LifeIsXbox’s BenQ X3000i review | I recently renovated my attic into an office/bedroom combo and one of the decisions we made early on was installing a projector screen. The big question, however, was which projector would be the best suited for our needs: watching movies together with my wife, and when she falls asleep: switching to some big-screen gaming on my Xbox Series S.
Not so long ago, BenQ was nice enough to send over their TH575 gaming projector so I could review it (Check my review HERE). I did this mostly by comparing it to a cheaper option I bought myself. This time, I’ll be comparing both of BenQ’s flagship gaming projectors to each other to see which one is best suited for your needs (and wallet!). The BenQ X3000i is a lot more pricey, but you also get more bang for your buck!
|BenQ TH575||BenQ X3000i (reviewed)|
|Resolution||Full HD (1920×1080)||4K UHD (3840×2160)|
|Brightness||3.800 ANSI lumen||3000 ANSI lumen|
|Contrast ratio||15 000||500 000|
|Input lag||~16.67ms||~16.7ms |
Game mode: 4-8ms
|Screen size||30″ min / 150″ max||30″ min / 300″ max|
|Throw ratio||1.10||1.15 ~ 1.50|
|Life expectancy lightbulb||~6000 hours||~20 000 – 30 000 hours|
|Fan noise||35-50 db||28-32 db|
|Beamer dimensions||12 cm x 30 cm x 22 cm||20 x 27 x 26 cm|
Now this part doesn’t need a place in the actual review, but does bear mentioning: I was testing out a first X3000i unit earlier this year, but had a significant amount of issues with it: the device would throw up a “choose your HDMI input signal” pop-up 20 times in a row at random moments, and later on it even started a shutdown/start-up loop that was highly annoying. It would just randomly start shutting down and booting back up a few times, and the only remedy was unplugging the power cable. I assume the issue stemmed from the control panel on the side detecting false inputs. (Note: I did have a refurbished model at first)
The good news is: BenQ has an amazing support provider and they had the old unit collected and a new one shipped to me within days (after first trying to troubleshoot over the phone). They were always friendly, and I really felt like the person on the other end of the phone knew what they were talking about, which is rarer than it should be when dealing with support these days. Two thumbs up for how they handled this!
The new model seems slightly different, with no glass panel in front of the lens and unless my memory fails me, it also has a slightly better image quality. I’ve had zero issues with this one, hence why I’m not including this in the “what we disliked” of the actual review.
What we Liked!
- Pretty form factor | Our bedroom is mostly painted white, and the projector fits nicely into our interior. Its cube-shaped form factor is one you don’t see every day, but I immediately took a liking to it. There are also some nice touches like the orange line around the glass panel on the front and the textured panel on the top. It truly feels like a first-class quality product! The TH575 looked more like the typical projector model you’d expect your teacher to roll in to watch a movie, in comparison.
- Extra warranty & lightbulb life | BenQ gives a 4-year warranty that exceeds the default 2-year minimum required for electronics in the EU. which is a nice guarantee that you’ll have no problem reporting an issue and getting a replacement model. This was also the case with the TH575, but the lightbulb in the X3000i has a life expectancy of 20 000 hours vs the 6 000 of its smaller sibling Chances are, you’ll never have to replace the lightbulb.
- Vertical keystone alignment | if you’re mounting the projector to the ceiling, chances are it won’t face 100% horizontally at your screen. This is where the Auto-aligned vertical keystone comes in. The X3000i and TH575 both detect automatically how they need to correct their keystone corners, but the X3000i allows for more control with the remote. Still would have been nice to adjust each corner individually instead of the skew options, as that can take a while to wrap your mind around how to adjust for optimal display.
- Audio | The X3000i has full-range speakers and virtual 3D surround sound. In a reasonably small room like our bedroom/office, I never felt the need to consider a soundbar. The TH575 on the other hand had speakers where you could really hear from which direction the sound was coming and it was even one of the major downsides of that device. The reach the X3000i has with built-in speakers is extraordinary and makes it a clear winner versus anything else I’ve experienced so far!
- Fan noise | What good is a nice built-in speaker if the fans are louder than the audio output? Well, you’ll be happy to hear that the fan of the X3000i is so silent, you’ll hardly ever notice it, especially when there is audio coming out if the device. The only time you’ll ever notice it, is when you’re directly below the projector and focusing on it. The TH575 was pretty silent as well, but the fan efficiency is even better here!
- Cool down/start-up | One weird downside of the TH575 was that it took a while to get going after powering it on. The lightbulb had to warm up and after shutting it down, you could still hear the fan running for about 5 more minutes as the device cooled down. The X3000i takes about half a minute to boot-up and have full brightness and takes just as long to shut down.
