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BenQ EX800ST Projector


The pandemic has truly changed our relationship with electronic devices. What once used to be luxury items only owned by the well do, have suddenly become must-have tools for everyone, from school and college students engaged in remote learning, to working professionals stuck at home, and even the average family member who doesn’t have the luxury to go to the theatre to watch a nice movie.

All these people, and more, suddenly require their own personal computing devices that can not only handle all sorts of digital tasks, from homework to remote meetings, and even video games. But must also have the potential to transform into entertainment systems if and when the need strikes.

Unfortunately, such reliance on electronics comes with its own problems, ranging from medical issues like eye strain from watching a small screen all day to neck strain from bending and twisting your neck down to see the screens, or even shoulder and elbow pain, from holding up their movie devices for hours of end during boring web sessions. Some people can even start to develop hearing loss, from wearing headphones all day long as part of this new lifestyle.

Thankfully for us, companies like Benq have been hard at work, trying to present viable solutions to address these problems, without breaking your bank on custom work and/or study setups for every single person. One such exciting yet somewhat overlooked suggestion is the EX800ST Wireless Smart Projector from BenQ, which was initially designed for business applications, but these days has been thriving as a work-from-home all-in-one setup. Let us take a deeper look at this projector, to see how it can help you elevate your own experience.

Design & Build Quality

On the surface, this model looks like any other run-of-the-mill projector. It features a simple design, with the lens array at the front, IO at the back, and big ventilation grills on either side. The control buttons are featured on the top of the projector, as it is meant to be a table-mounted short-throw system.

The design was purposely selected to be this simple, in order to easily blend in with most home and/or office environments. It even comes with a fingerprint-proof texturized outer casing that is meant to keep it clean even under heavy use.

The design is finished off by the addition of two adjustable feet in the front, along with a third retractable foot in the middle that helps adjust the vertical throw. Since this is a short throw system, you can only get the ability to adjust the vertical keystone with it, but that isn’t that much of a problem since it offers a wide range of adjustability at ± 30 degrees. This is more than enough for most work and/or study rooms.

The whole setup fits in a nice compact size that isn’t that much bigger than a receiver for a home theatre system. You can just place it at the right distance for your use and pretty much forget about it.

 

Image Quality & Display Features

The internals of this system are almost as robust as the externals. You get a nice 200W lamp that offers up to 3300 lumens of brightness. It is supported by a high-quality all-glass array that is meant to minimize chromatic aberration and ensure long-term image quality, while also delivering brilliant clarity.

What this translates to is a WXGA native resolution of 1024×768, in a 4:3 aspect ratio to match the dimensions of most commercial and residential walls. You get support for up to 1080p content at 60Hz, but there is a significant 34ms lag that you have to contend with. The color reproduction is pretty spot on though, with a 20,000:1 contrast ratio and 30-bit color support.

All these figures are supported in a variety of projection sizes, ranging from 70 to 120 inches, with the option to get a focused 120-inch image from as close as 125cm. You can manually tune the focus at various projection sizes to get the best look for you.

Benq further uses DLP technology to prevent color decay, and ensure that the images remain crisp and vivid for years to come. It does so with the help of a 0.55” big ECD DMD, as well as different display modes.

These display modes are exclusive to BenQ Smart Projectors and use special software tweaks to ensure that you get the best quality image no matter what the operating conditions are in the room your stick this system in. One such amazing display feature is BenQ’s Wall Color Correction that allows the Smart Projectors to adapt to non-white surfaces. This helps projected images achieve proper hue and coloration even when displayed on walls that aren’t the ideal color.

Another feature is their Infographic Mode, which showcases detailed graphics and text with high brightness and superior color gradation. This is great for students and working professionals alike, who have to stare at text files and documents all day long. You can always fine-tune the system settings to get the best image quality without the help of such softwares’, but just the fact that the company has built them into the system already shows their dedication towards their customers.

Another thing that gives life to this belief is the inclusion of a dust sensor inside the body. The sensor is meant to disrupt dust accumulation and lower overall maintenance costs by alerting you to any issues with the image sensor itself. You don’t have to worry much about maintenance anyway, since the lamp has a minimum usable lifespan of at least 5000 hours, with the option for users to switch to special lamp-saving modes that can extend this life up as much as 15000 hours.

This whole setup can be powered by a regular 110V connection, with around 280W of average power consumption. This means that all the connectivity and image rendering features only sip a healthy 80W of power, while the lamp does the heavy lifting at 200W. 

IO & Connectivity Options

So far, all the features we talked about have been standard fare for most digital projectors. Even the IO isn’t that much different from what you would expect from a system at this price range. You get 2 USB Type-A ports, 1 Mini USB Type-B port, 1 HDMI port, 1 LAN Port, D-Sub 15-Pin Monitor Out as well as PC-In ports, as well as Audio-In and Audio-Out via a 3.5mm jack.

Wireless connectivity is handled via Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4G/5G), which is augmented to smart connectivity, thanks to the presence of an Android 6.0 interface, as well as Google Cast. This means you can easily connect any number of devices to this system, whether through wired or wireless means. BenQ is pretty proud of its driver-free wireless projection system, which lets users mirror the screens of devices connected to the same network as the projector.

This feature supports many OSes and device types thanks to built-in Google Cast. It is also compatible with mobile devices which meet WPA2 standards, thus guaranteeing information security by safeguarding against data theft during data transmission. Even the USB connectivity feature supports a wide range of file formats, including JPEG, PDF, Microsoft documents, and more.

But what truly separates this system from other digital projectors in the market, is the presence of an in-built AMS (Account Management Service). This system can sync with popular cloud storage services like Google Drive, OneDrive, and Dropbox, from just one AMS account, and let you manage all your data and materials from a single screen. This means you don’t even need a laptop to get the best out of this setup. All you need is an active internet connection, and you can access all sorts of files, whether from your simple home server or an office’s dedicated one.

This feature alone is a boon for office workers, who can now share files with each other on important business meetings, without worrying about sending them back and forth through cluttered email chains. Thanks to the presence of an in-built WPS software suite, these files can easily be manipulated through the projector interface itself, without even connecting a mobile or a computer. All you really need is a mouse and keyboard, and the projector itself acts like a mini-computer, thanks to the inclusion of Firefox browser along with this office suite.

All of these features have been designed to give you complete autonomy over your work experience, which is vital to have when you need to consistently execute flawless school/work meetings from home. Such is the reality of the post-pandemic world, where more and more organizations have started to accept remote work/learning as the new norm.

Benq understands these needs, which is why they are going the extra mile to ensure that this projector can act as an all-in-one conference call set up for their users. This intent can be easily ascertained, thanks to the inclusion of the TeamViewer video conferencing app into the system software, which can work with the in-built Wi-Fi connection to instantly start/join all sorts of important online meetings/classes.

The presence of this software, along with the office suite, and cloud connectivity, ensures that users can connect to remote meetings, access and work on important documents, as well as share their experience and information with others, without having to purchase separate computing devices for all members of the family.

This is the ultimate goal of this work projector, which was essentially designed to bridge the gap between a reliable workstation and a bona fide home entertainment setup. It addresses all the issues related to the modern work-from-home lifestyle and gives you complete control over your digital experience while projecting it all on a massive display that is unlike any other you might experience in your general day-to-day office/school life. The fact that you can get all this and more for just around AED 3500, makes this offering that much more incredible.


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