There is no better time to get a projector than right now. The Euros are currently on, Wimbledon has started and the Tokyo Olympics are just around the corner. And besides being there in person, there is no better way to watch these events than on the big screen. And the folks at BenQ were nice enough to loan us their TK850 projector to check out.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Projectors are expensive bits of kit. And some are yes, but there are cheaper alternatives out there like the LESHP projector we reviewed a few years back. However, you get what you pay for quite often with tech, so more expensive projectors tend to be better quality and packed with more features.
And on first glance, it would seem that the TK850 is one of those where you get exactly what you pay for. It boasts 4K quality with HDR on a 100” screen, custom sports modes to make sure you get the best picture possible for this summer of sport, powerful speakers that produce immersive sound, and multiple input methods so you can stick a number of devices into it which it can then project onto the big screen.
Now, we don’t have luck with projectors in my house, it’s not that they never work, it’s just we’ve watched multiple European Cup finals on our own projector, and of the three we watched, Liverpool lost two. As you can tell, I’m a red. That curse did eventually get broken when Liverpool beat Spurs in Madrid to lift their 6th trophy.
However, my partner is a City fan, born and bred in Manchester and grew up around the corner from their old stadium on Maine Road. And we watched them take part in their first champion’s league final using our 4K FireStick to get the match on the big screen. It looked glorious, but the curse struck again, as Chelsea beat the side supported by one of us in the house. Possible karma that though for when she was cheering on Real Madrid a few years earlier.
Now that I’ve got the curse out of the way, I have to say I was incredibly impressed with the projector’s display. It uses a whole host of different technologies such as DLP, which is the method of how the projector projects the image onto a screen. It’s basically the new high standard that manufacturers use to get a much better picture. And I could see a massive difference from my own projector, which admittedly only hits 1080P at max.
I didn’t have to fiddle with the settings either, because the sports mode that this projector is built for did everything we needed it to to make the picture as crystal clear as it could be. However, whilst the projector can be mounted to the ceiling or sat down on a table or other surface, it did become a little tricky to find somewhere to put it. Mainly because we don’t have a ceiling mount, and usually set ours up on a shelf.
Whilst you can do this with the TK850, it only has vertical keystone correction, so you can angle your projected image up or down to get a nice flat finish on the screen. That means the top won’t be wider than the bottom and vice-versa. However, it lacks horizontal keystone correction, which works the same way but as you guessed, from side to side. This means you can stick a projector in the corner of a room, and angle the picture so it’s flat on the wall.
It’s not detrimental to the use, but it does mean more faffing around trying to set things up in a way where it doesn’t become an obstacle people need to navigate so they don’t block the display or knock the projector over. And when you consider the price of this projector, which can be found at around £1500.00, for the TK850 to lack such a basic feature that even cheap Amazon projectors have, is almost shameful really.
One feature that does redeem the TK850 a little though is its built-in speakers. It packs two 10W chambered speakers, which is twice as powerful as the standard average 5W speakers most projectors come with. Everything sounded clear no matter how high the volume went, no tinniness to the audio, no muddiness. But it did come across a little flat. But I do quite often hook up my own speakers when using a projector anyway.
But for someone who doesn’t have a higher-quality soundbar or set of speakers to use, they do the job well enough, but they could be a little baseier to really replicate the atmosphere in the stadiums or arenas of the events you watch. The TK850 seemed ok for films, but again, you aren’t going to get the rumbles you would in a cinema or when you use your own speaker setup with a subwoofer.
One area the projector did really shine though was with the zoom and focus features. Depending on your space setup, you can magnify or minimise the size of the screen with a twist of one of the lens controls. However, with many cheaper projectors, with bigger images, it loses the clarity and definition. However, we put this a good 3-4 metres away from the screen just to see what it was like, and the TK850 still had an extremely impressive display.
Even with the image stretched, you could make out the finer details on the screen. Everything was as clear as day and it didn’t lose an ounce of its quality. This worked well enough for every single device we used; our FireStick, files loaded on by USB, and even my PS5. All of which the projector has predefined settings for each mode, whether that be gaming (it has a 60Hz refresh rate perfect for consoles), movies, sport as mentioned and even music.
It saves you a lot of time fiddling around with things, that’s for sure. However, you may need to adjust settings a little when using the TK850 outdoors in daylight. We trialled it just to see how well it performs in broad daylight, purely because we’d been mainly using it in a dark setting. And the brightness of this was impressive, to say the least.
I mean we’ve already mentioned the TK850 has 4K HDR tech inbuilt, but using their HDR-Pro technology they are able to project 8.3 million pixels and reach 98% of Rec.709 Colour Space for accurate colours, with a brightness of 3000 ANSI Lumens brightness. Now you may not know what all that means, to be honest, we don’t either. But in simple terms, it means it pretty much hits every colour accurately and is very bright. So even in broad daylight, you get an incredibly clear picture.
You may need to adjust the brightness a little just depending on how bright it is outside, but for the majority of the time we used it to watch films, it needed no altering. However, we did stick it up inside our gazebo, so we did have a little shade from the sun to help.
But is the TK850 value for money? Well, £1500.00 is a lot for a projector, although we’ve seen it averaging out at the moment around the £1300.00 price mark, which is a much nicer price. It is certainly a quality product, but I think it actually lacks a fair bit for the price you’re paying. Horizontal keystone correction was a major one for me, but I’d expect it to have some smart capabilities at that price. Whether that be WiFi-enabled to support inbuilt software, or the capability to stream stuff to the projector wirelessly.
Now you can put a FireStick in the back of the TK850 as we’ve said, and stream to that to get whatever you want on the screen. But that’s then an added cost on top of this. If you look at other 4K projectors on the market, you can pick them up cheaper than this as well. Much cheaper, around £1000.00 and under. They may not have the same quality exactly, but to the human eye, unless you’re inspecting it intensely like we are, or you pick up a cheap Chinese knock-off from Wish, you probably won’t notice too much of a difference with some.
Overall thoughts on the BenQ TK850
Whilst it is an excellent product, there is no doubt about that. I think it is a little overpriced for what you get, purely because it lacks some important features for me. In fact, BenQ themselves offer cheaper 4K projectors that have more features packed in, such as the TK700STi which we’ll be reviewing shortly, that has a streaming stick supplied. If something like that was included with the TK850 I’d say it’d be better value.
If you’ve got the money anyway, or maybe you host a lot of movie nights or have the family and friends round for the big sporting events then the TK850 could be worth the punt. However, if you’re not going to use it all that often, then it is a lot of money to spend on something that is definitely a luxury item. Now you can make some of the money back, and I’ll be telling you how to do that in an upcoming feature, so keep your eyes peeled. But for now, we’re talking about the TK850.
It’s amazing quality, but the price point and its lack of flexibility in where the TK850 can be placed for me personally mean I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy this. I’m not saying it isn’t worth the money exactly, but there is probably better value out there. The thing with projectors is that how you use them often comes down to your home setup, which meant that it wasn’t ideal for me.
The BenQ TK850 projector is available to buy online and in specialist stores now. It currently averages around the PRICE mark, but you may be able to find vouchers, coupons or use cashback sites to recoup a little of the cost. Don’t forget to check out some of our other hardware reviews as well by clicking HERE.