We wish to thank Epson America for sponsoring this year’s Best Classroom Projectors report.
The BenQ LK953ST is a 5,000 lumen, 4K UHD resolution (3840 x 2160) projector, with a list price of $5,099. Its laser light engine claims 20,000 hours, which is one of the reasons why laser projectors have a higher upfront cost than lamp-based projectors. Low maintenance! Where you would be switching out lamps every 3,000 to 8,000 hours or so, a laser will carry on for about a decade of heavy use without losing much brightness – a major plus for higher education and commercial environments. The LK953ST has DLP technology, and as such, has a color wheel. I’ve only seen this kind of color wheel (RGBY – Red, Green, Blue, with a Yellow slice rather than White) on one other projector – another BenQ – in the interest of saving time, I have copied the information from the BenQ LU950’s review.
“An RGBY color wheel is not the most usual – typically you’d find an RGBRGB or an RGBW (RGB + clear slice). RGBW color wheels have an advantage over RGBY color wheels, as that clear slice boosts white lumens, making a brighter overall image. Adding a secondary color, such as yellow, gives some of the benefits of an RGBW color wheel, but not as much. The benefit to having an RGBY color wheel is that it gives the manufacturers more opportunity to ‘get the color right.’ Generally speaking, though, the more slices, the less lumens per slice.”
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Art and I are generally more partial to 3LCD projectors (for several reasons), but there are some real strengths of DLP projectors, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention them. DLP projectors are generally smaller and more portable than their 3LCD counterparts. You will get more white lumens dollar-for-dollar than a 3LCD projector, which is helpful in ambient light situations. By comparison, when faced with ambient light, a 3LCD projector will perform better than DLPs in terms of color. There are always trade-offs, as we say in nearly every review, but in controlled environments – both technologies should perform admirably.
This BenQ, like all other DLP projectors, has a sealed light path to protect the optics from the dreaded “dust blob.” Dust blobs are exactly what they sound like – particles of dust that settle inside the light path and obstruct the projected light, leading to degrading on the projected image, or a dark shape over the projected image. Having a sealed light path saves time and money on maintenance, as having those dust blobs remove is a costly affair. With a sealed light path, you get the protection of the DMD chip, color wheel sensor, laser bank, and other optical components.
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The BenQ LK953ST has plenty of special features for business and education applications, including its short throw design, 4K UHD resolution, lens shift, multi-screen projection, and more! It even has three HDMIs, which is something Art has been hounding manufacturers to include on their projectors for what seems like ages, so we are pleased when we come across projectors that have the extra HDMI. It is not yet commonplace, true, but we can hope it becomes a trend! It also has HDBaseT and other advanced networking features – more on that on the next page.
Art did a preliminary review of this projector for the Classroom Projectors Report, as I was busy reviewing two other projectors at the time. This will be the last review you’ll see from me before my wedding (about a week away if you’re reading this at the time of publishing). After that, I’ll be reviewing under a different name! How exciting. I am pleased that the BenQ LK953ST is the last review I’ll be doing before I break to get ready for the big day, as it is truly an impressive projector with a great picture and beautiful color. We’ll get deeper into that later in the review, of course, but for now – onto the highlights!
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