BenQ W600: Low-cost gaming and entertainment projector

If you're a gamer with the desire to shed blood on a 100-inch or larger screen, BenQ's budget 720p projector will allow you to paint some death and destruction on your walls

Projectors aren't for everyone: they take a certain size room and very specific lighting conditions to really work properly. The gigantic HD image is worth the effort though, and for far less money than an equivalent-sized TV. The BenQ W600 costs around £500 if you shop around, and will throw an image of up to 300 inches, in theory. Gamers rejoice: this is a dream come true.

Although the BenQ only has a resolution of 1,280x720 pixels, that's probably more than enough for most people, especially if you don't get too ambitious with the image size you're going for. Because it's a DLP projector, you'll get a sharp image, with some pretty decent colours.

Although the output resolution is limited to 720p, the projector can handle inputs of up to 1,600x1,200 pixels, which it will scale to its native resolution. As you'd expect, the W600 has the usual keystone and colour adjustments to get it setup for your room. You can even tell it what colour your wall is, to correct for off-white projecting surfaces.

To make it attractive to as many people as possible, BenQ has included a pair of HDMI sockets, VGA for a PC and both composite and component video inputs. That's enough for a couple of consoles and another HD source -- perhaps Virgin HD or Sky+ HD . If you're prepared to sit in a semi-darkened room, this projector could certainly be an impressive gaming screen. There's also a built-in speaker, but you'd never want to use it for anything serious -- it has a power output of 2W and is unlikely to be of much use to anyone.

Although its lack of 1080p output won't help sell the W600 to serious home-cinema enthusiasts, its price makes it attractive to people who want a whole lot of screen for their money. As with most projectors though, you need to be aware of the lamp-replacement pitfall. BenQ says the lamp will last around 2,500 hours of normal use, or 4,000 hours in economy mode. After that, you'll need to spend £120 on a new lamp. All of this points to this being ideal for the occasional gaming night with friends rather than everyday use.

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