BenQ SP890 multimedia projector

The BenQ SP890 can be used as a home theatre projector or for boardroom presentations

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BenQ Australia SP890
  • BenQ Australia SP890
  • BenQ Australia SP890
  • BenQ Australia SP890

Pros

  • Good detail levels, high brightness is useful for presentations

Cons

  • High levels of digital noise, overly sharp in default settings

Bottom Line

BenQ's SP890 is a jack-of-all-trades multimedia projector that can display presentations and slideshows in a brightly lit room as well as reproducing Full HD movies with good contrast levels. It's not the best performer we've seen for either task, but if you're not looking for picture-perfect images or very high brightness levels then it's worth considering.

Would you buy this?

The BenQ SP890 is a Full HD 1080p multimedia projector that's equally at home displaying slideshows and stock reports as it is with Blu-ray movies. Its high brightness level makes it a good choice for boardroom presentations, but good contrast detail and black levels means it can deliver high quality movie playback relatively easily. We did notice a few image quality flaws with some movie titles, but a casual user will easily be impressed by the SP890's versatility.

BenQ SP890: Design and connectivity

The BenQ SP890 has a similar design to home theatre projectors like the BenQ W6000, with a central lens mount and a glossy black finish. It's not an especially attractive, but the projector is well constructed and feels sturdy. The SP890's black finish picks up fingerprints easily, but if you're mounting it on the ceiling this shouldn't be much of a problem.

The remote of the BenQ SP890 is simple and easy to understand, although it looks cheap and generic. An inbuilt laser pointer might prove useful for presentations, and individual buttons for the projector's inputs allows easy switching between multiple devices.

A range of video input types makes connecting either digital or analog devices a simple task. Single VGA, component, composite, S-Video and HDMI connections mean that everything from brand new Blu-ray players to PCs and laptops can be attached.

BenQ SP890: Setup, picture quality and brightness

Setting up the BenQ SP890 is a surprisingly easy task thanks to a versatile 1.5x zoom lens and a wide range of horizontal and vertical lens shift. Whether the projector is positioned on a table or mounted on the ceiling, this adjustment makes it possible to position the projected image correctly. There's also keystone adjustment to ensure the projected image is correctly proportioned.

We gave the BenQ SP890 a run through with some slideshows, presentations and 1080p movie content via a Apple MacBook Pro notebook and a Samsung BD-P3600 Blu-ray player.

When displaying presentations and photo slides, we opted for the brightest image preset — the Presentation mode, which makes full use of the BenQ SP890's 4000 lumens. We found it had a slight greenish tinge, but this is easily sorted with custom colour adjustment. Our slides were sharp and detailed at the projector's native 1920x1080 resolution, with no softness at the corner of the image or distortion.

For watching movies, we found it was necessary to switch to the BenQ SP890's Cinema image preset for accurate colours. Even in this mode, there is still visible digital noise in darker areas of the projected image — it's not easily visible and shouldn't be distracting for a casual viewer, but better results will be achieved with a dedicated home theatre projector. Otherwise the picture quality of the BenQ SP890 is good, with plenty of detail and deep black levels. Shadowy scenes in movies are generally detailed despite the image noise levels. We did opt to lower sharpness levels to give video a more film-like look, as edges can be too hard in default settings.

BenQ SP890: Power consumption and fan noise

During typical usage the BenQ SP890 consumes 440 Watts. This is a lot more than even a large screen plasma television like the Samsung Series 7 (PS50C7000), but the BenQ SP890's maximum screen size of 300in is vastly more impressive.

The 33dB noise of the BenQ SP890's fan output, measured in low brightness mode, is audible but not annoying during quiet movie scenes. Switching to maximum brightness levels increases the fan noise to 36dB, which is more intrusive during presentations and slideshows — but is still easily drowned out with music.

BenQ SP890: Conclusion

The BenQ SP890 is a very versatile multimedia performer. It's able to display movies reasonably well with a little tweaking, and with the press of a few buttons it becomes a detailed and bright presentation projector.

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