Ever since Covid-19 has forced cinemas and other forms of large-screen entertainment to take an indefinite pause, the market for home entertainment products has been witnessing a spike across the globe. In India, reports suggest big TVs and projectors that can beam large-format, ultra-high-definition video are finding great demand, especially among sports enthusiasts and regular streamers.

Right on cue, the BenQ TK850, with features such as 4K video support and a brightness level of 3000 lumens, targets sports buffs and gamers. The device has a lot in common with the BenQ HT3550 and the others in the BenQ CinePlus series. And this includes the dynamic iris. The BenQ TK850 is a bit heavy, at 4.2 kg and you must handle it with care since the outer shell is made of breakable plastic. The TK850 has an elegant design that can add some extra charm to your room. It comes with a standard, poorly designed, remote control.

Crisp visuals

You can mount the proctor on the ceiling or can keep it on a table and the display can be adjusted accordingly. BenQ’s set up menu is something that won’t please its fans. It takes some patience to go through the menu options and get to what you really want, but the patience always pays, as the performance of the TK850 can testify.

The projector comes with a contrast ratio (FOFO aka Full-On and Full-Off) of 30,000:1 so that the whites have a considerable amount of control over the blacks and images are beamed quite clearly and organically. As a result, bright scenes don’t bleed and dark scenes get enough details. The device supports a resolution of 4K UHD (3840 x 2160 pixels), which means you get crisp, detailed visuals. Thanks to the 3000 lumens light bulb, the projection is ideal for rooms that have nice ambient lighting. As you may know already, lumens, simply put, is a measure of visible light coming from a light source and the lower they are the better its ability to handle room light.

The TK850 supports the HDR-PRO technology, which means the video the device beams on to the screen has more detail and colour than the original so that users get a true-to-life experience. What I’ve found the most striking fact about the device is how it minimises blurs. The TK850 negotiates blemishes and incompleteness of visuals so efficiently that the results are quite telling. The device is able to deliver similar, optimised results under different light conditions.

This is a DLP (digital light processing) projector, which means the viewing experience is much closer to that of a cinema hall as DLP is a technology that’s used by most cinemas. The device has a 4K optical set up that uses high-grade glass for realistic image quality. This is clearly reflected when you beam sports action. The device has three different modes for sports alone — picture, sound and there a motion enhancer mode.

The device is set to a native aspect ratio of 16:9 and you can select up to six aspect ratios. The device offers sharpness levels that are superb and can make your movie-watching experience a delight. Given the way it negotiates light, this is clearly not meant for a dark room. It delivers superb video in dimly lit or partially lit rooms, which means this is an ideal partner for binge-watching shows.

If you have some patience and can play around with the menu, which has so many options to enhance your video (such as my favourite, the Brilliant Colour bar that you can adjust to enhance the visual clarity), you can get incredible output. The TK850 gives a colour wheel speed of 96Hz; 100Hz; 120Hz for 2D and 120Hz for 3D. The device plays games pretty well, but I’ve found it produces some lag while playing graphic-heavy games.

Great performance for a price

BenQ claims the 245-watt lamp can run 4,000 hours on normal mode, 10,000 hours on economic mode and 15,000 hours on a customised smart economic mode. The TK850 has a built-in speaker, which is a plus. The chamber speaker (5W x 2) is just for basic use and you must rely on external speakers if you want a home-theatre experience. The device renders audio with impressive clarity, especially for sports and games.

The TK850 has a nice throw ratio of 1.13 - 1.47 (100-inch at 8.2 feet). For starters, throw distance is the distance from a projector’s lens to the screen surface. The shorter the distance is the better, as helps the user to keep the projector closer to the screen and lessen intrusions. This helps a lot during business presentations.

The device features ports for HDMI, USB Type A, Type mini B, Audio out (3.5mm Mini Jack). It is compatible with HDTV (720p 50/60Hz, 1080i 50/60Hz, 1080p 24/25/30/50/60Hz, 2160p 23/24/25/30/60Hz) and can play 3D content as well, which means you don’t need to get rid of in the near future — a value-for-money feature Indian consumers might enjoy in this otherwise expensive device.

In comparison with its popular cousin, the HT3550, the TK850 is not a great upgrade, but the visual quality has been improved in tune with the times and there is increased accessories support too. You still have the manual focus and zoom buttons.

That said, I’ve experienced the device heats up pretty fast while playing 4K and UHD content and this is not exactly a silent device; the fan noise is above average and it can be annoying if you’re using it for movies that require extreme levels of attention to details, especially on the audio front. I’ve also experienced the device struggles a bit when playing extremely saturated video and tends to compromise a bit on tackling the yellows and reds.

In sum, the BenQ TK850 offers beautifully large visuals for your home, bringing a cinematic experience to the living room, but for a price, of course.

Price: ₹2,49,000

Pros: Crisp and sharp visuals; great for sports, good for gaming, supports 3D

Cons: Expensive, fan noise at annoying levels, emits some heat