Final yr, BenQ shook up the market with its HT2550 Ultra HD projector.
By combining excessive decision and HDR, it introduced the jumbo display expertise to finances theaters with larger efficiency and shade accuracy than was beforehand potential at such a low worth. For 2019, they’ve upped their recreation by including DCI-P3 shade to an already nice product. The HT3550 still delivers true Ultra HD resolution with DLP/XPR know-how and HDR10 help for Ultra HD Blu-ray and streaming sources. Now, you possibly can see one of the best materials in its full expanded shade gamut.
BenQ HT3550 Ultra HD DLP Projector
- Single-chip DLP with XPR delivers 3840×2160 resolution
- HDR10 and HLG help with projector-optimized HDR-PRO know-how
- 3D help
- Dynamic iris offers additional dynamic range in each SDR and HDR modes
- Compact chassis with built-in audio system
With Ultra HD pervading the world of entrance projection, it was only a matter of time earlier than prices fell to more value-oriented ranges. Because of Texas Instruments’ XPR know-how, it turned attainable to create true Ultra HD pictures from imaging chips with native resolutions decrease than 3840×2160. This technique is so efficient that it’s virtually unattainable to tell the difference between it and native 4K. Last yr I reviewed several projectors priced underneath $3000 that delivered excellent Ultra HD pictures with respectable HDR from BenQ, ViewSonic, and Optoma. The one factor they all lacked was an expanded colour gamut. The XPR chipset in its 1920×1080 type topped out at Rec.709.
This yr, BenQ is the primary to offer prolonged shade at a powerful worth of simply $1499. The CinePrime HT3550 delivers 95% of the DCI-P3 colour area. Coupled with help for HDR10 and Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG), it presents wonderful efficiency for extra modest house theater budgets. It has loads of output to cowl as much as a 200-inch display and throws a sharply detailed image that rivals one of the best native-4K projectors. Let’s take a look.
BENQ HT3550 ULTRA HD DLP PROJECTOR SPECIFICATIONS
single-chip .47” DLP w/XPR
3840×2160, 16:9 facet ratio
HDR10, Hybrid Log Gamma
245-watt UHP lamp
Mild output (mfr):
Lamp service life:
2x HDMI 2.0b w/HDCP 2.2
TOSLink & 3.5mm outputs
RS-232c, 3x USB, 12v set off
15” x 5” x 10.35” (WxHxD)
three years, 180 days lamp
benq, ht3550, 4k, ultra hd projector, dlp projector, hdr, extremely hd, Projector Critiques 2019
In the DLP category, there are presently two chip designs that can render Ultra HD resolution. The primary is found in smaller projectors like this one. It has a local pixel rely of 1920×1080 and uses a pixel-shift method referred to as XPR to realize Ultra HD. The second chip, as seen within the HT9060 and some different high-end displays additionally uses XPR however starts at a local resolution of 2716×1528 and doubles that in a diagonal overlap to create Ultra HD.
The HT3550 is in the first category and is in reality, quite just like last yr’s HT2550 with one necessary exception – it supports a bigger shade gamut. BenQ claims 95% of DCI-P3 which matches or exceeds what we’re seeing from most flat-panel TVs. In SDR colour, Rec.709 to be actual, it sports BenQ’s normal excessive degree of accuracy and even features a manufacturing unit calibration knowledge sheet to back it up.
The chassis is compact and lightweight weighing in at less than 10 pounds. That doesn’t imply BenQ has reduce corners on construct quality, removed from it actually. The HT3550 is strong like all their products and looks poised to deliver great performance over an extended service life. The lamp is a 245-watt UHP unit rated for 4000 hours in its brightest energy mode. You possibly can prolong this up to a claimed 15,000 hours through the use of the variable-output SmartEco mode.
Talking of variable output, BenQ has added one thing to the HT3550 that I’ve long wished for, a dynamic iris. You need to use this with both the Regular or Eco lamp modes to increase contrast. And it definitely does that. In my checks, I saw over 1700:1 in SDR mode and over 2000:1 for HDR, spectacular numbers for a compact DLP.
