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BenQ W1500 review

Tom Morgan
21 Oct 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,454
inc VAT

Integrated wireless HDMI can't justify the high price

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Specifications

1,920x1,080 resolution, 2,200 ANSI lumens, 339x285x120mm, 3.9kg

Projectors can be a hassle if you haven't planned your home cinema setup specifically to accommodate one. Running an HDMI cable from your Blu-ray player can quickly leave a mess of cables running across the room, unless you opt for a wireless system like the one built into BenQ's latest entertainment projector. The W1500 is a Full HD, 3D-ready model that includes a wireless HDMI dongle in the box, so you have everything you need to get started.

BenQ W1500

The projector itself is no larger than BenQ's other home cinema models, despite the inclusion of wireless HDMI. It has an off-centre lens at the front, controls on the top and ports at the back, with vents at the front and sides for the internal fan to expel hot air away from the lamp.

Twin HDMI inputs at the rear are a welcome inclusion, especially if you have an old A/V amplifier that isn't compatible with 3D sources. You'll also find component, composite and S-video inputs, a PC VGA input and RS-232 and 12v trigger for activating an electronic screen or blinds should you have them. There's also an RCA audio input, which may come in handy if you intend to use the integrated 2x10W speakers, although they’re not particularly good. Films and games sound tinny, with no real bass.

BenQ W1500

Inside, a single DLP chip is paired with a 6-segment colour wheel and lamp which produces 2,200 ANSI lumens of brightness and a reasonable 10,000:1 claimed contrast ratio. That 6-segment colour wheel helps reduce but not eliminate the rainbow effect that's common with DLP projectors. We could still spot it in certain scenes, particularly those with heavy black and white elements, but it coped well during most of our testing.

WIRELESS HDMI

The W1500's biggest selling point is wireless HDMI, which lets you stream video from a source device, such as Blu-ray player, to the W1500. You plug one end of the wireless dongle into the source device’s HDMI port and plug the USB connector into a free USB port so that it can draw power. Alternatively, you can use the USB power adaptor, which you can plug into a mains socket.

Once set up, it works incredibly well. Although it occasionally fails to connect to the source device properly, the wireless HDMI receiver generally worked well, showing almost no sign of video compression. This was true of both 2D and 3D sources, and there was minimal input lag. We tried it in a medium-sized room and had no problems with furniture blocking the signal. However, add a couple of walls into the mix and it struggles to connect.

The W1500 has a fairly sparse menu system that gives you surprisingly little control over the image quality. On top of the dynamic, standard and cinema presets, three user modes give you greater control over brightness, contrast, colour, tint, sharpness and colour temperature. At least the fully backlit remote control makes it easy to navigate the menus in darkness.

BenQ W1500

IMAGE QUALITY

The W1500’s frame interpolation feature is supposed to smooth moving images to remove judder. It does a very good job at the lowest setting, but films with heavy amounts of grain tend to look a little unrealistic. Surprisingly, the W1500 does well even with the feature switched off completely. There's still a noticeable bit of judder, but it's nowhere near as bad as on other DLP projectors we've seen.

The W1500 defaults to the Standard mode preset, which produces sharp images that are almost bright enough to watch with the curtains open. You get a much better result in the dark, but it's nice not to have to lower the lights every time you use the W1500. We were also impressed with the vibrant colours, although the projector struggles with black levels. Darker scenes look washed out and a little too grey, and we no amount of tweaking could resolve this.

BenQ W1500

3D films were the W1500's main failing. Oddly, 3D pictures look saturated by reds when you look at the screen without 3D glasses. This mostly disappears once you're wearing them, but it still remains in darker scenes. Calibrating 3D video to remove this tint leaves reds with an unwanted washed out appearance. Depth effects weren't particularly convincing either, although brightness stayed reasonably high and colours still had plenty of pop.

After several hours of use in the lamp's normal mode, the W1500 managed to stay reasonably quiet. Switching to the eco mode reduces the noise from a claimed 33dB to 28dB, which is much better. It gets significantly louder when watching 3D video. It won't drive you crazy, but it's less than ideal.

CONCLUSION

At a little over £1,450, the W1500 is placed toward the high-end of home cinema projectors. There's little doubt that the wireless HDMI system adds to the cost, but the rest of the projector does little to justify the high price. Considering you can buy the Epson EH-TW6100W, which has absolutely no rainbow effect, quieter operation, more picture quality settings and also has wireless HDMI, it's difficult to recommend this.

Details

Price£1,454
Detailswww.benq.co.uk
Rating***

Specifications

Projector technologyDLP
Lamp brightness2,200 ANSI lumens
Lamp life3,500
Lamp life in economy mode5,000
Contrast ratio10000:1

Picture

Native resolution1,920x1,080
Max compressed resolution1,920x1,200
Aspect ratio16:9
Other aspect ratios4:3
Max diagonal at 7ft84in
Throw ratio1.07:1 to 1.71:1
Optical zoom1.6x
Projection distance1.6m to 6.7m
Mirror imageyes
Invert imageyes
Lens shift horizontalN/A
Lens shift vertical130%
HD Readyyes
Special view modesuser1, user2, user3, cinema, ISF day, ISF night

Inputs/Outputs

VGA inputyes
DVI inputNo
Sound inputs3.5mm, phono
Composite inputyes
S-video inputyes
HDMI inputyes
PAL supportyes
SECAM supportyes
NTSC supportyes
Audio output3.5mm
Others inputs/outputssecond HDMI input, RS232, trigger out

Other

Noise (in normal use)32dB(A)
Size339x285x120mm
Weight3.9kg
Internal speakersyes (2x 10W)
Extrasremote, cables (power, VGA)
Remote special featurespicture mode, colour temp, aspect ratio, lens shift, zoom, freeze
Power consumption standby0W
Power consumption on342W

Lamp

Lamp cost (inc VAT)£280
Lamp supplierwww.projectorplanet.co.uk
Lamp cost per hour of use£0.08
Lamp cost per hour of use (economy)£0.06

Buying Information

Price£1,454
Supplierhttp://www.projectorshop24.co.uk
Detailswww.benq.co.uk

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