BENQ X1300i GAMING PROJECTOR REVIEW-PERFORMANCE - 2

February 17, 2021 / By Philip Boyle

BENQ X1300i Gaming Projector Review – Performance: Black Levels and Shadow Detail; HDR Content; 1080P Movies; Sports and Streaming Content; Brightness; Sharpness; Contrast; 4K Inputs; Low Input Lag; Audible Noise.

BLACK LEVELS AND SHADOW DETAIL

Sub $1500 projectors and good black-level performance typically don’t go together, as that level of black and shadow performance is usually reserved for projectors designed for dedicated home theater rooms, with full control of ambient lighting. I think it's fair to say that the X1300i is geared more toward living rooms, family rooms and situations where you will be taking the projector to other locations.

The reality is if you expect ambient light to be present, black-level accuracy becomes less likely to achieve, as ambient light washes out those dark colors first.

BenQ changes things around a bit in this regard. Black levels are darker, still more grey than black, but darker than a lot of competitors. Even with a lot of uncontrolled ambient light sources the X1300i still produces good darks and colors. It's impressive. I'm sure that a lot of this has to do with BenQ's expertise with color science combined with BenQ Dynamic Black technology. I’d even go so far as to say the X1300i has the best black-level performance I’ve seen in a DLP at this price.

INPUT LAG

Input lag, or latency (the term used with projectors), refers to the time between the audio/video signal from your gaming console being received by the projector and when the projector actually projects the video onto the screen. To say that the input lag on the X1300i is low is an understatement.

I’m not a professional gamer, but I didn’t detect any visible lag between pressing a button and the action being translated on screen. This projector is fast when put into speed mode. Great job, BenQ!

So how did the X1300i do on our input lag testing? Too be honest all I can go on is my experience gaming using this projector because we were unable to get the X1300i to display data from our Bodnar Input Lag tester. There was nothing wrong with the Bodnar. the BenQ would not display the test. I'll update this section once I get a chance to talk to BenQ about what might be causing this behavior.

Source and Preset Switching Speed

Ok. I do have a bone to pick with BenQ regarding this amazing projectors slow switching between sources and presets. I know it may seem like nitpicking, but seriously, these actions were such a distraction every time I went to perform one of them. This even includes the Power On speed. From Power On to Ready-to-use, it was 42 seconds before Android TV finished loading. Slow switching on the X1300i is like putting crank down windows on a Ferrari!

MOVIES

The X1300i did a really good job on the movies I used for testing. In the photo player below you can see some images I took from some of my favorite movies to use for testing. I took photos of Aladdin, Avengers Endgame, Valerian and the Mandalorian. These movies and shows just looked great. There’s just so much color and even contrast! The color and contrast is helped along by BenQ Dynamic Black. It does make quite the difference. The BenQ X1300i has some of the most dynamic yet natural looking color I’ve seen on a projector in this price range!

SPORTS & TV

My experience with Sports and HDTV was excellent. Whether watching ESPN or content from HBO max, it looked very good. Colors were great without being overly unnatural. No radioactive lime green or blown out reds. Just a great overall experience.

When it came to watching HDTV content, I used Last Week Tonight on HBO, the X1300i did a great job. Jon Oliver's skin tones were natural without the clay like faces often seen on DLP projectors.

HDR

HDR has become very widespread. TV sets, monitors, and projectors all seem to have an HDR badge on them these days. However, the truth is that the definition of HDR might vary with different display devices. A big part of the BenQ solution is to re-define the meaning of HDR for projectors.

BenQ believes that projectors should have their own unique calibration process and their own HDR standards, different from that of TV’s. Because so many factors can vary with projectors, such as the distance between the projector and the screen, and the screen material used or the brightness of the projector. Many manufacturers are now trying to create cinema projectors that meet defined HDR standards.

BenQ has begun implementing a Dynamic Iris on some of its projectors to control how much light gets through the projecting lens. Sadly, BenQ doesn't offer Dynamic Iris on the X1300i. What BenQ does offer is color engineers with years of experience and expertise in precise color and tone mapping. Those expert engineers have found the best performance within the projector’s capabilities of keeping all the details and tonal changes of an image.

Overall, the news hasn’t been great when it comes to displaying HDR content on a projector. HDR on a TV can work amazingly well because televisions like OLED and LCD, can turn off individual pixels or zones, creating very dark black areas. LCD televisions with local dimming can actually control the brightness in quadrants. Projectors don't do that. Projectors can't turn off individual pixels. Projectors don’t offer local dimming. There's another issue observed here on Projectorreviews.com and other review websites. It’s that HDR implementation can actually result in an image that looks worse than SDR. So, what’s the answer AND how does the BenQ X1300i look when displaying HDR content? Flip through the photo player above and I think you'll agree that BenQ has done an excellent job with their implementation of HDR on the X1300i.

AUDIBLE NOISE

BRIGHTNESS

The BENQ X1300i has a rated brightness of 3,000 lumens. I took 3-4 readings about 15-20% out from the center of the lens, which usually gives a pretty good approximation of ANSI lumens. At full wide-angle, I measured the X1300i in its brightest picture mode, BRIGHT, with the lamp power set to NORMAL.

BENQ X1300i Brightness:

At wide zoom, Normal Lamp, Bright mode, the X1300i measured 3393 lumens which was slightly higher than BenQ published number of 3000.

For the seven available modes, I also measured them at wide-zoom, since this is the brightest possible result for the projector as well as the way the manufacturer likely measured it. In addition, I took a tele-zoom measurement in the X1300i’s brightest mode (bright) to give you an idea of the amount of light lost by zooming in the lens.

Brightness at wide-zoom = 3393 ANSI Lumens

Brightness at tele-zoom = 2507 ANSI Lumens

As you can see the tele measurement comes out at a 26.11% lumens sacrifice.

Color Mode - GamingLumens
HDR Game1147
HDR 101150
Game Maestro Active (HDR Game)
FPS Mode1216
RPG Mode1148
SPG Mode1088
Color Mode - Entertainment
Bright3393
Living Room1812
Sports2136
Game2100
Cinema2091
User2068
Bright SDR FPS2109
Bright SDR RPG2073
Bright SDR SPG2066

AUDIBLE NOISE

The fan noise produced by X1300i was on average with other compact 3,000 lumen projectors. BenQ lists the noise as 31db in NORMAL and 27db in ECO mode. I never found the fan noise from the X1300i to be distracting but I would have preferred it to be quieter.

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