Hey guys! “Week 1” version of my review is here! More to come but here goes!
In short, The TK800 is an EXCELLENT follow up to their recently launched HT2550. For context, The HT2550 was the first 4K projector launched at a sub-$1,500 price point and represents one of the best values in 4K projection to date. Excellent color, sharpness, and brightness in a compact form factor led to me being blown away by the value it created in this segment of the market. I’ll refer to the HT2550 a few times in this review but lets talk about it’s brother, the TK800…
As I stated in my review of the HT2550 - the TK800 maintains has to be viewed and judged from the lens (ha) of 4K projection. This is definitely a different market than the 1080p projector market so 4K needs to be one of your top priorities when looking at this projector.
I did a lot of research on this projector before-hand. I was really interested in it’s 3000 lumen claim above the HT2550’s 2200 lumens. Reason being is I have a massive 160” screen that can use all the brightness it can get. Don’t get me wrong, the HT2550 produced a great image with accurate color. But the brightness of the HT2550, as I stated in my review, was juuuuuust bright enough. If I had a wish list it would be a tad brighter image with all the greatness that the HT2550 brought to the table.
ENTER THE TK800
After a few weeks with this projector I’m happy to report that I am VERY impressed with it. Before firing it up I was slightly concerned about the move from an RGBRGB to RGBW color wheel. After all, on paper, THE ONLY thing that changed in the TK800 vs the HT2550 is the Color Wheel. I’m sure the color engine and calibration wizardry changed as well, but the light engine is using the same power draw and it has the same chassis (albeit blue vs black front plate), throw ratio, and offset as the HT2550.
So lets talk about this color wheel since it is the main change in this projector since that is it’s differentiator. Older DLP projectors typically used this clear “White” slice of the RGBW color wheel to boost white lumens produced by the projector but they left the color lumens behind. Additionally, when those DLP projectors of the past tried to eek out color lumens with that “White” slice, the color image became washed out. I was concerned this might be the case with the TK800…
NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND.
Somehow, someway… the BenQ engineers have calibrated this RGBW color wheel to produce a brighter, punchier, image that maintains very respectable color accuracy. The result is an image where, due to extra lumens, perceived contrast is improved, color is extremely accurate, and when you add this together on a 160” screen with 4K and even 3D content… it makes for a VERY happy customer.
The first night of setting up the projector I had the HT2550 and TK800 side by side to calibrate and compare. I had a 4K HDR Blu Ray of Planet Earth II playing form my UHD Blu Ray player through an HDCP 2.2 HDMI splitter. I had similar Cinema Mode settings enabled with Brilliant Color set to ‘On’ on both projectors. The black point seemed darker on the TK800 to my untrained eye (sadly I don’t have a light meter to measure). I brought my wife into the theater and had 5 samples ready to show her. 5 times out of 5 she chose the TK800 image. The TK800 image was brighter, more punchy, and had more vivid and saturated colors. It ‘Wows’.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa…. Hold on a sec…. What about the HT2550’s color accuracy?”
Yep. Great point. I did these tests in my 100% light controlled theater. When completely dark and I am watching UHD Blu Rays, I still personally prefer the 96% Rec Coverage of the HT2550 to the 92% Rec Coverage of the TK800. The color is more accurate and natural on the HT2550. A great comparison to think of the two projectors would be the display produced by an IPS LCD iPhone Display vs an AMOLED Display of a Samsung S8. The iPhone is more natural, but the Samsung sure is a heck of a lot punchier and vivid. Both great displays. Different strokes for different folks.
The first opportunity I had to really put it through its paces was watching the NBA Playoffs with a gathering of about 20 people coming in and out of the theater. We had the back half of the theater with lights on and even with a hefty amount of ambient lighting, the TK800 cut trough it all and still produced a great image on my 160” white 1.0 gain screen. This is a projector for sports enthusiasts, living rooms, backyard movies, and in my case a blend of all 3 in my theater.
The bottom line is this, for folks with dedicated theaters and close to 100% light control, and primarily watching movies, the HT2550 is going to get you an image as close to what the Director of those films intended. If you are someone who wants as bright and vivid image as possible, don’t have light control, or watch a lot of sports, the TK800 is a great choice too… AGAIN, even in a theater. It is a TON of fun and produces a bright image without a lot of tradeoffs regarding color. And if 3D is your thing, look no further. This is a great unit for 4k and 3D.
As of today, it exceeded expectations and has taken a primary spot in my 9.4.4 Atmos 4K Theater… especially during the Playoffs. I might switch back to the HT2550 after the Playoffs until football season. Both are great projectors.
I plan to put this through more paces including an outdoor move party so I’ll be back to post additional thoughts and pictures when I get the chance. I’m also finalizing the settings that I like the most, but for what it’s worth, I like the Gamma set to 2.4 instead of “BenQ” in Football and Sport modes. The “BenQ” Gamma setting hot spotted the whites a bit much with it’s S-Curve gamma… however that BenQ Gamma setting did create quite a bright and punchy image. Personal preference! I’ll be back with more when I finalize. Have fun!