on April 25, 2012
This little projector may be just the ticket for converting a spare room into a temporary media center. It might also fill a gap for presenters of various sorts. But an understanding of its strengths and weaknesses are important to get the most out of it.
This wide-angle projector needs very little room to generate a large image--setting it back only seven or eight feet will make a wall-sized picture. It has a number of thoughtful features to improve the view without requiring a projection screen. There's a built-in correction (a tilt sensor, I suspect) for keystone distortion. That works well, but there's also a manual mode just in case. There's also some color correction in case your wall isn't pure white. It will accept input in nearly any form you need--composite video, SVGA/XVGA, USB (Win only) and HDMI. I connected my Macbook Pro via HDMI and was able to easily stream 1080p video (the native resolution is a bit better than 720p, but 1080 will downscale nicely).
The iPod dock connection is nice. I popped my iPod classic onto the connector and used the BenQ's own remote to control the iPod. Standard definition video will stream from iPod to projector, and audio will play too (a bit more about that later). There's also a bit of internal memory (enough for a couple of hours of standard-definition video) and a slot for an SD card to expand out to 16GB. A thumb drive (formatted to FAT) can add even more, all while maintaining portability. Jpegs can be projected in slide-show mode, and PDF and Powerpoint documents can be shown (this is a feature I didn't try).
Video format support is adequate, especially if you know how to take advantage of programs like Handbrake. I was able to play both MKV and MOV files with the H.264 format. AC3 (Dolby Digital) is decoded and played through the external speakers. AAC audio is not understood by the device, meaning I couldn't play movies from my Canon DSLR without transcoding. Perhaps firmware updates might address more formats.
There are a few problems, some resolvable and some probably not. Noise from the internal fan can overwhelm the output from the puny internal speakers. Viewing movies with an audience of more than one will require a sound system of some sort. While high-contrast content can be seen in a shadowy room, the subtle tones of film require a very dark space (having said that, an HD version of Blade Runner didn't look bad at all once the sun was down). Transport control (Pause, FF, Rewind, Jump) is not available for video on thumb drive or internal memory. The buttons that could have been used for this will instead jump you to the next video. I found this the only really irksome aspect of the GP2, but it is correctable in firmware. Display of JPEG images is a little slow (in fairness, most of my images are quite large so they must be downscaled).
In some cases, this little box is all you need. A handful of movies can be carried on a thumb drive and might be just the thing to settle the kids on a trip. A sales person might pack a nice little demo onboard, given sufficient darkness in the display area. As an amateur astronomer, I can easily imagine carrying a presentation along for pre-observing at public events. If you're considering a more permanent setup, this will not substitute for a flatscreen and external speaker system. If you're at the stage of life when you find yourself hosting pajama parties, the GP2 will turn any room into a fun little theater.
on May 15, 2012
Simple to use and what an exceptionally clear picture! I'm not easily amazed by many things these days, but I have to say that this projector is just wonderful. The applications are limited only by ones imagination. Being as It is so portable, I can take this to work, my kids can use it at school, take it on vacation to show movies, or show music videos at a party.
My son already had an opportunity to use this for a class presentation...and it was truly a life-saver! He had created a video on his laptop, but could not get the video saved onto a flash drive. This was the last minute detail before presenting the next morning. Solution, take the laptop and projector to school. Maybe harder than carrying a little flash drive, but hey, it worked, thank God!
I was also able to use the projector at a recent party. The room was only barely dim and the projector was placed so that it would project onto our vaulted ceiling. At first, it added a great touch and added to the mood of our gathering. Later, after it had garnered a lot of attention, we moved it to project onto the wall. We lowered the lights and each of us took turns choosing videos online to watch. It actually became the central entertainment for our party.
It has worked wonderfully since we got it. I need to buy a cord so I can use it with my iPad, but other than that, the cord that is provided has several different connection types so you can hook it up to a laptop and various other gadgets. I've only used it with the computer so far, but it's great.
on January 24, 2013
Roughly, the size of some of the gadget mini projectors seen in catalogs and high-tech stores, the BenQ Joybee GP2 delivers crisp, bright HD images. This little dynamo has a form factor of 5.5x5x2 inches making it travel friendly, especially with its included carrying case. Where this projector really shines is its connectivity.
The BenQ Joybee GP2 was designed for iPhone and iPod, the projector has an Apple ready dock built into it. The projector will instantly recognize an attached device and intelligently select a menu interface that allows you to explore media on your Apple device for projection. Do not have an iSomething. The BenQ Joybee GP2 worked perfectly with my Motorola Droid via the HDMI cable.
Using my smart phone with the BenQ Joybee GP2 I was able to pull up movies on Netflix Mobile and HBOGO. Talk about a lifesaver on long business trips or family vacations. The projector also has media inputs for SD cards, camcorders and USB drives. A 2 gig internal hard drive also gives you the option to load a presentation or media directly to the BenQ Joybee GP2.
BenQ Joybee GP2 delivers a 720p native image at 44 inches. I pushed the projection size to 160″ and was still more than impressed with the display; the max resolution is 1600 x 1200. There are two 2W speakers built into the projector, an optional speaker out is also available. With a USB stick and my foxL portable sound bar, I was enjoying home theater quality audio/video, this is mind-blowing.
Yes, this projector is fun but it is also a valuable business tool. It recognized PowerPoint presentations, Excel Worksheets and MS Word Docs automatically. When navigating through my PowerPoint presentations I was able to do so with the included slim remote. There is also a backlit touch sensitive menu on top of the unit for easy access.
For the gamer, movie buff or business user, this projector is the total package. The perfect marriage of portability and performance.
I am very impressed with this "palm size" projector. At 1.25 pounds (without optional battery), it is fairly lightweight, although it's slighter bigger than palm size (about 5" x 5 ½" and just under 2" high). It is compact though, and for its size delivers quite a punch. I don't have the battery, but I read it adds about another pound to the Joybee.
So, what's in the box?
* The GP2 projector
* Remote control.
* Black padded carrying case.
* Power cord/adapter.
* CEA 30 pin to VGA/Composite Video cable.
* Component Cable
* USB Cable.
* Mini-HDMI adapter.
* User manual (on DVD).
* Quick Start Guide (on paper).
Available device ports are:
* USB, USB Min, PC/AV (CEA 30 pin), HDMI, and SD slot. As far as I can see, you cannot write to the USB port, just read from it.
There are two audio ports:
* Audio In.
* Headphone Jack.
The projector is simple to set up. Simply plug it in and connect it to one of several sources:
* For an iPod or iPhone, that means just docking the Apple device on the port on top of the GP2. It supports several models ranging from a Nano
to Touch models, as well as iPhone 3GS and 4.
* For a PC/laptop, you connect the VGA end of the CEA 30 pin cable, or use the USB for USB display from supported devices.
* You can connect components like BluRay players via the USB cable.
* If you want to connect an iPad, you will need to buy an Apple Digital AV adapter.
* For devices which use Composite Video cables (RCA red/white audio, yellow video), you can use the Composite Video end of the CEA 30 pin cable.
IMPORTANT NOTE. The cable is `female' so you will need a male/male Composite Video cable (not included) to connect to your device (DVD player,
* USB drive via the projector's USB port.
* SD card via the projector's SD slot.
* Internal memory (2GB) with what looks like about 1.3GB available.
The control panel is very simple to use, and you can navigate easily among options. To select the source you can just move through the menu by pressing the left or right arrows. Menus are intuitive and navigation is simple on the control panel atop the Joybee as well as on the remote control.
As far as sound, the internal fan is quiet and did not disturb my viewing/listening at all, even without turning up the volume. The onboard 2 x 2W stereo speakers perform well and sound is clear and audible in an average size room. You can, of course, connect external speakers to the device. I did so for a little extra audio oomph.
Now onto the most important part - the picture! Outstanding. Absolutely outstanding. Clearly, the best (brightest and sharpest reproduction) is achieved at closer ranges. The Joybee is rated at viewable from 20" to 160". I used it at about 4' from the wall as well as 8' from the wall. While I found the colors more vivid at 4', the reproduction from 8' was excellent and certainly enjoyable.
From 4' away, my display was about the size of a 50" to 54" widescreen TV. At 8' it was like having a TV of about 100" diagonally.
Focus is a breeze. It's a rotary thumbwheel and you just rotate it slightly to bring the picture into sharpness.
The projector also includes a feature which lets you select your wall color and it adjusts the display based on what you select. The display is DLP, and the lamp is rated 20,000 hours in Normal mode and 30,000 in Economy mode. Lamp brightness is advertised as 200 lumens. HD display is 720 and compatible from 480i to 1080P. Native resolution is 1280 x 800 and supported resolution ranges from 640x480 to 1600x1200.
The lens is fixed so you can't zoom, instead needing to move the projector closer/further to your wall to change the display size. It also has fixed feet on the bottom, so you cannot raise or lower the device except by putting something under it, although I haven't found a need to do that yet.
When you are done using it, the Joybee and its cables pack up neatly in its carrying case. The case does not have a strap or hooks, but it does the job. It is a tight fit getting the included cables, etc. back into the bag, but it is do-able.
