BenQ TK810 4K DLP Projector Review

A bright shining light...

by Phil Hinton
SRP: £1,159.00

What is the BenQ TK810?

The BenQ TK810 is a new entry-level home cinema 4K single-chip DLP projector from the manufacturer, which uses the latest DMD chip from Texas Instruments. This implements a quadruple flash that tricks the eye into seeing an 8.3 million pixel image on the screen. The chip itself is actually 1920 x 1080 in resolution. However, using this technique it can give you a pseudo 4K image onscreen. This means that the TK810 can achieve a 4K-like image for significantly less cost than a native 4K projector.

The TK810 is designed to be used in normal living rooms with some ambient light or with walls and ceiling that are a light colour. It aims to produce an image that can still be viewed in such rooms without too much washout. However, it should be noted that like all DLP projectors at this price point, the black floor is raised and it is probably not suitable for use in a Batcave dedicated cinema room.

The BenQ TK810 is provided with a wireless transmitter which allows it to use screen mirroring on Apple and Android devices. There’s also an App Store with a number of video-on-demand applications as well as a USB 3.0 media player port on the rear of the projector for adding your own stored content playback through the projector. There is also ARC compatibility to feed audio back to your AV Receiver or you can use the built-in stereo speakers. As with all BenQ DLP projectors, you can also view 3D films with a suitable 3D Blu-ray player attached and the optional glasses (not provided). 3D playback is at the native 1080p resolution and not scaled to 4K.

At just £1159 at the time of this review in April 2020, can the TK810 produce a good enough image for film enthusiasts for home cinema use?

BenQ TK810 Video Review

Design, Connections and Control

There is no doubt that the TK810 is built to a price point and is intended to be used as a multimedia device capable of playing 4K Blu-ray movies, 3D films, stored media and video-on-demand services in a normal living room environment. As such, the design follows a well-used chassis layout with the lens positioned to the right-hand side of the black coloured front plate. The hot air exhaust is positioned on the left side of the chassis. There is a BenQ logo on the left of the front plate and above the lens on the top is a sliding door which covers the focus and zoom controls on the lens. To the rear of this sliding door are menu controls for use if you misplace the remote control.

BenQ TK810

The build quality is good for a projector that is designed to be portable and is constructed from hard plastics. There are two feet to the rear and one to the front for table positioning and you can ceiling mount the TK810. Around the back, we have the speakers and connections.

 

There is no doubt that the TK810 is built to a price point


BenQ TK810

Connections wise from left to right we have a 12v trigger, RS232C, Mini USB service and USB 3.0 media player ports. There are two HDMI 2.0 ports with HDCP 2.2 compliance which accept 4K 60P HDR signals, plus a USB power port, optical digital and 3.5mm audio outputs. The power socket is positioned below the connections and the speakers to either side of these.

BenQ TK810

The supplied remote control is a small plastic affair that feels light and slightly flimsy, but that is to be expected at the price point. It does, however, work fine and the buttons and keys are intuitively laid out and easy to reach with one thumb press when held in one hand. There is no backlight which is a shame for a remote to be used with a projector in the dark.

 

The build quality is good for a projector that is designed to be portable and is constructed from hard plastics

Measurements

Out of the Box

We found the User preset with a 2.2 Gamma and Normal Colour Temperature gave us the most accurate image quality close to the industry standards. We also switched off any image processing or colour enhancement features.

BenQ TK810

Looking at the greyscale we can see that the tracking is not overly bad but the lamp in the BenQ has a distinct red hue in the blacks as it is not capable of producing any deep black at all. However, apart from a rise of green at the bright end of the scale, our DeltaE errors are under three which is just under the visible threshold and this is impressive for an out of the box preset on such a cost-effective projector. We have a slight issue at 90 stimulus where it hits DeltaE three and gamma is dipping to a brighter look at this point, but this a small blip which is not visible in content. Overall it is impressive.

