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BenQ W1080ST projector review

Sabyasachi Biswas July 10 | Updated on July 10, 2013

BenQ W1080ST projector review

BenQ W1080ST projector review

BenQ W1080ST projector review

This new short-throw, full HD, 3D compatible projector from BenQ promises to deliver bright and brilliant images. Is it worth your money?

Sometimes, for movie buffs, a television, even a very large one, just doesn’t cut it. For the ultimate cinema experience, it is a projector that many turn to. Till a few years ago, projectors came with a few caveats. If you had to install one, you needed a very large living room. If you had a pico-projector, sometimes they weren’t just bright enough. And even with the advent of short-throw projectors, full HD was out of the scene.

Now, however, BenQ’s W1080ST is offering quite a lot in a single package. It’s got 3D, it has full HD, and it has short throw capacity. It took us a few movie hours to figure out if this should be a part of your living room.

Build and setup

Usually a full HD, 3D projector would be a bit bulky, if not too heavy. The W1080ST is neither. It weighs in at just about 3 kilos, and measures 4.1x12.3x9.6 inches (Height x Width x Depth). At those dimensions, it is extremely easy to move around the house, or stow it away in a neat pouch that BenQ provides with the projector. You can also carry it over to a friend’s party, and it will not weigh down on you.

And adding to the physical portability is the absolutely ease of setting it up. To be honest, it’s not even a process. We didn’t need a manual, and it took us just about ten minutes to connect it to a power source and video source and make the necessary angle and brightness adjustments, and we were good to go. The controls are laid out in a fashion that even a first time projector user will have it easy.

Connectivity and specs

Whatever your video source, the W1080 can take it. Well, almost. The well equipped back panel sports two HDMI 1.4a ports, (which also support NVIDIA 3DTV PC connectivity), along with the usual set of three RCA connectors for component video, S-video, VGA and composite video ports.

On the lens, you have a 1.2x manual zoom, so that you can choose the desired canvas size and have sharp focus. The native resolution of the W1080ST is 1920x1080 pixels, but you can step down as well. The lamp, as we found, is a bright 2000 ANSI lumens one.

Image quality

The image thrown by this projector is quite big, even at short-throw distances. At just 1.5 metres, we got a humongous 100-inch image. That there, eliminates the need for large throwing distances (read very large rooms). And since changing image size, sharpness and keystone is very easy, moving this frequently isn’t a problem either.

Now, usually, for a cinema-like experience, one would use dark to dimly lit lighting conditions. But by experience we know that if a family has to host a party which involves movie screening, there has to be moderate lighting, because people keep moving, children keep running around and well, people need to refill them plates too. Under such conditions, the image fades out a bit because of the ambient light. Not with this one. Even in a moderately lit room (with florescent lights) the images managed to stay bright and sharp. The best part, however, is the colour reproduction. The W1080ST projector provides a healthy white to colours contrast, and though the colours stand out cleanly, they are never overly vivid. While watching The Adjustment Bureau, our observation was that the skin tones were well produced, and at any time there was no bleaching of colours, even at the maximum brightness levels. The Noise Reduction though, was clearly failing for darker shades at higher levels of brightness.

On animated films, for instance, How to Train Your Dragon, colour reproduction was accurate, but there were some motion blurs here and there which we would generally not encounter on a LED screen. Edge sharpness, however, was good throughout the experience.

While watching Rio, one of our favourite 3D movies, we found excellent and seamless rendering. The depth levels are good, and so is the colour reproduction. The projector multiple 3D formats (almost all that are available in the market) and the glasses that came with the W1080ST were also very comfortable ones. Contrary to an LED display, the W1080ST’s 3D image was very comfortable and caused almost negligible stress on the eyes.

We would, however, recommend you to hook the projector up to your home speakers or get a pair if you intend to have a good movie experience. The inbuilt speakers are seriously lacking.

We say

The BenQ W1080ST packs enough power to give many large, flat panel TVs a run for their money, when it comes to image quality. It throws a massive but bright and brilliant image from distances like just 1.5 metres, and takes hardly any time to set up. And when not in use, it’s small and light enough to be just packed and stowed away.

Yes, it does not have the features you would get for a mid-size smart TV that you can buy at this price, but if you really are a die-hard fan of cinema, this will keep you happy.

Rs 1.1 lakh

Love – Easy setup, brilliant colour reproduction

Hate – Mediocre inbuilt speakers, Noise Reduction fails at times

>sabyasachi.b@thehindu.co.in

Published on July 09, 2013

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