WUXGA (1,920-by-1,200) resolution. Holds detail well. Bright enough for a large room. 1.6x zoom. Small, but useful, vertical lens shift.
Some colors are a little dark in every preset mode. Showed annoyingly obvious dynamic moiré in our tests.
- Bottom Line
The BenQ SU922 projector added artifacts to some images in our tests over a VGA connection. But if you don't use patterned fills, or if you connect with HDMI, you'll get an otherwise near-excellent data image that's bright enough for a large room.
With its 5,000-lumen brightness rating and WUXGA (1,920-by-1,200) resolution, the BenQ SU922 is an obvious candidate for anyone who needs a high-resolution projector that's bright enough for a midsize to large room. Unfortunately, it added some annoying artifacts to patterned fills in our tests when using a VGA connection. That said, if you don't use patterned fills, or you plan to connect by HDMI, its balance of resolution, brightness, and convenience features—including its 1.6x zoom—are enough to make the SU922 worth considering.
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Compared with the Panasonic PT-RZ370U, which is our Editors' Choice high-end, high-resolution projector, the SU922 offers higher brightness, a little higher resolution at 1,920 by 1,200 instead of 1,920 by 1,080, and a lower price. However, its image quality isn't as good for either data or video, and it lacks a long list of sophisticated features that the Panasonic model offers, including a laser-LED hybrid light source and a significantly greater lens shift.
Lens shift lets you move the image without tilting or swiveling the projector and turning the rectangular image into a trapezoid. With most projectors, you can change the shape back to a rectangle using a digital keystone control, but that can add artifacts to some images.
When I reviewed the Panasonic model, I measured its lens shift at 50 percent of the image height up or down from the midpoint, and 30 percent of the image width left and right. The SU922 offers only a vertical lens shift, which I measured at 2.5 percent of the image height. That obviously doesn't offer as much flexibility for where to place the projector relative to the screen, but it's enough to be useful without driving up the price from having a more sophisticated lensing system.
The SU922 is built around a single DLP chip, which means that, like most DLP-based projectors, it can show rainbow artifacts (red-green-blue flashes). The Panasonic PT-RZ370U is also DLP based, but it's an exception to the rule. Even though it shows each color in sequence, just like other DLP projectors, it switches colors rapidly enough to avoid the artifacts. That gives it less in common with DLP projectors like the SU922 on this score than with LCD-based projectors, like the Epson EX9200 Pro Wireless WUXGA 3LCD Projector, another top pick for high-resolution models.
One advantage the SU922 has is that like most DLP data projectors, it supports 3D. Relatively few data-projector applications actually need 3D, but if you happen to need it, the SU922 supports all HDMI 1.4a formats. That means you can connect it to a video device like a Blu-ray player to watch 3D material.
Setup and Brightness
The SU922 shares the same platform as two of BenQ's lower-resolution models: the BenQ SX920 and the BenQ SW921. All three are the same size and weight—at 4.7 by 10.5 by 16.2 inches (HWD) and 10 pounds 13 ounces. They also offer the same set of connectors, the same 1.6x zoom lens, and the same sound system, including a 20-watt speaker. For details on all of these features, see my review of the BenQ SX920.
The difference in price among the three models comes from the difference in resolution, with the XGA (1,024-by-768) resolution of the BenQ SX920 giving it a price tag that's $400 less than the SU922, and the WXGA (1,280-by-800) resolution of the BenQ SW921 putting it at $250 less than the SU922. The three BenQ models also have essentially the same vertical lens shift feature. The SU922 also has essentially the same vertical lens shift feature as the BenQ SX920 and SW921. However, the different resolutions for the projectors give them different aspect ratios for the image, so the percentage of vertical shift is different. For the SU922, I measured the total shift at 2.5 percent of the image height, while the BenQ SW921 offers a vertical shift at a total of not quite 3 percent of the image height, and the BenQ SX920 has a lens shift that's less than 5 percent of the image height.
According to the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) recommendations, at the SU922's native 16:10 aspect ratio, 5,000 lumens would be suitable for a 269- to 365-inch image (measured diagonally) assuming a 1.0-gain screen in theater-dark lighting. With moderate ambient light, the appropriate size would drop to 178 inches.
For smaller screen sizes, you can lower the brightness level by using Eco mode, a lower brightness preset mode, or both. Keep in mind that because DLP projectors have a lower color than white brightness, full-color images won't be as bright as you would expect based on the white brightness. (For more on the topic, see Color Brightness: What It Is, Why It Matters.)
The SU922's quality for data images depends on the connection you use. On our standard suite of DisplayMate tests, images designed to bring out pixel jitter and moiré patterns showed a distracting level of dynamic moiré when using a VGA connection. The good news is that unless you use patterned fills in your graphics, you'll probably never see this problem. If you do see it, you can get a rock-solid image by using an HDMI connection instead. If you have an older computer without HDMI, however, this won't be an option.
Color quality also falls short of excellent, with some colors a little dark in terms of a hue-saturation-brightness color model in every preset mode. However, that's expected for any projector with a significant difference between white and color brightness. More important for most data images, particularly for applications that need high resolution, the SU922 handles detail well. White text on black was crisp and readable at sizes as small as 6 points in our tests, and black text on white was highly readable even at 5 points.
It also helps that the SU922 doesn't show rainbow artifacts as often as some DLP projectors. The only time I saw them on our data tests was with one image that's designed to bring them out. With full-motion video, I saw them relatively often in clips with poorly lit scenes. With well-lit scenes, however, they showed infrequently enough that even those who see them easily aren't likely to find them bothersome.
Video quality in my tests was good enough to be watchable. Colors, including skin tones, were reasonable. I saw only a slight hint of posterization (shading changing suddenly where it should change gradually) in the most demanding scenes, and the projector did a good job with shadow detail (details based on shading in dark areas).
For a midsize room, the Panasonic PT-RZ370U and Epson EX9200 Pro offer better image quality than the BenQ SU922, though neither is as bright. In addition, the Panasonic model offers a long list of sophisticated features that the SU922 lacks, while the Epson model has a lower price. For larger rooms, the SU922 delivers the highest brightness level of the three. And as long as you either use it with an HDMI connection or avoid using patterned fills in your graphics, the image quality is more than good enough to make the projector a reasonable choice.
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By M. David Stone Lead Analyst Printers, Scanners & Projectors
M. David Stone is an award-winning freelance writer and computer industry consultant. Although a confirmed generalist, with writing credits on subjects as varied as ape language experiments, politics, quantum physics, and an overview of a top company in the gaming industry. David is also an expert in imaging technologies (including printers, monitors, large-screen displays, projectors, scanners, and digital cameras), storage (both magnetic and optical), and word processing. He is a recognized expert on printers, well known within the industry, and has been a judge for… More »
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