BenQ is a household name in the world of projectors. And with its EH600, it wants to primarily attract a business audience. With smart solutions and applications tailor made for meetings, BenQ wants to help employees raise productivity.
Build and design
We would not call the BenQ EH600 light or portable by any means. It weighs 2.5kg and its quite a big piece of kit. Sure, you can still carry it on the move however we would not recommend it. For ease of use, the projector comes with adjustable feet which lets users configure its orientation. However, this requires screwing and unscrewing the feet manually. We wish a hinge system similar to what is used by other manufacturers in the market was introduced by BenQ here, which would make adjustment feel more natural.
But for office use, you can get by just fine because at the end of the day, the projector is most likely to be attached to the ceiling. Other aspects of its design include the lens, venting and I/O. Barring a slight lip, the majority of the projector’s lens stays inside the machine giving it much needed protection. A step up from this would have been a lens cover for protection during travel.
For the most part, the venting around the projector is fairly standard. Its ample enough to not cause any overheating issues which is a bonus. On the top surface of the device, you find controls. Near the lens, there are knobs to adjust both zoom and focus. Towards the top rear, you find the power button, various navigation controls and a few LED lights to indicate status.
On the rear, you find a variety of ports. There is an HDMI port alongside a PC and monitor out VGA port. There is also a serial port, power port and options for both audio in and out. You find 3 Type-A USB ports on the machine, two of which are visible whereas the third one is hidden to connect the machine’s wireless dongle. To top it off, there a Type mini-B USB port included as well. For our testing, we used an HDMI cable for convenience although a VGA cable is included with the projector out of the box.
Usage and picture modes
Once plugged into power and connected via HDMI, the EH600 is ready to be operated, so long as you manually choose your source. Depending on your room size, the projector can adjust from a 60-inch display to a 180-inch one which the projector detects automatically. This means there are some cases where the projector deems a certain screen size to be ideal based on distance where in reality, you may have more room to expand.
The machine supports resolutions ranging from 640 x 480 all the way up to 1,920 x 1,200 with HDTV compatibility up to 1080p. Furthermore, it uses DLP projection for vivid colours and a wall colour correction feature whenever required, both great for video watching as well. But two key elements of this projector are its high brightness and vertical keystone support. Supporting up to 3,500 lumens, the projector is ideal for crisp text reading in an office environment. Although we wish the projector came with auto as well as horizontal keystone. At least the inclusion of the vertical helps adjust images no matter the orientation of the device.
You can choose from a number of display modes on the EH600 depending on preference. By default, it is configured to video, however there are options for sRGB, bright, presentation and user preset modes which adjusts the colours on screen accordingly. Tailored for businesses, an info-graphic mode is also present for better detail in text and graphics. One thing to note though is that the 2W speaker on-board is well below par so if you are planning to pair presentations with audio, you may want to invest in external speakers, either wired or Bluetooth.
With a trend-shift towards smart products, it is not surprise the the BenQ EH600 runs on Android 6.0. This is a fairly outdated version of the software, ticking alongside 16GB of storage and 2GB RAM. While this is plenty for day to day navigation, do not expect extremely fluid performance in the menus. Furthermore, you are able to attach the device to a wireless keyboard and mouse for an enhanced navigation experience.
BenQ launcher gives you access to applications such as WPS Office, Firefox, a video conferencing application called Blizz and Teamviewer. These revolve around work, enabling users to easily share documents and collaborate. But aside from these applications, there does not seem much more to it which is a bit underwhelming.
Of course, to access these, you will need to plug in BenQ’s wireless dongle to the device to enable WiFi support. Another neat feature is the projector’s Smart Control. This is great to configure and control the device using your smartphone, serving as a remote control via your network. It makes navigation more intuitive and I particularly like its mouse mode. We just wish it worked when in HDMI mode too instead of just working with native applications.
Wireless connectivity a miss
Despite bundling a dongle for wireless connectivity, this seems to be a drawback for the projector. When projecting from a PC wirelessly, it is able to use the cast feature however there is significant latency in content. Furthermore, the projector is not able to wirelessly cast YouTube content, both from a PC and an Android smartphone. When using an iOS device, the connection process is smoother although usability is still jittery. And here too, casting a YouTube video is a problem. It seems this is due to the projector’s lack of a native YouTube application, which is something we would like to support for.
From an office use perspective, this could still come in handy though. Usually, meetings use still images in presentations or documents which may not pose much of a threat. However, despite this, wireless connectivity is an area where BenQ seriously needs to work on.
Power consumption and noise
In terms of power consumption, there are up to three modes. By default, the projector operates at 280W however, it can go up to 320W if you require that added performance. Conversely, the projector can be toned down to 235W economical mode too, which results in a less bright image. Depending on your chosen wattage, the projector emits sound. In its normal and economical mode, it is not too distracting but when used at its maximum setting, the sound can be quite distracting, especially given the projector’s below par speaker experience. Aside from these, there is also an economical blank mode on the projector that helps keep it on with 70 per cent energy savings.
It is hard not to recommend BenQ’s EH600 for professional office use, especially in small to medium sized firms. Perhaps for larger offices, investing in a 4K resolution projector may be the smarter choice. That being said, BenQ’s offering could work for personal use too. Its wired performance and clarity especially for small home theatres is great but we wish wireless functionality was also as seamless.