Watching movie outdoors

Review: BenQ GSI Outdoor Projector

Take movie night outside with this easy to use, portable and robust outdoor projector.

With picture quality that rivals that of higher end projectors the BenQ GSI opens up a whole new way to enjoy movies in the outdoors. Robust and shockproof, the projector is further reinforced with a rubber case that also encases and protects the rechargeable and removable battery for up to 3 hours of wireless use in an outdoor location of your choice. With a large variety of connection options and easy to use functionality, the GSI is ideal for campers, glampers and movie lovers alike. Take it to the beach, forest, climbing crag, backyard or even your lounge. Wherever you choose to enjoy movie night, the GSI won’t disappoint.

BenQ GSI Outdoor Projector: The stats

Picture size:30 – 100 inches
Battery life:3 hours
Weight (with battery):970g
Weight (without battery):570g
Size (with battery):14cm x 15 x 5 cm
Size (with battery):14cm x 15 x 7 cm
Connection options:USB, Mini Jack, Micro SD, HTMI, Bluetooth

Features of the BenQ GSI Outdoor Projector

Casing

ProjectorAlthough not waterproof, the casing of the GSI has an IP rating of IPX1 – which means it is splash proof. This is really reassuring on those misty damp nights, or if there’s the threat of rain. The casing is also drop proof and able to withstand falls of up to 60cm. I’ve not been brave enough to test this yet, so we’ll have to trust BenQ on that one!. The GSI also comes with a removable rubber case that houses the projector and battery and further protects the whole lot from the rough and tumble of outdoor life.

Battery and power

Projector batteryThe removable battery lasts up to 3 hours on a full charge – plenty long enough for an outdoor movie night, with pauses. It is rechargeable via the mains cable that comes with the projector and it has a port to connect your phone to for a recharge. As well as running off the battery, the projector can also run straight from the mains if you have access or are using the GSI indoors for a change.

Connectivity

Back of projectorThe easiest way to load and view movies on the GSI is via the USB 3.0 and 2.0 readers. Simply plug in a memory stick or flash drive and watch instantly. Alternatively you can stream movies via wifi if you have an internet connection, and the projector also has an HTMI port and slot for Mirco SD cards.

Audio

Projector and speakerThe projector has two built-in speakers. But if you want more of an outdoor cinema experience it’s best to connect to an external speaker. This can be done through an audio out (Mini Jack) or via Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to wirelessly link to speakers or headphones.

Control panel

Projector control panelThe top of the projector features a simple control panel that can be used even when the rubber case is on. Together with the arrow keys, the buttons enable you to easily move between settings in the menu (where you can adjust the visual, audio, and angle settings), and the projectors’ home screen where you can locate your media. And if you want more control over all of it, or want to play games, you can connect wirelessly to a keyboard or mouse via Bluetooth.

Auto vertical keystone

MovieTo allow for odd wall/screen angles and when the projector is tilting upwards towards screen, there is an auto vertical keystone function. This is a really nice feature that straightens up the image on the screen so that it appears totally vertical instead of wider at the top than the bottom.

Adjustable foot

Projector footAt the base of the projector there is a small adjustable foot that raises the front up slightly to create a better projection angle. The value of this is largely dependent on the height of the table (or rock!) the projector is placed on, and how far away it is from the surface it is projecting onto.

Carry case

Projector carry caseThe projector, battery and cable comes in a small carry case that is internally padded externally tough. The case has a handle and zips open to reveal spots where each component can be securely strapped into place. There is also a handy mesh pocket on the inside lid to store extra cables and zip drives etc.


BenQ GSI Projector review

If you are at all technophobic (as I am!), the initial setup of the GSI can seem a little daunting. So to ensure that I didn’t waste all the battery trying to fumble my way around getting it going, I tried it out at home the first time I used it. And it couldn’t have been more straightforward! Such a relief, as these things have the tendency of making me very impatient.

Within a couple of minutes it was up and running, and now all I need to do is turn it on, pop in my memory stick, select the media type, click on the file and away we go… movie time!

Outdoor movie nights

It’s first trip outside was into the backyard for a midsummer horror movie projected onto the garage wall. It worked brilliantly and the fully charged battery lasted the whole movie. Its built-in speakers didn’t quite put out enough volume to enable the whole audience (of 5!) to have a good audio experience so I connected a mini speaker via Bluetooth. This was a bit more complicated than just plugging the speakers straight in but I was worried about the speakers draining the projector battery – so Bluetooth was connected with relative ease in the end.

Outdoor movie

Since then a couple of the files I have tried to load weren’t compatible with the media player software on the projector. But this was easily solved by downloading the VLC app onto the projectors memory.

Having added a roll-up PVC projector screen to the set up, we’ve been able to have some epic outoor movies nights in some more wild locations beyond the backyard. We projected a couple of adventure movies onto our sreen that we rigged up in front of these mine ruins:

Sitting on the cliffs

I’m super excited to be watching movies all over the place now!

Indoor movie nights

We don’t have a TV at home, so as well as taking movie night outside we also have the ability to have them inside too (minus the temptation of watching rubbish on TV!). And indoor movie nights are now just as much an event as the outdoor movie nights, only much more frequent! The picture quality is really excellent and when the whole of our lounge wall is filled when projected onto, it really is like going to the cinema – lights dimmed and popcorn out.

A recent subscription to Slipstream means that I can stream adventure movies via the GSI onto our lounge wall until the cows come home. TVs may just be be a thing of the past for me.

What I love the most about the BenQ GSI Projector

Movie nights in the wild! I just love the ability to take several passions and put them together. I love that movie nights are suddenly an adventure that bring friends together. And I love how easy the GSI makes that happen with its unique combination of portability, usability, robustness and really excellent image quality.

What I don’t love so much about the BenQ GSI Projector

The volume through the built-in speakers doesn’t go that high, espeically when the projector is in its rubber casing. It’s plenty loud enough to hear if you are sitting close to the projector, but as soon as you move away a little it can become a touch on the quiet side. I tend to use a wireless speaker now whenever I use it.


Verdict

If you love movies as much as you love spending time in the outdoors the BenQ GSI Projector is like a dream come true. And if you’re enjoying the top quality pictures from the comfort of your sofa too the the GSI really becomes an excellent value addition to your entertainment setup.

Easy to use, shockproof and with superb image quality, the BenQ GSI gets two very big popcorn covered thumbs up from me.

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