Since arriving on the scene at the start of this year, tiny portable projectors seem to have exploded in popularity - now most of the major projector manufacturers seem to have a version on the market. The first one we saw was the Samsung SP-P400B and we were rather impressed by it but, a few months later, things have moved on and the latest arrivals can boast rather more features, as the new GP1 from BenQ amply demonstrates.
Starting with the external design, the GP1 is markedly smaller than the SP-P400B - with measurements of 136 x 54 x 120mm, it's at least 10mm less in every dimension. In addition, the GP1 weighs just 565g, though once you factor in the power adapter, video cable, remote, and carry case this rises to 1.3kg. These figures don't make the GP1 the smallest or lightest portable projector (that honour goes to the Acer K10 Pico Projector) but it is certainly up there.
Aesthetically, the GP1 also equips itself well with an attractive two-tone glossy colour scheme. The obvious attempt at being a bit different by introducing the white is commendable but I wouldn't say it looks significantly nicer than the pure black sleekness of the SP-P400B. The finish would probably scratch quite easily but BenQ has thought of this and included a simple, slightly-padded, carry case to keep it protected.
Back to more practical subjects and the GP1 again comes up trumps. In particular, while the lens isn't protected by a cover, it is deeply recessed so should be kept out of harms way. Likewise, the focus wheel sits snug in its own slot and has an easy grip tab to make adjustment a doddle - something that's also helped by its nice light action, unlike the stiff, awkward wheel of the SP-P400B.
On the top is a ring of touch-sensitive buttons that are used to navigate the GP1's various menus, change sources, adjust volume, and apply manual keystone correction. The touch-sensing can be a little temperamental, but thanks to a quiet 'click' from the internal speaker as you successfully touch a button, you shouldn't find yourself aimlessly tapping away without a clue what's going on. Also, all the buttons are backlit so you should have no problems in the dark.
Sadly, the same praise can't be lavished on the remote control, which lacks both the backlighting and simple logical layout of the controls on the projector itself. It's frustrating to use at first, but with regular use you'll soon learn to operate everything without a hitch.