The projector experts at BenQ may have hit the sweet spot with their HT3550 — it sits at the top of their low-cost projectors at $1499, well below the $2499 mid-cost model, while still packing in lots of the good stuff.
The HT3550 can throw a 3840 x 2160 (4K UHD) resolution 100-inch diagonal image, and features a 1.3x zoom to offer some flexibility on how far to place the projector from the screen. For example, the throw distance for that 100-inch image the projector can be anywhere between 8.25 to 10.75 feet from the wall. The HT3550 is designed to project when placed on a low table just below the screen or in a ceiling mount above it. The odd-looking mask in front of the lens (with a “4K HDR” logo) is actually a functional addition that blocks stray light from spilling onto a ceiling or table top but does not interfere with the projected image.
Another high-end BenQ perk added to the intro-level HT3550 is color accuracy that is calibrated in the factory using special instruments and software for precise settings as soon as the user takes the projector out of the box.
Weighing in at only 9.2 pounds, the 15 x 11 x 5-inch projector is portable enough to be brought outside for impromptu backyard movie nights, which is exactly what we did for my daughter’s birthday last week. The HT3550 was easy to setup with a sheet as a screen and connected to my laptop for a few movies. We didn’t need any additional audio thanks to the built-in pair of wide-frequency, 10-watt speakers. They are housed in a resonant sound chamber and provide surprisingly robust audio thanks to BenQ CinemaMaster Audio+ 2 audio-enhancing technology for exclusive EQ algorithms to provide sound quality as used by Hollywood studios. For a more permanent installation, the rear panel features both analog and optical audio output jacks.
If you would like to put the HT3550 to work in upgrading your home cinema, it is currently available as an Amazon’s Choice selection (direct Amazon Affiliate link). We were sent a loaner sample of the BenQ HT3550 projector for purposes of this review, all opinions are, of course, our own.