BenQ X3000i review: The best 4K gaming projector
Gaming on a projector has probably crossed the minds of most technologically-minded consumers at some point. Especially when it comes to showcasing media, projectors have long been to the side of more traditional TVs and gaming monitors, but they’re all the more fascinating for it. There’s just something cool about the idea of having a projector.
However, the ‘idea’ of a projector, and the reality of it are often very different. They can be a pain to maintain, have a finicky set-up and they can be temperamental once you do. That holds true doubly for the idea of gaming on a projector. If you’ve ever tried, it’s very likely that you’ve suffered from headache-inducing input lag. They can also appear a bit fuzzy, especially if they only offer 1080p. Generally, it’s just not worth the hassle.
Well, the good news is that you absolutely can live that dream now. The BenQ X3000i is being marketed as a ‘gaming projector’, and it deserving of that title and then some. BenQ has converted me to believing that gaming on a projector is not only possible but can be an exceptional experience. That said, living out that dream is going to come at a prohibitively expensive cost.
- Dimensions: 10.7 x 7.8 x 10.2 inches
- Screen size: 60 – 150 inches
- Resolution: 3840×2160
- Brightness: 3000 lumens ANSI
- Contrast ratio: 500,000:1
- Refresh rate: 60Hz – 240Hz
- Response time: 0.04ms – 0.16ms
- Color gamut: 100% sRGB, 99% DCI-P3
- Connectivity: 2x HDMI 2.0, 2v TRIGGER, 2x, 1x SPDIF, 1x USB-B 3.2 (Upstream), 1x 3,5mm audio jack
- Price: $1999
While likely not the most important thing you’ll consider when picking up such an expensive piece of tech, the X3000i’s design shouldn’t be underestimated. The projector is big enough that it will become a feature in the room it’s in.
On that, this is much bigger than other standard projectors. Whereas many are flatter, the X3000i is far more cuboid. At 10.7 x 7.8 x 10.2 inches and weighing 14.1lbs, this is not a subtle projector you will be able to hide away.
Thankfully, the design is actually quite nice, and you may find yourself actually wanting to feature it in your room. The dark glass front is a nice touch, as is the tasteful orange seam. Otherwise, it’s a big white box that can blend into your surroundings and could be far more garish for its size than it is.
One of the most impressive features of the X3000i is just how easy it is to use out of the box. For all intents and purposes, the projector comes with many of the fixings you might expect from a Smart TV. It has an Android-based operating system, and access to apps like Disney+, YouTube, Twitch, Chromecast, and whatever you might expect from similar media viewing options.
Installation is surprisingly easy for a projector, and you really can use it out of the box. It has its own onboard audio system too. It’s not terrific, but if you don’t want to plug in your more expensive sound setup or your headset to play, it did the job for me when I was browsing through YouTube videos to test out.
On top of that, the projector boasts a very bright image (3000 ANSI lumens), and the LED light means that the bulb will last for much longer than other projectors.
The projector’s ease of use is perhaps the most universal aspect of its features. Once you find a place to put it, it’s surprisingly ‘plug-in-and-play’ and has no quirks you need to get your head around that you wouldn’t be doing with any other traditional display.
Resolution and Refresh Rate
Resolution is a tricky one to talk about definitively, as obviously, projectors are fluid with how big a screen can be. No two setups will have the same size projected screen. However, I projected it across my entire wall, around 150 inches all in all, and the picture was sharp and very bright.
While the 4K is the big selling point, you likely will notice some fuzziness if you have a very sharp eye, especially when it comes to blowing it up to 100 inches and above. However, this is more of a nitpick, and obviously, any projector is always going to struggle when compared to an exceptional OLED TV for image quality.
The projection features exceptional colors and you won’t be left wanting, as long as you accept any normal caveats that come with a projector, such as image clarity changing with the time of day and ambient lighting.
For a broader understanding of the refresh rate, read on to our gaming performance section.
The X3000i is the best gaming performance for a projector on the market. It’s kind of magical that it all works as well as it does. It is designed for gaming, and it achieves that goal exceptionally. The projector also has variable options for how you display your experience. At 4K, it offers a 120hz refresh rate with only 16ms of input latency. This is more than enough for most AAA gaming experiences, though you won’t want to compete on a projector.
However, if you just want pure performance, you can also play in 1080p, at 240hz with a negligible 4ms of input latency. These two settings allow you to choose whether you want a cinematic, or blisteringly fast experience, not unlike a Quality vs Performance mode inside of a game.
For big, narrative-driven third-person games like God of War: Ragnarok or Diablo 4, that input delay will not be too noticeable and it looks excellent when projected. However, the option to potentially play a competitive shooter at 1080p is there too. The projector was never my go-to for playing Overwatch 2, I still prefer my monitor. But, having gotten a Victory Royale in Fortnite on the projector, it’s something that could be your only screen if you don’t care about ‘to-the-milisecond’ response time.
Should you buy it?
This is something that will come down to the individual. If you love the idea of a gaming projector and money is not an issue for you, then yes, this is an instant buy. This is a unique gaming experience, and even if you’re not 100% sold on the idea of playing on a projector, the BenQ X3000i is good enough to potentially make you a convert.
That said, context is everything. For one, this is obviously a prohibitively expensive bit of tech. At $1999/£2199, this is a serious investment that will instantly price out many consumers. When you consider the quality of TV you can buy for that cost bracket, it might just be more practical to get an excellent OLED.
Speaking of practicality, projectors require space to get the most out of, and your living situation could cut you out of being able to get the most out of it. If you don’t have the correct configuration to get enough distance between a wall or screen and the projector, this won’t be for you.
However, if the price and space requirements are not an issue, it is definitely worth considering. It is an excellent way to view movies and TV shows and an exceptional gaming experience for the most part.
The Verdict – 5/5
The BenQ X3000i is a magical piece of technology. It is a wholly unique way to watch content and play video games. It delivers on the promise of gaming on a projector.
The X3000i has converted me to believing that gaming on a projector is possible. Potentially, if you’re looking for something massive and more cinematic, it could even be your main gaming display. While it doesn’t hold up as well as a device if you really care about 4K competitive gaming with single-digit response times, for everything else it is stellar.
Of course, the deciding factors for you will likely be in if you can afford its hefty $2000 price tag as well as if you have the space to properly house and utilize this 14lb cube. However, if these are surmountable obstacles, the X3000i really is something to behold.
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