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BenQ X1300i

BenQ X1300i review: "Absolutely delivers for gaming"

(Image: © BenQ)

Our Verdict

A great projector truly aimed at gamers.

Pros

  • 8ms input lag, 120Hz refresh rate
  • Three gaming modes for different genres
  • Great picture quality

Cons

  • 1080p picture at a 4K price
  • Need to self install included Android dongle
  • Over the four-figure mark for price

The BenQ X1300i is a new 1080p projector aimed explicitly at gamers. And with BenQ being a key brand in projector tech, and a regular in our guides, that have a wide range offering something for everyone, we have high hopes from the get-go. But how well does it deliver? And does this focus on becoming one of the best projectors for gaming mean it lacks in other areas?

Design & Features

At first inspection the X1300i is bulky. It’s much taller than most projectors and a near-cube in its dimensions (272 x 197 x 259mm / 10.7 x 7.8 x 10.2 inch). But when setting it up this became a virtue. I run projectors from a shelf behind the sofa, and some larger projectors are too big to place here. By stacking the hardware high rather than deep, it fits there easily. Your mileage may vary depending on setup, but I found this very useful for my, relatively normal, projector situation.

Zoom and focus are done manually through rollers on the side rather than digitally; a slight surprise and slightly tricky to tune in but no real obstacle. Elsewhere, the remote is fine with useful features easily available and within fingers' reach, but the lack of a backlight is annoying in the dark. 

BenQ X1300i

(Image credit: BenQ)

Performance

Most projectors give one option for "game mode" and this focuses on low input lag and reduced motion blur. But the X1300i has three, plus a custom user slot. All are geared toward lower latency and lower input lag but each also has specific key features for image and sound.  

RPG mode looks more cinematic and has audio focussed on orchestral soundtracks, FPS mode gives details in the shadows and stereo clarity to help locate foes, while SPG for sports games focuses on lush greens and skin tones, with audio focus on clear voices of commentators. In practice, the changes are subtle, and playing on the wrong mode isn’t a disaster: for example, FPS mode is useful in many situations, like exploring dungeons in an RPG. But it shows how well-targeted this is: not just offering a good mode for games but options to suit different genres, and certainly offering something else to make it a contender for best projectors for PS5 and Xbox Series X.

Needless to say, there is no notable input lag. BenQ claims input lag of 8ms and a 120Hz refresh rate, both in line with the very best gaming TVs, best TVs for PS5 and Xbox Series X, and the best 120Hz 4K TVs, along with the best gaming monitors, but input lag this low is incredibly rare in projectors. The 4LED DPL technology not only gives great image quality, it runs much cooler than traditional lamp-based projectors, meaning you don’t overheat in marathon gaming sessions.

BenQ X1300i

(Image credit: BenQ)

The picture modes are good for watching other media too. Lush landscapes and gritty action movies look great on RPG and FPS modes respectively, while the sport mode was great for watching some pre-season football. The colour is always rich, the picture sharp and even without connecting speakers, the sound (from twin 5W speakers in stereo) is clear. But this is where the lack of 4K picture does slightly let it down, but the image quality is never less than impressive (it has a native 1080p resolution and while it supports 4K resolutions, it's not got true 4K output like some of the best 4K projectors). The 3,000 lumens means the X1300i is wonderfully bright, and it holds up well in the day with ambient light in the room. On a cloudy day, I didn’t even need to close the patio curtains next to the screen in mid-afternoon to get a good picture. Team this with one of the best projector screens and you'll be flying.

Integrated Amazon Prime is helpful, especially when the series you’re currently binging is on it, but as so often with streaming projectors, Netflix has not given permission to be used on this. It wouldn’t be fair to mark this against the projector or manufacturers, but it is a notable frustration of this and most streaming projectors that using many apps will require an HDMI cable to a media source rather than streaming directly.

What is annoying is that BenQ supply as standard a dongle for streaming and providing an Android interface which you need to install yourself rather than building this into the device. It’s a job you’ll only have to do once then forget about it, but it’s genuinely strange that this wasn’t integrated, especially at this price point.

BenQ X1300i

(Image credit: BenQ)

The 4LED DPL technology not only gives great image quality, it runs much cooler than traditional lamp-based projectors, meaning you don’t overheat in marathon gaming sessions.

The picture modes are good for watching other media too. Lush landscapes and gritty action movies look great on RPG and FPS modes respectively, while the sport mode was great for watching some pre-season football. The colour is always rich, the picture sharp and even without connecting speakers, the sound (from twin 5W speakers in stereo) is clear. But this is where the lack of 4K picture does slightly let it down, but the image quality is never less than impressive (it has a native 1080p resolution and while it supports 4K resolutions, it's not got true 4K output like some of the best 4K projectors). The 3,000 lumens means the X1300i is wonderfully bright, and it holds up well in the day with ambient light in the room. On a cloudy day, I didn’t even need to close the patio curtains next to the screen in mid-afternoon to get a good picture. Team this with one of the best projector screens and you'll be flying.

Integrated Amazon Prime is helpful, especially when the series you’re currently binging is on it, but as so often with streaming projectors, Netflix has not given permission to be used on this. It wouldn’t be fair to mark this against the projector or manufacturers, but it is a notable frustration of this and most streaming projectors that using many apps will require an HDMI cable to a media source rather than streaming directly.

What is annoying is that BenQ supply as standard a dongle for streaming and providing an Android interface which you need to install yourself rather than building this into the device. It’s a job you’ll only have to do once then forget about it, but it’s genuinely strange that this wasn’t integrated, especially at this price point.

BenQ X1300i

(Image credit: BenQ)

Overall - should you buy it?

There are plenty of projectors on the market which are good for playing games, offering an optimised mode with low input lag. But it’s rare to see a unit marketed so squarely at gamers - and one that absolutely delivers for gaming. The X1300i delivers an outstanding picture that not only meets the needs of gamers but caters explicitly to different types of games. In a world where projector specifications often feel exaggerated, the tiny input lag advertised here feels completely true. The trade-off is that this is 1080p quality rather than even faux 4K at a price point where projectors start to offer that level of image quality. But since most projectors trade-off gaming performance for video quality, if you prioritize optimisation for gaming then this, finally, is truly a projector for gamers.

While we enjoy the last of the 'proper' summertime, there's still a good chance to capitalise and go for one of the best portable projectors or best outdoor projectors to enjoy outdoor entertainment. Don't forget one of the best outdoor projector screens too!

The Verdict
4.5

4.5 out of 5

BenQ X1300i projector

A great projector truly aimed at gamers.

More info

Available platformsTV, PS4, Xbox One, PS5, PC, Xbox Series X
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