The BenQ V6050 ultra-short throw projector is aiming to replace your TV. Brighter than the average projector and with a soundbar built in, it certainly has the right specs, with its laser light source, 120-inch maximum screen size and easy set-up features. Indeed, this BenQ certainly talks a good talk.
Ultra-short throw (UST) has proved something of a tricky space for projectors, though. Burgeoning technologies such as this don’t come cheap, and the pure picture quality is rarely as good as you might expect from a traditional machine at even half the price. Spend just a little more and you could get a native 4K projector instead.
Still, traditional projectors don’t come with the same ease of installation or feature flexibility, so if that's what you’re after, then a UST is where it’s at. And this BenQ might just be the best of them to date.
The BenQ V6050 is currently priced £3999, in line with the BenQ V6000, which is actually the same projector in a white finish. At the time of writing, some retailers include BenQ’s recommended ALR projector screen in the price.
Physically, the BenQ V6050 is fairly typical of a UST projector – about as tall and deep as an AV receiver but, at 50cm wide, somewhat broader. It features a 2x 5W sound system with a pair of two-driver treVolo speakers, engineered by BenQ’s professional speaker brand. Hit the touch-sensitive power button and the sunroof peels back, unveiling the business end of this machine.
Laser life 20,000 hours
Resolution 4K HDR pixel shifting
Brightness 3000 ANSI-lumens
Inputs 2x HDMI 2.0 (inc. ARC), 2x USB-A 2.0, USB-A 3.0
Audio out S/PDIF
Dimensions (hwd) 39 x 50 x 16cm
The short-throw lens beams the projection almost straight up at your screen. You can create an image of between 70 inches and 120 inches by placing the projector from 7cm to 33cm away from your screen. There are a couple of retractable metal rods on the rear of the V6050 to help you measure up. Just as crucial is the vertical distance between the projector and the bottom of your screen, which needs to be between 16cm and 31cm.
It can be a touch fiddly getting all that right – small movements make a big difference and a little patience is required. Once set, it’s worth marking around its four circular feet so you can quickly get back to the position should you wish to move the V6050 while not in use. Those feet are also the final part in the set-up – screw them in and out to level off the projector and make sure that your picture isn’t skewed.
There are no big lens shift or zoom features here. It’s a fixed lens and only a little fine-tuning with the motor focus setting in the Installation menu is needed to sharpen up the edges.
The light that’s projected begins with the 3000 ANSI-lumens laser at the core of this machine before it reaches a 0.47-inch DMD (digital micromirror device), where the image is formed. It’s then sent through a colour wheel and focused through the lens. Those sensitive to the rainbow fringing from DLP projectors may notice the artifacts on the picture.
There’s a decent choice of inputs and outputs on the V6050, including two HDMI 2.0 ports and a pair of USB 2.0 slots for local files or hard drives, plus an extra powered one on the back. You can outsource the audio by using the S/PDIF socket and there’s ARC too for connecting to a soundbar. There’s no smart platform nor wi-fi connection, though this can easily be resolved by plugging in a media streamer or buying one of BenQ’s dongles.
In terms of the on-screen experience, the menus are typically straightforward. Only one or two tabs are for performance tweaks, while most are not for day-to-day use. Thankfully, there’s a remote control of the calibre one might expect of a native 4K machine. It’s a good size, backlit and has all the settings shortcuts you could need.
There’s certainly enough brightness from the BenQ V6050 to watch a film, TV show or sporting event with the lights on. You won’t see much in broad daylight though, unless you have a particularly specialised screen. With our reference, reflective, moderately high-gain screen, side lighting is as far as we can take it before the best of the picture fades away.
All the same, this still offers something beyond most traditional home cinema projectors, making the V6050 a viable evening alternative for your main living space.
We watch Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 on 4K Blu-ray and there’s a respectable amount of HDR picture punch for a projector of this price thanks, in part, to the solid black depth that DLP technology brings. There’s a single HDR preset, but we’d recommend bringing the contrast slider down a little to maximise tonal detail.
More care is required while calibrating colour. There are a fair few colour controls to consider – Color Enhancer, Flesh Tone, Color Temperature, Brilliant Color and Wide Color Gamut as well as the standard colour setting. That makes for a lot of permutations, but we get the best results with the Wide Color Gamut turned off, the Cool temperature preset, and a light touch on the Brilliant Color filter.
