BenQ X1300i review: a projector for gaming and home theater

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The BenQ X1300i is a DLP HD 1080p home theater compatible projector that is also optimized for video games: it has a low input lag and supports video streams up to 120FPS. Sold for €1,299, the BenQ X1300i has two HDMI inputs that are 4K HDR compatible (scaled to 1080p) and its 3000-lumen brightness makes it a good fit for use in a partially lit room.

The BenQ X1300i is the manufacturer’s first projector dedicated to video games, and is aimed at gamers who prioritize framerate over Ultra High Definition and who want to play on a very large screen. The BenQ X1300i is also suitable for watching movies and series on Blu-ray or from streaming services thanks to its WiFi connectivity and Android interface that allow access to multiple services and applications.

Will this Swiss Army knife of gaming-oriented projection persuade gamers and home theater lovers?

1080p HD home theater compatible, the BenQ X1300i projector is optimized for video games up to 120 FPS to ensure flawless responsiveness.

BenQ X1300i: the brand

BenQ is a world-renowned Taiwanese brand that produces not only projectors, but also LCD computer monitors, interactive flat panel displays for business and education, digital cameras and office lighting.

The manufacturer has built a solid reputation in the field of video projection by offering HD 1080p projectors that are excellent value for money. Examples are the famous BenQ W1070, and its successors the BenQ W1080 and BenQ W1090, praised by the specialized press and appreciated by home theater enthusiasts with a limited budget. BenQ excels at offering affordable DLP projectors with outstanding image sharpness and consistent color accuracy thanks to precise factory calibration.

BenQ X1300i: packaging & accessories

The BenQ X1300i projector comes with a remote control and batteries, a power cable (1.5m) and a quick start guide. Also included is an Android network player in the form of an HDMI dongle for streaming and accessing connected features. It’s integrated directly under the projector’s top cover and connected to the dedicated HDMI jack hidden underneath.

A remote control and batteries, a power cable and a quick start guide are included with the BenQ X1300i projector. There is also an Android network player (HDMI dongle) integrated directly under the projector’s top cover.

BenQ X1300i: presentation

The BenQ X1300i projector with Android TV is an HD 1080p model optimized for video games with a low input lag and support for video streams up to 120 FPS. It offers a high brightness (3000 lumens), 4K HDR compatibility (scaled to 1080p) and a Game mode to enhance image readability. This BenQ X1300i projector is equipped with a 1.2x zoom and focus system, both of which are manually adjustable. It can project an image between 1.5m and 3.8m in diagonal at a distance between 1.7m and 5.1m. It is also equipped with three mounting points under its frame so it can be mounted upside down on the ceiling, on a projector mount.

Design

Aesthetically, the BenQ X1300i projector is quite massive with rather unusual measurements as it measures 27.2cm wide by 26cm deep and almost 21cm high. Its glossy black front with an orange border around the edge contrasts with the rest of the matt white chassis. Its parallelepipedic design can be either appealing or off-putting depending on your tastes. For our part, we found it rather pleasant.

LED lamp

The BenQ X1300i projector is equipped with an LED lamp light source that lasts up to 30,000 hours in the most economical mode (20,000 hours in normal mode). This BenQ projector is extremely bright thanks to the use of four powerful LEDs. Its brightness reaches 3000 lumens which allows it to project a readable image even when the room is not dark.

With 3000 lumens, the BenQ X1300i is very bright, allowing it to project a readable image even in a partially lit room.

According to the manufacturer the maximum contrast is 500,000:1, which should allow for high contrast images and preserve the legibility of details in dark areas. The BenQ X1300i 1080p HD projector also has a vertical (automatic) and horizontal (manual) keystone correction system (plus or minus 30°) that makes it easy to install.

Optimized for video games

To deliver the best possible gaming experience, the BenQ X1300i projector features GameMaestro technology that not only ensures low latency but also offers optimized video and audio settings for RPGs, FPS and sports games.

In the BenQ X1300i’s settings menu, it is possible to select different gaming modes: FPS, RPG and SPG.