The picture comes courtesy of a single .47” DLP chip and a six-segment (RGBRGB) shade wheel. This ensures a high degree of colour accuracy. The default Cinema mode offers a superb start line for calibration and BenQ has offered its normal comprehensive set of controls for that function. You’ll be able to regulate the colour temperature with a two-point system and there’s full colour administration together with a number of gamma presets. HDR alerts could be tweaked with the same controls, independently in fact.
The lens is offset with a small panel on the backside to stop mild leakage. Focus and zoom controls are beneath a sliding door on prime along with a dial for the 10% vertical lens shift. When you set the HT3550 on a table or stand, there are three threaded ft that may be simply adjusted for leveling. Additionally included is an auto-keystone adjustment. I like to recommend avoiding this when potential as it reduces resolution.
Further controls up prime embrace menu navigation, supply selection, an influence toggle, and status lights. A large IR receiver ensures a quick response to commands from the superb distant.
The remote is BenQ’s regular small handset with a delicate orange backlight that comes on whenever you press any key. It’s properly constructed and clicks with a premium really feel. On the prime are discrete power keys adopted by keystone and check sample buttons. Subsequent is menu navigation with a source choose toggle and direct access to Cinema Master changes and HDR brightness. At the backside are quantity switches and more direct-access keys for picture adjustments.
The enter panel is all-digital and options two HDMI 2.0b ports with HDCP 2.2. You may as well stream content material by way of one of many USB ports, the second is for service solely. Two built-in speakers pump out 5 watts of power and sound surprisingly good. They gained’t plumb the depths of cinema bass, however they play mid-range frequencies clearly and with out distortion. Highs may be barely harsh at occasions, but dialog is their forte. Voices all the time projected with clarity and detail. If you want to send the audio stream out to an exterior system, TOSLink and three.5mm outputs are offered. Control happens via an RS-232 port and a 12v trigger output.
The HT3550 additionally supports 3D in its widespread codecs utilizing DLP-Hyperlink glasses. You should purchase them from BenQ or use one of the aftermarket pairs like mine which come from XPand. When viewing 3D content, it’s restricted to 1920×1080 pixels. You get an independently-adjustable picture mode as properly which allows 3D calibration. Mild output is best than many small projectors and makes for a satisfying 3D experience.
Connecting the HT3550 is an easy affair in case you have high-speed HDMI cables. Merely hook up your favourite disc or streaming supply and go. I used an OPPO UDP-203. In case you use a FireTV Stick or the like, it may possibly connect by way of HDMI or USB depending on the model.
The menu system is typical BenQ which suggests it’s laid out logically and effectively. All the picture controls are within the first sub-menu. There are 5 picture modes of which Cinema is the default. There’s additionally a preset referred to as D. Cinema. In this case, the “D” refers to dark slightly than digital. It merely turns down the output for better photographs in utterly dark spaces. The Consumer mode could be based mostly on another preset and all of the modes are fully-adjustable. When HDR or 3D alerts are detected, further modes are activated which might be additionally utterly adjustable.
Each SDR and HDR modes have a function referred to as Sensible Colour which is discovered on almost all BenQ projectors. It takes a couple of liberties with colour copy and may very well improve accuracy in sure instances. I’ve found it to reply in a different way on BenQ’s numerous projectors. Within the HT3550, it works effective in SDR mode for those who don’t select to calibrate. Colour, gamma, and grayscale accuracy are excellent right out of the field for Rec.709 material. For those who do need to regulate, I recommend turning Sensible colour off and making a couple of modifications to the two-point shade temp sliders and the colour management system. I’ve included my testbed settings at the finish of this assessment.
In HDR mode, I most popular to go away Sensible Shade turned on. BenQ makes use of a way referred to as HDR-PRO to optimize contrast and colour saturation for projectors which could be very effective. It isn’t strictly accurate, nevertheless it clearly improves picture quality. You’ll also need to ensure and activate the Vast Colour Gamut mode for HDR. That may ship the promised 95% of DCI-P3.
