Review: BenQ's X3000i gaming projector stuns with simplicity and performance

BenQ's X3000i projector
Could the gadget reignite my long-held desire for a projector in my man cave? Photo credit: Supplied / BenQ

I like to think I'm not the jealous type; then I was offered the chance to review a gaming projector and realised it wasn't true.

A couple of friends have had projectors for many years and I've lost count of the number of evenings I've spent watching movies and playing games on them.

Out of all the gadgets I could possibly want, a projector remains the standout. I now have a garage that's begging to be converted into a man cave though, and this reignited something I had long suppressed.

BenQ's X3000i projector comes in at less than it would cost for a huge television so could it impress me enough that I would covet it for my dream garage conversion?

I've been using it for a couple of weeks now and here are my thoughts.

The good

Gaming has taken a bit of a backseat in recent times, with my spare time spent reading or playing with my new puppy.

It takes quite a lot, therefore, to drag me away from that cuteness - but BenQ's new gaming projector did that multiple times in the last two weeks.

Part of the attraction was just how big I was able to make the picture. I was limited by exactly where I could project too (and the size of sheet I could project on to), but the size of FIFA 2022 on the PlayStation 5 still blew my mind.

The experience was added to by having an incredibly sharp focus and great colour. The low lag also ensured any flaws in my football game were caused by me and not delays in the signals.

BenQ's X3000i projector
Photo credit: Supplied / BenQ

I didn't have to do any finessing to get accurate and bright colours out of the box. Plugging in my console for the first time gave me options to adjust its output and within seconds I had gigantic Rangers footballers running around the pitch.

The 3000 lumens at 4K UHD resolution means you're simply not going to be disappointed by the picture, even in brighter rooms. Of course, when I played at night with the lights off, it truly took it to a whole new level.

I doubt I'll ever actually hire a cinema screen to play on, but I'm comfortable knowing this is as close as I got. Even better than that, I was able to sit in my own comfy chair when doing so.

One of the downsides to projectors is the need to replace the lighting source, which can be costly. However, BenQ estimates around 20,000 hours worth of life at normal usage levels, or around 30,000 at economy settings.

That's good enough for over two and a half YEARS of 24/7 gaming, which I think is even beyond my 18-year-old's ability, never mind my own.

There are also multiple modes for the projector to allow you to get the best possible experience.

Options such as 3D, Bright, Cinema, Game, HDR Game, HDR10, Living Room and Sports are all relatively self-explanatory and allows you to see that, despite the marketing, the X3000i offers more than just gaming.

BenQ's X3000i projector
Photo credit: Supplied / BenQ

Yes, you can plug in your laptop or desktop directly via the three HDMI ports (all HDMI 2.2 ports) in the back, but the Android TV dongle supplied makes it even easier.

That gives you access to applications to allow you to watch the majority of your favoured streaming platforms as well as cast wirelessly from another device.

It's still pre-season in Scotland at the moment ahead of the new football season - but I now fall asleep at night thinking about watching Rangers games on it. 

My favourite experience out of everything was with the PlayStation 5, however, and that came via brand new game Stray.

I lost myself in the walled city, prowling around looking for clues as a cat. Hours went by before I'd even noticed. The combination of a unique game and the dark garage with a superb picture shining out was a brilliant experience and one I'd be keen to repeat.

Finally, the price is pretty fair for the performance you get. Yes, you can get MUCH cheaper projectors, but the quality simply isn't as good. For an equivalent specification and performance you can expect to pay more.

BenQ's X3000i projector
Photo credit: Supplied / BenQ

The $3800 price tag ensures only those with some serious spare cash will pony up for it, though. But compared to a 4K television that offers a size of picture anywhere near what the X3000i is capable of? It's definitely competitive.

It really is a great experience, albeit one that comes with a big, heavy (6.4kg) box.

The bad

There's nothing intrinsically bad about the X3000i projector, but I was left wondering whether those who take their gaming more seriously than I do are going to love it as much.

There's no 4K output at 120Hz and the built-in speakers may not offer the fidelity that those who play FPS games demand.

It's hard to identify where the enemy combatants are when the sound output isn't the best.

The black levels also didn't quite hit the heights of some of the newer televisions on the market.

Again, not something that overly bothered me, considering the price is well below what you'll pay for a television over 75-inches - but that is important to a lot of people.

Finally, what's with the lack of Netflix app on the Android TV system? I had access to plenty of others - including ThreeNow, Prime Video and Neon - but not Netflix? Seems like a strange miss.

BenQ's X3000i projector
Photo credit: Supplied / BenQ

The verdict

Sigh. How am I supposed to tell my partner that I want to spend $3800 on a projector just so I can spend less time in her company?

Joking aside, once the BenQ X3000i was set up in the optimum spot I simply loved using it. 

Sure, it might be quite big and bulky but the whole idea is that once it's mounted you leave it where it is.

The brilliant picture allowed me to enjoy gaming as I've never experienced before. It didn't exactly help my poor gaming skills, but it meant my losses were seen in great colour and at  a tremendous size.

Inclusion of an Android TV streaming device also helps give this additional kudos. It's not the main reason BenQ released it, but the opportunity to watch some of my favourite movies at that scale was a joy.

BenQ's X3000i projector
Photo credit: Supplied / BenQ

The biggest downside to me was the overall quality of the sound. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't good enough that it's a selling point for me. I'd be wanting a decent sound system to go along with the massive screen I'd need to fork out for, on top of the projector's purchase price.

That's going to add a fair bit to the overall bill and means I'm going to have to save up a bit longer before I jump in - but when I do, the BenQ X3000i is definitely a strong option.

Meanwhile, if you've got the dosh and are ready to take your gaming to a new level, then you probably won't regret the purchase.

Newshub was supplied with a BenQ X3000i project for this review.