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BenQ MP512ST Projector Review


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#1 of 1 OFFLINE   drobbins

drobbins

    Screenwriter



  • 1,870 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 02 2004

Posted September 15 2008 - 01:54 PM

This projector was originally designed to be a business projector for presentations. I was asked to review it from a gaming point of view. If you are like me and have a teen tying up your home theater equipment playing games, then the use of a projector for gaming will free up your equipment. A gaming projector I would expect to be used in an area with more ambient light that a theater projector. While watching movies, people usually sit in the dark with out many interactions. Gaming is a more interactive and some lighting will usually be turned on. I evaluated the projector with two different setups in mind. First as a temporary setup that is taken out when games are played and then put away when finished. Second is a permanent setup in a dedicated area.

The MP512ST in a temporary setup:
I placed the projector on a table 12” tall and about 4’ from the wall. This was the furthest back the power cord would reach. With the projector level the bottom of the screen is about 18” from the floor. By lifting the front of the projector with the adjustable leg and using the keystone set on 13, we have a decent size picture. It is about 68” diagonal 4:3 that comes out to about 54” wide X 40” tall. That is a big improvement over my 27” TV. Now with an extension cord, or plugged in behind it across the room, the projector can be moved back giving a bigger screen. At 6’ back from the screen surface an 81” X 60” picture is produced. This is plenty big enough to see an opponent’s helmet barely sticking up over a wall and pull off a sniper shot. Without an optical zoom however, the screen size is totally controlled by the projector placement. For a temporary setup this may not be much of an issue though.

The MP512ST in a permanent setup:
In a permanent set-up I would think that the ideal location would be mounted on the ceiling upside down. This works well with the MP512ST projector. It can be mounted level and almost no keystone is needed. Once again though with out adjustable screen size, the projector location determines the size of the picture.


The MP512ST has "Wall Color Adjusting" feature that is designed compensate for the color of your wall. The colors to choose from are Light Yellow, Pink, Light Green, Blue & Blackboard. Unfortunately I don't have any walls painted any of those colors, so I could not verify the effectiveness of this feature. The projector also has an Auto Adjustment feature. I checked this feature with my calibration DVD and the projectors set both the brightness and contrast levels accurately. I did not have to fine-tune either of them. I would have spent more time calibrating the picture, but the hue and saturation could not be adjusted with out the menu screen covering 80% of the screen. I could not see the section of the test screen needed to reference the adjustment needed.

One major obstacle with MP512ST projector in a temporary setup is the audio. Gaming systems typically use the red and white RCA plugs for audio. The projector only has a 1/8 jack for the audio input and does not come with an adapter. Luckily I have an adapter and was able to proceed. The next issue is – where is the volume control? I had to lower myself to reading the user manual. Even more troublesome is the printed manual is in 18 different languages, so it is very brief and doesn’t include the volume control. Complete instructions, including the volume control, are on a CD in PDF format so you need a computer near by to access this information. I found that the volume control and mute feature are buried in the different menus 10 button presses deep. Adding this control to the outside of the projector or on the remote is a must. While it is impossible for this to have surround sound, I think stereo is a necessity for games starting way back with Pong. Hearing an opponent coming up from the side is almost as important as seeing him, especially if he is not on screen yet. The MP512ST has two speakers, but unfortunately the sound is in mono. In a permanent set up, the audio would not be a problem if the gaming system were connected to another sound system such as a stereo or surround system. In a permanent setup this would definitely be the way to go.

Summery:
The MP512ST projector was designed to be a business presentation projector. I think it will do a good job in that function. As a gaming projector though, it is lacking access to some basic features. It has a bright sharp picture even with moderate ambient light and can be used for gaming, but I would not recommend the MP512ST projector just for playing games.