BenQ Projectors Ditch Lamps, Add LED, Improve Brightness and Color

Our pick for best home theater projector for the money is the BenQ HT2050A and it’s a great choice overall, but it’s now several years old. At CES 2023 BenQ announced its successor, the HT2060, along with two other new projectors. They’re all lit by a new four-LED design instead of the traditional UHP lamps.

BenQ hasn’t announced pricing yet for the HT2060, but I expect it to be the more affordable of the three. It promises more light output and better color than the HT2050A, thanks to that four LED light source. The other two, the HT4550i and the GP500, are both 4K projectors. The 4550i has a claimed 3,200 lumens, which should make it exceptionally bright. The GP500 has a more modest 1,500, but has an elaborate built-in speaker system.

Here’s what we know so far. 

Long live the HT2050A (and here comes the HT2060)

A front view of the BenQ HT2060.


BenQ

The HT2050A has been one of our favorite projectors literally for years. Even as new projectors have entered (and left!) the market, the HT2050A remained. By the end of its epic run it didn’t offer the brightness, color, nor resolution of many of its similarly priced competitors, but it offered an excellent all-around image for a great price. It will continue to be in BenQ’s lineup for at least a few more months.

Replacing it is the HT2060. From the outside, it shares a lot in common with its august predecessor. The design has been freshened up, with more modern lines. Thankfully, there’s still vertical lens shift. This feature was practically unique among sub-$1,000 DLP projectors, and it’s great to see it continue. It makes fitting the projector in a room easier. Also continuing is a 1.3x zoom. BenQ says you’ll be able to create a 100-inch image from 8.2 feet, which seems similar to its predecessor, too.

A diagonal angle of the BenQ HT2060 projector.

The new BenQ HT2060 has an updated look.


BenQ

It’s what’s inside that matters most, of course. Instead of the UHP lamp that lit the HT2050, the 2060 uses four LEDs. These should last the life of the projector. It’s still 1080p, which is interesting since so many PJs are moving to 4K. My guess this will keep the price at or below $1,000. Claimed brightness is about the same, at 2,300 lumens versus the HT2050’s 2,200. Since they’re also claiming a wider color gamut, we’ll have to see what this means in person. 

On paper this seems like a solid upgrade to one of our favorite projectors. If the price is right, and the performance is indeed a bit better, this could be a winner. We shall see.


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The step-up HT4550i and GP500 get 4K

These two 4K projectors are potentially quite interesting, too. The HT4550i looks like the HT2060’s evil, more powerful cousin. Same basic shape/design, but shades of stylish black and dark silver. It looks serious, and its specs say it is. It sports a claimed 3,200 lumens and 4K resolution. Like the other projectors BenQ announced at the show, it’s powered by four LEDs. They’re claiming it can reach 100% of DCI-P3, which should mean it has some great color. It has both horizontal and vertical lens shift and Android TV built in. 

The older HT3550i is $1,800. If the HT4550i is near that in price, this could be an interesting step up from the HT2060. 

A diagonal angle of the black-on-gray BenQ HT4550i projector.

The dark and powerful cousin to the HT2060, the HT4550i.


BenQ

The GP500 is a bit different from the other two PJs BenQ announced. It’s quite the chonky boi due to what amounts to a built-in sound bar underneath the projector. Using four drivers, BenQ claims it’s able to put out a “360-degree soundfield.” The idea of the GP500 is to have the ability to add a projector in any room, at a variety of angles, and still have decent sound. It has Android TV, 4K resolution and a claimed 1,500 lumens. 

The BenQ GP500 with its tall speaker-filled base and pastel blue front panel.

The base has a four-speaker sound system. 


BenQ

I’ve been fairly lukewarm on, shall we say, alternative projector designs like this. I’ve found them overpriced and underwhelming. Unlike the other two projectors they announced, the GP500 has a price: $1,800. That’s a lot of money for a 1,500 lumen projector, though I suppose it could fit in some rooms a HT2060 or HT4550i plus a soundbar/speaker system couldn’t. 

BenQ hasn’t announced availability on these yet, but we’d expect them to be out soon.