BenQ PB6110 DLP Projector review: BenQ PB6110 DLP Projector

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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Remarkable combination of brightness and contrast; rich, uniform image; extremely dark blacks; three-year warranty; includes bag.

The Bad Hard-to-adjust focus ring; loud two-fan exhaust; slow to cool down; lacks external volume control; high maintenance cost; remote control buttons are hard to use.

The Bottom Line When brightness and contrast count for everything, BenQ's PB6110 puts it all onscreen at a great price.

8.0 Overall
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Performance 8.0
  • Service and support 8.0

BenQ PB6110

With an unbeatable combination of brightness and contrast, BenQ's PB6110 leaves other projectors wanting and does it at a bargain price. It's also easy to start up, delivers a brilliant image, and comes with a three-year warranty. On the downside, this business projector creates quite a ruckus and takes a while to cool down. Still, it's an impressive piece of presentation technology for $900.

At 4.1 by 10.2 by 8.4 inches the PB6110's size is comparable to other projectors in its class, but its distinctive blue, black, and silver design makes competing InFocus X2 look positively old-fashioned. For the business projector class, the PB6110 is lightweight--only the Hitachi CP-RS55 weighs less--with a travel weight of 7.3 pounds. Based on Texas Instruments' latest 0.55-inch DLP optical engine, the PB6110 has a 1.2X zoom lens and can fill a screen that's anywhere from 20 inches to 20 feet away.

The PB6110 works well with both traditional 4:3 and wide-screen 16:9 input and has a good assortment of connectors, including VGA in and out, audio, and composite and S-Video. Unlike its peers in the budget class, it comes with AC cords for use within the United States, the European Union, and the United Kingdom, in addition to all of the video and audio cables needed to connect to a laptop or a DVD player. The built-in 1-watt speaker is usable but isn't very loud and has poor sound quality, and you'll need to dig into the menu to adjust the volume.

To its credit, the PB6110 has one of the simplest control panels of any projector. There are four small buttons and one four-way switch; only the Dell MP110's controls are more basic. But adjusting the PB6110's picture can be difficult; the focus ring and the zoom control are awkwardly recessed half an inch. The business-card-size remote control is tiny but can move PowerPoint slides forward and back as well as blank the screen. On the downside, the remote lacks a laser pointer and a volume control, and the buttons feel stiff and unresponsive. From a cold start, the projector takes 36 seconds to get ready for business; despite its pair of noisy cooling fans, it takes nearly 2 minutes to cool down and shut off.

All of these minor flaws are more than made up for by the PB6110's top-notch performance; it has a brightness rating of 1,610 lumens and a superior contrast ratio of 764:1. The PB6110 leaks a fair amount of blue light out the back--think of it as a built-in reading lamp for your notes. The projector has four preset modes: Presentation; Vivid, for gaming; Video; and Economic, which lowers the brightness. We found that the Presentation setting produced the crispest, sharpest, and brightest image and worked equally well for movies and gaming. The PB6110 handles reds extremely well, but we found that blues looked greenish, and greens took on a yellowish tint. The lamp is easy to change (a replacement costs $400), and it's a good thing, because the lamp is rated for only 2,000 hours (500 hours less than other budget projectors). And its operating cost is a high 20 cents per hour. Unfortunately, you have to manually reset the projector's lamp timer--an annoying extra step, especially because most other projectors' lamp timers automatically reset.

In addition to a printed manual and setup sheet, the projector comes with an electronic version of the manual on CD. BenQ provides an excellent three-year warranty that includes a replacement unit during the first year (if necessary), though the warranty is void if you use the projector for more than 2,920 hours in any year. Like the others, the lamp assembly is covered for only 90 days or 500 hours of use. BenQ's Web site offers manuals, a knowledge base of known issues, a few general FAQs, and an e-mail link. For more-personal support, BenQ offers a 24-hour, toll-free help-desk phone line for the life of the product.

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