Hands-on review: BenQ GV30 portable projector
The BenQ GV30 is a portable projector that excels in many aspects but comes up short in a couple of others.
Its simple yet durable plug-in-and-play design and standout sound are great selling points, but its battery life and dim picture aren't ideal if you intend on using it outdoors.
Looks-wise, the GV30 certainly stands out from the crowd. Its round design is around seven inches in diameter and sits upon a magnetic stand, allowing for a 135-degree projection angle. It feels premium, rugged and sturdy - perfect if you want to take it camping come summer. It'll also be well protected on the way there, thanks to the high-quality case that comes included in the box.
Setting the GV30 projector up is simple enough. Once you ungracefully pry open the device with the included tool or ‘pick', you just plug the Android TV dongle into the HDMI input, and you're pretty much ready to go. The built-in auto focus and auto vertical keystone ensure setup is seamless. Phone mirroring works well, but many users might find the lack of Netflix support a bit of a pain - there are ways to view the streaming service through the GV30, but it could be so much easier.
When using the projector indoors, it's probably best to keep it plugged into the included power supply. Battery life is a claimed two and a half hours, although we struggled to achieve that during testing. If you intend on buying the GV30 to watch The Godfather at an unpowered DOC campsite, then you'll have to keep your power bank juiced up.
The sound is one of the standout features of the GV30, so much so that it actually makes a decent backup Bluetooth speaker. The stereo speakers are clear and produce a good amount of bass when required. Of course, you can also connect to an external source such as a dedicated Bluetooth speaker or headphones.
Visually, the GV30 is crisp and clear, although it does feel somewhat hindered by the 720p HD resolution. The main drawback, however, is how the projector struggles in lighter environments - the 300 ANSI lumens simply is not enough, even with Daytime Mode switched on. Without blackout blinds, you'll struggle to use the GV30 until the sun sets. When the sun does go down, the aforementioned 135-degree projection means you can easily tilt the projector up towards your ceiling, then sit back and relax on a beanbag or recliner. BenQ claims that even during the day, you can get a ‘superb' image between 40 and 50 inches, but we found it really hard to achieve during testing.
With an RRP of around $1,200, the BenQ GV30 projector is by no means cheap, but it is a great little portable projector. We really enjoyed its simplicity and versatility during testing but became frustrated by its battery life and dim picture. Nevertheless, it's a good choice if you need a projector for some late-night viewing at home.