Finding the balance between affordability and performance is something we’re constantly doing. If money was no object then we could simply go and buy the perfect tech for what we wanted. But, where’s the fun in that?
Nah, I’m not convinced either.
However, the world of home projectors can get expensive rather quickly.
For the last few days the BenQ TH530 projector has been entertaining me. Want to see how it did?
BenQ TH530 design
The TH530 is probably the whitest projector I have ever reviewed.
It is sooooo white. It’s also very shiny. Not great for review snaps, but it does have a pristine gleam about it.
Up front is the lens to the right as we look at it, and cut outs for the vent on the left.
Most of the interesting bits, however, can be discovered around the rear.
Here we have a solitary HDMI port and a pair of 3.5mm jacks for getting audio in and out. You also have S-video, composite video and D-sub 15pin ports for attaching PCs (and component video devices). There’s also a mini USB slot for software upgrades, and an RS232 slot.
Inside, there is a 2Watt speaker.
On top of the device is a control keypad but the TH530 also comes with a rather no-frills remote.
BenQ TH530 performance
On paper this unassuming projector has some tasty chops.
It proudly boasts a Full HD pixel count of 1920 x 1080. It’s not only cocky enough to claim a maximum brightness of 3200 ANSI lumens but it even brags of a contrast ratio of 10,000:1.
But, can it walk the walk?
BenQ is assuming that you’re as unprepared as me. Well, in so far as not being equipped with a screen.
You see, the TH530 has ‘wall colour’ options. These skew the image to counteract your pink, light yellow, light green or blue walls. If you’re planning on using this at a school, then you’ll be pleased to read that there’s also a blackboard mode.
There’s also a LampSave mode that dynamically adjusts light output based on content and extends the lamp’s lifespan to a huge 10,000 hours.
Finally the TH530 supports 3D, I do have glasses but I can’t even remember the last time I used them with the telly.
I had it mostly on a slightly tweaked version of its Cinema setting as I was testing it using movies.
I would estimate that I was getting a decent 80-inch image from around 3 meters, which is good in my books.
TH530 projector picture quality
The TH530 is bright. As I have mentioned before when testing projectors, my living room is not free of ambient light.
That is no matter for the TH530’s 3200 ANSI lumens. Even with the curtains open or the lights on, you can still see the picture without issue.
All that brightness boasting had me fearing that I was going to be presented with a washed-out picture. I am relieved to say, that is not so.
Plugging in my Fire Stick and putting on Gravity, the blacks were amazingly black.
In SmartEco mode you can get great contrast. The shading in the darker areas is pretty impressive.
It’s not all good news here though. At this price point, you wouldn’t expect a totally flawless performance. The TH530 does have its one foible, and that’s the typical DLP Rainbow Effect.
This rainbow effect occurs over bright objects that appear against dark backdrops. When it happens you will see fleeting stripes of red, green and blue. There were obvious instances during Gravity but I’m not that bothered by it. Although, I do know many are.
Bring the noise
Where I could ignore the rainbow I can’t help but mention the speaker. Well, I have to mention it as it wouldn’t be able to speak up for itself, bless its little cottons.
The little 2W speaker is barely audible, especially over the fan noise.
There is also a fair amount of light leakage as you can see in the shot above.
BenQ TH530 review conclusion
The TH530 certainly has a lot going for it. The little BenQ projector is compact and is more than capable of producing peeper-pleasing pictures.
It is a bright, colourful performer. It presents nicely crisp images.
I was impressed by the blacks, even in my light leaky room. Saying that, the TH530 also brings its own leaked light.
Some might need more than one HDMI but the computer-centric ports leads me to believe that BenQ is trying to please more than one market here.
That’s no bad thing, as long as you manage to please at least one of them.
I like that it is Full HD, and projects in 16:9 natively.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly HD projector that can sling an 80-inch image without fuss. The TH530 is worth considering, just watch out for that rainbowing.
BenQ TH530 projector price and availability
You can pick up a TH530 on Amazon for under £510 right now.