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The must-have gadget for Aussie summer

This is obviosuly not an Australian summer, but you get the point.
This is obviosuly not an Australian summer, but you get the point.

IS THERE anything better than an evening out in the backyard during an Aussie summer, with snags cooking on the BBQ and a cold beer in hand? 

How about all of the above, plus the ability to watch hours of live sport without having to huddle around a smartphone or run a maze of extension leads to get your TV outside.

This great Australian dream is now a reality thanks to the BenQ GS1 portable projector - a cable-free device designed to bridge the gap between indoor and outdoor spaces.

The GS1 is capable of producing a 60-inch projection at a HD resolution of 720p when placed one metre away from the display surface and has a long-lasting battery.

DESIGN

The GS1 weighs less than one kilogram and is only slighter bigger than the palm of your hand, yet still keeps the conventional design of other LED projectors.

Heat vents are dotted down the sides, the focal slider is located on the right and the control panel is on the top.

On the rear of the device are the usual line-up of ports you would need, with a built-in USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 reader, HDMI, mini and 3.5mm audio port, and microSD slot. The device is also wireless and Bluetooth 4.0 enabled.

As the product is designed for outdoor use, a carrybag, removable battery, charger, rubber case and remote control are all included.

The product also offers the ability to connect to a tripod, although I didn't find this the most reliable.

The small projector is just larger than the palm of your hand.
The small projector is just larger than the palm of your hand.

PERFORMANCE

Setting up the device couldn't be easier, with the single press of a button taking you to the projector's Android-based interface after you do the normal Wi-Fi, language configuration.

The projector comes standard with all the streaming apps you would expect on a smart TV like Netflix, Twitch, YouTube - there is an app store for anything that might be missing.

Navigation is easy and simple and I found no issue streaming from a number of services.

For those who obtain film and TV shows via more dubious methods, there is the ability to plug in your laptop via HDMI, mirror your device or play files from USB or microSD.

The dual two watt speakers provide decent sounds in a small room, but you would likely want to connect some larger speakers via Bluetooth when using the product outdoors.

Sadly you can only connect on Bluetooth speaker, meaning you can't use multiple headphones outside if wanting to avoid annoying your neighbours.

As mentioned earlier, the GS1 can project a 60-inch image from just one metre away, with the picture getting even bigger the further you place the device from the wall or screen.

As you would expect, you do lose some colour and detail the bigger you make the screen, but this is negated by the fact the side of your house is now a giant cinema screen.

At 330 lumens - the amount of light emitted per second - the GS1 is not as bright as other projectors on the market and the image reflects this.

To try and make the image pop, BenQ has included five distinct viewing modes, which allow the viewer to optimise the display depending on the environment they are watching.

For outdoor playback, the "Camping" mode is great for when light is low, but if you live near ambient light sources the best bet would be "Daytime" as it makes colours stronger and purer for image quality.

While I did find the image to be dimmer than I would have hoped in my backyard, it was a small price to pay considering the luxury.

Once you have charged the external battery you can get three hours before you need to swap it over to a spare, which can be purchased at an additional cost.

One surprise feature is the ability for the battery to double as a portable smartphone charger.

The further you move the unit from the wall, the larger the screen
The further you move the unit from the wall, the larger the screen

EVERYTHING ELSE

To ease concerns of taking a realitively expensive projector out into the elements, BenQ has made the device "drop proof" up to 60cm and has been given an IPX1 Splash Proof rating - protected against light water drops falling vertically on the device.

As for the life span, the LED light source guarantees to last for 20,000 hours of use, which should be more than enough for the average user.

Having tested the product in both inside and outside environments, I can happily say it perfomend well in both.

Obviously you will find better quality in a darker and smaller the room, although there are better options if this is your sole use.

Having the projector outside has been fun and will be the perfect excuse to get cooked on the patio during summer. The BenQ GS1 retails for $899.00.

Would you buy this product? Continue the conversation in the comments below or with Matthew Dunn on Facebook and Twitter.

Topics:  editors picks entertainment games and gadgets netflix



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