Once locked in, there’s an enjoyable balance to the early space scenes on the Sovereign planet as our heroes tackle the inter-dimensional ‘space monkey’. There’s a lovely rich golden tone to the anulax battery power sources, some wonderful kaleidoscopic colours to the rainbow blasts of the Abilisk’s quantum splatters and the right kind of green colour to Gamora’s skin. There isn’t much life in the motion processing, but the native motion handling abilities of this projector are good enough not to jar.
Drop down to 1080p with Captain America: Civil War on Blu-ray and the general look and feel is on a par with the higher-resolution picture. Given that it matches the panel’s native resolution, there’s no kind of pixel-shifting or scaling required. There’s less colour processing to worry about and it’s also easier for user calibration. We keep the contrast setting near the middle to maintain some comparable dynamism to the HDR performance.
The chase scene in Bucharest is full of excitement. There's an enjoyable contrast between Black Panther’s suit, the light concrete and the bright sky on the rooftop fight. There’s good texture on the pavement below too, as well as on Cap’s shield once the action hits the streets. The underpass tunnels look good too, accented by the vibrant orange of the tiled walls. It’s almost everything it should be and makes for a great big-screen watch.
But the picture lacks a little subtlety in terms of colour and tone. The darker scenes in both films – the opener of Civil War with the Winter Soldier on a night mission, and the Berhet ambush in Guardians, for example – are both short on shadow detail. The finer points of the Ravagers’ outfits and Bucky’s motorbike rather disappear into a charcoal haze.
For colour, it’s missing a degree of complexity. Tones are more uniform than they should be and, as ever, it’s most obvious with faces. Peter Quill’s is noticeably a little less than natural as we watch in 4K. Objects sometimes stand out a little in a way they shouldn’t, too. The yellow street lines in the Lagos scene in Civil War are rendered simplistically as flat blocks of colour.
We have seen these issues before on entry-level laser-based devices, especially when compared with traditional home cinema projectors, but a UST such as this BenQ is about a different use case. So far, we’ve not seen a better example of this type.
This use case is perhaps even more likely to involve watching SD programming, and you should be pleased to note that it does as well as can be expected for any 4K projector on that front. We take the brightness and sharpness down a fair bit to get a good picture as we watch Sunshine on DVD but there’s still a fair amount of detail. It’s soft but watchable.
Two 5W speakers might not sound impressive, but this treVolo-speaker sound system is really quite good. There are a few presets to try out, as well as a User mode with EQ access, but we stick with Standard to find the best audio performance.
The V6050 has a big chassis and we’re surprised there’s nothing more complex here than a pair of forward-facing speakers made up of tweeters and mid/bass cones. The sides of the projector, which could have been used to shoot out more sound, house the large vents that keep this UST cool and generally running fairly quietly.
Nonetheless, we still get a remarkably wide soundstage that is particularly enjoyable during the early space battle with the Sovereign drones in Guardians Of The Galaxy 2. There’s an excellent swing of the audio from left to right as Star Lord’s craft dodges laser blasts and the excitement is fuelled by the rather impressive dynamics. There’s a big growl to the rattling engines each time it flies by the camera and a real solidity to every shot and moment of impact.
There’s also a well-tuned balance, ensuring that all parts of the range are easy to hear with nothing too booming nor too bright. The top-end is marginally less developed than the bottom, but it rarely detracts from the action.
We’d like a little more volume on board – we find most of our listening is almost at the limit – and if this were an external soundbar, we’d be looking for a better sense of rhythm too.
As it is, though, this sound system is far more than an interesting trinket for this projector. It adds to the overall package in its own right, underlining the case for the V6050 as an all-in-one machine.
We’re not convinced that the BenQ V6050 is bright enough to replace your living room TV, but it certainly has plenty to offer. The big and bold picture is reasonably detailed, colourful and enjoyable to watch. The built-in sound system could be described in similar terms.
For those looking for that big screen projector feel without needing to install lots of kit, this UST machine is one of the best around at this price. Adding a media streamer and possibly a better external speaker will level it up further. For the time being, it won’t perform quite as well as a traditional projector in terms of pure picture but, given its extra brightness and functionality, it makes for a compelling package.
- Picture 4
- Sound 4
- Features 4
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