Overall, I found the device to be very user friendly. The menu can be changed to run in several languages: Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese (simplified and traditional)Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Hindi, Italian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, and Thai.
The Joybee is also very flexible and can accommodate a variety of file types:
Video: AVI, MPEG, MOV, and MP4.
Music: MP3, MP2, APE, FLAC, OGG, WAV, and M4A.
Photo: JPG , JPEG, BMP and PNG.
Documents: Adobe PDF, MS PowePoint 97 - 2010), MS Excel 95 - 2010,
MS Word 95 -2010, and Text (.txt) files.
Now, the GP2 is not inexpensive, but it is really a fantastic projector and I would highly recommend it. It has an excellent display, its easy to use, highly portable and interfaces with many different technology devices.
I've never been a fan of projectors. In fact, I was almost looking to trash this projector without putting it through its paces. And to be honest, this projector impressed me - something that I rarely say about a piece of technology. But there's still a few issues that need to be addressed before I consider this a "must" purchase.
A test of a good piece of technology is figuring it out without reading the manual - I unboxed it, set it up, popped my iPod Touch onto the projector and was playing without any problems right off the bat. Sweet. The quality and brightness was pretty decent, considering my test environment was my office desk with lights on. The sound quality wasn't bad - certainly it's no home theater but works fine. It also charges your device while the projector's on. It supports the iPhone 3GS and up, iPod Nano 5th Gen/6th Gen, the iPod Classic and the iPod Touch 3rd Gen/4th Gen.
Off of a USB drive: Able to play 720p mp4 files worked great. Able to view DOC/DOCX/PPT/PPTX/XLS/XLSX and PDF files. I did have a large (1 MB) Excel document that the projector didn't like - hung on "Loading. Please Wait." for a while before I gave up. Also worked just as well off of a SD card. JPGs are shown (slowly) in a slide show, so you might have to keep your subjects awake during long and boring ones. Note: Only FAT/FAT32/NTFS drives are supported.
MP3s play perfectly - although in most cases, you'd probably want your own external speaker instead of this projector.
The projector also came with a plethora of cables and a remote - you'd need your own HDMI cable (comes with a HDMI to mini-HDMI adapter) if you plan on using this to connect to a laptop or another device like a PS3. There's also an audio-in line and a headphone jack, which might be helpful because the fan noise might drown out the speakers.
The BenQ Joybee GP2 also comes with a case that nicely separates the cables and projector, but with the amount of cables, it seems to occupy more volume than the projector itself. Another cool thing is that the projector has a password protect function.
The big question is would I recommend this? It has a lot of niche uses but I'm not sure your average person would need this. Certainly an executive could like very slick by delivering a presentation on this petite projector. I would certainly consider bringing this on long trips so I can show movies from my iPod touch on the wall of my hotel room. Overall, it's a slick device.
on May 2, 2013
I picked this up from woot for $280, so really at that price point it is hard to complain. The projector, in my basement, projected on a real projector screen, with some background lighting does a great job. With all the lights off and in a real movie setting, its awesome for the price. I could understand how people might be a little turned off by the $600 vs. quality/features, but it is what it is.
1.) the ipod dock- its 30 pin...forget it. I actually suspect the price would have been much lower without it and frankly the video out support for 30 pin ipod/iphone sucks.
2.) On my unit I noticed the mini hdmi connector is a little loose (the metal frame is not totally connected at the seam). This might have been my doing with heavy cables- maybe an oversight at the factory. My new lighter cables click right in and as long as the unit is not moved it works. From time to time, while mounted, i will come down stairs after not using it and have to adjust the cable slightly. A bit of hot glue would solve this, but i do plan to take it mobile from time to time. i really wish they would have just included a full sized hdmi connector- i hate mini
3.) For playing h264 files from the USB slot, I found any files going over 1000 kbps would have some trouble playing. For instance most of my movies are 2500 kbps. These will hardly start to play and even when they do, if you tried to access the video menu while playing, they would most likely crash the player and you would have to start over. BUT my kids movies are mostly cartoons and cartoons at 700 kbps with good encoding is fine for them
4.) Auto keystone- this works much better than i thought it would- however left mounted, when started back up the unit defaults to the base selection, which for me looks wonky on the wall. I did noticed that after a few second it will correct, however most times i just reposition the unit on a ball head, lock it down and its good- I am far from a perfectionist when it comes to showing my kids movies "on the big screen in the basement".
5.) This paired with an Apple TV is awsome. On the road you can use your iphone as a hot spot to the apple tv and then air play from your phone to the apple tv...simply amazing.
now lets just see how long this thing lasts....