Most people don’t need a data projector with 1,920-by-1,080 resolution. But for those who do, the BenQ SH940 , stands ready to fill the need. With more than twice as many pixels across and almost twice as many down as SVGA’s 800 by 600, the SH940 can show a large spreadsheet with fully readable text in all the cells, an engineering drawing with clear detail, or four windows at once with each one showing roughly the same amount of data as a single SVGA screen. If that’s the kind of resolution you need, the SH940 will be of more than a little interest.
With 1,920-by-1,080 pixels, the DLP-based SH940 is a step up in resolution from the Editors’ Choice Canon REALiS SX80 Mark II. It’s also a step up in rated brightness, at 4,000 lumens rather than 3,000. However, it doesn’t offer the Canon SX80 Mark II’s LCOS technology, which delivers better image quality than either DLP or LCD chips, and it doesn’t offer the kind of color management that makes the SX80 Mark II such a good choice for showing photos at top quality. That said, the SH940 delivers on the most important issue for a data projector, with high-quality data images.
The SH940 weighs in at 15 pounds 14 ounces, making it most appropriate for permanent installation or for being mounted on a cart for room-to-room portability. Either way, as the 4,000-lumen rating makes clear, it’s designed for a medium- to large-size conference room or classroom.
Using SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) recommendations, 4,000 lumens would be appropriate in theater dark lighting and with a 1.0 gain screen for roughly a 270-inch diagonal image at the projector’s native resolution. Even with moderate ambient light, it would still be suitable for a 170-inch diagonal screen, which is easily big enough for a large conference room.
One nice touch for setup is a little extra convenience in finding the right spot for the projector. The 1.5x zoom lens gives you flexibility in how far you can put it from the screen for any given size image, while the vertical and horizontal lens shift adds flexibility for the position up, down, left, and right. I measured the vertical shift as roughly 60 percent of the screen height up or down from the midpoint, and the horizontal shift as roughly 20 percent left or right from the midpoint. Position the projector anywhere in this range, and you can move the image to center it on the screen.
Beyond that, setup is standard, with the usual HDMI, composite video, and VGA for a computer or three-input component video, plus the less common option of using five-input component video with BNC connectors.
Data and Video Image Quality
Data image quality for the SH940 is excellent, with the projector sailing through our standard suite of DisplayMate tests. Colors were fully saturated and vibrant in all preset modes and color balance was in the top tier for projectors, with suitably neutral grays at all levels from black to white in all modes.
More important for data images, the projector also did an excellent job with detail. Both black on white and white on black text, for example, were crisp and highly readable at sizes as small as 6.8 points. Even better, analog connections were as rock solid as you would expect from a digital connection. I didn’t see any pixel jitter or moiré patterns, even on screens that are designed to bring those problems out.
The SH940′s video quality, unfortunately, isn’t in the same league as its data image quality. The key issue is noise. With DVDs, noise showed up in almost every solid area in the image, like walls or the sky, and was annoyingly obvious in enough scenes to make it impossible to ignore. With Blu-ray discs, the noise was far less obvious, but there was more than with most projectors.
In addition to noise, the SH940′s video suffers from rainbow artifacts. These artifacts, with light areas breaking up into flashes of red, green, and blue, are a potential concern for any single-chip DLP projector. With the SH940 I saw barely a hint of them with data images, and only with test images designed to make them show. As with most DLP projectors, however, the artifacts show up more often in video.
The good news for the SH940 is that with video I saw the rainbows notably less often than with most DLP projectors. Even those who see the artifacts easily probably wouldn’t find them bothersome enough to be an issue for a few minutes of video in a presentation. However, they show often enough that they could easily be an annoying problem for the same people for long sessions.
One other plus for the SH940 is its audio system. The 10-watt mono speaker delivers enough volume for a large conference room or classroom, and the quality is among the best I’ve run into in a built-in audio system in a projector. If you need stereo or still better volume or sound quality, you can connect an external sound system to the projector’s stereo output.
If you need a projector in the 4,000-lumen class, but don’t need the SH940′s high resolution, there are less expensive choices available, including the Editors’ Choice Epson PowerLite 1880 MultiMedia Projector.
Similarly, if you need a projector that can show video reasonably well in addition to showing data images well, or you need one designed to let you tune the color just so, the Canon REALiS SX80 Mark II will be the better fit. But if you need a projector specifically for showing detailed data images at large enough size for a mid- to large-size conference room or classroom, and you don’t need to show much video, the BenQ SH940 could be exactly the projector you want.
|Native Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Video Inputs||Component, Composite, HDMI|
|Computer Interfaces||Analog VGA, HDMI|
|Rated Contrast Ratio||50000|
|Rated Brightness||4000 ANSI lumens|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc