The BenQ GV1 is a dream come true for me: a pocket cinema on the go with Netflix, a browser and a Bluetooth-speaker function.
I was very pumped when I first opened this box (check out our first look by the way). It’s a very sturdy device, well built (that’s mostly the case with BenQ products) and good looking. It also displayed very good image quality and nice sound. There’s a reason why it has that nice sound: besides being a portable Wi-Fi projector, it can also be used as a Bluetooth speaker with just one press of a button.
So everything’s great? Well no, at least not from the start. The main reason I thought this was an amazing piece of tech, was watching Netflix on the go for example. However, there was no app for Netflix and you couldn’t even stream it from your phone to the GV1: you actually had to use your pc to stream it via Chrome and share your screen etc etc. So yeah, not really a stand-alone projector at that time and a very big deal breaker for me.
But boy, do I have some good news for you! After the latest update, BenQ added some kind of Play Store called Aptoide: it’s bit dodgy to be fair (I don’t really know what store or thing they are using to boot apps), but it works! You can now install Netflix, Youtube and other things on the projector itself and boot Netflix without using other devices like your Mac or phone, which is why this is a dream come true for me. Just imagine going on a trip and being able to have a full screen projection on your wall or ceiling without having to bring a big projector with you with all those cables and connecting HDMI and all that other stuff.
Check out our full video review:
It has one input: a USB-c port. This is used for charging or playing media files from a flash drive. It has dual band connectivity, so that 2,4G or 5G Wi-Fi and a direct hotspot, which you can use to stream from your phone if there’s no Wi-Fi for example. I gotta say: I’ve used this mainly in my room, where the Wi-Fi is not that good and I could stream movies in the best quality via Netflix without a problem.
You also don’t have to worry about putting this device perfectly flush, because the auto keystone correction makes sure the image is always perfectly squared. It works most of the times, unless you really project from a corner from example, but even then it’s still viewable.
Startup time is really great, it boots in about a minute or less, so for a projector that’s pretty good. It’s very easy to use, but you’ll need the remote control to get through the menu and all that, the buttons won’t do the trick so that’s a bit of a shame.
The projector itself can go up to 100” in size and still remain the same quality they say, but I prefer going to about 70” and having a bit brighter image with nicer colours, it’s still pretty big though. It’s a LED-powered system with 30.000 hours of use, which translates to 3,4246575 years. Yes, I checked that for you via Google. So by the time this device runs out of LED, there will probably already be something new on the market to be fair.
One important thing you’re probably wondering: ‘Simon, this is handheld, but how’s the battery-life dude?’. Well you have between 2,5 – 3 hours of battery life, so for 95% of movies you’re good if you charged it completely, if you’re watching Avengers for example, well then you’ll need to plug it in somewhere halfway that movie.
Okay round-up: does the BenQ GV1 justify it’s 300$ price tag? Well, if you’d ask this question 3 months ago I’d have to say no, but right now I’m definitely saying yes. This is true entertainment in the palm of your hands: Netflix, Youtube or other stuff on the go with a projector? Ow yes! And you can also use it as a speaker, which is great. So good job BenQ on adding the Aptoide and really making this a great device!
The image quality is great in dark rooms with nice colours, high contrast and good visibility. It’s not HD, but you really forget about that 2 minutes into the movie. If you’re looking for a great stand-alone device to stream some Netflix, watch Youtube or browse the web, than this will be your best choice.