It’s 2020. We’re encouraged to stay put at home or take a local holiday, at least, under the SingapoRediscovers campaign. So here am I sitting in my room with my family, playing around with a projector built for both the indoors and outdoors.
The projector in question is the BenQ GS2: a sleek, feature-rich device engineered for family activities. Think picnic dates at parks, gatherings at chalets or simple void deck hangs. The GS2 claims itself to make your family activities more enjoyable regardless of indoor and outdoor scenarios. The good news here is that this projector indeed works beautifully either way.
I say it’s engineered for the family because its build alone makes it remarkably safe around children — a necessity for family-friendly tech.
Its size? Not much bigger than a tiny dog. Exhibit A:
The exclusive features that make GS2 safer than an ordinary projector are really quite impressive.
Its brightness settings are automatically adjusted to a reliable level, so there isn’t much need to tinker about. It’s IPX2-grade splash-proof, so it can weather some accidental spillage from a packet of Yeo’s chrysanthemum tea. It’s built with an eye-protection sensor, so anytime Jayden aimlessly waltzes near the device — as children are wont to do — it’ll know he’s coming and not beam its spectral LED colours directly onto his face.
Even putting aside the snot-dripping chaos that is kids, this makes it a decent choice for anyone in need of a projector that prioritizes comfort over performance.
Although its native resolution is a quaint 720P, it does accept signals up to 1080p. Images are reproduced with admirable clarity but with its unique autofocus, adjustable hinge, and portability, it’s not exactly geared to go up against a heavyweight 1080p screen. It will, however, make things much easier when you’re pulling out a quick versus match on the Nintendo Switch to teach Jayden a lesson.
Once you get it set up, it’s literally plug-and-play (or just “play” if you’re bringing it outdoors). The great thing about staying indoors for this machine is that it supports Wi-Fi.
It offers media playback from HDMI and USB-C inputs and a USB-A type reader for your handy thumb drives, but its special feature — only unlocked with nearby Internet access if you’re outdoors — comes from its wireless support with a dongle. The installation process is easy and customisable enough for any room.
Once linked up to a reliable router, you have the option to connect your laptop, phone, or desktop for display. The GS2 comes complete with a built-in speaker accessible via Bluetooth, as well as a 3.5mm audio out for any external speakers or headphones. The speaker’s sound was confirmed to be punchy enough for my whole family to hear, and dialogue comes through crystal clear.
Without an external power source, the projector lasts about three hours. That makes up for a good full-length movie screening, with some Peppa Pig thrown in if Jayden is feeling restless again — a parental timer can be activated as well because eye health is important! It weighs a considerable 1.6kg, but made all the more portable with a handy nylon bag, boasting a build quality similar to a rugged DSLR camera bag.
Playback over AirPlay for Apple Products is a cinch once you get the proper resolutions sorted and all the proper drivers updated. An iPhone 8s runs through just fine but performance running through a Macbook laptop will depend on the OS you use. Any syncing irregularities can be easily remedied by using Chromecast or a direct HDMI connection. For PC and Android users, the device supports Google Cast.
With an Aptoide app store at the ready, you can install the standard video streaming apps like YouTube, Netflix and Twitch, along with the store’s unique array of options. Video playback fares much better here. Although with these apps’ reliance on Wi-Fi, the USB port would be useful for external storage if you want to go completely off-the-grid. No internet, no Baby Shark is all I’m saying.
Using the projector at home is ideal as you can keep it plugged in, but its three-hour battery is made to be used. Bringing it outdoors could be a bit of a challenge, as this projector benefits the most from a plain surface to beam on. Luckily, portable projector screens are common and are relatively affordable, making a perfect companion to this device. I can already imagine how essential the GS2 will be at outdoor parties and barbecues once we're all allowed to have big gatherings again.
But for now, though, the hallmarks of the GS2 already make it road-ready for any socially-distanced outings, thanks to a reliable build that makes it remarkably safe around children. Bring it to a friend’s place for a quick round of Switch gaming or bring it out on a date for an impromptu movie screening at the park. It’s ready for the world, and most importantly, it’s ready for Jayden.
This article was brought to in partnership with BenQ