In the days between the death of CRTs and the rise of flatscreens, it seemed like projectors were the future of big-screen entertainment. Now that TVs are affordably available in sizes of 65-inches and above, though, projectors have only become more niche. In fact, they've had to adapt, shift and take on a more utilitarian role. The BenQ SP890 is an example of this "one-size-fits-all" methodology, and it incorporates both business and cinema-friendly features. But is it putting its eggs in too many baskets?
The BenQ is a large projector by home cinema standards, and it rivals many home cinema receivers with its height of 156mm, depth of 345mm and width of 428mm. Like a receiver, it's also quite heavy at 7.2kg.
The projector is solidly built, and the lens has sturdy manual controls, although the silver plastic hood looks quite cheap. The model comes with a series of buttons on the top of the unit, which cover most of the main functions. As with most projectors, the rear of the unit includes all of the relevant connections.
The SP890 is a full 1080p projector, which features a DLP system with a six-segment colour wheel. While most companies are overly generous with their contrast ratio calculations — read: "outrageous lies" — we're a little nonplussed by BenQ's claims of 50,000-to-1! Particularly when the rating is taken from "full-off to full-on", as switching on and off really quickly during use is not a feature of this projector. It does include a "dynamic iris", though, in the form of VIDI Lighting Technology, and a high 4000 Lumens brightness.
The projector offers a mechanical vertical and horizontal lens shift, and has a relatively short 1.5x throw capable of producing a 500-inch image.
Belying its schizophrenic nature, the BenQ features both a laser pointer remote perfect for PowerPoint presentations, and HQV (Hollywood Quality Video) projection image processing suited for home cinema. BenQ pitches this projector as a "large venue" model, which can also be used in a home theatre, but some of the features, such as Ethernet control, will probably go to waste in most home set-ups.
The projector's fan is rated at 33dB in normal mode, and we didn't find the noise distracting during normal use.