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Joybee GP1 Build Quality and Menu

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GP1-angled.jpgProjectors have gone through several iterations in the time I've been around. From old, clunky CRT systems to DLP and LCD systems, projectors have gotten brighter, smaller and more feature-rich. But with the introduction of the BenQ Joybee GP1, LED lighting is now taking front projectors where they have never been. With LED lighting, even a DLP projector can be smaller, lighter and more versatile than its UHP or similarly lighted counterparts. The projector is literally smaller than a stack of CDs, smaller than a Mac Mini, and smaller than my outstretched hand. Yet this incredibly tiny projector puts out 100 lumens from its single LED lamp, making it bright enough to light up an 80 inch screen in a darkened room. The resolution is SVGA (858x600) so you can't expect high definition resolution, but this projector is perfect for those quick presentations, parties, or even quick movie nights with the family. While the native resolution is SVGA, computer resolutions from 640x480 (VGA) up to 1280x1024 (SXGA) are supported.

She's a Brick… House

For something that takes up the same volume as your average brick, the Joybee GP1 packs a lot of features and power. Measuring roughly a 5" square that is just over 2" deep, the GP1 is as lightweight as it is small in stature. The top of the projector has a circular control panel reminiscent of a generation-1 iPod. The controls are touch-sensitive, with power in the middle and directional arrows all around. Volume can be controlled from this panel and there are buttons for all menu functions as well as blanking the output and changing projector modes. At the front corner of the GP1 is the focus ring (there is no zoom) which can focus the projector when the screen size is between 15" and 80" in size.

GP1-top.jpg

Fortunately for us power users, the GP1 comes with a credit card-style remote control which allows much more consistent control over the projector than the sometimes (OK, often) touchy capacitance controls of the unit itself. Because of the sensitivity of the touch controls, we latched onto the remote pretty quickly and didn't let go. The remote is very basic, and the separate controls for the USB reader were a bit odd, but seemed to give more capability to the remote so you could accomplish more without having to go back to the main setup menu. We liked the dedicated Source button and the Power button consistently shut down the projector in less than 2 seconds flat.

Connections

The BenQ Joybee GP1 has minimal connections. With the included iPod-like multi-pin adapter you can input composite video with stereo audio, or send the projector a VGA signal (the RCA audio will still allow audio input. If you purchase the optional iPod/iPhone universal dock you can also send audio and video to the projector directly through the multi-connector. There is also a stereo audio output should you want to output that audio to your AV receiver/home theater.

GP1-rear-panel.jpg

Menu System

The menu system is icon-based and far more complex than I would have imagined. There are six main menu sections: Display (Keystone and other macro controls), Picture (Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness, etc), Source, Basic Setup (Language, Position, Timers), Advanced Setup (Audio, Menu & Security settings), and Information (Status and FAQs). What surprised me the most was the auto keystone, which worked very well and had a full +/- 40 degrees of digital adjustment. I never suspected this would appear on a palm-sized projector. Using the menu via the projector is a tad difficult, but it was much easier with the remote.

 

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Recent Forum Posts:

skpro posts on May 20, 2010 11:10
I bought the AAXA P2 Pico Projector. This pocket projector is pretty good, 33 lumen output at 800x600 resolution. For this I paid $319, i think its not expensive.

Check it out under products/p2_pico_projector.
Corporate Gifts posts on November 18, 2009 05:35
I have an Epson that did that same thing - a blue “bleed” on one side. I ended up replacing the projector because it turned out to be a bad LCD “engine” (the whole LCD assembly inside) which cost $2700 to replace.

It most definitely will need to be serviced by Benq.
BMXTRIX posts on November 01, 2009 00:40
ProjectZ, post: 641433
I see these smaller projectors as an alternative to the bigger ones. It's like sometimes you just want a cup of coffee instead of the whole coffee brewing machine. One is small, cheap and portable, the other isn't so portable but has a lot more uses. Both give you the same thing. Hope this analogy makes sense…lol :P
I've got another one…

It's like a motorcycle.

On the one hand, you need your car to get around to your office in the rain with all your files, laptop, and picking up clients and getting around. So, the motorcyle doesn't work for you. (business projector)

On the other hand, you need the mini-van to take the kids out, go to the grocery store, get to PTA meetings, and to go on the family vacation. (home theater projector) So, the motorcyle won't work for you.

It doesn't mean that the motorcycle doesn't get used, and isn't fun. It just is used for very limited, and very specific purposes which only are useful for a handful of people.

As long as people are fully aware of the limitations which the motorcycle has, then there isn't a problem. The problem comes in when people try to put the 12 bags of groceries, or the three people they are picking up for a meeting onto the back of the motorcycle… and then are suprised when they don't fit.
ProjectZ posts on October 30, 2009 18:16
I see these smaller projectors as an alternative to the bigger ones. It's like sometimes you just want a cup of coffee instead of the whole coffee brewing machine. One is small, cheap and portable, the other isn't so portable but has a lot more uses. Both give you the same thing. Hope this analogy makes sense…lol :P
JasonKoval posts on October 27, 2009 16:49
Sival has another LED 720p Mini porjector

check isival.com under projectors/mini-projector-mp720b1. support HDMI and 1080p, impressive.
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