BenQ TH585 review: Is it the companion to your gaming console?
Home projectors used to be the prerogative of the well-heeled and, to be fair, some of them still are, but the entry-level segment is seeing some compelling options launch, stuff that delivers the truly big screen experience at the price you’d pay for a budget 65-inch TV. Case in point, the BenQ TH585 - a home entertainment model that aims to deliver an acceptable viewing experience even in rooms with some amount of ambient light, plus some gaming-oriented tricks to boot. Worth the modest asking price? Read on…
Placed on a table, the TH585 is compact and lightweight enough to be moved from room to room, and the height adjustable legs and combination of digital lens shift and vertical keystone of up to +/- 30 degrees allow you to use it somewhat creatively wherever there’s a large wall available. No horizontal keystone though, so you’ll have to pretty much center the projector to the intended image. There’s support for a 1.1x zoom and depending on the size of the room, you can go all the way from an 80-inch image (from 9.6ft away) to a massive 150-inch image if you have a wall 18ft away, though in my opinion, the sweet spot for brightness and resolution is somewhere between the 100-120-inch mark.
Design wise, the TH585 is rather bog-standard BenQ – a matte white finish with vents on the side and front, physical keys to control the projector along with zoom and focus rings to adjust the image. The included remote is basic, with controls to navigate BenQ’s clean menu system, adjust keystone and picture/sound modes but skips the backlighting which, while it is par for the price point, is a bit of an issue operating in a darkened room.
Connectivity options are sufficient, with two HDMI input ports, RS232, D-sub in/out, USB-A and analog audio in/out to hook up to a home theater setup, but there’s a small 10W speaker on board for basic audio during a quick-fire gaming session.
Now, in a world of 4K TVs, the TH585 features a DLP projection system with full HD (1920x1080 pixel) resolution support, which does well for the price segment in which the projector operates. Out of the box, the color settings are calibrated to most tastes with the 95% Rec. 709 color gamut support, but you can finetune the color settings to your tastes, or pick one of the projector’s presets based on the content you’re watching. A neat addition is the ability to pick the wall color option if you don’t have a dedicated screen, so that the projector can factor that into the color settings.
The lamp itself is super bright, going all the way up to 3500 ANSI lumens, which allows you to use it with some ambient lighting without a significant drop in detail or color. I used the TH585 in a brightly lit (natural lighting) room and it was perfectly usable in the early evening light or at night with the room lights on. There is a dedicated Game Mode that bumps up the contrast levels and brings out the details in darker content, while ratcheting down the response time (input lag) to 16ms for snappier gameplay on the big screen. Of course, this will come at the expense of lamp life, which is rated at 8,000 and 15,000 hours in SmartEco or LampSave mode, so you should choose a mixture of modes based on the lighting conditions to eke out the most from the projector.
Watching my playlist of documentaries from Netflix (Our Planet comes highly recommended) followed by a movie like the Dark Knight and some assorted YouTube videos, the TH585 performs well for a sub-1 lakh projector in terms of detail, color reproduction and detail in the shadows and in skin textures alike. At the end of the day, this is an entry-level DLP projector so one can easily overlook some instances of the rainbow effect (common to DLP projectors) or the occasionally underexposure of darker parts of the image.
At under 65,000 in retail stores, the BenQ TH585 competes against other entry-level projectors and well-specced 55-inch/budget 65-inch TVs, and if you have the space and cinema-sized aspirations that only a projector can deliver, the TH585 performs well in all manners of lighting conditions and is a great companion to the gaming console in your life.
Highlights: BenQ TH585
Pros: Impressive brightness levels, good detail and color at large 120-inch+ screen sizes, good for gaming, easy to use
Cons: Occasionally crushed blacks, tiny speaker, lacks horizontal keystone adjustment
Price: Rs. 64,989 on Reliance Digital (Rs. 89,990 MRP)
Tushar Kanwar is a tech columnist and commentator, and tweets @2shar