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BenQ X500i Review: Affordable Excellence

BenQ’s latest 4K projector is perhaps its best model yet.

The BenQ X500i gaming projector on a gray tabletop

Our Verdict

The BenQ X500i is an astounding projector for the price. Ok, it’s not the cheapest out there, if you’re looking for something more budget-oriented something like XGIMI’s Halo+ is certainly a better fit. But for the price, you get a phenomenal 4K gaming projector, with an absolute arsenal of features, and some of the best performance I’ve seen from any projector to date. It even beats out the far pricier X3100i. Vibrant color accuracy? Check. Crazy luminosity? Check. Super smooth latency? Also, check.

Reasons to buy
  • Fantastic 4K picture quality and color accuracy
  • Sleek slimline design
  • Vast array of configuration
Reasons to avoid
  • Fans can be a touch loud
  • Google TV implementation is odd

Now, straight up, let me just say, I might be in love with the BenQ X500i. It’s true, I’ve tested a huge amount of projectors and monitors in my time, but the X500i hits the sweet spot for pretty much everything. Price, performance, image quality, form factor, it ticks all the boxes.

It’s perfectly balanced, and if you’re looking for one of the best gaming projectors with 4K out there right now, there’s no doubt in my mind that this could well be it. It’s close to convincing me that I need to sling my 21:9 ultrawide monitor away for good, it’s that impressive. 

It’s not flawless. It has a few minor issues, but on the whole, for a fairly respectable $1699/£1,499 fee, what you’re getting for that investment is seriously epic. Let’s take a step back for a moment though. If you’re new to the projector scene, I’m guessing your first question is going to be “Well why?”, why get a projector to begin with?

It is without a doubt, a luxury item. If you’ve already picked up the best gaming monitor, then going for something like a projector isn’t warranted. These are halo products, for nerd dens, and evenings with your buds or your family, sitting back, enjoying your beverage of choice, and just crashing out with a bit of casual gaming, or movie entertainment on a 150-inch display. It is, just such an absolutely enjoyable thing to be able to do.

Before you make this your primary display for all things, bear in mind you will still find better specs with dedicated gaming monitors and displays. After all, projection has come a long way, but so too have PC screens, and it’s hard to compete with the refresh rates, color accuracy, and pixel densities dished out by some of the latest and greatest OLED tech. But, both of these products are designed with very different use cases in mind, and that’s ok.

One thing to add, like most things in the PC space, the more you invest, usually, the better the product. But there is a sweet spot, that some (not all) projectors inhabit, and thankfully I can say the X500i sits itself in that gap quite nicely.

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Maximum Resolution 3840 x 2160
Refresh Rates 4K 60 HZ, 1440p 120 Hz, 1080p 240Hz
Contrast Ratio 600,000:1
Colors: 1.07 Billion
Life Expectancy 20,000 Hrs Normal, 30,000 Hrs Eco
Connectivity 2x HDMI 2.0b (HDCP2.2), 1x USB Type A (2.0), 1x USB Type C (DisplayPort), 1x RS232 in, 1x SPDIF Optical Audio Out, 3.5mm Analog Audio Out
Wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4G / 5G), Bluetooth 5.0, Airplay, Google Cast
Weight 7.9lb (3.6kg)
Dimensions 4.6 x 14.4 x 9.6 in

The lens of the The BenQ X500i gaming projector on a gray tabletop


So then, BenQ X500i, design, how is it? Honestly, stunning. If you’re familiar with any of BenQ’s projector designs, you’ll immediately recognize that crisp black and white, high-contrast finish. It’s a wholly plastic affair admittedly, to keep the weight down, but with a sandblast-esque finish, it looks plenty premium regardless.

Out of the box, it measures just 366 x 118 x 244mm, giving it a fairly traditional slimline look, unlike its far more expensive, X3100i cousin. It’s far better suited to being ceiling mounted because of it too, although, of course, you’ll need to buy an additional ceiling mount if that’s your aim. If you do decide to go that route, flip over the projector, and underneath not only will you see several M4 threads to mount your ceiling mount, but there are also some handy features embedded in the case, showing you where the center line of the lens is, and the center of gravity is too, all neat little touches to make the install that touch smoother.