Calibrating for both SDR and HDR alerts was easily completed. Switching between the 2 modes is automated and all changes are unbiased. The auto-iris has three ranges; High produces the greatest contrast and I didn’t see any clipping of both highlight or shadow detail. The iris is silent in operation but should you favor to make use of the bulb-throttling as an alternative, SmartEco is accessible within the Mild Mode sub-menu. You may as well turn it right down to Financial to extend the lamp’s service life. It’s an excellent setting for small theaters and it reduces output by 25%.
Watching films on a 4K DLP projector is all the time enjoyable. Regardless of the check outcomes or the specs, DLP imparts a singular readability to shifting photographs that simply can’t happen on even one of the best LCoS or LCD displays. The smoothness of motion coupled with a single-chip design has a distinct advantage over three-chip projectors that use sample-and-hold know-how. The HT3550 handles films like knowledgeable display with a clean 96Hz refresh fee that requires no pulldown or frame interpolation. And since motion resolution is so good, you get to take pleasure in that sharpness regardless of how fast the digital camera pans or objects move on-screen.
I started with Avengers Infinity Warfare to check out a number of area scenes. The humorous thing is, though the star fields seemed appropriately black with vibrant, twinkling objects, I couldn’t look away from the unimaginable colour. The movie is usually drab in tone with pops of shiny main colour like the inexperienced of Gamora’s face or the intensely blue Nebula character. Detail shone nicely in the textures of Drax’s physique and the positive hairs of Rocket’s fur. The truth is, it was so compelling, I couldn’t look away. Colour like this can interact the viewer in a means no Rec.709 show can. The HDR effect was robust as properly and paired with the auto-iris, one wouldn’t know they’re watching a DLP. BenQ’s HDR-PRO could be very effective at creating a variety of picture depth.
To guage the white high quality and highlight element, I turned to the grocery retailer scene in A Star Is Born. I might see the results of my HDR calibration which served up properly-neutral tones. Highlights have been sharp and brilliant but with wonderful depth and dimension. I attempted the totally different HDR Brightness settings solely to return to the zero level. I noticed no want to vary the luminance map for any of the content I watched. Some viewers might want to experiment relying on their specific setting. The movie makes nice use of pink in its many on-stage scenes. This lighting effect can typically be harsh but the HT3550 rendered it masterfully. The spotlights have been typically vibrant, but they never blew out the actors’ faces. You possibly can nonetheless see every pore and bead of sweat on the performers.
Spiderman Into the Spider-Verse is a comic guide come alive on the display. It’s filled with wealthy, daring shade and a shocking amount of advantageous texture and detail. I enjoyed the film completely because it played equally nicely in brilliant or darkish scenes. The animation was very efficient because of the HT3550’s lightning-fast DLP chip. Those tempted to attempt the Motion Enhancer frame interpolation shall be pleasantly stunned. Its Low setting smooths out movement slightly without introducing a soap opera effect. Larger settings make things look unnatural, but I might be glad leaving the choice on Low for most content.
I can’t evaluate an Ultra HD display without watching some of Planet Earth II. The Deserts episode has many closeup photographs of sharp cactus needles that actually make my pores and skin crawl. The goosebumps have been absolutely current as I watched a squirrel run from attacking hawks. Reds and oranges glowed warmly, and high quality sand made me reach for a pair of flip-flops. In Grasslands, there’s obviously a number of inexperienced to tantalize the viewer. Watching the sequence of grasscutter ants marching back and forth with giant blades of grass made me recognize inexperienced as I by no means had before. Again, that is one thing you simply gained’t see on a Rec.709 show. The material is reference-quality and the HT3550 showed it properly.
On The Bench
To test the BenQ HT3550’s colour accuracy, I measured from the lens with an X-Rite i1 Professional spectrophotometer fitted with a diffuser attachment. Luminance readings have been taken with a Spectracal C6 tri-stimulus colorimeter dealing with a 92” diagonal Stewart Filmscreen Luminesse with Studiotek 130 materials, achieve 1.three, from a 10-foot distance. Patterns have been generated by an Accupel DVG-5000 and controlled with CalMAN, version 5.9.
SDR Grayscale & Gamma Tracking
As you possibly can see, there’s very little to complain about in terms of the HT3550’s grayscale and gamma tracking. There are not any seen white point errors anyplace within the brightness range and gamma only exhibits a slight dip on the 90% degree. With a mean error of just 1.5777dE, there isn’t a real have to calibrate. The above chart was generated with Sensible Colour turned on. When you turn it off, a slight pink tint seems. When you don’t plan to calibrate, depart it on.
Because of the gamut outcomes, which you’ll see under, I made a decision to calibrate without Sensible Colour. Tweaking the RGB sliders took just a few minutes a produced a slight achieve in grayscale accuracy. Gamma tracked slightly higher although and came closer to the two.2 line when the 2.four preset is chosen. This provides a little bit of depth and pop to the image.
SDR Shade Gamut & Luminance
With Sensible Colour turned on, shade luminance is sort of low although the gamut factors are all on or close to their targets. In real-world content material, it signifies that shade seems to be pure and proper but somewhat flat. Should you turn off Sensible Shade, you’ll have to regulate the colour temp and the colour management system which I did.
After turning off Sensible Shade and making a number of small adjustments to the CMS, I achieved a small achieve with a mean error of simply 1.6101dE and near-neutral luminance ranges. The HT3550 virtually achieves reference degree right out of the field and easily hits the mark after a couple of simple adjustments.
To simulate an HDR10 signal, I added an HD Fury Integral into the sign path. It creates the right tone map to allow HDR measurements using CalMAN’s special workflow. The HT3550 permits for a full and unbiased HDR calibration with two-point grayscale, HDR brightness, and shade administration controls.
As soon as the HT3550 detects an HDR10 signal, it routinely switches to the HDR picture mode which presents a totally unbiased set of calibration controls. Preliminary measurements show good accuracy besides on the 50% level which is the place the projector begins to tone map. There, it clips blue before the other primaries creating a green tint at that specific brightness degree. The error is seen in actual content material but only appears not often as all other brightness levels are accurate. The luminance roll-off is much less sharp than the spec however you gained’t see something amiss when watching HDR materials. BenQ’s HDR-PRO is a wonderful solution to maximize distinction with projectors and the newest Ultra HD films.
Calibration leaves the EOTF curve unchanged and makes a slight enchancment at the 50% transition level. Higher brightness levels at the moment are a tad blue, however this is exhausting to see in actual content because you’d solely hit these levels with small highlights. The adjustments add a bit of depth to the image and are value making.
The HT3550 manages to cowl virtually the complete DCI-P3 gamut. It solely comes up slightly brief within the pink and inexperienced primaries. Internal saturations are past their targets which isn’t completely correct from a video-geek perspective, however it makes the picture look vibrant and colorful. There isn’t any clipping of element and objects pop proper out from the background. I think this can be a product of BenQ’s HDR-PRO processing which takes few liberties with saturation monitoring to create an HDR effect better-suited for projectors. The top result’s a constructive one for positive.
To move above white and under black alerts, the HT3550 have to be set to HDMI Range Full. Within the default Auto mode, the extra info is clipped. This isn’t a problem since very little materials accommodates detail under degree 16 or above degree 235. Interlaced alerts are additionally an issue as both pulldown exams confirmed moiré within the superspeedway clip. 24p is handled appropriately. I also saw a roll-off within the one-pixel burst pattern when processing 4:four:four and 4:4:2 alerts. RGB output exhibits no discount in decision so that is the place one should set their Blu-ray player or streaming box.
Mild Output & Contrast
All luminance values are expressed right here in nits, also called candelas per sq. meter (cd/m2). For those needing a frame of reference, 1fL equals 3.43 nits, or 1 nit equals .29fL.
The HT3550 makes probably the most of its 245-watt lamp with plenty of output in both SDR and HDR modes. After calibration, I measured 124.7332 nits white, .2048 nit black, and 608.9:1 distinction with the lamp set on Regular (brightest) and the dynamic iris turned off. Turning the iris to High yielded 124.0699 nits white, .0711 nit black, and 1743.eight:1 distinction.
