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BenQ Joybee GP1 Mini LED Projector
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What's hot: Ultra small, easy to carry. LED technology for brighter imaging.
What's not: USB reader plays limited video/audio codecs.
Reviewed June 13, 2009 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
For those who aren’t familiar with the BenQ brand, this Asian company makes a wide variety of consumer electronics including notebooks, digital cameras, mobile phones and digital projectors. Although BenQ offers a large number of digital projectors, the Joybee GP1 is the smallest one and it’s an LED-lit projector that offers bright images and longer life. The ultra-portable Joybee GP1 is not only a great gadget for mobile professionals but also a strong contender for a living room spot. If you have several friends who want to share vacation photos and videos, the projector makes it easy. You can even put your photos on an USB flash drive and plug into the BenQ to show photo slides or videos.
The BenQ Joybee GP1 mini projector measures only 5.35 x 2.12 x 4.72 inches and weighs 1.4 pounds. The projector is easy to set up and control. The BenQ comes with a dual connect cable that can either work with your computer via VGA port or your gaming console, video camera, etc. via component video. Joybee GP1 also has a stereo audio out jack for external speakers and a USB port for flash drives. The touch sensitive controls are on top of the projector, and many of the buttons are shared and very close to each other which makes it easy to hit the wrong buttons. Luckily the BenQ comes with a remote control that allows you to set up the projector and control your slide shows and videos easily. The projector has a large focus ring on top, a tripod socket and an adjuster foot on the bottom to tilt the projector.
The projector uses TI’s DLP technology with a native resolution of 858 x 600 though it can go up to 1280 x 1024. The native A/V mode has a 4:3 ratio and you can change it to 16:9 ratio. The images and videos projected by the BenQ look bright and color saturated, and the projector has built-in wall-color adjustment. The projection looks best against light-colored backgrounds in a very dark room and smooth surfaces work better than textured surfaces. Projecting content from laptops, DVD players, gaming consoles and digital cameras is straightforward. But if you use the built-in USB reader to play content on a flash drive, be warned that only certain video formats are supported. For images, the Joybee GP1 can view baseline and progressive JPEG images, up to 20-megapixel .bmp files as well as .gif (179 megs) and .tiff (3200 x 3200 pixel) files. These image formats should cover most digital camera photos and web images. The built-in video playback supports limited video codecs. It only plays .avi, .mp4 and .mov files recorded with certain audio and video codecs but videos in .3gp and .3g2 mobile formats play well. One saving grace is that the BenQ package includes ArcSoft’s MediaConverter software that you can use to convert video files, though it’s an extra step to make the projector work with video via USB. iPhone and iPod touch users: BenQ sells a dock that works with the Joybee GP1. You can simply plug your iPhone or iPod touch into the dock and project any content you play on the mobile device.