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BenQ Joybee GP1 mini projector

LED projector can fit in your briefcase or backpack and outputs 858x600 resolution By John Virata

Small form factor projectors have captured a lot of attention in the last year or so, probably due in part to their portability as well as the images that they output. BenQ has recently released a projector called the Joybee GP1 mini projector, that, while not pocket sized, does have a small footprint at just 5"x5"x2". While these types of projectors may look like toys, they aren't, and actually can output very good images, given the right environment.

The specs
The BenQ Joybee GP1 mini projector is built around a 0.45" Texas Instruments SVGA DMD (Digital Micromirror Device) that supports a native resolution of 858x600. It uses a three LED light source and consumes 60 watts of power with a 1 watt standby. It weighs in at 1.4lbs and is 5"x5"x2". It outputs 100 ANSI lumens, sports a 2,000:1 contrast ratio, automatic keystone correction, and features a built-in 2-watt speaker.

Input connection capabilities include D-sub 15 pin for PC and component video connectivity, composite video, USB reader Type A, and RCA. It also supports iPods with an optional accessory. The Joybee also features a USB port that enables you to playback content from USB thumb drives. The USB reader supports baseline and progressive JPEG, BMP, GIF, and TIF files. Supported movie formats (720x480 NTSC, 720x576 PAL) via the USB reader include AVI (xvid, 3ivx, and MJPEG), and MP4, MOV, 3gp, and 3g2 (MPEG-4, MJPEG). The Joybee also supports subtitling in SMI, SRT, SUB, ASS, SSA, and PSB text file formats.

Set up
Set up of the Joybee GP1 mini projector is fairly simple and is actually aided by the included setup pamphlet. It is simple to play content via computer or any composite or component capable video device, as well as via the USB reader, provided your content is saved in the format the projector supports. You can control the projector via the included remote control, which also offers separate controls for the USB reader. Once hooked up, the only adjustments to make on the projector itself is the focus. The rest of the adjustments are done via the onscreen menu. The onboard buttons that control the projector are lit blue, and take some getting used to as they don't have the same feel as other buttons. It is almost as if you want to depress them firmly to get them to work.

The Joybee GP1 outputs a surprisingly good quality video image.

The remote control is your friend. It offers up access to the projector's menu controls, as well as control of the USB reader if you have a USB memory stick plugged in. It is a micro affair, about the size of the newfangled packages of chewing gum. It is nothing fancy, but it sure beats getting up to make adjustments. The touch control panel on the top of the Joybee GP1 is always illuminated a well with controls for access to the menu, source, and mode functions.

First Impressions
The Joybee GP1 outputs a very good image for what it is; a highly portable projector ideal for PowerPoint presentations and for those who want to project a decent, say 40 to 60 inch image on a wall. In fact, those projecting on a wall can avail of the projector's wall color correction technology, which enables you to test five different colors and choose the optimum color for your application. It performs best in dark rooms, or at night, because even the slightest light source tends to wash the image out. It also plays DVD quality video very respectably, as well as serves as a giant screen for your PC. A computer is not required however, thanks to the USB reader. If you are using the USB reader keep in mind that your media has to be in one of the above mentioned formats in order to project correctly. Thankfully, BenQ gives instructions, complete with a URL to a program that enables you to convert your video to the correct video format. The first time I used the Joybee, I was a bit unimpressed, especially coming off viewing some of the more expensive projectors out there, but when I played iRobot, and had the projector dialed in, and at night, I was very surprised at the very good image quality that it output. The BenQ Joybee GP1 mini projector is priced at $499. For more information, please visit

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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at
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