A Fleeting Visit From The BenQ W2700i

Life’s been busy. Moving house is tough. Tougher still when there’s lots of work to be done. Things are settling down now, but unfortunately the BenQ W2700i landed on my desk at not-quite-the-best time. After I panned BenQs GS2 for being excellent hardware hamstrung by an abysmal, inexcusably out of date Android OS I was relieved to find the W2700i solves this problem pretty handily… and is a pretty nice projector, to boot.

You see the W2700i- a 4K, HDR, Android TV projector, doesn’t integrate Android TV directly. No. It includes an enclosure, secured by a screw, into which a (more or less) regular HDMI Android TV dongle is plugged. This is pretty cool because it opens the door to aftermarket replacements not just of Android TV dongles but perhaps other devices too. The Android TV experience is pretty tightly integrated, though, so I’d wager the intent is for BenQ supplied aftermarket upgrades to be the norm here. It’ll be interesting to see how popular these are- assuming the useful live of a particular Android TV dongle is less than that of a projector. Does anyone really *replace* bulbs on something mid-range, or do they run them to the absolute edge of bearability and then use it as an excuse to upgrade?

Upgradability aside, BenQ’s W2700i was – albeit somewhat bulkier – a breath of fresh air from the GS2. Every bugbear I had with its smaller, cheaper, weirdly positioned cousin was solved by the W2700i being… well… a Very Serious Piece Of Kit. It threw a stunning, vibrant picture across the 5m span of our living room and I needed to drag it away from the far wall to get a picture I could sensibly fit on our wall. At approximately 130″ the viewing experience was… perhaps a bit much.

Like the GS2 the Android TV OS in the W2700i opens up some interesting potential, including the ability to pair with Bluetooth devices such as speakers, game controllers, etc and – of course – run the full gamut of emulators and games… y’know… if you don’t have a proper games console for that sort of thing. That said, the Bluetooth menu was a little clunky and I found noticeable and un-correctable audio sync issues between the W2700i and the Majority K2 soundbar. The thought was there, though, and getting audio into the right place wirelessly feels like the way to go.

I had barely any opportunity to play with the W2700i, and it spent most of its time stood precariously atop moving boxes in the otherwise mostly empty living room. We’ve since obtained novelties like furniture, honest! My short time with the W2700i, however, was thoroughly positive and – unlike with the GS2 – I’d actually really like one of these. Alas we committed to a TV wall mount and fitting a projector would be… tricky… also the W2700i runs a cool £1,580 at time of writing and my budget for home entertainment consists of lint and chewing gum. In the far flung future, perhaps!