Review Contents
Best Home Theater Projectors
Ease of Use
Intended Use:
DIY Home Theater
BenQ W1080ST Projector BenQ W1080ST
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Street Price: n/a
3D: Full HD 3D
Weight: 6.2 lbs
Aspect Ratio:16:9
Lens:1.2x manual
Lens Shift:No
Lamp Life:3,500 Hrs
6,000 (eco)
Lamp Cost:$249.00
Warranty:1 year
Connectors:  S-Video, Composite, Component, VGA In, HDMI (x2), USB, RS232, 12-Volt Trigger
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, 576i, 576p

BenQ W1080ST
1080p 3D Home Video Projector

Bill Livolsi, May 7, 2013

Key Features

Short throw. Short throw projectors are nothing new, but short throw projectors being used for home theater are relatively recent. These projectors are useful in rooms where a traditionally lensed projector takes up too much room and can be ideal for table placement in temporary setups. This also makes them great candidates for portable use, especially when they include a speaker as the W1080ST does.

For gamers, the W1080ST allows you to sit closer to the screen without getting in the way of the projected image. This is especially helpful when using a motion-sensitive system like the Kinect or Wii, where body motions are part of the game's input. A short-throw lens makes the W1080ST behave more like a television or computer monitor and removes some of the projector-specific setup concerns that gamers often run into.

2D Image quality. The W1080ST has a lot going for it when it comes to the actual image on screen. The projector's three main precalibrated image modes are all useful in some way, and those who want further customization will be pleased to hear that the W1080ST supports ISFccc calibration to unlock the projector's ISF Day and ISF Night image modes. Using the projector's various image modes, it is not hard to tailor the projector's image to the viewing environment in order to create a picture that is bright, vibrant, and life-like.

Full HD 3D. The W1080ST's DLP link 3D system, which runs at a brisk 144Hz, is capable of displaying full 1080p 3D content from broadcast or Blu-ray disc. The DLP Link system uses light pulses between frames of the projected image to synchronize the viewer's active shutter 3D glasses. The system is low in crosstalk and had no visible flicker during use, but DLP Link is disliked by some videophiles because it is the only 3D sync system to mess around with the actual picture on screen. And while DLP Link glasses are inexpensive compared to other 3D glasses, they also lose synchronization more often due to their reliance on direct line-of-sight communication with the projected image.

Long life. Like the W1070, the W1080ST's lamp is rated to last 3,500 hours in full power mode and 6,000 hours in Eco or SmartEco mode, far beyond the typical lamp life for this class of projector. This allows you to purchase fewer replacement lamps (assuming, of course, that the manufacturer's specs are accurate) and spend less money on maintenance.

Onboard speaker. With a 10W speaker built in, the W1080ST carries its own sound along with it. Now, a single 10W speaker is not a replacement for a real sound system, but several other projectors in the W1080ST's price range either offer dinky 2W speakers or no sound at all. When you're looking for a quick and dirty option, the W1080ST at least has volume going for it. And even at 80% of max volume, the speaker did not distort or sound particularly tinny.

Color wheel. The W1080ST shares the W1070's fast 6X speed RGBRGB color wheel. This does two things: one, it almost completely eliminates rainbow effects for most viewers; and two, it keeps the W1080ST's color light output at 100%. The artificially boosted screaming-bright highlights of many inexpensive DLP projectors are nowhere to be found, and in their place are rich, accurate colors in perfect balance with the rest of the image.

Review Contents: The Viewing Experience Key Features Performance Limitations

Reader Comments(21 comments)

Posted Jun 27, 2015 6:44 PM

By Andy Hines

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What is the recommended screen size range for the BenQ1080ST with a throw distance of 9 feet?

Posted Jun 27, 2015 6:40 PM

By Andy Hines

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Can the BenQ1080ST be ceiling mounted? Is there a mounting kit that can be ordered?

Posted Nov 29, 2014 8:53 PM

By mala

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Can we find a projector to install in the ceiling, can be tilted to project both on the table, or on the wall, with a display size at least 200" ?

Posted Aug 22, 2014 8:26 AM

By Jeff

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I've used the 1080ST outdoors on a VisualApex ProjectoScreen 144 (144" diag) at it looks phenomenal. It does need to be at least dusk out though, since any ambient sunlight, even late afternoon washes out the picture considerably. But once the sun sets at dusk the picture is bright an vibrant. At night, of course, it looks even better :-)

Posted Aug 20, 2014 10:23 PM

By iaw

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is it silent? or noisy?

