BenQ TH685 HD DLP Projector Review Page 2

Game worlds appear more vital and three-dimensional as a result, which also makes them seem more immersive. This experience is certainly helped by the fact you don't feel aware of any lag while running, driving or shooting your way around a game landscape.

I was also pleasantly surprised by how sharp and detailed game titles look given the lack of (upscaled) 4K playback. Inevitably there's a little more jaggedness to diagonal lines and more visible general image structure than you would see with a 4K projector, and details are a little less dense, too. But the sharpness is excellent by HD standards, and as a testament to how good the TH685's downscaler is, native 4K sources actually look slightly cleaner than native HD ones – so you still feel like you're getting some of your money's worth from Ultra HD sources.

This sense of sharpness holds up well no matter how quickly you hurtle through a gaming world, thanks to the PJ's excellently executed support for 120Hz refresh rates (with games that support it). This 120Hz performance, together with the low input lag, are enough in themselves to make the TH685 something of a gaming hero for its money, even without any true 4K support.

Bright HDR games, such as Forza Horizon 4, benefit from a punchy, saturated colour presentation, with little evidence of the pallid tones you can experience with projectors that deliver more brightness than their colour systems can keep up with.

It's also worth adding that the TH685 runs decently quietly for such a small, bright projector, useful since you might end up sitting quite close to it.


The HDMIs support a 4K input, which is then downscaled to 1080p

What We Don't Do In The Shadows
This model's main problem – especially when using it to play movies – is that its strong brightness performance comes at the expense of black level and contrast. This is perhaps to be expected, but still merits discussion. Dark scenes bottom out into grey rather than black, costing them depth and subtle shadow detailing, as well as flattening dark colours. The PJ's HDR Brightness option can improve black levels a little, but only at the cost of even more shadow detail.

The extreme brightness can also sometimes cause subtle detailing to be clipped out of the very brightest highlights of pictures. The reflected sun 'spotlights' used by the War Boys when we first see their desert base in Mad Max: Fury Road (4K BD), for instance, bleach out to pure white rather than containing the subtle blue and orange tones they're supposed to.

Finally, as we've seen numerous times before with very bright single-chip DLP projectors, the TH685 is more prone than I'd like to DLP's rainbow effect, where stripes of colour flit over stand-out bright edges and objects. The title sequence of Alien on 4K Blu-ray reveals this problem clearly enough for me to instantly notice it – and I'd generally only consider myself around average in terms of my susceptibility to rainbowing issues.

Satisfying Option
Both the TH685's rainbowing and black level shortcomings are significantly less noticeable if there's a little ambient light in the room. So if you anticipate that full dark room viewing isn't going to be something you'll be able to enjoy very often, you could potentially discount those issues. Suddenly, the TH685 becomes a much more satisfying option. Its shortcomings might also be easy to ignore if you're looking for a dedicated gaming projector to run alongside a home theatre model, perhaps only brought out as and when required.

If you're hoping for a one-stop solution to meet both your gaming and movie needs, however, I'd suggest trying to find a bit more money for something more versatile.

HCC Verdict

BenQ TH685

Price: £650

We say: The TH685 is a fast and fun gaming projector that excels on brightness and response time. Black levels and rainbow effect are a problem, though, especially with films.

Overall: 3.5/5


3D: Yes. Active shutter (no glasses supplied) 4K: No. 1,920 x 1080 HDR: Yes. HDR10 CONNECTIONS: 2 x HDMI inputs; RS-232; 3.5mm audio loopthrough; powered USB port; D-Sub PC input; monitor output BRIGHTNESS (CLAIMED): 3,500 Lumens CONTRAST (claimed): 10,000:1 ZOOM: 1.3x DIMENSIONS: 312(w) x 110(h) x 225(d)mm WEIGHT: 2.79kg

FEATURES: Low latency Game mode; Game sound preset; 1080p/120Hz refresh rate support; 4K compatibility via downscaling; 5W mono speaker with CinemaMaster Audio+2 technology; digital vertical image shift; 15,000-hour max claimed lamp life (LampSave mode); 1.127-1.46:1 throw ratio; 95 per cent REC.709 coverage; picture presets including Bright, Cinema, Game, Living Room and Sports