The BenQ HT1070A was one of the best home theater projectors that we tested. It stood out for its strong performance and relatively low price amongst other top scorers. It is by no means a shoe-string budget model, yet still stands up to much more expensive projectors in image quality. It also often sells for significantly less than its list price, making it a more attractive option for budding home theater enthusiasts. This combination of a relatively reasonable price and high end performance earned it a Best Buy Award. Although it doesn't have the same lavish features as the top scoring models, the HT1070A is still competitive in that regard, offering almost everything you could want form a home theater projector. If you're looking for absolute top-notch performance and are willing to pay for it then the BenQ HT2050A is a better option.
BenQ HT1070A Review
Pros: Impressive image quality, accurate colors, high resolution
Cons: Low brightness, tiny remote control
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Providing high end image quality with a price tag that is often $500, the BenQ HT1070A is a realtively inexpensive way to get your home theater rig off the ground. It does have some image quality drawbacks when compared to more expensive models, but they are minor and will be well worth the $300+ savings for many people.
The BenQ HT1070A was near the top of our scoresheets for all of the individual tests we conducted. Read on below to see exactly how it stacked up against the competition.
In our image quality testing, the HT1070A earned a score of 7 out of 10, putting it just below the top scorers. It was slightly better than the comparably priced Optoma HD27 because of superior color accuracy and picture modes. Between the two models, the BenQ is a much stronger overall performer. We found the HT1070A to be an excellent model for home theater use, where it produced a wide range of impressively accurate colors. It was especially good at displaying dark colors, which tend to be a bit washed out by most projectors.
The BenQ HT1070A feels like a budget version of the Editors' Choice award-winning HT2050A with slightly downgraded image quality and fewer features. Both models feature 1080p resolution, 15,000:1 contrast ratios, and 16:9 native aspect ratios. We measured the HT1070A's brightness to be slightly lower than the HT2050A's, which doesn't make much of a difference for use in dark rooms.
Ease of Use
Like other models made by BenQ, the HT1070A is incredibly easy to use and it earned an average score of 6 in our ease of use testing. The interface is very user-friendly and it lost points for not being very portable. It weighs 5.6 pounds but is bulky and doesn't have a rectangular shape, making it slightly more difficult to fit into a backpack or carrying bag.
We especially liked that its three feet are adjustable, making it possible to perfectly fine-tune the image to fit your screen. There is no lens shift, which is present in more expensive models, but most users won't miss this feature. The focus and zoom knobs felt good for making tiny adjustments and we were always able to dial in a crisp picture. The zoom ratio of 1.2x was easy to work with and works well in most home settings, where the projector will be roughly ten feet from its screen.
BenQ's menus are easy to navigate but we weren't impressed with the tiny size of the HT1070A's remote. It is functional but not nearly as nice as the full-sized backlit remote of the HT2050A. We didn't score sound quality, but the speakers in the projector are virtually useless and external speakers or a soundbar are necessary to match its image quality.
We measured a maximum brightness of 1496 Lumens for the HT1070A, making it one of the dimmest projectors in our review. BenQ lists a specified brightness of 2200 Lumens, significantly higher than what we measured in multiple trials. Even though it only earned a score of 4 out of 10 in this metric it is still plenty bright for home theater use in a dark room.
The HT1070A is best-suited for watching movies and television in dark rooms. Its low brightness makes it a poor choice for presentations, especially if there is ambient light. This is fine for most users, who generally watch television in the evening when ambient light is not an issue. It would work fine for the occasional slideshow but if your primary use will be presentations then you're better off with the Epson Pro EX9220 or more affordable Epson VS250.
The HT1070A's fan was very quiet and we didn't find it to be distracting in our tests. It scored an 8 in this rating metric, making it one of the top models for quiet operation. Its fan is just slightly louder than that of the HT2050A, but it's still quiet enough that we barely noticed it. Just remember that this projector's built-in speaker is also very quiet, so even with the quiet fan you're definitely going to want to use an external audio source when watching movies.
Unless the room temperature is especially hot (~90 degrees F), the projector's fan stays very quiet and isn't noticeable when an external speaker is used. Fan noise can substantially detract from the viewing experience and we found the HT1070A to be one of the quietest models.
Listing for $600, the BenQ HT1070A has a higher than average cost but is still cheaper than most of the top scoring models, which fall in the $800 to $1000 range. Dollar for dollar, this is an excellent projector for home theater use and is far better than most comparably-priced models in our review. It can typically be found for $500 or less through online retailers, making it the best mid-range model for people who want a projector to watch movies and television.
Overall the BenQ HT1070A is an excellent choice for those who are seeking to maximize performance per dollar in their home theater projector purchase. At $600 it's one of the best mid-range models out there and its image quality was comparable to much more expensive competitors. If you're looking for a presentation projector then the Epson Pro EX9220 is a better option.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata