You will have to keep reminding yourself that you are looking at a projector, and not an LED TV screen. DLP technology has come a long way, and we put BenQ’s latest digital home theater projector through its paces.
I’d consider myself a home entertainment enthusiast, as such I’m quite finicky when it comes to audio and video quality. I personally own a Series 8 Samsung 55″ LED, essentially top of the line TV both cost and quality wise. So it is no small measure that I can say, I would happily drop out my LED TV and replace it with the BenQ W1080ST. Its performance was exceptional, and surprising in a small condo-type living room. Before I purchased my TV I considered a home projector, however concerns over controlling ambient lighting on an every-day basis turned me away. The W1080ST delivered high quality and bright video, for as long as you were not shining a direct light at it. Add on the short-throw capability (a 130″ screen with the projector just 2M away), and this is a projector designed for the average family room – something not many projectors can lay claim too.
Projector: 1080P single-chip DLP projector, 3D via DLP Link (no glasses included – approx. $100 each), 2000 ANSI Lumens Brightness and 10,000:1 contrast ratio and short-throw lens making the projector much more usable in small spaces.
Out of the box: Projector & Power Cord, Remote Control with Battery, User Guides, VGA Cable and a handy Carry Bag.
Connectivity: 2 HDMI ports, VGA for PC, Component, old-school S-Video and analog inputs, and Stereo In and Out options. Being a projector, there’s very limited audio processing on board so there is no optical audio output.
MSRP: $1300 CDN
I ran the projector through its paces during the day with moderate lighting (curtains drawn and lights out), running through a few episodes of Game of Thrones, and the Sucker Punch movie on Blu-Ray connected via PS3. The quality was impeccable, down to the natural noise of the Blu-Ray and accurate color reproduction. Sucker Punch has a pale color palette but a very intense grain and detail which came out superbly on the projector. Game of Thrones threw out a wide variety of green, desert and city landscapes with solid color. Skin tones were good but not on par with LED TVs. Black level quality was surprisingly good, essentially as dark as your wall and ambient lighting will allow. In terms of detail, absolutely no complaints.
Turn out the lights completely, and this thing truly delivers. To give you a comparison, Sucker Punch was as good as watching it at a digital theater at your local Cineplex. The colors popped and the dark scenes certainly outperformed my LED. Being easily able to spit out a 150″ screen size in a condo living room, and deliver cinema-performance when you need it has won me over. I’d swap out my LED TV for this bad boy in a heart beat. In terms of on-board audio, there is a tiny little 10W speaker built in to the projector as well. Let’s just say if you’re using that, you’re not doing it right.
As with most projectors, adapting your room and decor to it is a necessity. That is often why projectors are often reserved for “dedicated” basement type rooms where lighting is controlled and the projector fixed. The W1080ST with it’s short throw offers more flexibility with positioning, and if your decor is adaptable i.e. you can make space for it, then this projector is a great option.
In an average living room with moderate lighting, this projector delivers excellent performance making it easy to consider as an everyday alternative to your regular TV. At night, with lights completely out, this thing delivers a monstrous image good enough to rival your local theater. If you are considering upgrading your current TV simply due to size, then look no further than the BenQ W1080ST. It’ll rival the image quality, and trounce the screen size.