Review: BenQ Board Pro
BenQ takes a fresh tilt at the meeting room market with this mature IFP offering.
Text:/ Christopher Holder
The original educational Smart boards were hugely popular, in no small part because they were comfortable in their own skin — a teacher’s aide … a classroom appliance… with no other aspirations.
Interactive flat panels for business have been harder to define, but gradually the use cases have been whittled down to: video conferencing, content sharing and whiteboarding. If you need to hit more than those bases then use an OPS slot to run your own Windows apps. This format describes a number of IFP offerings, including the BenQ model that’s the subject of this review.
Officially, it’s called an RP03 Series but BenQ is dubbing the product range the Board Pro, and pitching it as a collaboration-focused whiteboard for brainstorming.
Like many interactive panels these days, the Board Pro uses an Android operating system, in this case running on an 8-core system on a chip, allowing for a customised, clean and uncomplicated user interface.
There are no shortage of ins and outs, including a good complement of sockets on the front panel — handy for mirroring 4K UVC video from your laptop, for example.
The wireless sharing features are well developed and based on BenQ’s InstaShare 2 software. There’s built-in Miracast or AirPlay support for quick sharing without any additional software or you can download the Instashare 2 app for more features, such as annotation and touchback. Instashare 2 will allow up to nine contributors in Smart Split mode — which would be a lot to wrangle, but you can access a moderator’s panel to allow the meeting’s designated traffic cop to provide some oversight of who gets to share and when.
WHITEBOARDING & VC
The whiteboarding features are mature and intuitive. The EziWrite software is up to version six and works well. BenQ quotes up to 40 simultaneous touch points, and these days latency and parallax error are all pretty trivial. Using EziWrite with one of the two supplied pens is rewarding. You can instantly call up an annotation palette for doodling on other displayed content as well.
The video conferencing features are led by the onboard microphone array and a better than usual 2.1 loudspeaker system, which has a Dolby Digital Plus badge. You can launch the Board Pro’s Android VC app if you get caught short but most will bring their own meetings and plug a laptop directly into the Board Pro’s front panel or use a button-based sharing system. If you’re after native Teams support then, again, the OPS slot will be your friend — where you can load in a Windows machine.
Board Pro doesn’t ship with an on board camera but BenQ offers two fixed camera alternatives that are both very capable and both are Zoom certified. I’ve also been testing BenQ’s videobar, which has too much firepower to be an appropriate match for the Board Pro, so more on that in a future review.
Instead, I hooked up BenQ’s ePTZ, 4K, Zoom-certified DVY32 camera, which is a nifty solution. There’s a USB3 port positioned at the top of the display for a neat install.
Board Pro started life as an education solution and as a result there’s some best-in-class health features. Designed to keep our little cherubs bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t want these features in your meeting rooms.
For example, there’s an anti-microbial layer on the screen, remote and pens; there are air quality sensors; an air ioniser to neutralise airborne nasties, and some advanced eye safe features — which are all worth factoring in if you’re likely to be locked in a room for back-to-back-to-back meetings.
And finally, IT security hasn’t been ignored. There are data protection features powered by Mcafee. And there’s a Device Management System for IT admins to monitor and manage a network of displays in an enterprise situation.
IFPs are only as good as their usability and uptake. BenQ is an old hand in this market and its offering is highly refined. Its OPS slot, means it can, of course, be whatever you want it to be. But out of the box it doesn’t sacrifice ease of use in pursuit of an ‘and another thing’ feature set.
BenQ RP03 Series Board Pro
- 65-, 75- & 86-inch Versions
- 4K UHD
- 400 or 450 nits Brightness
- 72% NTSC Colour Gamut
- Infrared Tech
- 40-point Touch
- <10ms Response Time
- Android 11.0 OS
- A73 x 4 + A53 x 4 CPU
- G52 MP8 GPU
- 8GB RAM, 64GB Memory
- 8-element Microphone Array
- 2.1 3 x 16W speaker system
- Particle Sensor (PM2.5)
- Temperature Sensor
- Humidity Sensor
- Air Sensor
- Motion Sensor
- Air Sensor (TVOC)
- Air Ioniser