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BenQ Joybee GP1 review: BenQ Joybee GP1

The BenQ Joybee GP1 is a small and impressive LED pico-projector, but you'll pay handsomely for the "wow" factor.

Nic Tatham
4 min read

Just like the first computers, early domestic projectors virtually needed an entire room simply to house the necessary hardware. But in a world of miniaturisation, even projectors have succumbed to the inevitable technological shrinking process. So-called pico-projectors, like this, the BenQ Joybee GP1, will sit in the palm of your hand and produce images of a size and quality that well and truly belies their serious compactness.


BenQ Joybee GP1

The Good

Small projector, big picture. Lots of "wow factor". Portability.

The Bad

Bulky power accessories. Fiddly controls. A bit pricey.

The Bottom Line

The BenQ Joybee GP1 is a small and impressive LED pico-projector, but you'll pay handsomely for the "wow" factor.

Design and features

Small it may be, but on paper at least, the GP1 punches well above its diminutive physical weight (640g) and dimensions (136mm wide by 120mm deep by 57mm tall). Admittedly, it doesn't have the sort of specs you'll get from a full-sized home cinema projector, but they’re still not bad, all things considered. The projector is DLP-based with a PhlatLight LED chipset designed to cater for such micro-display optics. It features an SVGA resolution at 858x600 pixels, which means it’s effectively "HD-ready" and will handle up to 720p and 1080i content.

Other specs to consider include a quite reasonable stated contrast ratio of 2000:1, but light output isn’t all that bright sounding at just 100 ANSI lumens. The screen aspect ratio’s selectable between 4:3 and widescreen 16:9, while the projected image size varies from a bedroom wall-friendly 15 inches, to a screen-filling 80 inches, or 203cm for the metrically minded. For one so small, that’s a pretty big picture.

Portability and projecting your images anywhere you please is what the Joybee GP1 is all about. Plug in your personal media device, laptop computer, gaming console of choice and view your video, photos, music videos, PowerPoint presentations or shoot-em ups, where and when you fancy. BenQ has even managed to squeeze a tiny speaker system into the GP1, so no other AV hardware is essentially necessary to see and hear it in action.

Unfortunately, the accompanying power pack and leads prove a bit of a ball and chain; they’re almost as big as the projector itself and there’s no other way to power the GP1. Batteries are getting pretty good these days but not to the point that a device like this could be sustainable and cost-effectively powered under DC steam.

Connections are minimal but sufficient, with PC or component video inputs via a 15-pin D-sub serial port, while a supplied lead provides composite video and stereo audio connection. There’s also a single USB port input.

Finally, there’s a credit-card-sized remote and a disc of software provided which includes the user manual and licensed version of ArcSoft’s MediaConveter 3.0.


First, we hooked the GP1 up to a Dell Inspiron laptop and projected the Windows XP image on to a 16:9, 96-inch LP Morgan screen. True to its specs we had an 80-inch picture in no time and with a bit of manual focus adjustment and delving into the controls, our wallpapered desktop was looking very big and pretty good. Don’t expect the sort of brightness you’d get from a dedicated data or home theatre projector though — even in "Brightest" mode it’s still a lot dimmer than the full-grown variety. That said, with the lights down in a very dark room, it’s perfectly watchable, but the merest hint of daylight or otherwise quickly robs any semblance of image brightness.

It does colours well enough, which are quite vibrant and natural in appearance, much like we’ve seen from other BenQ DLPs in the past and although at this sort of resolution image detail isn’t exactly razor-sharp, edge definition and the overall contrast levels are pretty tight and well defined. There’s not much point in going into any great picture quality descriptive, saying how well it reproduces black depths or how smoothly it handles frame interpolation — those gamers or business people the GP1 is aimed at are not going to be concerned with such specific details.

Suffice to say, the GP1 will look pretty impressive with whatever WarCraft we’re up to, or the company’s annual market share sales pie charts.

Like any projection device, the better the source, the better this BenQ looks, but you can only take it so far. This isn’t a home theatre big screen projector — it doesn’t have the resolution, brightness nor connection flexibility to do this job properly. Fed with 1080i DVD content, the GP1 looked its best and we had no problem sitting back and enjoying a whole film or two.

Although hardly a great gaming fanatic, this CNET reviewer popped down the road to a PS3-owning neighbour, where he and especially his kids, were blown away as we took sides during a heated fixture of Pro Evolution Soccer on the living room wall next to the family’s 40-inch LCD TV. Double the size of the TV’s picture, and although not nearly as detailed or well resolved, size in this case counted for everything. Eventually leaving the kids without the Joybee GP1 felt like visibly kidnapping the family’s pet dog.


Front projection doesn’t come much smaller or impressive for the time being than this. But, at just shy of AU$1000, it’s an expensive little source of throwing light and much better quality projected pictures can be had for the same money from a full-sized unit. But, if you fancy an impromptu neighbourly stab at world domination or need to get your business message across in a dark corner of the Qantas Lounge, whip out a Joybee GP1 and let ‘em have it...