BenQ JoyBee GP2
Small and light; iPod/Phone dock; WXGA (1280 x 800) native resolution
Not bright enough for large meeting rooms; mediocre picture when watching movies; battery pack halves brightness
BenQ’s pint-sized JoyBee GP2 takes portability to new extremes, but such convenience comes at a price. Weighing in at 565g, the JoyBee GP2 is roughly the size of a squat tub of margarine. It comes with a protective cloth bag and easily slips into a travel bag, which will delight road warriors. If you’re getting away from it all there’s an $99 optional battery pack which buys you three hours, but using it halves the brightness.
While it seems gimmicky, the JoyBee packs many of the features you’d expect from a projector, such as horizontal keystone correction, which compensates if you’re not pointed straight at the wall. On the bottom you’ll find a tripod thread along with a screw-out foot which lets you elevate the front.
On the side of the JoyBee you’ll find the focus wheel but there’s no zoom, so the only way to increase the image size is to move the projector further away from the wall. It offers a throw ratio of 1.13:1, so at 1m the picture measures 1.13m diagonally.
The built-in 2W speaker packs a surprising amount of punch, but won’t cut the mustard if you’re watching a movie.
For iGadget owners, the GP2’s killer feature is a built-in iPod/iPhone dock – the most significant addition compared to BenQ’s original GP1. The JoyBee can also run video files, images, PowerPoint, Word, Excel and PDF documents from a USB stick, SD card slot or the 1.5GB of onboard memory.
Sorry, no built-in Keynote support; but if you’re still not satisfied you can hook up VGA, HDMI, component and composite video sources using the supplied adaptors. The remote control lets you run slideshows and even controls your iGadget.
Unfortunately, if you’re packing an iPhone 4S you don’t have access to full video mirroring via the built-in dock. As with earlier iOS devices, you’re restricted to outputting video from compatible applications such as Keynote and the video player. For full video mirroring you need to hook up your iPhone 4S via an AV cable.
Unlike a traditional projector, the JoyBee doesn’t contain a lamp. Instead it relies on 3 LED lights, which cuts down on weight, power consumption, heat and fan noise.
Thankfully the GP2’s spec sheet looks a lot healthier than the original GP1. This new model offers 200 ANSI lumens brightness, 2400:1 dynamic contrast and WXGA (1280 x 800) native resolution.
The improved brightness and contrast make the GP2 much more practical than its predecessor, but it still pales in comparison to a true meeting room or home theatre projector.
In a meeting room with the blinds up, you’ll want to keep the GP2 within 1m of the wall when screening slides. Switch to video and you’ll need to get closer. Draw the curtains and you can double these figures, but it’s still going to struggle in large meeting rooms and may lack that professional touch if you’re trying to impress people.
Come night time you can push the projector back even further, but don’t make the mistake of thinking the GP2
is a decent substitute for a home theatre projector. It does a fine job of screening home movies captured on your iPhone, but the mediocre contrast and brightness mean it does a lacklustre job with movies, especially during dark scenes.
Macworld Australia’s buying advice.
Overall, BenQ’s JoyBee GP2 is the classic jack-of-all-trades but master of none. If you can live with trading picture quality for portability, it may be the perfect addition to your travel bag.