Review Contents
Limitations
Best Home Theater Projectors
Performance
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Intended Use:
DIY Home Theater
BenQ W1080ST Projector BenQ W1080ST
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Street Price: $956
MSRP:$1,299
3D: Full HD 3D
Contrast:10,000:1
Lumens:2000
Weight: 6.2 lbs
Resolution:1920x1080
Aspect Ratio:16:9
Technology:DLP
Lens:1.2x manual
Lens Shift:No
Lamp Life:3,500 Hrs
6,000 (eco)
Lamp Cost:n/a
Warranty:1 year
Connectors:  S-Video, Composite, Component, RGB, HDMI (x2), USB, RS232, 12Volt Out
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, 576i, 576p

BenQ W1080ST
1080p 3D Home Video Projector

Bill Livolsi, May 7, 2013

Limitations

No 2D-3D conversion. Despite the W1080ST's full HD 3D capability, 2D to 3D conversion is not included. If 2D to 3D is non-negotiable for you, there are other projectors in the price range that do include this feature -- though they suffer in other areas relative to the W1080ST.

No lens shift. Lens shift isn't common on inexpensive DLP projectors, but the W1070 did have some vertical lens shift which the W1080ST lacks. Then again, lens shift and short throw are two things that don't often mix well, mostly due to the tight tolerances used in a short-throw system.

SmartEco. While the SmartEco function works exactly as designed, it isn't designed very well. Users who want to reduce light output first have to find content that matches the brightness level they want, then lock the projector into SmartEco mode while that content is on screen. How this is supposed to be simpler than just picking lamp power level from an onboard menu is a mystery.

Unusual glasses. The W1080ST runs at 144Hz in 3D, which helps to reduce crosstalk and flicker. Unfortunately, it also means that a number of DLP Link glasses are not compatible, as they run at 120Hz. Be sure you are purchasing 144Hz-compatible 3D glasses. If that fails, at least order from a store with a generous return policy.

Conclusion

As one of the only 1080p home video projectors to feature a short throw lens, the BenQ W1080ST is in a class of its own. This $1299 powerhouse combines high light output, strong dynamic range, excellent color, no significant rainbows, and respectable 3D performance to create a powerful image that's sure to please. With an onboard speaker and a razor-sharp short-throw lens, the W1080ST is a mobile powerhouse, a serious gaming machine, and a portable movie theater all rolled into one. While it has its quirks, including nonstandard 3D glasses and a lack of 2D to 3D conversion, the W1080ST is a strong performer that is well worth the money.

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Performance
Review Contents: The Viewing Experience Key Features Performance Limitations
 

Reader Comments(18 comments)

Posted Aug 22, 2014 8:26:57 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 10:23:25 PM

By iaw

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is it silent? or noisy?

Posted Jul 26, 2014 9:19:37 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 9:44:57 AM

By Tim

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How are the black levels on the 1080st?

Posted Mar 23, 2014 4:02:27 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 5:18:12 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 6:58:49 AM

By JOHN

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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 2:32:30 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 12:19:52 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 3:18:59 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 9:00:15 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 12:20:58 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 6:17:28 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.

Thanks.

Posted Jun 13, 2013 8:49:40 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?

Thanks!

Posted May 23, 2013 7:10:31 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 9:38:20 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 9:27:29 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 5:05:19 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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