BenQ’s 2022 releases include new projectors which not only update their offerings to include 4K gaming units among its list of projectors for gaming but have picture-givers geared toward different kinds of players: social gamers, competitive gamers, and open-world gamers. The T7 series, which includes the BenQ TK700, is aimed at competitive gamers – particularly those who love first-person shooters.
In 2021, BenQ launched the X1300i, a milestone in gaming projectors that offered four distinct modes for different types of games at 1080p. The last year has seen the landscape of gaming projectors widen with new units like the Acer Predator GD711, meaning there are now options not just for great projectors for games but great projectors truly designed for gamers.
So, is the TK700 another big step forward, and one of the best 4K projectors?
Design & Features
There’s nothing on the outer design of the TK700 which screams FPS projector. Unlike the Acer Predator, there’s no sharp plastic body and jagged logo, and it maybe looks disappointingly neutral for a piece of gaming-focused kit. But as so many of our gaming dens have become our home office spaces, maybe it’s good to have something which can look business-like, or which fits in with a more muted décor. The build feels very solid, with BenQ’s usual hardwearing plastic outer shell.
Connections are as standard for a home projector: two HDMI 2.0 slots (with another hidden for the included streaming dongle – the usual story of good but lacks some key apps), a VGA input, and an aux out. The base includes a number of screws to adjust the angle of the unit to position the picture – including at the back which is especially handy if, like me, your surface is high and you need to tilt the picture low. Zoom and focus are manual but easy to dial in and not fiddly.
But that’s enough practicalities. What’s it like to shoot things with it?
The first statistic to look for in any gaming visual unit is input lag (or latency). For the last few years, 50ms has generally been seen as tolerable for casual gaming on projectors, but recently the grail of ~15ms has gone from a gaming monitor specification to a standard for gaming TVs. While some units can get close to 20ms, projector tech has often lagged behind and low lag often comes at the expense of image quality – with 4K projectors only offering their lowest input lag at 1080p.
The TK700’s blurb boasts that gamers need no longer chose between 4K graphics and smooth gameplay – because it hits 16.67ms at 4K with a 60Hz refresh rate. And it delivers on this promise. This is a huge breakthrough for gaming projectors and appears to be a genuine first. If you do take down the image quality to 1080p you can reduce the lag even further, to a scarcely believable 4ms at 240Hz. The TK700 also supports a variable refresh rate, which is a great bonus too.
What does this mean in practice? Even the fastest FPS with quick camera movement and enemies springing out from all sides is buttery smooth and in an astonishingly sharp 4K picture. It’s quite simply the new benchmark for gaming projectors and comes at a perfect time for those looking for a projector for PS5 or Xbox Series X.
But it’s not just the smoothness of the image which helps you stay out of the gulag. The black detail enhancement means you can spot targets in dark spots where other projectors would struggle– and in a fast-paced battle royale game that can make the difference between clearing an area and getting eliminated. The brightness of the bulb gives excellent HDR images in lighter settings too, and an excellent depth of colour which is very impressive in FPS games but translates very well to open-world RPGs. It runs from a lamp rather than LEDs, which does mean it can get quite hot after a session of playing.
And the smoothness of the image doesn’t just apply to games of course: the picture is great for video and stays sharp and clear even in quick action scenes or fast-moving sports.
However, we must note that the BenQ X3000i also released this year is more aimed at RPG players, with all the tech of the TK700 but with BenQ’s best colour tech added to the mix and gives a truly astonishing picture. Before direct comparison I was blown away by the picture quality of the TK700 and the image being inferior to that from the more expensive unit doesn’t mean it’s not a great projector: it just means that the X3000i is even more incredible and raises the bar still further (while costing around 50% more than the TK700).
The sound quality from the TK700 is excellent and fills the room. This feels rare in a short unit, as it’s usually the taller more boxy projectors that have room for great speakers. Not only is the sound wonderfully clear even at high volumes from the speaker, but the tech makes the sound quite directional when running into surround sound, so you can use this to hear where your targets are as well as use the extra visual information. If you’re a competitive gamer where every advantage counts, this could be another edge the TK700 gives you to emerge victorious.
Overall – should you buy it?
BenQ has raised the game with the TK700 and it sets a new gold standard and benchmark for gaming projectors at its price point $1,500/£1,200): 4K images with minimal input lag and refresh rate. If you’re looking for a projector perfectly set up for first-person shooters, or any kind of fast-paced game, this is going to be very hard to beat in the current market.
As a last note: the TK700 should not be confused with the closely-named TK700STi – the latter has broadly the same feature set but you’ll be able to get a 100-inch picture at a distance of just six and a half feet (just under 2 meters)”.
How we tested the BenQ TK700
I got a lot of time in with a replay of Borderlands 3 and also starting couch co-op with my wife on Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, both on PS5. As someone who will quite often flail in a panic on FPSs, such a smooth picture was very helpful and I kept track of the hordes of psychos better than usual (much to the relief of my wife, who does get sick of reviving me). I dipped back into Call of Duty: Warzone on PS5 and PC, which looked stunning with incredible detail, but my skills were found lacking as I was quickly slaughtered by players half my age with ten times my ability. I blame the user not the hardware for that though. I finally began Horizon: Forbidden West and continued with the ever-expanding DLC for Assassins Creed: Valhalla, where the landscapes looked stunning.
With our usual wind-down half-watching background shows (including Buffy and Bobs Burgers rewatches) the picture was excellent and upscaled well. It was superb for watching England’s progress towards Euro 2022 glory and the less glorious England cricket internationals played this summer. When catching up on Only Murders in the Building the image was fantastic, giving me a new appreciation for how well shot the show is.
If you are shopping for a projector this year, don’t forget to pick up one of the best projector screens or one of the best outdoor projector screens if you’re looking to embrace the last of the summer and long evenings too.