With BenQ primarily focusing on monitors, projectors, and other display technologies, the company had released an Android-powered smart projector called the BenQ EX800ST earlier this year. The new projector is meant for educational applications and we got a chance to try out the new projector. Here are our thoughts about it.
While projectors are commonly used in schools, colleges, and office premises, BenQ promotes the use of the EX800ST for educational institutes, thanks to its cloud-based integration. The projector features a product dimension of 296mm x 120mm x 250mm. It won’t be really hard to transport the projector from one class or room to another since the device weighs only 2.6kg. On the front side of the device, you will see the projector lens located on the left, along with a green ring. BenQ mentions that the lens is high-quality and all-glass construction designed to minimize the chromatic aberrations for sharp and good image clarity. There are vents for inward and outward movement of the air. The vent that blows out hot air is placed on the right side of the device, where some part of the vent extends towards the front side of the device.
BenQ mentions that the projector is designed to feature zero color decay so that image quality and visuals remain sharp and crisp throughout its long-term use. There is also an LED exhaust fan that can be seen on the outward vent. The LED lights are a nice touch since it does remind of gaming PCs. The focus ring of the projector lens can be seen on the front side but it can be accessed from the top portion of the device. The left side of the device also has vents for air intake. However, there doesn’t seem to be any LED lights on the air intake portion as seen on the outward vents.
Looking at the top portion, the projector offers the usual controls that include the power button, the directional controls, the OK button, the Eco Blank button, the settings button, and also dedicated Android controls such as the back button and home button. There are also LED indicators for power, temperature alert, and light on the indicator. The projector also features an exquisite texture that keeps the device away from fingerprints/smudges, and gives a pleasant and professional look for the device. There is also the dial on the top side to adjust the focus of the projector
The rear side of the projector features a long list of connectivity options for the end-user. You get one HDMI port, one D-sub connector for older PCs, another D-sub for monitor out, audio in/out, an RS232 connector (male), two USB Type-A ports, and an RJ45 port for internet connectivity. There are also two IR receivers placed on the front and top sides of the projector.
BenQ has also focused on techniques such as the Dust Guard anti-dust accumulation sensor that helps to reduce the amount of dust that can get collected inside the projector. The included remote is also easy to use and features useful modes such as quick access to the home page, switch between inputs, directional buttons, and return button, the WIFI button, and more. There is also a dedicated button for a laser pointer where you can use while presenting your seminars. The laser pointer will also benefit teachers when they explain the content with the projector.
The BenQ EX800ST packing comes with a range of accessories, that includes the wireless dongle, the remote control, VGA cable, and the warranty card.
Specs and Features
The EX800ST features a single DLP O.55″ XGA based projection system with the DC3 DMD chipset. The brightness of the projector can go up to 3,300 Lumens. The lamp used on this projector is 200W. The native resolution of the EX800ST is rated at 1024 x 768 and presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio. While the resolution is way outdated for today’s monitor standards, this modest resolution is more than enough if you’re looking for a budget solution to deploy on educational institutes. That said, the projector does support resolutions up to 1920 x 1200 when connecting to other devices. Unlike the standard 16:9 wide aspect ratios, the 4:3 should be able to showcase more content on one page. Additionally, the contrast ratio of the projector is rated at 20,000:1.
The device also has its own 2W speaker. While it sounds just moderate, it does the job of providing audio playback while you use it for presentations. However, the audio isn’t that loud and you will be better off using an external speaker source. The projector runs on a customized version of Android 6.0 OS and features 2GB RAM and 16GB of internal storage. While 2GB of RAM is very low for today’s standards, we should remember that this is a projector solely meant for presentations and educational applications. That said, the projector’s performance with respect to speed is just modest. It takes about 45 seconds for the projector to turn on and warm up the lamp to display the home page.
BenQ also mentions that the light source can last for 10,000 hours in economic mode before any maintenance is needed and the Lamp Save mode can extend to 15,000 hours. Syncing your PC, Mac, iPhone or Android smartphone is very easy as it eliminates the need for cables. While on the same network, we were easily able to project the content viewed on a Chrome browser of a Windows system and transmit it to the projector. When we tried to project a YouTube video, the projector automatically opened the YouTube application.
BenQ has implemented some of its best smart features to make things easier for the user. There is the X-Sign Broadcast for instant messages that allows users to send texts, images or video from your smartphone, laptop, and tablet to the projector. The Blizz application lets you conduct video conferences. However, you would need to connect a mouse, keyboard or the BenQ Smart Control app to control the projector. With the USB ports, users will be able to plug and play content from USB drives.
The projector supports file formats such as JPEG, PDF, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, video files, and more. The EX800ST projector also features other built-in applications such as WPS Office and FireFox web browser. That said, one of the main highlights of the projector’s software side is the inclusion of BenQ Account Management System (AMS), a cloud service that allows users to easily access and manage their files online. The AMS allows users to link their Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive. Teachers will be able to store the files needed on the cloud and simply access them via AMS while they project the content. Unless if the WiFi is slow on the premises, you will be able to access your files instantly and keeps away the need to use laptops or external drives.
The BenQ EX800ST is a great projector to consider if you’re looking for a model that suits educational institutes. The projector is easy to use and features a professional-looking design with an easy-to-use user interface. While the projector’s native XGA display resolution is quite modest, the brightness of the projection does reach up to 3300lm for subtle details and sharp texts. BenQ also uses high-quality glass on the lens to reduce chromatic aberrations for long-lasting image quality. The projector also is well-designed with enough ventilation.
The EX800ST offers a wide range of connectivity options that allows the user to connect both wired and wireless devices. Connecting the projector to your PC, Mac or Android devices are easy without any complicated steps that takes time. While the included remote helps to easy control the device, users will also be able to control the projector with the BenQ Smart Control Application. The best feature is the AMS cloud service that allows users to easily access their files stored on Google Drive and other online platforms, eliminating the need to insert an external drive for file transfers.