Short Version: When it comes to “pocket projectors” the BenQ Joybee GP1 is a smidge to hefty to put into your back pocket, but it’s a full-fledged DLP projector powered by LEDs and has a built-in USB reader. A native resolution of 858×600 (SVGA), 100 ANSI Lumens and a 2000:1 contrast ratio make the 1.4lb projector well worth the $500 price tag. I can now play my Xbox 360 from anywhere.
Update: We just got word from the folks at BenQ that the GP1 will ship with a software bundle that will allow users to convert any file into a format that the GP1 can accommodate, so no one will have to worry that their stored files will be incompatible.
Long Version: The relatively high price tag may deter some folks from considering the Joybee GP1, but take into account the specs and you’ll quickly realize why I have nothing bad to say about the mini projector.
Setup takes a matter of minutes and the front peg unscrews to adjust height. You can also mount the Joybee onto a tripod if that floats your boat. The touch-like controls that sit on top of the projector can be frustrating as they’re some hybrid of touch and physical button controls. I much preferred to use the included IR remote control.
A multi-input cable is provided with the GP1 for composite or VGA inputs. BenQ offers an iPod/iPhone dock as an accessory if you don’t already have AV cables. You can always opt to throw media onto a USB drive and plug it directly into the projector, but I mainly used the GP1 to play my Xbox 360.
With any projector, a dark room is the most ideal setting for a low powered projector like the GP1, but it works fairly well in semi-lit rooms. Depending on the color of the surface you’re projecting onto, the GP1’s software offers a handful of alternatives to ensure you get the best picture quality. Aside from the adjustable front peg, the GP1 has keystone correction so it doesn’t take long to get a really sharp and accurate image within minutes of setting up.
The closer you are to whatever it is that you’re going to be projecting content onto is best. Anywhere from two to four feet is an ideal distance based on the lighting conditions. I have a relatively small living room so the projector sat atop my coffee table, which is about five feet from the nearest wall. At night with the blinds closed, I’m able to project a 60+-inch image that’s sharp with great color reproduction. During the day with the blinds open, I managed to get a pretty good image that was around 40 inches.
As for sound quality, the 2W speaker does a so-so job but I highly suggest you hook the GP1 to your speaker system for a more enjoyable listening experience.
Overall, the Joybee GP1 is a low-cost, low-power alternative to a power-hungry TV that’s easily portable and quiet. The controls atop the GP1 are lackluster and frustrating, so I suggest using the remote control. Input options are limited at the moment and it’s my hope that BenQ will offer accessories to change that in the future. But if I’m going to drop $500, I’d like to have options other than VGA and Composite from the get go. But it’s small, portable (except the power brick is huge) and allows me to play my Xbox 360 or downloaded movies within minutes. You just can’t beat that.
Product Page [BenQ]