Review Price £289.20
BenQ GP1 LED Portable Projector - BenQ GP1 LED Portable Projector
What's not immediately obvious until you've plugged in and powered up the GP1 is that it doesn't actually have any video connections, or at least not of the traditional kind. The slim horizontal slot on the back, which at first looks like an iPod connection, is in fact a proprietary socket. It can be used in conjunction with an included cable that incorporates a trio of very short RCA connectors for composite video and stereo analogue audio, and a longer VGA connection (the logic for the different lengths is that you'll likely be using long RCA cables anyway, yet will no doubt need a longer VGA lead to hook the GP1 to a notebook's VGA socket).
As well as these two standard video connections, BenQ has also developed an iPod dock that uses this same connection. It will be available in the next couple of months and will cost around £30, which isn't too bad. However, we would have liked the option of buying just an iPod cable instead, at say a cost of £10, rather than a whole dock.
The GP1's major party trick isn't its iPod connectivity, though. It is in fact its USB support. Plug in a USB flash drive or hard disk and the projector will pop up a media playback menu. From here you can browse your pictures or play your video clips. There's support for jpeg, bmp, gif and tiff image formats; avi, mp4, mov, 3gp and 3g2 movie formats as well as the DivX and XviD codecs. Video resolution is limited to 720 x 480 pixels so HD material is out of the question but the majority of SD material should be playable.
One of the touted uses for the picture viewer is as a simple PowerPoint presentation tool. It does involve exporting your presentation to a list of images but this is a task that's quickly and easily achieved. Once done, you can just copy the files to a USB stick and use that for your presentation - your notebook need never leave your bag.
Just below the USB connection on the back is a headphone socket that, as with the SP-P400B, seems largely superfluous but given there may be the odd occasion this will come in useful we'd rather have it than not.
Another area where the GP1 manages to trump the SP-P400B is with its power supply, though it's a somewhat hollow victory. With dimensions of 13cm x 5.5cm x 3cm, it's a little smaller than the SP-P400B's one but is still a fairly chunky unit that will add a lot of bulk to the overall package. BenQ is working on a mobile phone style adapter that incorporates the power supply into the actual plug, which should save some bulk, but this is a while away from being available yet. BenQ also says you can use a 19V laptop power adapter instead for added convenience (assuming the connector is compatible of course).