Among The Smallest
The market isn’t too rich in projectors which would fit in a “mini” category. Other than Samsung SP-P400B, you can hardly buy any other projector this compact in size. BenQ took us by surprise when they presented one of the smallest projectors on the market, cutely named Joybee GP1, whose dimensions measure 136x54x120 mm, which is smaller even than the mentioned Samsung model.
Upon opening the packaging, we found the projector cradled in a small black linen bag, which serves to protect it while on the move. The power adapter and necessary cables are all there. We will immediately make a negative remark about the length of the A/V cable, which is very short. Establishing a connection with any PC will, therefore, be rather difficult, since it may be problematic to set up the projector in the desired position (unless, of course, you relocate the entire PC case). To make things worse, you can’t use just any cable, because the default one connects to the projector via a 30-pin CEA cable, reminiscent of the iPod connectors. The remote is also present, but it’s rather small, with no backlight and a somewhat strange button arrangement.
The design of this small guy is very attractive. The casing is a combination of black and white with a piano gloss finish. The top side of the device houses control and power buttons, the latter of which has a blue backlight, further increasing the visual attractiveness of the device. The lens has no protective cover, but it’s installed well inside the casing, which should minimise the chances of it getting damaged. Instead of the standard focus adjustment ring, the GP1 uses the mechanism used mostly for optical zoom on other projectors. On this model, the mechanism is not precise enough, because the steps are too small and sensitive; therefore, a firm hand will be required to set the focus exactly as you want it.
Functions and Characteristics
Besides the aforementioned thin cable connector which contains D-sub, composite RCA and audio RCA connectors, the feature that makes this particular model stand out is the presence of a USB connector. If you plug a flash disk or portable HDD in, a multimedia playback menu will spring up, turning BenQ GP1 into a small portable media player. The software supports image (JPEG, TIFF, BMP, GIF), audio (MPEG-1 Layer 2, PCM) and video (MPEG-1, MJPEG) reproduction. The manufacturer recommends the supplied ArcSoft MediaConverter software to convert files into supported formats. BenQ GP1 isn’t using classic lamps as its source of light, but rather LED backlighting. The company calls this technology “3LED” and it uses RGB LED as the light source. The good side of this technology is that light will not fade or weaken in time, like normal lamps do, but the flaw is that LED isn’t capable of providing the same light intensity as a lamp. The projector is based on the DLP technology, the basic resolution of the projector is 858x600, with a contrast ratio of 2000:1. Light intensity is 100 ANSI lumens, and the projected image can have a diagonal span of 0.38 to 2.03 meters.
As far as menu functions are concerned, the GP1 is only equipped with the most basic ones. Among the included are: auto keystone correction, colour setup for the projection surface and a few predefined display modes (Brightest, PC, Movie, Photo, User).
We have to admit that, having its dimensions in mind, we expected sub-par image quality of this projector. However, BenQ GP1 surprised us a little. Very good lighting, especially with regard to its dimensions, a solid colour display and black colour uniformity are qualities that are certainly in favour of this model. When used in a dark room, the overall brightness is very good, although it degrades when even a little backlight is present. The reason for this is the mere 100 ANSI lumens this projector can deliver, but, as it belongs to the class of mini-projectors, we won’t take that as a major drawback.
|BenQ Joybee GP1|
|Dimensions||136 x 54 x 120 mm|
|Resolution||858 x 600 pix|
|Inputs||D-Sub, RCA Video, RCA Audio|
BenQ Joybee is a unique projector on the market, mostly because of the implemented USB reader, which will enable you to watch images or video anywhere and anytime (with acceptable light conditions). If its compactness and media player features seem attractive to you, look no further. BenQ GP1 will fit into your life perfectly.