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BenQ GV30 Review: A Portable Projector Power House

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The words"powerful" and "portable" don't always go together, but BenQ's GV30 projector is definitely an exception.

BenQ GV30
$599
Rating
star star star star star
Pros
  • Small and portable
  • Powerful sound
  • Bluetooth, HDMI, USB-C, wireless connectivity
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Built-in battery
Cons
  • Resolution low for the price
  • Battery life is just okay

BenQ sent over the GV30 for us to use and review. We’ve been using it for 2 weeks, before writing this review.

When it comes to picking out a projector, it’s tough finding a good balance of power, portability, and price. This is where BenQ comes in with its GV30 portable projector. This projector promises a great portable watching experience for a nice price. I spent two weeks with this projector, and I was really impressed with what this projector could do.

This projector is portable

The GV30 is built around portability, which is why it’s such a small device compared to other projectors. It comes in at about 7.75 inches tall, 7.7 inches wide, and 3.3 inches thick. You can easily plop the GV30 on a desk, table, or stand without it taking up too much space. When placed, you can rotate it on its magnetic stand to any vertical position you want.

It’s not only portable, it’s battery-powered

One of the main features of the GV30 is the onboard battery. You can use it both plugged or unplugged which means that you get a lot more flexibility with where you can use it. The battery is rechargeable, and it takes around 2 hours and 20 minutes to charge fully.

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As for battery life, it’s decent but nothing to write home about. There are three different power modes that affect the battery life. Normal mode has the screen at its maximum brightness, and it can get you 2 solid hours of battery life. Don’t expect to watch more than a movie or so with this mode on.

There are some power-saving modes that will grant you some more mileage, however. Using the Eco mode, I stretched it to about 2 hours and 33 minutes, and Low Power mode got me up to about 3 hoursThese battery-saving modes stretch the battery, but they lower the brightness.

If you want to take a break from watching stuff, but you don’t want to turn off the projector, there’s a sleep mode you can set it to. The only issue is that if you keep it in sleep mode for more than 10 minutes, it will automatically shut off. I would have liked for it to last longer than that.

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Viewing content is great

Admittedly, you’re not getting the super crisp 4K resolution with the BenQ GV30, as it projects at a 720p resolution. This sounds scary on paper, but in practice, it’s not too bad. I typically have the picture stretched from 5 – 7 feet from corner to corner, and the picture is perfectly fine.

At max, I had the picture stretched to about 9 feet, and I was still able to watch content without really seeing a dip in quality. With live-action content, you’ll be able to notice the lower resolution easier, but cartoons show up perfectly clear. While the resolution isn’t really bad at all, there are projectors around this price range and cheaper with at least 1080p resolution.

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In terms of brightness, I had no trouble watching content indoors. At maximum brightness, I could screen on a white wall and white screen with sunlight shining through my blinds and see the picture perfectly fine. I was even able to screen on a darker beige wall for much the same effect. Brightness is not an issue indoors, but outdoor sunlight will definitely wash out the picture.

In the video menu, you can adjust the brightness, contrast, color, and sharpness of the picture. There are even picture modes that adjust the settings for different types of content.

Let’s talk interface and inputs

I was relieved to see that the GV30 comes with Android TV built-in. It’s a lot better than trying to learn a proprietary UI. Because it has Android TV, it has access to most of the apps on the Google Play Store. There are some exceptions like Netflix, but I’ll explain that later.

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As for the input methods, you have the basics. One neat feature of the GV30 is the ability to use it as a standalone Bluetooth speaker. There’s a separate hardware button on the projector to activate it quickly. All you have to do is press it, and the projector will start pairing automatically.

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There’s an HDMI port to connect your computer or game console, a USB-C port, and a headphone jack on the side of the projector. If you want to switch to any of those input methods, all you have to do is press the input button and select the input method; easy as that.

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If you’re looking to do things wirelessly, you get built-in Chromecast support with the Android TV integration. Also, there’s a Wireless Projection app that you can use to wirelessly stream to your device.

The projector is small, but the sound definitely isn’t

Sound is really important when it comes to content consumption, and I was pleasantly surprised by how powerful the speakers are. I watched a wide gamut of media from classic cartoons to modern action thrillers, and the speakers didn’t disappoint on any level. The treVolo tuned speakers are super loud and punchy.

BenQ GV30 Image 4

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The GV30 comes with five different sound profiles that are best for different types of content. Normal mode has the sound balanced while the cinema mode punches up some of the levels resulting in a clearer sound. There’s also a music mode, a game mode, and a sport mode.

How to install Netflix

Netflix is a ubiquitous service, but it can be difficult to find projectors with it installed. It’s not on the GV30 intrinsically, but there’s a way to install it. Firstly, you need to install the “Apps Manager” app on the Play Store.

In Apps Manager, you’ll want to find the app called Aptoide and install it. You might get a popup telling you that Android TV has blocked the download because it’s from an unknown source. Go to the settings and allow Apps Manager to install apps.

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After installing Aptoide, search for Netflix in the app. After selecting it, you’ll again get a popup. Allow Aptoide to install applications and install Netflix. From that point, just sign in and enjoy!

Let’s wrap this up, is BenQ GV30 a good buy?

In a word, YES. Using the GV30 left me very little to complain about. The picture is bright enough for great inside viewing, and the sound is loud and punchy. There are multiple input options, built-in Bluetooth, Android TV, auto-focus, auto keystoning, and a built-in battery. It’s able to deliver such powerful performance while retaining this small and easy-to-move form factor.

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If you’re using it in battery mode, you won’t get longer than one or two movies, the resolution is low for the price, and the sleep mode only lasts for 10 minutes, but those are the only compromises that I ran into. The good far outweighs the bad, and thus, I highly recommend you buy the BenQ GV30. You can buy it here.

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