BenQ TH690ST review summary:
Editor’s rating: 3.9/5
Ease of use
- UHD and HDR10 support
- 3D support
- Short throw lens
- HDR brightness is low
- Absence of lens shift
From PS5 to Xbox Series X, new consoles are being paired up with new gaming projectors as well. And a crisply-detailed, low latency and low input lag screen is bliss which comes with gaming projectors.
With many major competing brands in the gaming projector industry, BenQ has so many good gaming projectors for every range of gamers around the globe. Compatible with major gaming consoles and with 4K UHD displays, BenQ Gaming Projectors are a brilliant add-on to your gaming experience. One such example is the new BenQ TH690ST. With high-quality industry features, this gaming projector by BenQ is a gem to be added to your star-studded gaming setup. As gaming projectors go into the market, this one is placed in the upper-class price range. Will the device justify its price? We have to find out.
BenQ has put all the features present in a high-standard gaming projector of this era’s technology. And I recently got a chance to review the new BenQ TH690ST. The overall experience of the gaming projector has been amazing. Before I dive deep into the spectacular features of the gaming projector by BenQ, let me share what I got in the box.
BenQ TH690T Review: Unboxing
As easy as a smartphone unboxing, the packaging done by BenQ is very clean and simple. One can easily take out the items separately and put them back together if needed. The outside box includes the BenQ logo, Model Number, and power usage. Written on the sides of the box are prominent features and power usage for the projector. The box of the same consists of:
- BenQ TH690ST,
- Guidebook of instructions
- Power manual
- Power cord
- 2 AAA batteries
- Remote control.
- The projector comes wrapped in protective PVC, and the rest of the items are kept separately and can be accessed easily as well.
BenQ TH690T Review: Connectivity
The BenQ TH690ST comes with 2 HDMI 2.0b ports and 1 USB 2.2 Type-A port. The HDMI port is equipped with HDCP 2.2, which is good for security but might make connecting with every machine a little tricky. The Type-A USB port can be used for service as well as a power source of 2.5A for another device. However, there’s no external media support from the USB port, which is quite sorrowful considering all options.
There’s an old-school RS232 port as well for sending serial communication during service and repairs. With respect to audio, this gaming projector has 3.5mm audio input and output jacks. The device also contains a traditional SPDIF port for keeping the options open of multi-channel audio or connection with legacy systems. The projector has all the buttons on its top as same as the remote control, including arrow keys for 2D Keystone correction, picture modes, and ECO mode.
From the top, one can also tweak the manual focus and manual zoom options available. Being a short-throw projector, features like these come in really handy. Even I adjusted my focus a little bit while using this projector, as my setup was in a comparatively small room.
BenQ TH690T Review: Setup
There are four different settings where you can tweak and enjoy the full of BenQ TH690ST gaming projector. Under the ‘Picture’ menu, you can select different picture modes, which allow you to select a preset depending on which experience you want. There are six different picture modes for SD viewing, two modes for High Definition and 1 for 3D. The Bright, Living Room, Game, Sports, Cinema, and User picture modes are present in the SDR viewing.
Under the advanced Color Management System, you can variate the levels of Hue, Saturation, and Gain for primary as well as secondary colors (WRGBCMY). It is very likely that you will make those adjustments. Somehow, the BenQ gaming projector has the potential to deliver the right color tones, but it still needs a human touch, aka calibration. And The HDR10 and HDR gaming modes are almost similar, and a lack of respect for hues can be seen all over.
Under the ‘Installation’ menu, you will find a setting named 2D Keystone correction. It’s an important feature to look for in projectors, and the one in BenQ TH690ST works perfectly. The device asks for correction at the time of installation, but you can do it again from settings. The calibration can be done manually from the arrow keys on the remote or projector, or you can choose the ‘Auto’ option to let the projector decide.
BenQ TH690T Review: Picture and Sound
Moving on to the most crucial feature of a gaming projector. Falling under the short throw category, BenQ TH690ST cleverly makes use of its DMD DLP chipset to produce Full HD 1080p resolution imagery with massive 2300 ANSI lumens. The light source is a solid-state LED that has a lifespan of 30,000 hours under its ECO mode and 20,000 hours in its SmartEco mode. Believing the build quality of the LED of the projector, these citations can be accepted easily. With the shortest projection of 100″ at a distance of 1.5 meters, the gaming projector produces beautiful colors with correct high brights and dark lows. This gaming projector’s gamut coverage is at 98.2%, which covers colors vibrantly as color gamut >100% can lead to color deviation along with that, DCI-P3 gamut coverage of 85.54% XY and 90.64% UV. DCI-P3 being superior in color coverage means a lot coming from a projector at this price range.
