BenQ MP512 ST projector review

We have discovered that having a projector to use with the Nintendo Wii doesn’t mean you are less prone to injuring yourself or indeed breaking things just because there’s no TV in the room. In fact, having the MP512 ST projector from BenQ made us even more frenetic as we threw caution to the wind absorbed in the huge projected image on the wall.

The main advantage of this shiny new, Wii-styled projector is that it is short throw model (the ST of its name) and therefore you can have it close to the screen or wall you are projecting onto. And, at just a metre away, it will project a 55-inch or 140cm image. The maximum size is a 300-inch image.

As long as you resist the temptation to get close to the projection to get an advantage over your competitor, the projector does not get in your way.

Also worth a mention at this point is the included Wall Colour Correction Technology which means that you can project onto non-white walls.

The only snag with it being short throw is the keystone correction is less than impressive and so to get the best effects, you need to have the projector ideally at the same sort of level you want to project.

You get analogue RGB, Component video: S-Video, Composite video, Audio and also an HDMI connection. The latter is great for hooking up your Xbox 360 and PS3 as it can handle their 1080p signals but just keep in mind this is not an HD projector, and it will downscale the picture.

On the sound front the MP512 ST has two internal 5W speakers. OK, so that’s not a huge amount of sound but if you have taken your projector to a mate’s house, it’s fine (and I mention now that this is a very portable model at 255 x 90 x 214mm and weighing 2.2kg).

And as this projector moves away from tradition in its design - being as sleek, white, compact and shiny as the Nintendo Wii - it doesn’t look out of place in even the starkest of modern homes.

But as a general use projector, especially for watching movies, there were some issues, most glaringly, the low resolution at 800 x 600 pixels. When you’re playing games, the bright colours and obviously the fact that you are contentrating on playing not just watching, mean that this resolution is less of an issue. But it is when you are watching a film.

The brightness is a respectable 2200 ANSI lumens brightness, but this again emphasises that this is not a machine for home cinema enthusiasts. However the MP512 ST does have a Texas Instruments DLP chip, and offers a 2500:1 contrast ratio, which ain’t half bad in a projector at this price point.

Verdict

If you are a home cinema enthusiast, this is not the machine for you. BenQ, amongst many others, have plenty of models that may not offer short throw projection but are brighter and pack in more pixels.

But, for around £500, this machine is reasonable value for money for a gaming enthusiast who's bored of playing their console with a small screen (you know - anything under 300 inches).