Several audio and video presets are available, with the possibility to set a custom user mode as well. Game images are optimized with CinematicColor technology to ensure vivid colors.

Android TV

As it features Android TV, the BenQ X1300i gaming projector allows you to enjoy many online video services, including Prime Video and YouTube, but also to download apps and games from Google Play. Note that Netflix is not available natively on BenQ connected projectors, the BenQ X1300i being no exception.

From the Android TV menu of the BenQ X1300i one can access a multitude of streaming and VOD services and download games.

However, it is possible to enjoy the Netflix streaming service with the BenQ X1300i in different ways. For example, you can launch Netflix on a computer’s Chrome browser (Windows, Chrome, MacOS) and then select the “Cast” option (“Customize and Control Google Chrome” menu at the top right) to choose the BenQ QS01 as the streaming device (that’s the name of the built-in streaming dongle). All you need is for the projector and computer to be connected to the same WiFi network. You can also stream Netflix wirelessly to the BenQ X1300i projector from the Netflix app on an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. Finally, one can also connect the computer’s HDMI output to one of the projector’s two HDMI connectors to stream Netflix directly via HDMI cable.

Stereo sound

The BenQ X1300i projector features two stereo drivers powered by 2 x 5 watts of amplification. Designed by TreVolo, BenQ’s audio division, they deliver clear, well-defined sound. But to get the best performance, you need to place the projector between the screen and the viewers.

The BenQ X1300i’s audio section features two stereo drivers located at the back of the projector.

Connectors

The BenQ X1300i projector’s connectors allow you to connect two HDMI sources, including 4K HDR sources (4K HDR HDCP2.2 compatible HDMI ports). A mini-jack audio output and an optical audio output are also present for connecting a soundbar or an A/V receiver. Note that the HDMI 2 connector of the projector is ARC compatible and can therefore send sound to a soundbar or a compatible amp.

The BenQ X1300i features two HDMI inputs (one of which is ARC compatible), an optical audio output and a mini-jack audio output. The USB port is only used to power an external device or for product support.

The powered USB port can be used to power the receiver of a wireless HDMI transmitter system, such as the Marmitek TV Anywhere Wireless HD or the Optoma WHD200.

BenQ X1300i: key specifications

Display

  • Projection system: DLP 0.65”
  • Native resolution: 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels)
  • Supported resolutions: VGA (640 x 480) to 4K UHD (3840 x 2160)
  • Brightness: 3000 ANSI lumens
  • Contrast ratio (FOFO): 500 000:1 (Dynamic Black)
  • Display colors: 30 Bits (1.07 billion colors)
  • Light source: LED
  • Light source lifespan: Normal: 20,000 hours / Eco: 30,000 hours

Optics

  • Projection ratio: 1.3~1,56:1
  • 100″ image @ 2.87m (100” @ 9.4ft)
  • Zoom ratio: 1.2x
  • Keystone Correction Adjustment: 2D, Vertical (automatic) & Horizontal (manual), ± 30 degrees
  • Sharp image size (diagonal): 60″~150″ (1.52m – 3.81m)
  • Horizontal frequency: 15kHz – 135kHz
  • Refresh rate: 23 – 120kHz

Image

  • Image Mode: Bright / Living Room / Game / Sports / Cinema / (3D) / (HDR10) / (HDR Game) / (HLG) / User
  • Rec.709 color space: 98%

Audio

  • Driver: 5W x 2 (TreVolo drivers)

Special characteristics

  • HDR compatible (HDR10, HLG)
  • Android TV

Connectors

  • 2 x HDMI 2.0b, HDCP2.2 (including one ARC compatible)
  • 1 x USB type A (5V/2.5A power supply and product support only)
  • 1 x Audio output (3.5mm mini-jack)
  • 1 x Audio output (SPDIF optical)
  • 1 x RS232 (DB-9pin)
  • 2 x IR receiver (Front / Back)
  • 1 x security slot (Kensington)

