BenQ GS2 Review: A Portable Outdoor Projector Powered by Android OS

BenQ GS2 is a recently launched portable outdoor projector that fits the landscape of today’s world. While smart android projectors were in demand before the pandemic, the social restrictions have popularized them even further. Outdoor movie nights in a backyard have become one of the most popular activities for families in today’s unprecedented times. With cinemas closed and eateries operating in limited capacities, there are almost no opportunities to go outside your home for entertainment. A portable outdoor projector can be a worthy addition to your gadget collection.

BenQ GS2 is a wireless smart projector that targets the same audience. In this BenQ GS2 review, we cover the features and specifications of the rugged outdoor projector, highlight where it shines, and point out its limitations. 

BenQ GS2 Review – Features

BenQ GS2 is a smart android projector explicitly designed for the outdoors. It has a rubber outer enclosure to make it splash (IPX2) and drop resistant. BenQ has designed the GS2 to be a rugged outdoor projector. You won’t have to be concerned if you splash water on it or worry in case the device falls accidentally. However, don’t expect it to break any drop-test records as the company specifies a height of 1.6 feet for its drop resistance. BenQ GS2 portable outdoor projector weighs 1.6kg and is easy to carry along when camping or spending an evening in the outdoors. It packs decent hardware and performs well for its intended purpose. As it is a wireless device, it can connect to the Internet and supports streaming. Users can download and install apps through its Android OS via the Aptoide store.

BenQ GS2 Review – Hardware Specifications

BenQ GS2 is a DLP smart android projector that uses the DLPC3438 chip from Texas Instruments. The 0.3” DMD chip has a native resolution of 720p (1280×720 pixels). While 1080p is the standard resolution for home theater projectors, 720p is more than adequate in a portable outdoor projector. Most of them have a native resolution of 480p. BenQ GS2 is an LED projector that uses the Q8A LED from Osram. The device boasts of a 500 ANSI Lumens brightness rating, which is really good for this rugged outdoor projector. It will last for up to 20,000 hours in the Normal mode and 30,000 hours in the Eco mode. A majority of portable models from other brands have a brightness rating in the 200 to 300 ANSI lumens range. It makes the BenQ GS2 a really competitive portable smart android projector.

As BenQ GS2 is a wireless smart projector, it comes with a wireless USB dongle for adding Wi-Fi capability. The dual-band connection (2.4G/5G) allows for maximum utilization of your home’s Wi-Fi network. It also has Bluetooth 4.0 functionality in case you want to pair a device such as Bluetooth speakers. The I/O interface of the BenQ GS2 rugged portable projector is located under a removable cover near the top of its left side. You get an HDMI 1.4a port, a USB Type-C Display Port, a USB 2.0 Type-A port for storage media, and an audio-out port for connecting external speakers or headphones. The USB Type-C port allows you to connect the latest media devices for watching content on a large screen. Its magnetic charger cable plugs into a port on the rear side of the wireless smart projector.

BenQ GS2 comes with a pair of built-in 2W chamber speakers. While integrated speakers are not as important in home theater projectors, they become a major selling point of portable outdoor projectors. If the built-in speakers are decent, it eliminates the need to buy portable ones separately. However, this is one department where the BenQ GS2 projector lags behind the competition. 

BenQ GS2 Review – Software

BenQ GS2 smart android projector features Android 6.0 OS. A few offerings from its competitors use a newer version of Android, but it is not a significant drawback. There are pre-installed Aptoide TV apps for watching your favorite content. You can download more applications from the Aptoide store and browse the Internet as well. The wireless smart projector allows you to stream movies by using apps as well as online streaming platforms. Its 8GB of EMMC memory provides enough space for apps but may not be adequate for storing media files. It is not of concern as most people stream content nowadays. You can mirror screens of iOS/macOS, Android, and Windows devices through wireless casting. However, the same is not supported for protected streaming services such as Netflix. 

BenQ GS2 Review – Performance

BenQ GS2 portable outdoor projector performs well in most departments. It has a 1.3 throw ratio and can project a 35” image when placed at a distance of one meter from the screen. The maximum claimed image size is 100”, but you will want to limit the imagery to around 40” to 50” for ensuring optimum clarity. The wireless smart projector has no zoom capability but supports autofocus and auto vertical keystone (±40°) correction. A neat feature of the BenQ GS2 rugged outdoor projector is its tilt capability. It comes with an adjustable stand at the bottom, which you can adjust up to 15° for aligning the device with the screen. 

The BenQ GS2 smart android projector is primarily designed for outdoor use. You will mostly be using it in a low-light or dark environment. Its brightness rating of 500 ANSI lumens is adequate for such use cases. However, if you are using the portable outdoor projector indoors, then you may want to turn off the lights or draw the window shades during the day. As BenQ GS2 makes use of an LED light engine, the colors are pretty good for its form-factor. The image quality of the projector is decent, but don’t expect it to match home theater projectors.

The integrated battery provides a runtime of around two and a half to three hours. You can watch a long blockbuster movie or binge a few episodes of your favorite show without interruption. Its topside has the control buttons for easy access. A remote controller is included in the package for controlling the wireless smart projector easily. BenQ GS2 can function as a Bluetooth speaker, but it is not loud enough. You may be able to hear the built-in speakers in a silent environment, but will find them lacking outdoors. It will be best to connect external speakers or use headphones for watching movies or listening to music. The below-par integrated speakers have blemished the otherwise good performance of the BenQ GS smart android projector.

BenQ GS2 Review – Pros & Cons

Before concluding the BenQ GS2 review, let us quickly look at the major advantages and disadvantages of the portable outdoor projector. 

Pros

  • 720p Resolution
  • Rugged splash and drop resistant design 
  • 500 ANSI lumens brightness
  • Decent battery runtime
  • Apptoide store access
  • Autofocus and auto vertical keystone correction

Cons

  • Average built-in speakers
  • Lacks zoom
  • Older Android OS (6.0)

BenQ GS2 Review – Is it Worth the Cost?

To summarize the BenQ GS2 review, we can say that the smart android projector is a decent offering at $599. It is designed specifically for the outdoors, although nothing is stopping you from using the wireless smart projector indoors as well. However, don’t expect the rugged outdoor projector to match home theater projectors that cost the same. The specifications of BenQ GS2 are on par with other portable outdoor projectors in a similar price range. 

Anker Nebula MARS II Pro is another smart android projector that has the same brightness rating and resolution. It costs a few bucks less ($579) than the BenQ GS2 wireless smart projector and competes really well. Most of its features match the BenQ’s offering. However, Anker Nebula MARS II Pro portable outdoor projector has much more powerful speakers (10Wx2), features a newer version of Android OS (7.1), and provides a video playback time of up to three hours. It weighs almost the same as the BenQ GS2 rugged outdoor projector but is slightly longer. 

Anker Nebula MARS II Pro

On the flip side, Anker’s smart android projector lacks a USB Type-C port and is not designed for splash or drop resistance. These are the two notable advantages we wanted to highlight in this BenQ GS2 review. The only significant disadvantage with the BenQ GS2 portable outdoor projector is its average built-in speakers. As it is a device designed for portability, it should have packed a decent set of speakers. You will need to either use headphones or buy an external portable speaker for watching movies in the outdoors. 

If you are specifically looking for a rugged outdoor projector for your camping trips or backyard movie nights and are comfortable in buying and carrying external speakers separately, then the BenQ GS2 is a great portable outdoor projector for you. Otherwise, you can explore alternative options like the Anker Nebula MARS II Pro.

BenQ GS2: https://www.benq.com/en-us/projector/portable/gs2.html

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