BenQ TH690ST: a gaming projector suitable for home theater!


Mis à jour le 10 March 2023.

BenQ TH690ST: a gaming projector suitable for home theater!
The BenQ TH690ST projector is part of the manufacturer’s Gaming Projector Series. Optimized for video games, it has a low input lag and high brightness.

The BenQ TH690ST is a versatile 1080p HD projector suitable for movies/series, sports and video games. Its short throw allows you to project an image measuring 1.5 to 3m across when placed at 90cm and 2.2m from the screen. With a low input lag (8.3ms), a brightness of 2,300 lumens, HDMI 4K 60Hz compatibility and an optimized gaming mode, the BenQ TH690ST is the ideal companion for a video game console. Its USB port can also be used to power a Chromecast Ultra, allowing the BenQ TH690ST to become an Android TV projector!

Available for €1,290, the BenQ TH690ST seems to suggest that Full HD projection has not yet reached the end of the road…

BenQ TH690ST: packaging & accessories

BenQ TH690ST: packaging
Delivered in a large cardboard box in which it is well protected, the BenQ TH690ST comes with a remote control and batteries as well as a power cable.

The BenQ TH690ST comes with a compact remote control and batteries, as well as a power cable (1.8m). Also included are a quick start guide and a safety leaflet. All of these elements are delivered inside a large cardboard box filled with thick blocks of packing foam. Like the manufacturer’s other projectors, this model’s remote control doesn’t have backlighting.

BenQ TH690ST: remote control
Compact and lightweight, the BenQ TH690ST’s remote control fits nicely in your hand and is quite intuitive to use. It is a shame, however, that it doesn’t have backlighting.

BenQ TH690ST: presentation

The BenQ TH690ST projector is part of the manufacturer’s Gaming Projector Series. Optimized for video games, it has a low input lag and high peak brightness. It also features a dedicated game mode to improve smoothness and responsiveness.

BenQ TH690ST: designed for video games
The BenQ TH690ST’s affiliation with the manufacturer’s range of gaming projectors is evident. This is reflected by the two-tone black and white design with the red orange border that can also be found on the BenQ X3000i.

It is one of the few HD 1080p projectors still available in BenQ’s catalog. However, it is 4K 60Hz (1080p upscaling) and HDR compatible via its HDMI ports. Note that the BenQ TH690ST isn’t a connected model. To enjoy streaming services and TV channels through the internet, you must first connect the projector to your set-top box or a network media player.

BenQ TH690ST: connectors
The BenQ TH690ST’s connectors include two 4K 60Hz and 1080p 120Hz compatible HDMI ports that support HDR. Unfortunately, there isn’t an HDMI ARC feature.

Short throw

This BenQ projector is equipped with a short throw lens, which positions it somewhere in between an ultra-short throw projector that is placed at the foot of the screen, and a classic projector that is installed at the back of the room. Consequently, the BenQ TH690ST can be installed on a coffee table in between the viewers and the projection screen. Placed at a distance between 90cm and 2.2m from the screen, it can project an image measuring 1.5m to 3m across. Note that the zoom and focus must be adjusted manually using two notched thumbwheels.

BenQ TH690ST: short throw
The BenQ TH690ST projector doesn’t need to be placed very far away from the screen to project a large image. We installed it 1.6m away from the screen to achieve a 2.5m image (100”).

Low input lag

One of the BenQ TH690ST’s strengths highlighted by the manufacturer is its low input lag. This characteristic makes this projector ideal for gamers, who can enjoy a very large image that is both smooth and very responsive. BenQ announces an input lag of 16.7ms in 1080p definition at 60Hz, 33.4ms in 4K at 60Hz (1080p upscaling) and only 8.3ms in 1080p at 120Hz. This allows you to connect the BenQ TH690ST to any video game console or PC equipped with an HDMI output delivering a signal from 60Hz to 120Hz.

BenQ TH690ST: ideal with a video game console
Thanks to its low latency as well as its 4K 60Hz and 1080p 120Hz compatibility, the BenQ TH690ST is the perfect companion for video game consoles and gaming PCs.

Long-lasting LED lamp

The BenQ TH690ST features a 4LED lamp and reaches a peak brightness of 2,300 lumens. The picture is bright and remains contrasted, even when the room isn’t dark.

BenQ TH690ST: responsiveness and low input lag
The BenQ TH690ST’s LED light sources allows it to reach a peak brightness of 2,300 lumens to project images during the day without having to make the room dark.

The other benefit of using a LED light source is how long it lasts. BenQ announces a lifespan of 30,000 hours in eco mode and 20,000 in normal mode. Lastly, the LEDs allow the projector to be turned on and off quickly, without the need for long warm-up and cool-down periods.

BenQ TH690ST: LED lamp
The BenQ TH690ST’s LED lamp has an impressive lifespan that can reach 30,000 hours.

Rich and realistic colors

One of the pleasant surprises that the BenQ TH690ST had in store for us was the excellent colorimetric accuracy. With almost complete coverage of the Rec.709 color space (98%) and 84% of DCI-P3 supported, the colors were very precise. In cinema picture mode, the best calibrated mode, you will enjoy realistic and ideally saturated colors, without any noticeable drift towards one of the three primary colors.

