BenQ TH685 Full HD gaming projector with HDR review

BenQ TH685 Full HD gaming projector with HDR review
As a Resource Person, share with your network

Can you play 4K games in BenQ TH685 Full HD gaming projector with HDR? For gamers, it has Low latency [email protected]/120Hz low input lag, Game Mode/Game Sound Mode fine-tune audio and images, LumiExpert defeats eye strain during extended play. Iy has amazing features like connect to media players and gaming consoles for big screen movies and gaming; connect a 4K UHD HDMI dongle such as the Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, or Apple TV to play games, stream videos and share photos. Find more in BenQ TH685 Full HD gaming projector with HDR review.

Pros & Cons – BenQ TH685 Full HD gaming projector with HDR

Pros

  • Exceptionally bright
  • Accurate colors
  • Low input lag for gaming
  • Good color accuracy and contrast for the price
  • Supports HDR, including HLG
  • Accepts 4K input to downconvert to 1080p
  • Low input lag for gaming
  • Supports Full HD 3D

Cons

  • Middling overall image quality
  • Hard to adjust for sharpest image

Specs – BenQ TH685 Full HD gaming projector with HDR

  • Display Type: DLP x 1
  • Brightness: 3,500 ANSI Lumens
  • Contrast: 10,000:1 (full on/off)
  • Color Wheel: 6 segments
  • Resolution: 1920×1080
  • Data Modes: MAX 1920×1200
  • 3D Modes: Full HD 3D
  • Lamp Type: 245W Metal Halide bulb
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 (HD)
  • Color Wheel: 2x speed
  • Color Processing: 10-bit
  • Input Lag: 8ms (min)
  • Video Modes: 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, 1080p/24, 1080p/25, 1080p/30, 2160p/24, 2160p/60, 576i, 576p, 480p, 480i
  • Optional Lenses: No
  • Lens Shift: Vertical +/-5%
  • Lamp Life: 4,000 hours / 15,000 hours (Eco)
  • Lamp Model: 5J.JKX05.001 Buy Replacement Lamp
  • Projector Placement: For a 100″ diagonal screen, place the projector lens between 8′-2″ and 10′-7″ from the screen.
  • Included Lens: 1.3x manual zoom , manual focus
  • Throw Distance: 3.2′ – 24.6′ Calculate Throw Distance
  • Image Size: 30.18″ – 300.10″
  • Throw Ratio: 1.13:1 – 1.46:1 (D:W)
  • Audible Noise: 35 dB / 29 dB (Eco)
  • Internal Speakers: 5.0 Watts Mono
  • Digital Keystone: Vertical only
  • Projector Size: 4.00″ x 12.00″ x 9.00″ (HxWxD)
  • Weight: 6.2 lbs
  • Power: 340 Watts 100V – 240V

Price

That’s a bit pricey compared to some 4K TVs, but in the grand scheme of serious AV equipment, the BenQ TH685 is surprisingly affordable. Take, for example, its 4K stablemate, the BenQ HT3550 that comes in at $1,499. That’s undeniably a better projector, but the TH685 is exactly half the cost. 

The BenQ TH685 was released back in February 2020 and comes in at a very reasonable $749 (£659, AU$1,349). 

Compare it to other models from its competitor Epson like the award-winning Epson EH-TW940 that goes for $3,999 (£2,549) and you’ll see that the BenQ is a real steal at its price.

BenQ TH685 Full HD gaming projector with HDR review

Design

At 6.2 pounds and 4 by 12 by 9 inches (HWD), the TH685 is easy to handle for setup. The digital image shift and 1.3x zoom lens also add flexibility for positioning. 

Ports

Image inputs include two HDMI 2.0b ports, which both support HDCP 2.2 (the copy protection version on 4K Blu-ray discs). There’s also a USB port, meant strictly for supplying power to HDMI dongles. 

  • HDMI inputs: 2
  • PC input: Analog RGB (also Analog RGB out)
  • USB port: 1 (1.5A power)
  • Audio input and output: 3.5mm for each
  • Digital audio output: No
  • LAN port: No
  • 12v trigger: No
  • RS-232 remote port: Yes
  • MHL: No
  • Remote: Not backlit

Display

I set up the projector for a 90-inch image at 7 feet, 3 inches from the screen. One small annoyance is that it’s harder than it should be to get the image well focused. Moving the focus ring just a little changes the focus a lot, making it hard to adjust without overshooting the right setting.

BenQ TH685 Full HD gaming projector with HDR Resolution review

The TH685 pairs a single 1920-by-1200 DLP chip with a six-segment, RGBWYC (red-green-blue-white-yellow-cyan) color wheel, but uses only 1920-by-1080 pixels on the chip as its native resolution. The extra pixels let you shift the picture up or down from the center position by 5 percent of the image height, as a convenient way to position the image for your screen.