Power supply

  • Power Supply: VAC 100 ~ 240V (50/60Hz)
  • Typical Power Consumption: Max 360W, Normal 330W, Eco 160W
  • Standby Power Consumption: < 0.5W
  • Network Standby Power Consumption: <2W
  • Working temperature: 0~40°C

General

  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 272 x 197 x 259mm
  • Net weight: 6.4kg

Accessories

  • Power cable (1.5m)
  • Quick start guide
  • Warranty card (by region)

BenQ X1300i: configuration

Test conditions

For this review, we connected the BenQ X1300i projector to a Pioneer UDP-LX500 4K UHD Blu-ray player using a NorStone Jura HDMI-Optic HDMI cable. We were able to project a 2.5m image on a Lumene Majestic HD (16/9) projection screen. The 4K UHD Blu-ray discs of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Ford v Ferrari, as well as several movies played on streaming services, allowed us to judge the display quality of this projector for home theater use.

To test the BenQ X1300i’s display quality with video games, in particular the low input lag, we connected it to a Playstation 4.

We tested the BenQ X1300i with several PS4 games.

Keystone correction adjustment

The BenQ X1300i projector is a model with a very low projection offset that projects almost perfectly straight. This means that it can be placed on the same horizontal plane as the base of the image/screen.

With our test conditions, to obtain a 100″ (2.54 m) image, the projector was placed approximately 3.30m (10 ft) from the screen. We placed it on the dining room table, behind the sofa, barely raising the legs to align the image with the screen (the bottom of the image was at 87cm from the floor) without distortion and therefore without having to use the keystone correction much.

This configuration allows for a very large image but the sound comes from behind the sofa, which is not ideal for sound immersion. If you move the projector closer to the screen and place it between the screen and the viewers, the image is smaller but it allows you to benefit more from the sound from the BenQ X1300i’s drivers. Ideally, the manufacturer could have equipped the projector with a lens with a shorter focal length in order to both retain a very large image when approaching the screen and to take advantage of the projector’s audio section in better conditions.

To precisely adjust the image, we used the test pattern accessible in the Installation menu of the projector. The test pattern displays a white grid that precisely delimits the edges of the projected image.
The BenQ X1300i projector has two height-adjustable feet at the front.
By adjusting the zoom wheel, we were able to quickly match the bottom limit and width of the test pattern to the edges of the projection area before focusing.

We then activated the “Auto Keystone” function which instantly adapted the angles of the image so that the lateral edges were completely vertical.

The BenQ X1300i’s auto vertical keystone feature can be accessed in the Installation tab of the settings menu.

BenQ X1300i: our impressions

Home theater

We projected Ford v Ferrari and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on a 2.5m diagonal (2.2m base) 16:9 screen, with viewers positioned about 3m away from the image for maximum immersion. We were not disappointed: despite the Full HD definition limited to only 1920 x 1080 pixels, the image was very pleasant and detailed thanks to the use of a large 0.65″ DMD matrix (compared to 0.47″ matrix usually used in 1080p DLP projection). The colors were rich and natural. 

Tensions were high when Ken Miles (Christian Bale) tried to overtake the last Ferrari in the race.

With Ford v Ferrari, the faces of the actors were detailed with beautiful nuances in the skin tones that were realistic. The close-ups on Ken Miles, played by Christian Bale, were exemplary in this respect. The tension on his face was palpable, accentuated by the wrinkles, the sweat on his forehead and the skin reddened by the heat inside the Ford GT. On the track, the bright red color of the Ferrari contrasted with the sky blue of the Ford.

Rich, nuanced, nicely saturated: the colors delivered by the BenQ X1300i were magnificent!

The BenQ X1300i is HDR 10 compatible and can therefore display 4K HDR images with a much wider range of nuances than a standard 1080p HD projector. It did very well with bright to very bright scenes that have nice nuance and detail. Darker scenes were not quite as spectacular, with blacks being less detailed than we would have liked. The darkest areas were sometimes a little too dark and lacked legibility.