Posted Jul 26, 2014 9:19 PM

By Neel

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If you only could choose between a 1.1 gain or 1.8 gain for this projector, which one would you choose? I am looking at Elite Screens.

Posted Mar 27, 2014 9:44 AM

By Tim

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How are the black levels on the 1080st?

Posted Mar 23, 2014 4:02 AM

By joseph

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nobody has commented on what the 1080st looks like @ 200 inches. can it do that well? or 150 inches even. anyone got any links to go to to see on youtube maybe? i am asking only from a gamers point of view. like imagine the scope of a game at that size image. awesome comes to mind.

Posted Mar 7, 2014 5:18 PM

By Spectre

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Yes, it will work. However--results will vary depending upon your screen size and projector mounting. Use the throw calculator to get a good idea of what to expect.

Posted Jan 25, 2014 6:58 AM


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can you use a short throw projector from up to 20' from the screen and still have it work properly?

Posted Jan 24, 2014 2:32 PM

By richard dickson

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I've got one of these projectors ceiling mounted. Good lag response time, good picture, the only thing I've noticed is the darker areas can get washed out in games with lens flare or bloom effects such as battlefield 4 so you can miss people or vehicles hiding in shadows that you would have seen on an LCD screen.

Posted Dec 7, 2013 12:19 AM

By Deter

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Is there any leg at all when playing games with the Benq w1080st? Or do players move precise when moved with controller?

Posted Nov 17, 2013 3:18 AM

By Richard oliver

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@ Bill, thank you for the great reviews what is the largest 3-D screen you can do with the W 1080 EST and still have plenty of light for the 3-D effect

Posted Nov 16, 2013 9:00 AM

By Jimmy

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I'm a complete novice and this is probably a stupid question but instead of using a ceiling mount if you just tilt the project upwards from a low coffee table will that raise the picture without ruining the quality?

Posted Aug 1, 2013 12:20 PM

By John C

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Just a comment here from a projector novice... I installed this projector on the ceiling 6'7" from my 120" (diagonal) screen. WOW it blows me away. Colors are vivid and the image is bright and crystal clear, corner to corner. Total darkness is not required - plenty of light.

Thanks to this site for the projection calculator - it worked perfectly for me.

The 3D effects are awesome too.

Posted Jun 29, 2013 6:17 AM

By Sergio

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Hi Bill,

Is it normal to expect blurred edges with the w1080st when the lens is zoomed-out? When zoomed-in, everything is perfectly sharp on mine.


Posted Jun 13, 2013 8:49 AM

By Brett Jones

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The article says about input lag. "That's fast enough for most gamers and not far from our best-ever measured time, which stands at 17ms (1 frame)." Which projector is the "best-ever"? Was the latency measured or is this a reported value?


Posted May 23, 2013 7:10 PM

By Jonathan

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What are the controls available for brightness control and color options in 3d modes? great review thanks :D

Posted May 13, 2013 9:38 AM

By Bill Livolsi

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Hi Chris,

1. The viewer's eyes do not have to be at the center of the screen. While you might prefer to have the viewer's eyes fall at the center of the screen, there is no canonically "correct" position. In my own theater, the viewer's eyes fall level with the bottom third of the screen, more or less, and everyone who has watched a movie there has found it perfectly comfortable.

2. No. Brightness is measured at the screen, so the W1070 and W1080ST's brightness readings indicate that the two projectors will appear to be about the same brightness.

3. 1080p DLP projectors used wobulation in the past, but only because native 1080p DLP chips were so expensive at the time. They no longer use wobulation. Today's 1080p DLP projectors, including the W1070 and W1080ST, have a real 1:1 1920x1080 pixel resolution.

4. Yes, that is correct -- a 6X speed in 2D would be a 3X speed in 3D. However, we've found rainbows to be much less prevalent in 3D than they are in 2D, so wheel speed in this situation is less of a concern.

Posted May 12, 2013 9:27 PM

By chris

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I have three more questions about the 1080st: I was told I was incorrect when I stated that DLP devices use wobulation instead of a physical 1:1 mapping for HD. Does the 1080st / 1070 use wobulation? 2. You state the color wheel speed as 6x. But isn't that speed for 2D? Does not that mean that the effective speed is 3x in 3D (for each eye)?

Posted May 9, 2013 5:05 PM

By chris

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I have two questions: 1. Aren't the viewer's eyes supposed to be at the center of the screen (which means that the bottom of the screen is much lower for larger images)? 2. Since the 1080st has about the same output as the 1070 then doesn't that imply that the 1080st is much brighter (lamberts) for an image the same size of the 1070 because it will be closer?

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