Should you’d slightly use the SmartEco lamp mode, it produces 123.8123 nits white, .0591 nit black, and 2094.9:1 contrast. For max output, select the Brilliant picture mode. It delivers 195.6577 nits white, .0979 nit black, and 1997.7:1 contrast. That output comes at the cost of clipped highlight and shadow detail.
For the perfect dark theater efficiency, I recommend turning the Dynamic Iris to High and setting the lamp to Eco mode. That will provide you with 91.6539 nits white, .0533 nit black, and 1720:three contrast. It also cuts fan noise barely which is good in case you sit near the projector.
In HDR mode, with the lamp on Regular and the Dynamic Iris on High, peak white was 90.6794 nits, black was .0979, and distinction was 2090.four:1.
For 3D followers, the HT3550 offers good output of 22.9782 nits white, .0152 nits black, and 1507.7:1 distinction. You’ll need to set the lamp on Normal and the Dynamic Iris on. Crosstalk is a scant .04 %, utterly invisible.
Listed here are the settings I arrived at for SDR and HDR alerts. I most popular the image with the dynamic iris somewhat than the lamp’s SmartEco choice. Use both Regular or Eco lamp energy to tailor the HT3550 in your room.
- Mode Cinema
- Brightness 51
- Contrast 46
- Colour/Tint 50
- Sharpness eight
- Gamma 2.4
- Shade Temp Regular
Pink achieve 96
Inexperienced achieve 104
Blue achieve 105
Pink offset 249
Inexperienced offset 252
Blue offset 262
- Shade Administration
Hue Sat Achieve
R 229 197 225
G 241 200 170
B 176 200 156
C 265 200 211
M 306 185 241
Y 252 180 191
- Sensible Shade Off
- Dynamic Iris High
- Mild Mode Financial
- Brightness/Contrast/Shade/Tint 50
- Sharpness zero
- HDR Brightness 0
- Colour Temp Regular
Purple achieve 102
Inexperienced achieve 101
Blue achieve 98
Purple offset 256
Inexperienced offset 256
Blue offset 256
- Colour Management
Inexperienced Saturation 230
Blue Saturation 232
Cyan Saturation 210
All others unchanged
- Dynamic Iris Excessive
- Sensible Colour On
- Broad Colour Gamut On
- Mild Mode Regular
The BENQ CINEPRIME HT3550 ULTRA HD DLP PROJECTOR delivers sharp pictures with vibrant shade, wonderful distinction, and high accuracy. At $1499, it represents an outstanding value.
- Clear, brilliant image in both SDR and HDR modes
- Reference-level accuracy in SDR mode
- Superbly saturated shade in HDR mode
- Wonderful distinction
- Strong construct high quality
- Respectable sound from the built-in speakers
Would Like To See
- At this worth level, I have no complaints
On the extremely low worth of $1499, BenQ’s CinePrime HT3550 Ultra HD DLP Projector is tough to beat. It delivers almost all the DCI-P3 colour gamut together with strong HDR and excellent readability because of a single-chip DLP mild engine with XPR know-how that gives a true Ultra HD experience. After evaluating it to several native 4K shows, I am hard-pressed to see a difference in quality.
Final yr’s HT2550 inspired an overwhelmingly constructive response from me. The HT3550 is even better with its superb colour copy. BenQ promised an extended gamut they usually have delivered on that promise. Not only does it cover 95% of DCI-P3, nevertheless it additionally renders it in such a approach that is even more compelling than many other wide-gamut displays I’ve watched. Most videophiles will say that solely flat panels can ship one of the best Ultra HD experience, however I urge to differ. The HT3550 showed me a few of the greatest shade I’ve ever seen from a shopper show.
When you’ve been ready for the proper value-oriented projector to anchor your theater, I can’t imagine a better method to spend $1499. It has no flaws that I can see and delivers beautiful imagery from all the newest sources. Whether or not Ultra HD or normal Blu-ray, streaming, or residence films from a USB stick, the HT3550 handles it all like a professional. It receives my highest suggestion.