In scenes with dark areas, the blacks were sometimes difficult to read, while the brighter areas benefited from the contribution of HDR and had a lot of nuance.

We made the same observation on the movie Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The daytime scenes were a treat for the eyes with nuanced lights and very rich colors. The night scenes were less exciting, with blacks that often lacked legibility. It should be noted that this film has not benefited from HDR color grading, and this can be perceived when viewing with less nuances on the screen.

In some of the Star Wars scenes, the dark areas also lacked readability.

Streaming on Disney+, animated movies also benefited from the BenQ X1300i’s ability to project vivid, well-saturated colors. It was a treat!

The BenQ X1300i did particularly well with the bright and colorful settings of Pixar animated movies.

Video games

For video games, the BenQ X1300i impressed us with its very low input lag and its bright images with vivid colors that immediately immersed us in the game.

On the Hatsune Miku rhythm game (PS4) in 1080p 60 FPS, the projector managed to keep up and was extremely responsive. The combos followed each other without any latency to disturb the gameplay.

With the BenQ X1300i, the colors were vivid, the contrast quite good and the response time impeccable on the Hatsune Miku rhythm game (PS4).

On Horizon Zero Dawn and Nier: Automata, the visual richness of the worlds was particularly well rendered, with many details and convincing color and light effects.

The rich and colorful universe of Horizon Zero Dawn was well rendered by the BenQ X1300i.

The legibility of night scenes was less convincing, with blacks that were sometimes too dark. We had to try adjusting the luminosity to lighten certain zones of the image.

In night scenes with high contrast, the dark areas were difficult to read.

During fights, the responsiveness was impeccable: the projector displayed the image without lag in relation to the action initiated by the player on the controller.

With the BenQ X1300i, the fight scenes were spectacular thanks to the projectors excellent responsiveness.

Audio section

The BenQ X1300i projector is equipped with two drivers powered by a 2 x 5 watt amplification whose sound output is quite good. It is not enough for the sound to be genuinely immersive, but it is enough to project something at a friend’s house or on vacation. It is when the projector is in front of the spectators that the result is the best, as the drivers are directed towards the audience.

However, the ideal solution is to combine it with a soundbar or an AV receiver with a speaker pack using its HDMI ARC connector or optical audio output.

Operating noise

BenQ announces a noise level of 31 dBA with the lamp in normal mode and 27 dBA in Eco mode, which is a bit optimistic, although the BenQ X1300i is rather quiet. With our sound level meter placed at 50cm from the projector, we were able to read between 36 and 37 dBA in normal mode and about 34 dBA in Eco mode, which is still quite remarkable.

The BenQ X1300i is discreet when the lamp is in Eco mode, with an average of 34 dBA.

It’s a shame that the test conditions forced us to place the projector quite close to the spectators, who could hear the noise of the fans. Again, with a shorter focal length, this slight inconvenience would have been avoided. Note however that the fan noise is quickly forgotten as soon as you become immersed in a movie or a video game.

BenQ X1300i: compared to…

Epson EF-12 Android TV

Marketed at €1099, the Epson EF-12 Android TV projector is a 1080p HD connected model equipped with Android TV. Like the BenQ X1300i, it can access many streaming applications such as Prime Video, Disney+, YouTube, etc. It offers a projection ratio of 1:1 which allows it to project an image whose base is equal to its distance from the screen, for example an image with a base of 1.5m when it is placed at 1.5m from the screen. It is more practical than the BenQ because it can be placed in front of the viewers, on a coffee table for example. It projects a large image and does not diffuse the sound from the rear.

However, the Epson projector does not support video streams with very high frame rates and is not at all intended for video games, its input lag being too high (over 100ms). It is therefore not suitable for gamers but rather for fans of movies and series in streaming or on Blu-ray. In addition, the colorimetry offered by the BenQ X1300i is much richer and livelier, contributing to the realism of the projected images.