- Remote control | The remote luckily doesn’t require Bluetooth, but it uses infrared instead. The good thing is that you won’t have connection problems as the remote is specifically connected to the projector, but at the same time, it has a downside of having to aim up or behind you, depending on the physical location of the projector. Your instinct will be to point at the screen, which isn’t very responsive. The remote you’ll get with the X3000i feels like better quality and even has some features like Google voice recognition and shortcuts to switch between movie & gaming mode.
- Low input lag & Game Mode | Both the BenQ X3000i as well as the TH575 are designed specifically for gaming and thus have a very low input lag compared to most other projectors. With a maximum of ~16ms response time you’ll always have smooth gameplay. I even tested some rhythm games on it like Hi-Fi Rush and Rhythm Sprout and couldn’t notice any delay. I even trusted it enough to play games like Wo Long on it, which requires split-second response times to counter an enemy’s attack.
Winner: it’s a tie!
- Amazingly crisp image quality | It’s impressive how crystal clear the image quality is and it was a joy to watch movies on it. We even picked our moments to watch films with visuals as their main selling point, like Avatar: The Way of Water and the latest Marvel movies, and decided to watch those on the projector rather than our 4K Philips Ambilight television downstears, it’s that good! But, when comparing the quality, some things are better with the TH575, like its brightness and the way it handles contrast to show blacks on the screen or dark scenes. On paper, the X3000i has the bigger contrast ratio, but the smaller brother still had the crisper results, albeit on a smaller screen size (see below). The extra brightness on the TH575 also helped when playing during the day, but I tend to blind the windows when I’m gaming anyway.
Winner: it’s a tie, though the result is up to preference: contrast versus size. I’d give the edge to TH575 if I had to choose.
- Screen size | While I loved the picture quality of the TH575, there was no way to fully optimize the size of my projector screen and about 40% of it was left unused. With the X3000i, I could use the full size and still get super-crisp images thanks to the zoom options. Using the two physical sliders on the side of the lens to zoom and focus is easy and only requires a few seconds to find the sweet spot.
- (Kind of) no built-in Operating System | While the TH575 had no options to play media outside of what you plug in via HDMI (I used my Xbox Series S as the multimedia device), the X3000i comes packed with an Google Android dongle to which you can install things like Netflix, YouTube and Disney+. The weird thing is: it’s not built-in and you have to screw open the top panel to plug it into a hidden 3rd HDMI slot (and a mini-USB cable that provides it with power). This felt like a weird decision to me and I can’t quite grasp why they didn’t have a built-in solution.
- Price | Starting at ~€2000 for a new model, the X3000i isn’t a cheap projector option and only something purists should consider if they truly want to have one of the best consumer models out there. If your goal is purely to be able to game on a projector screen, with minimal input delay, the cheaper TH575 is probably the way to go, costing around 1/4th of the price.
- Connections | While not an issue for me, having only 2 HDMI input slots on the back does limit the number of devices you can hook up to the projector at the same time. If you’re using this as a gaming solution and you want to hook up all three major consoles, your Xbox Series X|S, your Nintendo Switch and your PlayStation 5, you’ll need to do some cable management where you keep the consoles. There is also no ethernet port for wired internet, even though there is now a dongle to play apps off with the Android OS. You’ll have to set up your wifi instead.
Winner: it’s a tie.
What we Disliked
- Rainbow Effect | I wanted to share a lot of cool photos of me playing games on the X3000i but I noticed a weird effect that wasn’t there with the TH575. Whenever I tried to snap a pic, or even worse: record a video, I noticed that the entire room was covered in a layer of rainbow colours that my eyes couldn’t perceive. Sadly, my camera lense can’t filter it out and it made it hard for me to make nice content for social media.
- Weight & ease of mounting | Weighing in at ~6.5Kg, the X3000i is no featherweight and that makes it a little harder to install when mounting it to the ceiling. I had to be really careful not to drop it and lift this above my head while sliding the screw of our ceiling-mount into the safety slots. The other projectors we had were a lot easier. I also had to unscrew it a few times to find the exact center of gravity, or otherwise the X3000i would be facing up or down too much. It took a bit of trial and error. Also: this heavy weight is suspended above my wife’s side of the bed and she’s sometimes nervous it could fall on her and serious injure her (which won’t happen obviously, but still the “fear” is there)
Comparing two devices to each other made it easier to talk about the many qualities they have, and hopefully also made it slightly more entertaining to read. After comparing the BenQ X3000i to the BenQ TH575, here are the results:
WINNER: BenQ X3000i with a 9-2-4 result.
The BenQ X3000i might be far from the cheapest gaming projector on the market, but it is hands down the best model I’ve had the pleasure of testing.
The picture quality is amazing, the virtual 3D sound is unbelievable, it has incredibly low input latency for gaming and it nears perfection in most regards. If you have the funds, this is an easy choice!
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Robby lives and breathes video games. When he’s not playing them, he’s talking about them on social media or convincing other people to pick up a controller themselves. He’s online so often, he could practically list the internet as his legal domicile. Belgian games-industry know-it-all.