GCN LAB REVIEW

Pocket-sized Joybee GP1 projector travels well, as long as your destination is dark

BenQ Joybee GP1 Mini Projector might be small, but it performs adequately as long as you can control the room

Pros: Very small, light
Cons: Not incredibly bright
Performance: C
Ease of Use: A
Features: A+
Value: B
Price: $499

Anyone who runs conferences or travels across the country to business meetings will tell you that the No. 1 concern with their presentation equipment is portability. The lighter and smaller the projector, the easier the trip will be. Thus, many projectors that might be considered too low power to be a permanent fixture in an office space manage to find their place in the luggage of presenters on the road.

The Joybee GP1 Mini Projector from BenQ is small enough to fit in even that tiny niche. It’s only 5.3 inches by 4.7 inches by 2.1 inches, which is literally pocket-sized. We slipped it into the pockets of our lab coats quite easily and imagine it would also fit inside a suit-jacket pocket. At 1 pound, 4 ounces — 2 pounds, 12 ounces with all necessary cables — the GP1’s weight is as close to negligible as a projector will likely ever get.

The GP1 has a single output port that connects to its own adapter, which splits into a VGA cable and composite video/stereo sound RCA ports. Although this is one of the reasons BenQ was able to keep the GP1’s size down, it does mean that there are two cables — this one and the power adapter — that, if lost, would render the projector useless. We found it odd that although a soft case is provided for the GP1, there is no room for either the cables or the remote control. However, this isn’t a large concern, as the box they all come in is about the size of a regular projector and weighs about three pounds less.

One thing that impressed us was the USB port for flash drives and similar devices. Once we plugged a drive into the port, software automatically started on the projector, which allowed us to view any graphics files on the drive and show them in a slide show. This feature makes it easy to quickly begin viewing photos and any other images.

The GP1’s weakness is what you’d expect in a DLP projector of its size: low brightness. We set the projector to show a plain white image on a screen 10 feet away and measured its brightness with a light meter. We got a reading of 38 lumens in the center of the screen and 36 lumens in the corners. This is perfectly adequate in a totally dark room, but the smallest amount of light could cause it trouble. Ambient light in a standard, florescent-lit meeting room is 400 lumens, which almost entirely washes out the image from the GP1. Fortunately, at that level of brightness, the minor drop-off between the center and the corners is unnoticeable to the naked eye.

We then ran the GP1 through our DisplayMate benchmark suite to see how weak or strong it was in several areas. We found it to have good pixel tracking, showing a smooth gray field where other projectors might start to show stripes. In the light and dark intensity scale tests, the seven lightest shades on white and six darkest on black weren’t visible against their respective backgrounds. This means that exceptionally light or dark images might be hard to see. But this fits our expectations for a tiny DLP projector.

Although we were able to discern minute differences in shade for grays, the reds tended to be less definitive, blending together just a bit. However, small intensity differences in the other colors were more distinct. Black text on a white background was completely legible at 12 points but tended to become fuzzy at smaller sizes. White text on black was only clear at 14 points or larger.

We were especially pleased to find no notable color registration errors for any of the three color combinations (red-green, red-blue, and blue-green). We would have expected a projector this size to have at least minor errors, but we could not find any. That, along with the GP1’s great color accuracy, makes this a good choice for displaying complex graphics or even video.

BenQ has set the retail price for the Joybee GP1 Mini Projector at $499. That was higher than we would have liked for a projector with such low brightness, but it is a decent price considering its other benefits.

If weight and size are your top concerns in a projector and you are able to eliminate all light from your demonstration room, you can’t go wrong with the Joybee GP1 Mini Projector.

BenQ, 949-255-9500, www.benq.us

About the Author

Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.

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