BenQ TK800M Test: Gregory's (kraine) Opinion
With the BenQ TK800M test stand, the overview of the manufacturer's new 2019 series is now complete. All these projectors are equipped with the revised version of the DMD 0.47 chip, which reduces the "light frame" effect of the previous generation. Together we will see the changes to the newcomer compared to the first TK800 of the name marketed last year.
The TK800M is close to the original TK800, but its designers have made several changes, the most important being the replacement of the 0.47 chip with a 4K XPR simulation (X4) by a second generation model that is less affected by light pollution from unused pixels*.
(The native resolution of the DMD 0.47 chip is 2048×1200. To simulate a 4K image, only a reasonable resolution of 1920×1080 is used, where the pixels are reproduced at very high speed on 4 slightly offset axes (240Hz). This inconspicuous pretext for the human eye reduces the production costs of a native 4K chip. Unfortunately, the use of the first version was accompanied by a luminous frame surrounding the image. It is generated by the inactive pixel portion of the 2048×1200 chip, which uses only 1920×1080).
The optical space differs from that of the TK800 because we switch from a version with a projection ratio of 1.47 - 1.76 with a zoom of 1.2X (TK800) to a model with a zoom of 1.1x and a projection ratio of 1.50 - 1.65 (TK800M).
Another difference is that the newcomer adds Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) compatibility, which the TK800 lacked.
The rest is unchanged with a 240W lamp and a 4-segment color wheel (RGBW) that allows the brightness to be increased to 3000 lumens at a contrast of 10 000:1 (according to the manufacturer).
The high brightness of the TK800M makes it ideal for table use in a non-dedicated room with two modes for broadcasting sports events (sports and football). These categories take us a bit away from our favourite field, home cinema, but we will see that the new BenQ, which is available for 1149€, can very well take care of the projection of your favourite blockbuster.
The TK800 does not differ from the "M" version in appearance and remote control. The blue front panel is always different from the W1700/W1720, zoom and focus are manual and the projector has no lens shift.
On the other hand, it is necessary to move the TK800M a few centimeters away from the screen to get at least the same image base as the TK800 with the zoom. Thus, for 2m50 of the 16:9 format base, a recoil between 3m75 and 4m12 is required for the TK800M compared to 3m67 and 4m40 for the TK800.
The placement range of the first version is therefore larger than that of the TK800M.
The BenQ TK800M projector features a 5-watt speaker with Cinemaster Audio+2 label and a selection of soundscapes. In terms of connectivity, the two HDMI jacks (only one is 4K compatible) are supported by 1 Computer In-1 jack (D-Sub 15-pin, female), 1 Input x1 USB Type A (power supply 1.5 A), x1 USB Type mini B (service), x1 Audio In (mini jack), x1 Audio Out (mini jack), x1 RS232 In (D-Sub 9-pin, male), x1 Trigger DC 12 V (3.5 mm female), and x1 RS232 In (D-Sub 9-pin, female).
The new BenQ supports 4K HDR-10 and HLG signals as well as 3D programs with DLP-Link glasses (optional) in 1080P.
The remote control supplied with the BenQ TK800 projector is white with red illumination. It is identical to the BenQ W1720/W2700, but many of its options are out of order (pixel enhancer, cinema module, etc.).
The TK800M is an advanced video processing or ISFccc certification authority and an entry-level projector.
The factory settings are divided as follows: "Bright, Vivid TV, Cinema, Sports, Football, 3D, HDR and two user memories". For the selection "HDR and 3D" they are activated only by the recognition of a corresponding signal.
To adjust the colors and gamma, the TK800M is equipped with gain and bias settings (color temperature), a CMS over the 3 dimensions of the gamut and predefined gamma values. Each of the factory settings can be edited, which increases the storage possibilities of the settings.
Video processing does not have a flow aid and the Master Cinema W5700/W2700/W2700/W1720 has disappeared. Once the projector detects a 4K signal, it allows access to a specific HDR brightness setting in 5 steps (one zero point and 2 negative and positive points). Do not expect to find the W2700/W5700's HDR auto mapping.
In contrast, lamp management is dynamic via the smart eco and eco.+ modes.
In contrast, lamp management is dynamic via the "smart eco" and "eco.+" modes. These two options adjust the luminous flux to the image content and extend the service life of the lamp to 15,000 hours (manufacturer's specifications).
In terms of operating noise, the BenQ TK800M projector can disable XPR mode (4K simulation) through its "Silence" mode, but it is associated with the loss of 4K simulation and therefore operates at its 1080p resolution. In this configuration I could measure a very correct 32db. After resuming video processing, switching to low-lamp mode increases the sound level meter to 36dB and reaches 41dB at full lamp power. The "smart eco. "also reaches 41 dB.