The fans on the BenQ X500i gaming projector

Moving to the sides of the X500i, you’ll find some serious ventilation carved out of the shroud. There are two fans here, the intake an 80mm unit, and the exhaust a 92mm on the other side of the projector. You’ll also spot two seriously potent speakers here as well, which produce some seriously impressive sound given their size.

On top of the unit, you’ll find your traditional hand adjustment dials for both focus and zoom just above the lens, and a complete OSD solution as well, with directional keys, power button, mode, and eco blank options, all nice additions.

Hop around the back to the I/O and here’s the real treat. You’re greeted with two HDMI 2.0b ports (with HDCP 2.2 support), plus the usual assortment of audio options, plus an RS-232 port and a service port as well. But even better than that is the inclusion of a USB-C port with DisplayPort connectivity as well.

The inputs for the BenQ X500i gaming projector

You’ll also spot a fairly hefty wedge-looking object in the back here too. This is honestly, one of the only downsides to this unit. Remove the screw on top and you’ll release a cover giving you access to the mounting location for the Google TV dongle. This fits into an HDMI port to the right here, which is then powered by a rather jankily cable-managed Micro-USB.

It’s a fairly easy process to do, but it 100 percent doesn’t feel particularly premium, or that secure once it’s in. Still, this is a “one and done” thing, once it’s in, and powered up, you’ll likely forget about it after that point. Other accessories, also include a slim-line remote, with a huge array of buttons on here as well, and that’s about it.

The remote control for the BenQ X500i gaming projector


The X500i’s spec list is, well, awesome for this price. It has a max resolution of 4K sure, and it is fairly limited at 60 fps (although to be fair, you’ll need to invest some serious cash, on one of the best graphics cards out there, to push frame rates above that anyway). But what’s cool, is that you can run the BenQ X500i at 2560×1440 at 120 Hz, or 1920x1080p @ 240 Hz, both of which are far easier to achieve high frame rates in, particularly with the AAA titles currently available to us fancy PC users. 

The X500i also has a console mode that’ll automatically detect if one of the latest generation of consoles is connected (including the Nintendo Switch) and then adjust its resolution and refresh rate accordingly. Pretty neat. There’s also support for 4K upscaling as well to crisp up your gameplay. It’s not entirely dissimilar to a decent 4K TV, to be honest.

Similar to the Acer Predator GD711, there’s little mention of latency in any of the supporting materials, but during my time testing the X500i, there weren’t any major concerns on my part for that. Color support is what you’d expect at this price, full 30-bit and 1.07 billion supported. It’s a 4LED light source running through a DLP projection system, and the contrast ratio tops out at 600,000:1 with light source dimming enabled.

Interestingly brightness supposedly clocks in at just 2,200 ANSI lumens, yet, during my time testing, it felt considerably brighter than the likes of the GD711, which reports at 4,000 lumens or so. Image correction and auto-keystone are supported, along with color correction dependent on your projection display. It’s not quite as advanced as that found on XGIMI’s Halo+ (which honestly feels like witchcraft at times), but it’s fairly easy to configure and adjust angles, and screen shape when you need to.

Other features include Google TV support (which is still incredibly quick and easy to set up if you’ve got an Android phone), Airplay, and Google Cast support as standard. It also supports Bluetooth 5.0 as well, if you do fancy hooking up a soundbar, or something similar.

Changing settings on the BenQ X500i gaming projector


So, in day-to-day use, what’s the X500i like? Honestly, seriously impressive. I run several tests on the projectors I get in. Everything from streaming Netflix, watching 4K HDR films, testing out some gameplay sure, you know, the usual stuff. But the biggest challenge is the “grey wall”. Namely, my office has a dark grey wall in it, and I like to see if the projector can handle projecting onto that and producing colors correctly, without looking washed out, or any less bright than if it was shining onto a white surface. I can say that in that test, the X500i blew me away. 

