One of the more solid outdoor projectors in more ways than one, the BenQ GS50 packs excellent resolution, above-average audio chops, and more into an attractive box that will serve campers and backyard loungers alike.
Full HD resolution
IPX2 splash resistant
Good contrast ratio
Solid sound quality from in-built speakers
No easy way to access Netflix
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If you're looking for a way to really transform your backyard into an outdoor haven this summer, then a projector is a really easy way to do it. Outdoor projectors make hosting movie nights and game days at home super-easy, with battery-powered streaming on the biggest screen on your street.
BenQ is well-known for its speakers, lighting, and projectors, but many may dismiss its portable models in favor of more highly-specced home theater projectors. But we were intrigued by the BenQ GS50, which offers 1080p Full HD resolution, 2.1-channel sound built-in, and enough streaming options to please anyone.
Keep reading to see how the GS50's lofty promises stood up to scrutiny during testing, and head over to our guide to the best outdoor projectors for more on our top-rated products.
BenQ GS50: Key info
- Resolution: 1080p Full HD
- Brightness: 500 ANSI Lumens
- Speakers: 2.1-Channel w/ 10W subwoofer
- Connectivity: Android TV, AirPlay, Chromecast
- Contrast ratio: 100,000:1
- Dimensions: 7.3 x 6 x 5.7in
- Weight: 5lbs
BenQ GS50: Design
For obvious reasons, portable projectors tend to focus on size over style, but the BenQ GS50 opts for a more aesthetically-pleasing design over making itself as small as possible. Because of this, the device is on the larger side for what it aims to do, but design features like the brown leather strap on its side make its relative heft less of an issue.
Otherwise, the white and green looks great, with orange touches here and there that just adds to its overall fun look. The logo is a tiny, almost imperceptible part of the device's front. The two hatches - one on top to reveal ports for your HDMI cable or streaming stick and another on the side housing other inputs - are easy to access and hide away again when needed.
Perhaps the most useful part of the GS50's design is the adjustable stand that can be accessed via the button on the front. This means you can better angle the projector for comfortable viewing without needing a tripod or - our favorite - the big stack of books technique.
BenQ GS50: Performance
It's not often we're just as enamored with a product's packaging as we are with the device itself, but the BenQ GS50 won us over straight away with the fabric carry case included in the box. While this isn't an unusual extra for portable models, this one from BenQ is more like a fancy lunchbox (in a good way!) than a flimsy cover thrown in as an afterthought.
Inside you'll find not just the projector but also a BenQ-branded streaming stick, charging cables, and remote control, along with a quick start guide. Once plugged in, the projector took much longer than expected to charge, and battery life gives you about 2.5 hours of viewing time.
As mentioned, the GS50 comes with its own streaming stick rather than an in-built platform, and this allowed us much more freedom to switch it out for something like the Chromecast with Google TV or Fire TV stick. The option provided will be more than adequate for most people, however, running on Android TV with most of the apps you would expect. Netflix, however, is missing.
We selected an episode of Grey's Anatomy on Disney+ and were impressed by the resolution and rich contrast. Brightness is an issue, however, which is incredibly common for portable outdoor projectors. You will want to limit the GS50's use to indoor or nighttime viewing for the best experience.
Everything is amazingly user-friendly overall, with auto-focus and auto-keystone correction both working brilliantly. You can manually adjust these with the remote, but our image snapped to the optimal size and focus before we had time to take a seat. Audio is also above average for a model like this, but you can easily connect with an external Bluetooth speaker.
BenQ GS50: Our verdict
While the BenQ GS50 might seem less portable than its competitors based on size alone, its performance during testing pushes it to the top for user-friendly set-up and operation, image quality in spite of challenges, and better audio than portable projectors usually offer.
There are drawbacks, and Netflix fans will need to find a workaround to enjoy their next binge, but the fact that the GS50 works so well as a portable option that looks good and works reliably helped us to forgive these problems. As a device that works as well on the road as it does at home, it's one of the best.
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Caroline is the smart home ecommerce editor for Livingetc, covering everything tech for the home, from smart speakers to air purifiers and everything in between. She is passionate about the role that technology and smart devices can play in daily life, enhancing the home without sacrificing personal style and carefully chosen interiors. In her spare time, she can be found tinkering with bulbs, soundbars, and video doorbells in an effort to automate every part of her small home. Previously, she lent her expertise to the likes of Expert Reviews, IT Pro, Coach, The Week, and more.
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