Scratchy and sharp:
Without being bad, the TK800M does not reach the accuracy of a W5700; one would have guessed it in view of the price difference. The center of the image is well reproduced, but the edges appear softer. If accuracy is important to you, I recommend that you consider the W1720 or better the W5700 instead.
The absence of image interpolation has no effect on the moving image of the TK800M. The jerk is well controlled and no unpleasant deceleration disturbs the projection.
Input lag :
Players will be pleased to read that the TK800M offers an input lag of less than 50 ms.
This is good news for a DLP projector with 4K simulation, because even if it doesn't reach the best values in this range (16 ms), its 48.5 ms allows you to watch frag games in networks on very large images.
By default, the cropping (overscan) setting is disabled and the entire 4k test image is displayed on the screen. The search for the defect of the light frame shows that it has been reduced to about 10 pixels on each page, compared to 60 pixels before. This means that visual complaints have been reduced but not completely eliminated. Note that this frame phenomenon was already present on many projectors before the 0.47 chip was released.
Contrast and Brightness:
Like its predecessor, the TK800M is particularly bright with nearly 3000 measured lumens. It is capable of illuminating a 1080P SDR image of more than 5 meters in base with a luminance of 16 fL.
In the same planes it allows to project a 4K HDR image on 4 meters base, i.e. the signals HDR10 and HLG do not frighten him.
In contrast, the difference is also significant compared to the TK800, as the native values are almost doubled. However, the sequential contrast remains below 800:1 and the measured black levels require the use of a grey technical screen to add depth to the night scenes. This is the only solution as the TK800M does not have the dynamic aperture of the W2700/W5700.
To compare, here are the contrast and brightness measurements of the TK800:
Colorimetry and Gamma:
The TK800M is not a "ready to use" projector in the field of colorimetric fidelity. The best factory mode at the gearbox output is "Cinema", but with a DeltaE deviation greater than 11 (values less than 3 are sought). The gamma is better adjusted with an average of 2.19.
Therefore, it is necessary to calibrate the TK800M to benefit from an image with natural colors. I place my recalibration values below:
In the absence of automated HDR signal management, the user must manually adjust the contrast and brightness values using the special HDR menu to correctly illuminate the projected film image. Since movies are not encoded in the same way, the adjustment must be made each time.
Below I present a comparison arrangement between the BenQ TK800M and my reference projector BenQ W5700.
1080P SDR :
After taking care of the calibration of the TK800M image, I have to admit that I did a few visual slaps in the face on all of Lucy or Fury's day scenes, with enormous dynamics and scaling under the direction of the TK800M/Panasonic DP-UB820 couple and all with a good fluidity in the travels.
But once the black arrives, it's another pair of sleeves and every time I regret my little ViewSonic PX725HD or just a BenQ W1090, whose native contrast is about 2000:1 and which allows me to enjoy credible blacks without necessarily going through a technical screen.
4K HDR :
The switch to 4K HDR makes it possible to increase the density of night scenes. Again, the projector needs to be calibrated to brighten up a high dynamic range image, which is adjusted with the factory settings.
After completion of this process, the TK800M proves to be the champion of the HDR-10 image, especially thanks to its light output. It's designed for large images, so don't hesitate to provide it with screen backgrounds of more than 3 meters!
If you do not have calibration tools (probe and special software), I recommend using the W1720 instead of the TK800M. Otherwise, if you have the tools, the newcomer with its high brightness allows you to enjoy a high-quality 4K HDR show on large image bases. The TK800M is a great improvement over the TK800 thanks to values that improve in all areas of rating. Like its classmates, however, it suffers from a marked lack of native contrast. This remains weak and, in my opinion, requires the use of a gray technical screen with a gain of less than 1 to add strength and depth to the dark passages of your favorite movies or series.
In short, dear home cinema readers, here you are warned with increasing summer: the TK800M is rich in vitamin C, but insufficient in D. Dynamism versus reliability, it is up to you to see, choose, if necessary accept the compromise proposed by this model.
Cut! Cut! Cut! We make it again for athletes: As we approach the Women's Football World Cup in France, for which this projector could offer a great show, you will have to choose between a strong attack or a perfect defense. With this TK800M, you choose a credible intermediate formula: the midfielder, a hinge that is more pullable than victorious, preventing defeat. You are now informed supporters! 😀 Anyway, you will be BLUE!