SDR Content

The four modes with better color accuracy were all closely matched on contrast, black levels, and sense of three-dimensionality in dark scenes. Living Room and Game modes both brightened up shadow detail just a little. 

For SDR content, Cinema mode has the best color accuracy and is the one I chose for most of my testing. But Living Room, Standard, and Game modes were not far behind. Sports mode isn’t as good, but its color was rarely outside of a realistic range in my tests, and only slightly off when it was. 

HDR Content

the TH685 switched to its single HDR10 mode and automatically downconverted the 4K image to the projector’s native 1080p. As with most HDR projectors, the TH685 offers what’s usually called an HDR brightness setting for manual adjustment. The best setting will vary with the ambient light level as well as from movie to movie.

Darker HDR films like Blade Runner 2049 and Solo benefited from having the HDR Brightness at 1 to help with some of the darker detail (2 made it look a little too washed out for my taste). Detail was very good for a 1080p projector. There were times when things could look a little soft – closeups of Ryan Gosling’s face, for instance – but I never found myself overtly wanting a 4K replacement.

Brightness

The rated 3,500 lumens is bright enough, according to the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) recommendations, to light up a 270-inch diagonal screen in a dark room or a 150-inch screen in moderate ambient light, assuming a 1.0-gain, 16:9 white screen.

Keystone

There’s a manual zoom and focus on the projector, and a vertical digital lens shift of up to five degrees in either direction (always best to avoid this type of adjustment, if possible, as it can lead to artifacts). Ideal height placement is to have the projector lens just below the edge of the screen (or above if you’re putting it on a ceiling mount).

Getting a projector with keystone adjustment is crucial and this one worked wonders. I had originally mounted the projector in the corner and while the keystone adjustment worked great I realized that even though the screen was centered the light projected was not. I ended up with the right side having a “screen area” lit up with nothing on it.

Gaming

Gamers will appreciate the TH685’s fast lag time. With Fast mode on—the default setting for Game picture mode—my Bodnar meter measured the lag for 1080p, 60Hz input at 16.4 ms. This gaming projector also sports a 120Hz refresh rate, which is commendable on most gaming monitors, let alone a projector. That means motion is smoother as the screen is refreshing its image more frequently.

Xbox One X and S owners can enable 120Hz on their Xbox after a recent update, but there are very limited titles that offer support for that refresh rate. With the next generation of consoles on the horizon, though, the TH685 is poised to take full advantage of that new glorious hardware.

Lamp life

Lamp life is a fairly average 4,000 hours in the Normal mode. This jumps up to 10,000 hours in the Eco mode, though you lose about 35% of the light output. There are two other lamp modes that sound like they do the same thing, but work slightly different.

SmartEco mode decreases lamp power in darker scenes “while optimizing display quality,” as BenQ describes. This results in a claimed lamp life of 8,000 hours. LampSave, on the other hand, decreases lamp power in darker scenes “while offering a longer lamp life.” It does this primarily by limiting maximum light output to what you’d get in the Eco mode. It balloons lamp life out to 15,000 hours. 

Audio

Audio is handled through a 5W chamber speaker that really rocks the mids and highs but leaves almost nothing in the bass range. 

Setup – BenQ TH685 Full HD gaming projector with HDR

If you plan on ceiling mounting the projector just be warned that the included power cable is a bit on the shorter side, but it should be enough to reach an outlet if you put it on a table.

Setup is fairly simple, too: to help position the picture you’ll use a bottom foot that’s used to adjust projection height and the manual zoom / focus dials along the top.

On the front left face of the projector you’ll find the fan that operates at a fairly quiet 50db – which is a bit more than a whisper, but not much. Note, however, that the fan does output a fair amount of heat, especially if you’re unfortunate enough to be sitting right next to it.

If you plan to put the projector out of reach, there’s also a basic remote included that has all the same features and gets the job done.

Alternate of BenQ TH685 Full HD gaming projector with HDR

There are a bunch of gaming-focused projectors available for under $1,000, but the most direct comparison to the BenQ TH685 is the Optoma GT1080HDR (look for an upcoming review). They are both DLP projectors with a lamp light source, put out relatively the same number of lumens (although manufacturer numbers should be taken with a grain of salt), cost around $800, and have impressive sub-10ms input lag at 120Hz.

The main difference, and it is significant, is their throw. For many, the BenQ throw ratio might put placement right in the middle of their couch (it would for me if I didn’t have it on a ceiling mount). The Optoma is a short-throw projector that only needs 3.66 feet for a 100-inch diagonal. If you have space on a coffee table, it might be the better solution for your space. Optoma has another gaming projector – the HD146X – with similar specs, although it’s a couple hundred dollars cheaper and has a longer throw.

Editor’s recommendations