Even with ambient light in the background, it’s hard to stress just how impressive the color is, even in that scenario. Ok, it’s not your everyday situation admittedly, if you do intend to use a solid gaming projector, you’re going to get a dedicated screen to project onto, but to see it perform so admirably given the circumstances, is seriously impressive.

Gaming screen from the BenQ X500i gaming projector

The gameplay, whether in Elden Ring, or Total War was buttery smooth too, and watching YouTubers streaming Demon Souls, or the All Blacks crush Australia at Rugby was a joy. That 4K resolution does help a ton as well, upping the clarity nicely. The audio was well rounded too, bassy, but not muddy, with plenty of mid and treble to back it up. Still not quite on the same level as a dedicated soundbar, but if you’re stuck in a pinch, or slowly buying pieces for your gaming den, the X500i’s got you covered here too.

One thing that was a minor negative was those twin fans. They’re just a bit too noisy, particularly when you don’t have any audio playing in the background. It’s fine if you’re enjoying content, but if you’re a Netflix menu fiend like I am, deciding what to watch, or navigating through game settings and menus, having them whirring away rather loudly in the background can be a bit distracting, and takes away from the otherwise almost unspoiled brilliance of this thing.

Here’s the thing though, given that price point, and the competition around it, there’s very little to dislike about the X500i. It’s a flawless little unit, perfect for gaming. Yes, you’re still going to get better performance out of something like an AOC Agon Pro AG324UX, or Alienware’s now legendary AW3423DWF (gotta love monitor names), but if you’re after the ultimate gaming projector, without investing a lot more cash, this is the best you can get.

The BenQ X500i gaming projector on a gray tabletop

Should you buy it?

  • Yes: If you want an incredibly good value 4K gaming projector
  • Yes: If you value color accuracy, and impressive brightness at multiple resolutions
  • Yes: If you’re looking to ceiling mount it
  • No: If you want a projector that’s sub $1,000

BenQ’s X500i is a true titan when it comes to the gaming projector scene. Its fantastic array of features, combined with a truly phenomenal spec list, at a price point that puts some serious pressure on similarly specced gaming monitors as well, makes this one of the best value and performance picks money can buy right now. It doesn’t matter if you’re a PC or a console gamer, this thing will crush whatever you throw at it.


Usually, it’s at this point that I tell you that the BenQ X3100i is a better pick, although a lot more expensive, and seriously chunky, and while that is still technically true, given the price point of the X500i, and the feature set on offer, that’s a seriously challenging statement to make. Yes from a technical standpoint, the X3100i is “better”, but the differences are minor, and whether it’s worth the extra cost is highly debatable at this point. Equally Acer’s GD711, although almost similarly priced, lacks the color punch that the X500i does.

The only thing that can even mildly come close to it is ironically OLED gaming monitors, or Ultrawide panels of a similar ilk, in which case the Alienware AW3423DWF is going to be your best friend or AOC’s Agon Pro AG324UX. However, with either of those picks, you’d be giving up the opportunity to throw up a 150-inch display on command.

If you’re on a budget and aren’t looking for the snappiest 4K gaming projector on earth, the XGIMI Halo+ on the other hand, does beat out the X500i, particularly on the portable front. Its impressive environment-analysis tools, and auto-adjusting lens, make it an impressive option for those looking to watch content and stream on the move.

The controls on the BenQ X500i gaming projector


BenQ’s X500i is an exceptional 4K gaming projector, with a massive feature set. At the price it’s entered the market at, you’d be hard-pushed to find a better projector. The only minor fumbles it has, revolve around a slightly dubious Google TV dongle installation (which you’ll forget about in t-minus seven seconds), and mildly annoying fans when idling. Otherwise, you’re getting incredible image quality, impressive color accuracy, and buttery smooth latency, to make even the most eager of console or PC gamers happy.