Optoma ZH403

Like the BenQ X1300i, the Optoma ZH403 projector is a Full HD 1080p downscaling compatible 4K model with HDR support, priced at €1,299. Brighter than the BenQ, it fares much better in ambient lighting conditions, even if it comes at the cost of color fading and contrast loss.

Although it has a fairly low input lag of about 32ms, the Optoma ZH403 is not cut out for video games like the BenQ and does not support video content above 60 FPS. In addition, its audio system makes do with a single driver.

Epson EH-TW7000

Awarded the 5-star What Hi-Fi? label, the Epson EH-TW7000 projector is a model capable of displaying images in 4K HDR (by interpolation). Unlike the BenQ with its LED lamps, the Epson model features a conventional lamp that is less durable but projects a very nice 4K image with bright colors and a very appreciable contrast. It benefits from a powerful optical zoom as well as a horizontal and vertical lens shift function that allow the projector to be placed freely without degrading the image.

The Epson EH-TW7000 projector has a low input lag of about 21 ms, which qualifies it for video games but only in 1080p/60FPS and 4K/60 FPS as the HDMI 2.0 ports are not compatible with higher refresh rates. It is therefore best to use this projector for home theater or gaming at 60 FPS max.

BenQ X1300i: who is it for?

The BenQ X1300i is aimed at gamers who own one of the latest video game consoles such as the PS5 and Xbox Series X and who prioritize a high frame rate rather than Ultra High Definition to play on a very large screen. It is capable of projecting an image of up to 120 FPS to offer an optimal smoothness with video games. Of course, its very low input lag also works wonders on all games where responsiveness is vital, regardless of the platform.

The BenQ X1300i projector can also appeal to home theater enthusiasts. It allows you to enjoy movies and series on Blu-ray and Blu-ray 4K HDR or from streaming services with a beautiful image quality, offering rich and accurate colors. Its Android interface is a serious asset for easy access to multiple services and applications.

BenQ X1300i: conclusion

With movies and series as well as video games, when projecting at night or in a partially dark room, the BenQ X1300i projector offers excellent image quality. Even in semi-dark conditions, the image remains readable and usable to enjoy TV shows or “bright” video games in very acceptable conditions, provided that you can make do with a less accurate colorimetry (lighter colors) than when projecting in the dark.

In the dark with Cinema mode, the BenQ X1300i benefits from ideal conditions to project a precise image with very accurate colors (here, an extract of the film Ford v Ferrari by James Mangold).

As always with BenQ, the Cinema mode is very well calibrated with natural and well saturated colors. The contrast is quite satisfactory even though it doesn’t achieve the qualities of a Sony SXRD or JVC D-ILA matrix, which are the benchmark models in this field. However, it is easy to become immersed, especially thanks to the color rendering and the finesse of the 1080p HD image. The HDR rendering is convincing in bright scenes, but could be improved in dark areas which often suffer from a lack of nuance and legibility. It’s a shame because overall, the image delivered by the BenQ X1300i is very convincing.

For gamers, this projector offers undeniable advantages, starting with its low input lag, its vibrant colors and its 120 FPS compatibility (which we unfortunately could not test, as we did not have a PS5 or an Xbox Series X on hand).

Among the questionable points is the focal length of the lens, which forces the user to place the projector far enough from the screen, ideally behind the viewers (or above), to obtain a large image. This is problematic if you want to enjoy the audio section as the sound comes from behind the projector. For a projector dedicated to video games, the manufacturer could have chosen a shorter lens in order to ideally place the projector between the screen and the players, on a coffee table for example, while preserving a large image size.

Finally, despite the absence of a color wheel, this BenQ projector still generates some slight rainbow effects that may prove annoying for people who are more sensitive to it, especially in highly contrasted areas of the image (subtitles, for example).

We liked

  • The simple and quick set up
  • The well calibrated colors
  • Android TV
  • The low noise level

We would have liked

  • A shorter focal length to enjoy both a large image and the sound by installing the projector between the viewers and the screen
  • For dark areas to have been more legible in HDR
  • A longer power cable


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