Stereo sound

The audio section of the BenQ TH690ST was designed by TreVolo, another brand from the BenQ group specialized in the development of small, high-performance drivers. Consequently, this projector is equipped with two 1.6” models whose surround allows for a high excursion. Powered by a 2 x 5 watt amplifier, they produce a very energetic sound.

BenQ TH690ST: stereo drivers
The audio section of the BenQ TH690ST was designed by TreVolo, another brand from the BenQ group specialized in the development of small, high-performance drivers. Its two 1.6” drivers are powered by a 2 x 5 watt amplifier and produce a very energetic sound.

BenQ TH690ST: key specifications

  • Projection technology: DLP
  • Definition: HD 1080p (4K 60Hz compatible)
  • Brightness: 3,200 lumens
  • Lamp: 4 LEDs (20,000 hours)
  • Input lag: 8.3ms (1080p @ 120Hz)
  • Recommended image size (diagonal): 1.5m (60”) to 3m (120”)
  • Recommended projection distance (min/max): 90cm / 2.2m
  • Stereo sound, optical output & mini-jack
  • 2 HDMI ports
  • 1 powered USB port (2.5A)
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 366 x 244 x 118mm
  • Weight: 3.6kg

BenQ TH690ST: configuration

We tested the BenQ TH690ST projector with a Lumene Majestic HD 240C motorized projection screen to achieve an image that was 2.5m (100”) across. The projector was installed on a piece of furniture that was placed about 1.6m from the screen. Note that it is possible to install this projector on the ceiling. Its settings menus let you flip the image 108° and invert the stereo of the drivers. If you wish to mount the projector on the ceiling, you will have to use a projector bracket, such as the NorStone Proje-S, for example. 

We connected the projector to a Pioneer UDP-LX500 4K Blu-ray player and a PlayStation 4 using an Audioquest Cinnamon HDMI cable. We also connected a Google Chromecast Ultra to access various streaming services.

BenQ TH690ST and Chromecast Ultra
By connecting a Chromecast Ultra to one of the BenQ TH690ST’s HDMI ports, we were able to wirelessly stream series from different streaming services using a smartphone.

The BenQ TH690ST is quick and easy to install. First, it is important to place it at the correct distance from the screen depending on the size of the image you want to project.

Because its offset is close to 100%, this projector can be placed almost on the same horizontal axis as the bottom of the screen. This means that if you install it upside down on the ceiling, you will have to position it on the same horizontal axis as the top of the image.

Don’t panic if you have to move the projector: the height of the three feet can be adjusted to modify the projection angle and make the image level. The keystone correction allows you to reset the image geometry.

BenQ TH690ST: height-adjustable feet
The BenQ TH690ST is mounted on three height-adjustable feet that allow you to make the image level and adjust the projection angle if necessary.

BenQ TH690ST: our impressions

Movies and series

As is often the case with BenQ, the cinema mode was well calibrated out of the box, allowing us to enjoy movies in excellent conditions, as long as the room was at least partially dark. When this was the case, the contrast was much better and the colors were vivid. 

With the first installment of Indiana Jones adventures on 4K HDR10 Blu-ray, the hues were nicely saturated. Reds were vivid and crisp, greens were natural and skin tones were realistic. The downscaling was effective and offered a sharp, precise 1080p image. The management of the dynamic range with HDR content was satisfactory.

  • Test BenQ TH690ST - Indiana Jones 4K HDR10

The contrast and brightness offered by this projector ensured a nuanced picture, in both the dark and light zones. Whether it was in the university’s halls where Professor Jones was teaching or in the desert, we enjoyed excellent image quality. 

The same can be said for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power series we streamed from Prime Video using the Chromecast Ultra. The projector perfectly captured the beauty of the landscapes and the excellent costumes. We almost forgot that it was projected in 1080p HD and not 4K.

BenQ TH690ST: The Rings of Power on Prime Video
On a large, 2.5m screen, the BenQ TH690ST completely immersed us in the movies and series we watched with a bright, contrasted image and very realistic colors.

With Disney’s Snow White on Blu-ray, the BenQ TH690ST’s colorimetric richness did wonders and really showcased the work of the colorists. The hues were both flamboyant (the queen’s clothing) and very subtle (the ocher tones of the castle walls, the leather of the queen’s witchcraft books). We took great joy in rediscovering the artists’ work, particularly the backgrounds.

However, it is a shame that this projector can’t reduce the jerkiness of tracking shots due to the lack of image interpolation technology. It does spoil the experience somewhat.

Video games

When switching to a gaming session, we enjoyed smoothness and responsiveness. There was no noticeable latency in game mode. Actions were triggered on the screen at the exact moment we pressed the buttons on the controller. On a rhythm game like Hatsune Miku (PS4) in 1080p 60Hz, the BenQ TH690ST was extremely responsive. We did combos without any lag and enjoyed a very smooth gameplay. The same goes for God of War and Soul Calibur: there were no timing problems during attacks and dodges. 

