you have a larger budget, the £4,999 LG HU85LS is another cracking alternative. This 4K HDR ultra-short-throw projector also uses a DLP chipset and laser light source, plus a built-in sound system and webOS smart platform. Like the BenQ and VAVA, it has no built-in tuners, but otherwise this is a highly effective beamer with excellent SDR and HDR big-screen images that are sure to please. The LG also has a similar input lag to the BenQ at 78ms, but doesn't support 3D.

If you can afford the £6,999 asking price, then the Samsung LSP9T (The Premiere) is the only 4K HDR UST DLP laser projector in this group that can actually replace a TV because it has built-in tuners, impressive sound system, and a full Tizen OS with a comprehensive choice of apps. There's excellent connectivity, the lowest input lag at 55ms, HDR10+ support, and amazing images thanks to an RGB laser light source. In fact, the only thing missing is 3D, but otherwise this is the one to beat.

Highly Recommended

Scores

Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black levels

.
.
8

Colour Accuracy

.
.
8

Greyscale Accuracy

.
9

Image Uniformity

.
9

Video Processing

.
9

2D Picture Quality

.
9

3D Picture Quality

10

Picture Quality Out-of-the-Box

.
.
8

Picture Quality Calibrated

.
9

Features

.
.
8

Ease Of Use

.
9

Build Quality

.
9

Value For Money

.
.
8

Verdict

.
9
9
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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