Portable projectors have always fascinated me. They might not be replacing my 55-inch TV on the wall but the whole proposition of a device that’s portable yet powerful enough to project a 100-inch screen from a distance is intriguing. This new wave of entertainment devices can be used at home or on the go. Adding to the list is the BenQ GV30 which is a portable, all-in-one home entertainment solution. Yes, this projector is also a Bluetooth speaker and a streaming device. I lived with the BenQ GV30 for a few days to see if it meets my home entertainment needs and whether I also should invest in a portable projector. Here’s my experience.
A projector that looks like a wheel of cheese
The BenQ GV30’s look is inspired by a wheel of cheese, something that makes this device different from the sea of portable projectors on the market. It’s all plastic, with a circular shape that is designed to sit vertically in a circular base. It’s 7.7-inch tall and 4.7-inch wide and weighs roughly 1.6kg. Not exactly super lightweight but portable enough to be carried in a bag or a backpack. BenQ supplies a high-quality grey coloured case that includes the projector, a remote control, an AC adapter, a streaming stick and manuals and documents. The mustard coloured carry handle helps you lug it around.
The projector comes with a small stand, which magnetically attaches to the bottom of the projector. I’d say it’s a clever design, making it easy to change the angle of the projector through a 135-degree range. On the top of the projector, you will find four physical buttons, including a power button, two volume buttons, and a Bluetooth pairing button. On the right of the projector, there’s a handful of connectivity ports. There’s an HDMI port, a USB-C port, and a headphone jack, along with the power input.
The GV30 also comes with an Android TV streaming stick that fits inside the projector housing. Remote control is also a part of the projector, which is easy to navigate. It has the basic set of controls, a button for Google Assistant and a dedicated button for Amazon Prime Video.
Easy to set up; runs Android TV
Setting up the GV30 projector is simple and quick. Plug in the adapter, place the dongle (there’s actually a hidden compartment for that), turn it on, set up the Android TV, and it’s running. You don’t have to refer to a manual to set up the projector. Everything is done automatically, be it focusing, adjustment or keystone adjustment. I particularly liked the auto-focusing on this projector.
The GV30 runs Android TV, but it’s not baked into the projector. Instead, the Android TV dongle (based on Android 9.0 software) is the key to unlocking all the entertainment apps. Natively, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube are preinstalled. You can also stream movies and shows on Disney+ Hotstar through Google Play Store. However, Netflix is not available. The GV30 also comes installed with an App Manager, with which you can install Aptoide, a third-party app store. However, in my testing, Aptoide’s version of Netflix didn’t quite work.
Resolution limited to 720p but ideal for small rooms
While the 720p resolution (supports a brightness level of 300 nits) may seem on the lower side, the image quality is crisp and clear. In fact, the projector does a great job becoming a TV but let me tell you it won’t replace the TV you already own. When projecting a 50-inch image, it’s sharp, with vivid colours. It won’t work when there’s too much light in the room. Ideally, the room needs to be dark enough to get a good picture. While watching Sharmaji Namkeen, the colours looked punchy and surprisingly accurate in the default picture mode.
Great speakers with a built-in battery
The sound from the GV30 is crisp enough and does fill up the room as claimed. I was surprised by the audio quality of the projector, thanks to the 8W woofer and two 4W drivers. The speakers can take any genre of music you throw at it and give you better sound than the regular Bluetooth speakers I have used. For its size, it’s a quality speaker, producing capable sound and clarity in higher frequencies. While I normally kept it plugged in, it had a rechargeable battery so you could easily move it to another room. This means the GV30 doubles as a standalone Bluetooth speaker but the built-in battery gives around 2-and-a half of listening time. Not enough to replace my JBL Bluetooth speakers.
Should you buy or skip it?
It’s incredibly easy to set up, looks fantastic, and does everything you could want of it while taking up a tiny amount of space in any room. This impressively small size becomes its unique selling point, despite being a 720p projector with an LED lamp. Overall, the BenQ GV30 tries to offer everything you need in a portable projector with built-in stereo speakers, including a woofer and a mid-range tweeter on both sides. It’s not cheap, but you are paying Rs 52,500 for the portability and that sound quality.