BenQ TH685: Ginormous picture specialised for gaming

Generally, a specialised software is required. Perhaps that Swiss Military knife has gotten you out of some jams, but it surely lacks helpful issues like a hammer or a belt sander. Most house theater projectors are generalist instruments as properly, equally adept at quite a lot of content material. BenQ TH685 is just not a Swiss Military knife. It is a hammer. With low enter lag and an enormous, shiny picture, that is the form of show avid gamers can use to successfully pwn the noobs, on a 100-plus-inch display, whereas even leaving some lights on. 

LikeExceptionally brightAccurate colorsLow enter lag for gaming

Do not LikeMiddling general picture qualityShort-ish throw distance

The draw back is that its distinction ratio and general picture high quality come up slightly quick, and when utilized in its most correct mode for coloration, its brightness is mainly the identical because the competitors. The TH685’s short-ish throw distance allows you to get an enormous picture out of your espresso desk, however mixed with lack of lens shift it limits placement in comparison with different projectors.

The BenQ TH685 was designed to fill its area of interest as a gaming projector, however exterior that function it falters a bit. The cheaper BenQ HT2050A has a superior image with punchier distinction and comparable brightness in correct image settings, making it a better option for all types of basic viewing. But when your major use is enjoying video games, and also you need to fill an enormous wall doing it, the TH685 is a wonderful software for the job.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
Primary specsNative decision: 1,920×1,080HDR-compatible: Yes4K-compatible: Sure (1080p decision)3D-compatible: YesLumens spec: three,500Zoom: Handbook (1.3x)Lens shift: NoLamp life (Regular mode): four,000 hours

The TH685, just like the Optoma HD28HDR ($649 at Greatest Purchase), can settle for a 4K decision sign, but it surely’s a 1080p projector. Extremely HD pictures will likely be scaled all the way down to 1080p. That is doubtless completed as a result of 4K and HDR usually go hand in hand, regardless that that is not technically essential. Each HDMI inputs can settle for 4K. 

For those who’re nonetheless a fan of 3D, the TH658 can do this too, although the glasses aren’t included.

BenQ claims three,500 lumens of brightness. In its most correct setting, with coloration near what you need in a house theater setting, I measured simply over 1,600. Within the Brilliant image mode the picture is noticeably and unpleasantly inexperienced however measures a powerful 2,782 lumens. I do not advocate watching on this mode for any size of time, but when the room has ambient mild, gaming with the lights on throughout a celebration, say, being able to be this shiny can turn out to be useful. 

Although I ought to point out, no projector can compete with ambient mild. All projectors will look higher with some mild management.

There is not any guide lens shift, a characteristic discovered on the TH685’s cheaper brother, the HT2050A. The TH685’s digital lens shift is not nearly as good, however it’s one thing. It strikes the picture middle up or down on the DLP chip, cropping no matter a part of the picture does not match. For those who’re watching a widescreen film, for instance, you may place the picture up or down the display because the again bars could be cropped out with out shedding any pertinent information.

Learn extra: House theater projectors: Eight suggestions for arrange, placement and film settings

Throw distance is on the shorter aspect. Regardless of having a 1.3x zoom, it requires nearer placement to the display than a few of its direct competitors. For those who do not need to mount it on the ceiling, it isn’t going to work behind your head except your couch is pretty near the display, or the display itself is sort of large. Conversely, you may put the projector nearer to the display, so espresso desk placement would nonetheless enable a giant picture. It’s not, nonetheless, a real short-throw projector.

For perspective, I’ve a 102-inch display, and most sub-$1,000 projectors can fill that sitting on a stand behind my couch, roughly 12 toes from the display. The TH685 joins us on the sofa like an untrained pet. Additionally like a pet its breath is scorching and its bark is loud — once you sit too near any projector you may really feel the warmth in addition to hear extra fan noise.

Lamp life is a reasonably common four,000 hours within the Regular mode. This jumps as much as 10,000 hours within the Eco mode, although you lose about 35% of the sunshine output. There are two different lamp modes that sound like they do the identical factor, however work barely completely different. SmartEco mode decreases lamp energy in darker scenes “whereas optimizing show high quality,” as BenQ describes. This leads to a claimed lamp lifetime of eight,000 hours. LampSave, alternatively, decreases lamp energy in darker scenes “whereas providing an extended lamp life.” It does this primarily by limiting most mild output to what you’d get within the Eco mode. It balloons lamp life out to 15,000 hours. For the reason that lamp itself is round $160 as of this writing, and even within the Regular mode will final upwards of three years, you in all probability needn’t sweat this an excessive amount of.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
Connectivity and convenienceHDMI inputs: 2PC enter: Analog RGB (additionally Analog RGB out)USB port: 1 (1.5A energy)Audio enter and output: three.5mm for eachDigital audio output: NoLAN port: No12v set off: NoRS-232 distant port: YesMHL: NoRemote: Not backlit

Each the HDMI inputs are HDMI 2.Zero and have HDCP 2.2, to allow them to settle for 4K HDR indicators from any present supply. The USB has 1.5 amps of energy obtainable, that means you may drive a streaming stick just like the Roku or Amazon Hearth ($42 at eBay). 

Curiously, there is a legacy analog PC enter and output, although I am unable to think about both will likely be utilized by many individuals. The identical goes for the RS-232 port, one thing required by some high-end house theater management methods.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

There is a 5W inside speaker that’s about nearly as good as you’d count on. A three.5mm audio output is offered to attach an exterior speaker. The distant is not backlit, but it surely’s small and easy and has devoted and coloration coded on and off buttons.