 

... for an out of the box preset on a budget DLP projector, the results are impressive, if not entirely accurate


BenQ TK810

The Rec.709 HD colour gamut is not quite as accurate out of the box. We have slight oversaturation at the 100% stimulus points for red, yellow, green and magenta, with slight hue errors also at these points. However, getting a DLP projector at this price point to even get close to covering Rec.709 is an achievement and if you look at the saturation points that actually have an impact on image quality, so 75% and below, we have less of an issue with these points out of the box and should be able to correct them with the Colour Management System (CMS) tools. But again, for an out of the box preset on a budget DLP projector, the results are impressive, if not entirely accurate. 

Calibrated

Moving to our calibrated results, it is nice to see controls that are first of all provided on a budget projector, but secondly that work properly. 

BenQ TK810

Looking at the greyscale first, we were able to get tracking much closer to perfect at most adjustable points, without using too many inputs. DeltaE errors were all under the visible threshold of three and gamma also tracked well to our 2.2 point. There is not enough adjustment to get results any more accurate than we have here and the slight redness in the deepest blacks is an issue with the performance of this projector, with black levels, and the bulb’s output. 

BenQ TK810

Using the included CMS with some care, we were able to correct the 75% stimulus and below saturation tracking to be more accurate to the standards. This did require some balance of hue and saturation, as well as brightness of the colour points. We are also dealing with an RGBW colour wheel system so it is never going to measure perfectly. But we ended up with DeltaE errors under 2 which is well below the visible threshold of three, with no issues with TV and film content we watched as a result of us using the CMS.

HDR results

OK, as you should be aware, given the price point and the fact that it is an entry-level DLP, this is not an HDR projector. It is a budget DLP with an averaged peak brightness of 110 nits and a measured black level of 0.253. It has no dynamic range to playback HDR content with any specular highlights or deep blacks with visible shadow details. It is HDR compatible only in that it will take such sources and display them within the capabilities of the projector. 

BenQ TK810

Given the lack of dynamic range and contrast, the TK810 still implements a tone map for HDR content as you can see in the PQ EOTF chart above, but this does not mean it will display anything in HDR, it is incapable of that. 

More: What is 4K HDR tone mapping?

BenQ TK810

Colour is also well below any wide colour gamut performance as seen with our P3 within BT.2020 measurements. A budget DLP like this is not capable of producing a wide colour gamut as seen within the results, it basically tracks just slightly wider than Rec.709.

BenQ TK810
BenQ TK810

We measured BT.2020 at 58% XY and 62% UV with P3 tracking 81% XY and 85% UV.

 

A budget DLP like this is not capable of producing a wide colour gamut

Performance

We set up the BenQ TK810 in our Batcave testing room using a portable stand positioned 10ft 8in from our 120-inch Screen Excellence 2.39:1 Enlightor 4K screen. This means we had the projector at full wide zoom producing a 16:9 ratio image that was 94-inch diagonal. We took all measurements directly from this screen with brightness clocking in at 850 lumens in calibrated user mode and contrast of 437:1 (110.3/0.253). Black levels are very mediocre as you can see from our measurements and indeed black bars on 2.39:1 content within a 16:9 image area are raised to the same dark grey within the content with shadow details crushed away. We are not surprised with this raised black level on such a budget DLP model and the resulting lack of shadow detail. Some dark scenes within movie content become almost unwatchable given the complete lack of contrast. This is not a projector designed to be used within a Batcave dedicated cinema room. 

Because of the raised black floor, it is far better suited to brighter normal living room spaces with some ambient light or light coloured walls and ceilings. Give the TK810 a bright and colourful 16:9 image to display and it can look very impressive in such surroundings. This is a multimedia machine that is designed to use screen sharing from your mobile device for watching YouTube clips on a white wall in your living room. It is designed to be used as a portable gaming machine where you can take it around to your mates and game on the big screen, although input lag is still high at 84ms on a Leo Bodnar tester. 3D playback is also impressive with excellent motion and no signs of cross talk at all. 

 

Give the TK810 a bright and colourful 16:9 image to display and it can look very impressive in such surroundings

Motion, in general, is good with the frame interpolation switched off and with it active on a moving test pattern, there were some artefacts seen. 24fps playback is also generally good but we did notice a little judder now and again with some pans. Image sharpness is also impressive with nicely scaled images that only now and again look a little soft. But this is much more preferable to added edge enhancement which is thankfully not seen within scaled content. Sharpness and uniformity of sharpness from the lens is decent for a budget projector, but the edges are a tad softer than the centre of the screen on this sample, but we doubt you would notice this from normal viewing distances. 