The BenQ TH690ST is capable of producing an image of 16:9 diagonal image size from 30 inches up to 200 inches diagonal. The projector allows it to be mounted on the tabletop as well as the ceiling. Projector placement and zoom ratio are to be noted carefully before mounting, as the projector lacks vertical lens shift. I placed the projector on a tabletop, so three adjustment feet worked fine for me, but the ceiling mount may require the help of 2D Digital Keystone adjustment, 1.2X manual zoom, and manual focus of this gaming projector. The projector works fine with adjustments in small rooms but misses the brightness adjustments overall for fulfilling different users’ needs. The 2D digital keystone works like a breeze and makes image alignment swift and effortless.
BenQ TH690T Review: Performance
Talking about the gaming in gaming projector now, BenQ TH690ST does deliver a low input-latency gaming experience but on its conditions. The 8.83ms latency promised by BenQ at 1080p/120Hz is applicable when the user switches to Game picture mode. Yes, there is only one game mode and not FPS, RTS, RPG, etc., on the BenQ gaming projector, which is unlike its other models. The game picture mode tweaks the settings up to the extent where you might feel a little difference in the gaming experience and more in visual effects. The Game picture mode unlocks a few other settings, such as room setting mode, details adjustment, etc.
I tested the performance of the BenQ gaming projector with two games running on a gaming laptop setup with Steam. The setup included Asus ROG G15, a Logitech G102 mouse, and a RedGear keyboard. The first game I played was Valorant. I tried both Death Match and Career mode. The game was smooth, and there was no lag between shots and clicks fired. There was no noticeable difference between normal and Game modes until you switch them frequently. The second game played was Mortal Combat X. The overall graphics through the projector were spectacular. The combos and finishing moves from the game use immaculate graphics, and the BenQ gaming projector delivered that along with little to no lag on input using a gaming keyboard.
It might not get primarily used as a projector for watching movies, but I did try some in different resolutions and different platforms such as Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, and live TV as well. The overall charisma was maintained while watching videos in Full HD resolution. Different picture modes are helpful for changing variance in color temperature presets, but overall settings have to be tweaked manually at a desirable mood. Overall the viewing experience was filled with the right color tones, a good native sound, and a bright light to complement.
The BenQ TH690ST uses two 5-watt TreVolo-tuned stereo speakers as the native sound companion. The gaming projector also comes with equalizer presets. The attuned sound mode is pre-selected with its companion picture mode; for example, the Game sound mode is automatically selected with the Game picture mode. The modes are Cinema, Game, Music, Sports, and User. Under ‘User’ mode, I could tune the five-band equalizer control. The sound quality amounts to ‘fair enough’ in terms of a native audio source. The bass does not do justice to any good sound experience, but the dialogues and chat voices could be heard loud and clear.
BenQ TH690T Review: Should you buy it?
It’s very easy to conclude the ‘projection’ of this gaming projector by BenQ but a choice to buy is still into consideration. In a nutshell, BenQ Th690ST is an amazing gaming projector with vibrant 84% DCI-P3 and 98% Rec. 709 color coverage display, 2300 ANSI lumens brightness standard, just 8.33ms input lag on 1080p/120Hz display resolution, and TreVolo 5WX2 surround sound. Bright and HDR10 compatible gaming and a crisp and loud surround sound. The extra features such as the 2D Keystone correction, Dual HDMI 2.0 support, 1.2x zoom, and Long Life LED lamp are the extra layer of frosting we all needed at this price.
There are points of correction, such as the oversaturation of colors in HDR, almost no difference in different picture modes, and a single gaming mode. But at this price, the BenQ TH690ST is the wise choice among the TH series if you are willing to stick with short-throw projectors. The gaming performance, on the one hand, was quite satisfactory and was the brightest aspect considering it is a gaming projector, more or less. With some color calibration and an addiction to smooth gaming, the BenQ Th690ST gaming projector will be a winner to have.