Image high quality comparisons

I related these three projectors through a Monoprice 1×4 distribution amplifier, and considered them on a 102-inch 1.Zero-gain display. The TH685 was like a combo of the Optoma and the HT2050A, sharing the above-average coloration accuracy of the HT2050A with the middling distinction ratio of the Optoma.

The BenQ TH685’s coloration accuracy is welcome, and uncommon with projectors on this value vary. Most sacrifice coloration for mild output. The TH685 has each, which is nice. Greens, like grass, vegetation or a TIE fighter’s lasers, are all particularly real looking. What, are you saying TIE fighters aren’t actual? How dare you. Each the BenQs outdid the Optoma right here, with the 28HDR simply wanting a bit much less vibrant.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Distinction ratio, as has been the case with all of the projectors I reviewed this yr, ended up being a no-contest win for the HT2050A. It is simply noticeably higher on this extremely vital check. The TH658 and 28HDR are mainly tied, when it comes to distinction. Their slight variations aren’t seen aspect by aspect. The HT2050A has practically 3x the distinction ratio, and it is apparent. Shadows are darker, the picture has extra obvious depth, it simply has extra punch. The opposite two look flat as compared. I would not name them “washed out” like early LCD TVs or projectors, however the 2050A simply attracts the attention to its extra pleasing picture. 

The HT2050A is not HDR, so for my closing check I targeted on the Optoma and the TH685. The Battle of Crait within the Final Jedi was check of the HDR, with shiny white salt/sand, explosions, and the vivid reds of the underlying minerals. The TH685 had extra pure colours, and a extra pure coloration temperature, the Optoma having a inexperienced tint. The sky, nonetheless, was a richer blue on the 28HDR. In the long run, the TH685’s further brightness and larger coloration accuracy gained out, but it surely was laborious to select a favourite right here. Neither seemed massively completely different with HDR in comparison with SDR, which is to be anticipated with projectors.

There may be one final oddity. There are slight chromatic aberrations, brought on by, I believe, cheap lens components. It is probably not apparent from a traditional viewing distance, however with tremendous strains, like white on a darkish background, the problem turns into fairly apparent. Closing credit in a film, as an example. One edge can have a inexperienced tinge, the opposite magenta. It seems like a panel misalignment, besides this can be a single-chip projector. This slight tinted halo is not one thing that you just may discover when watching a film, however should you’ve obtained a menu up, you may discover it. 

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
Conclusion: Recreation on

There are two issues that stand out concerning the TH685: the brightness and the colour. It is nice to have each these issues obtainable in the identical projector. Including in low enter lag, and it is easy to see a spot for this projector in some folks’s properties. 

That stated, extra folks would in all probability have higher luck with the HT2050A. Placing out the proper coloration temperature, these two projectors have mainly the identical mild output, with the HT2050A having a considerably greater distinction ratio. The HT2050A additionally has a recreation mode that matches the HT685’s enter lag, and it has lens shift. 

So when it comes all the way down to it, the TH685 is admittedly only for individuals who want the intense mild output potential, both for a ginormous display or in the event that they need to go away some lights on in a room. If that is not you, the extra well-rounded HT2050A is a greater possibility.

Geek Field

Take a look at



Black luminance (Zero%)



Peak white luminance (100%)



Derived lumens



Avg. grayscale error (10-100%)



Darkish grey error (20%)



Brilliant grey error (70%)



Avg. coloration error



Crimson error



Inexperienced error



Blue error



Cyan error



Magenta error



Yellow error



Avg. saturations error



Avg. coloration checker error



Enter lag (Recreation mode)



Measurement Notes

For essentially the most correct image, I used the Cinema mode, together with the Regular coloration temperature mode. This resulted in a reasonably constant and pretty correct coloration temperature throughout the brightness vary, although it was a bit hotter than D65 with an extra of purple. With these settings, the TH685 was able to 182 nits on a 102-inch, 1.Zero-gain display, which calculates out to round 1,641 lumens.

Change to the Brilliant mode and issues change fairly a bit. Shade temperature accuracy goes out the window, every little thing seems fairly inexperienced, however there is a practically 70% enhance in mild output, roughly 309 nits, or 2,782 lumens. In a darkish room that is extremely shiny. So shiny, I doubt most individuals would use it on this mode to observe a film. Film theaters, for comparability, are a faction of this.

Again within the Cinema mode, colours are surprisingly correct. Crimson is slightly orange, magenta slightly purple, and inexperienced slightly undersaturated, however general fairly good for a projector on this value vary. You’ll be able to alter these some within the image menu, however not completely. Shade temperature adjusts much better, although it is fairly shut out of the field.

Distinction ratio is pretty common for this class, measuring a median of 853:1 throughout a number of lamp modes. For comparability, the BenQ 2050A, which can be a DLP projector, averages over 2,000:1. This improves a bit within the Brilliant mode, due to the far larger mild output. SmartEco, which varies lamp output relying on video content material, has a dynamic distinction ratio of two,844:1. This mode retains the sunshine output of the Regular lamp mode. The LampSave mode does the identical, however makes use of the max mild output of the Eco lamp mode. This mode has a dynamic distinction ratio of two,208:1.

Image Mode: Cinema

Professional settings:

Lamp: Regular, Eco, or SmartEcoBrightness: 47Distinction: 49Sharpness: 12Shade: 50Tint (G/R): 50Good Shade: 6-10Shade Temp: NormalGamma: 2.2

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