BenQ TH690ST: gaming during the day
Not only was the BenQ TH690ST very responsive with rhythm games, its high brightness also allowed us to play video games during the day without having to draw the curtains to make the room dark!

Another of this projector’s assets was its high brightness, which allowed us to play video games in good conditions without necessarily having to make the room dark. Naturally, the contrast and legibility was better with less ambient lighting. This can be crucial to flush out an enemy lurking in the shadows, search for items or find secret passages.

Operating noise

Regarding the noise of the projector, if you set the lamp to Eco mode, the cinema mode is discreet with an average of 33 dB measured at 1m behind the projector. In bright game mode, it only reaches 34 dB. But when the lamp is in Normal mode, the noise level is well over 36 or even 37 dB. This can be distracting during quiet scenes in movies. Note, however, that the operating noise is covered by the projector’s drivers during action scenes.

Audio section

As for sound, the audio section of the BenQ TH690ST projector proved to be very energetic. It delivered the soundtracks of video games and movies with clarity. The stereo effects were pronounced, effectively highlighting the action on the screen. Despite the absence of a dedicated low-frequency driver, the sound remained balanced and impactful.

That said, it is a pity that you can’t connect a subwoofer to this projector to bolster the drivers and add more texture to the sound effects. The lack of support for an audio return channel on HDMI (ARC) is also disappointing. However, it is possible to use the optical and mini-jack (fixed level) outputs of the projector to connect a soundbar or an amp.

BenQ TH690ST: compared to…


LG HU70LS: DLP LED UHD 4K projector
Not as bright as the BenQ projector, the LG HU70LS requires darkness to project a sufficiently strong contrast. It then delivers richer and more nuanced colors thanks to its wider colorimetric coverage.

The LG HU70LS offers slightly richer and more saturated colors than the BenQ model. The LG projector is also better regarding image smoothness with movies and series (TruMotion) as well as definition, as it can project UHD 4K images (XPR technology). Its webOS interface provides access to the main streaming services (Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video…), while the BenQ TH690ST isn’t a connected projector. 

However, the lower brightness of the LG projector means that it has to be used in a dark environment to offer a satisfactory image quality. With its 2,300 lumens, BenQ’s projector takes the upper hand and is comfortable projecting movies and video games during the day, even with the curtains open. The BenQ TH690ST also comes out on top regarding gaming, with better responsiveness, and audio thanks to a clearer and more energetic sound.

Epson EH-TW 7100

Epson EH-TW7100: 3LCD projector
The Epson EH-TW7100 projector projects a brighter and more contrasted image than the BenQ. On the other hand, the colors offered by the latter are more intense.

The Epson EH-TW7100 is very easy to install thanks to its zoom and lens shift. Brighter due to its powerful lamp (3000 lumens), it also provides better contrast than the BenQ. However, the colors seem a little less saturated and less intense on the screen. 

In terms of definition and sharpness, the BenQ TH690ST made a very good impression on us and does not lose out to the Epson projector. Despite its 4K Pro-UHD technology that moves each pixel diagonally to double the Full HD resolution of its array, the latter does not seem to offer much more precision. 

Lastly, Epson’s model is perfect for video games with a good responsiveness thanks to an input lag ranging between 20 and 30 ms depending on the definition of the video stream. Its stereo audio section is as powerful as that of the BenQ, but the stereo is more pronounced with the latter.

BenQ TH690ST: who is it for?

The BenQ TH690ST projector is perfect for playing video games during the day in a brightly lit room. Bright, high contrast, responsive and with an efficient audio section, it connects to all gaming consoles and PCs via HDMI for gaming at up to 120 fps. Once you’ve finished your gaming session, it offers a beautiful cinematographic image as well as vivid, natural colors with movies and series.

BenQ TH690ST: conclusion

Presented as a gaming projector by the manufacturer, the BenQ TH690ST is also great for movies and series. Its high brightness makes it easy to project during the day, with enough contrast to fully appreciate video game graphics and the atmosphere in movies. In the dark, the colors are even richer and the contrast is excellent, with a nice cinematographic image when using the cinema mode. 

The audio section is also impressive with its great energy and convincing stereo.

BenQ TH690ST: a versatile projector for gaming and home theater
Smooth and responsive on video games in 4K up to 60Hz and 1080p up to 120Hz, the BenQ TH690ST projector also offers great colors with movies and series. This versatile projector will appeal to gamers who like to alternate between gaming and home theater sessions.

We liked

  • The quick installation
  • The rich and precise colors
  • The responsiveness with video games
  • The energetic sound and stereo spatialization

We would have liked

  • Smoother tracking shots
  • Backlighting on the remote control
  • For the projector to have been quieter in normal mode
  • HDMI ARC/eARC compatibility

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Après plusieurs années passées dans la vente de produits high-tech d'occasion avant de rejoindre l'équipe de Son-Vidé en 2007, je ne compte plus les amplis, enceintes, casques, TV, vidéoprojecteurs et autres baladeurs qui sont passés entre mes mains... Je suis toujours curieux de découvrir de nouveaux produits et de partager cette passion pour la hi-fi et le home-cinéma.

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