While it may lack contrast performance and dynamic range, the TK810 is a bright and colourful projector that can display an image that will withstand use with ambient lighting. When fed content that is bright and colourful it excels with a nice image that will look good for gaming or watching animations in 16:9 ratios. Our main disappointment is with 2.40:1 content lacking real blacks and contrast. Saying that, it is only really with dark scenes that things can become murky grey where viewers are unable to see what is happening in the shadows. With brighter scenes within films, it can look decent and with the lights on, it stands up with brightness and colours. HDR content looks identical to SDR in terms of dynamics and colour performance with no HDR to speak of, but then again, we never expected it to look any different given the price point and intended use of this DLP projector.

 

Motion, upscaling and colour performance is for the majority of the time good

Verdict

The Good

  • Bright and colourful images
  • Accepts 4K HDR sources
  • Decent SDR accuracy after calibration
  • Good out of the box image quality
  • Frame interpolation for those who want it

The Bad

  • Mediocre black levels and crushed shadows
  • Lacking dynamic range
  • Not HDR capable but is compatible with HDR sources
  • Not for critical home cinema use

BenQ TK810 4K DLP Projector Review

For those looking for a projector to use for critical home cinema use in a Batcave environment, this is not the model for you. It has mediocre black levels and crushed shadow detail with poor contrast and dynamic range for such use. It is also not an HDR projector when it come to image quality, it just doesn’t have the means to produce an image anywhere close to HDR. But it is HDR compatible, so you can feed it a 4K UHD source and it will play it back, just not in HDR or wide colour. However, this is not what the BenQ TK810 has been designed to do.

This is the projector for those who want a multimedia experience in a normal living room with light coloured walls and ambient light present. In such environments, the raised black floor is less of an issue, and the bright and colourful images the TK810 can throw are more suited to this use. It is for those who want to screen mirror their mobile devices to show YouTube or TickTok clips, or game with their mates from a console. 3D playback is good and you can get away with watching films in the living room with the TK810, just be prepared to miss some details in dark scenes where the contrast is poor. 

Motion, upscaling and colour performance is for the majority of the time good and, with the right kind of content, the TK810 can produce bright, vivid and detailed images that stand up to some ambient light in the room. The Apps available through the built-in system do work when paired with the wireless dongle, but the video quality and compression varies from source to source. We think you would be better off using an outboard source for these apps, like Netflix, if image quality is important. Gaming is also good but the input lag may catch a few of the better gamers out, but for general console gaming, it will work just fine and does provide a decent big-screen image. There is also frame interpolation for use with football or other fast-moving sports viewing, well, after the lockdown is over for live sport anyway.

Overall, the BenQ TK810 does what it claims in the majority of use cases and is a very good all-round, bright and vivid DLP projector for use in bright environments with today’s varied viewing habits. As with all DLP projectors, the motion and 3D are very good and images are bright and sharp, but the pay off is mediocre black levels, lacking shadow details and poor dynamic range. With the right content and in the correct surroundings the BenQ TK810 is capable of producing bright and colourful images that will be acceptable for use in a multi-purpose role for those not looking for a critical movie and home cinema performance. As such, it does what it sets out to do and if this projector fits your requirements we can recommend it for those uses at this price point. 

Recommended

Scores

Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black levels

.
.
.
7

Colour Accuracy

.
.
.
7

Greyscale Accuracy

.
.
8

Image Uniformity

.
.
8

Video Processing

.
.
8

2D Picture Quality

.
.
.
7

3D Picture Quality

.
.
8

Picture Quality Out-of-the-Box

.
.
.
7

Picture Quality Calibrated

.
.
8

Features

.
.
.
7

Ease Of Use

.
.
.
7

Build Quality

.
.
.
.
6

Value For Money

.
.
8

Verdict

.
.
.
7
7
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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