When even the largest TV doesn’t cut it, projectors give you the biggest entertainment experience possible in your own home. BenQ’s new TH671ST is priced where mid-range meets top-end - it sells for £649 / $699, which is about the same as the mid-range options in our best gaming TV guide - and gives a beautiful wall-filling picture even in small spaces.
BenQ TH671ST - Design
The TH671ST looks stylish without particularly standing out; exactly as it should be. It has a clean white shell with rounded corners and no unnecessary flourishes. The plastic casing feels solid enough if you’re going to move it around a lot, and it’s light enough to not be a burden if you do. Importantly, it will fit most projector brackets if that’s your preferred set up. All sockets are tidily at the back with the front being kept clear aside from the light source. There are enough controls on the device itself to change settings if you lose sight of the remote, and the menus are simple to navigate and tweak your picture. A small detractor is that there are only two adjustable feet on the projector’s underside: one centrally and at the front, and one at the back left. This makes it hard to adjust to point the picture downwards if you’re using it on a surface higher than knee level.
BenQ TH671ST - Features
The key feature is in the title: ST stands for short throw. At a distance of barely two metres it easily filled a three metre wide wall on the narrowest throw setting. Shorter distances is definitely where it's most comfortable, so if you have a larger room, you’ll want a bigger model. The picture looks great on a white wall, and if you’re spending this kind of money on a projector you’ll probably invest in a decent screen or at least a pot of paint for the surface it’s pointing at. But if you’re taking it to a friend’s house with magnolia walls you can select light yellow wall colour in the settings and the projector will compensate. It won’t be perfect, and the colours are limited (with options of light yellow, pink, light green, and blue) but it’ll provide a better picture even without an ideal surface to project onto. This offers some great flexibility given that every wall isn’t ideal for projecting.
Powering the projector up for the first time, a simple menu helps the set up, noting front or rear projection, whether it’s hung from the ceiling or sitting on a stand, and setting the keystone adjustment (ensuring you’ve got a rectangular picture). Add in a quick spin of the focus control and zoom, and I’m watching the new series of Queer Eye in great quality within five minutes of opening the box.
There’s a 5W built-in speaker which does the job better than others I’ve used but is, naturally, no substitute for a surround sound system. Audio output is a plain old 3.5mm port, but the projector does offer some audio versatility by switching modes when video settings are changed to give you the ideal mix for games, films or sport. The TH671ST has two HDMI inputs, a regular USB, a mini USB, and VGA ports as well, making it well set for connecting multiple devices. The remote having a single source button rather than dedicated ones for each input is a minor gripe but otherwise it is solid, well designed and compact.
BenQ TH671ST - Performance
All of this counts for nothing if the picture isn’t high quality. But it is excellent. Running at 1080p, the image is sharp and fast with no noticeable lag for even the quickest paced games or action movies. The extra investment over perfectly-decent sub-£500 / $600 projectors pays off here. With a range of colour presets and options to set and store your preferences, it makes any type of media you throw at it pop. However, if you absolutely have to have the highest definition 4K ultra HD picture, at the moment you need to stick with a TV or spend well over double this price for a 4K projector.
At 3000 lumens the image is bright and clear even in a light room - although even this won’t quite stand up to direct sunlight on the projection surface. Dark scenes or games often need you to strain your eyes but the TH671ST stays clear even when you gallop around in the night in Red Dead Redemption 2 or swooping around the gloom of Arkham Knight. With my usual projector I usually let Arthur Morgan sleep once the sun went down so I don’t strain to see. But with the TH671ST I can get caught up in the tension of creeping around a tobacco field at night to sabotage it. Watching the bright colours of Avengers smashing into each other on Blu-ray is just as crisp and vibrant, and you can drink it in, in all its glory with no lag taking you out of the moment. Projectors generally run quite hot, and this is no exception, so it’s not ideal for anywhere without a good bit of ventilation, particularly in the summer. However, this doesn’t cause any problems to the device itself, which held up without complaint over marathon days of gaming and watching.
Overall - should you buy it?
This is priced just below the top end of projectors and absolutely delivers the quality you’d expect for the money. Some minor design quibbles stop it from being a perfect score, but the picture quality is excellent. If you thought your space was too narrow for a projector, think again - this is the perfect gaming-focused device for a massive picture in even the tightest of rooms.