The price of projectors continues to tumble, and the BenQ MP522 ST is available for just under £600 if you shop around.
Being chunky and weighing 2.2kg, it's not the most portable of projectors, but it does have a rather neat trick up its sleeve: the clue is the 'ST' in the name.
Standing for Short Throw, this means that the projector can muster a large display even in meeting rooms with limited space. BenQ quotes a throw ratio of 0.9:1, which we found to be reasonably accurate. At a distance of 270cm, we managed a diagonal display of 250cm, or 98in in old money.
Input connections consist of composite, S-Video and VGA, and there's a VGA-out socket. You can also hook up an audio source, although the 5W speaker will struggle to make itself heard in a large room.
The MP522 ST's contrast ratio sits at a reasonable 1,000:1, while brightness is rated at 2,000 ANSI lumens. You'll need to pull down the blinds for the best picture quality, but we were able to see the projection clearly even in well lit rooms.
We were also impressed with how quiet it is. BenQ quotes 31dB, but switch to Eco mode and this drops to 26dB, although the projection also dims a fair amount.
A common problem with Digital Light Processing (DLP) models such as this is that the projection can suffer from a rainbow-style effect, where a multi-colour flash is visible when you flick your eyes from one side of the projection to the other. Some people notice it more than others, but during testing we found the MP522 ST to be one of the better models at hiding this effect. Only in high-contrast moving scenes was it occasionally visible.
Also included in the package is a small, thin remote control that lets you adjust settings from afar; if you lose the remote, menus can still be accessed via the array of buttons on the projector itself.
With so many options to play around with, the menu system can be a little daunting, although there's plenty of help available. There are some useful tools, such as the ability to tell the projector what colour wall you're projecting on. The MP522 ST will then adjust the colour settings accordingly.
Although designed primarily for business use, if you plan to take the MP522 ST home for a bit of movie watching you'll be pleasantly surprised. It can't handle HD but, thanks to the BrilliantColour mode, it's great for watching films and playing games.
It might not be the most portable option, but as a business projector the MP522 ST impresses thanks mainly to its short-throw lens and relatively low price.