1080p DLP Home Theater Projector Review
August 19, 2013
BenQ has been on a roll lately. Their W1070 and W1080ST, reviewed earlier this year, are both excellent projectors for home video and gaming. The BenQ W1500 can be thought of as a bulked-up version of the W1070, with a more flexible zoom lens, improved image quality, stereo speakers, and wireless HDMI.
That last feature is sure to raise a few eyebrows. Wireless HDMI makes ceiling mounting the W1500 a breeze, since the projector only needs a power cable connection and is otherwise cable-free. While the system has some limitations, it adds value to what is already a feature-packed budget powerhouse. The W1500 has an MSRP of $1,999 but is available for $1,599 from authorized resellers.
The Viewing Experience
Just looking at the case, the W1500 looks like a sleek, streamlined version of the W1070. The contrast trim on the top of the projector has been replaced with an all-white panel, while the sliding lens shift door is now a swing-open door with a push latch. The lens shift knob is now larger and easier to turn using just your fingers; the old knob required a screwdriver or a coin for easy adjustment.
The W1500 has a longer zoom range than the W1070 as well. Its 1.6:1 lens will produce a 100" diagonal image from 7' 9" to 12' 5" throw distance, while the W1070's 1.3:1 lens will project an image of the same size from 8' 4" to 10' 11". This means the W1500 is capable of projecting a larger image from a closer distance, which is useful for small rooms, or a smaller image from a farther distance, which can be helpful for ceiling mounts far from the screen.
The W1500 produces over 1700 lumens in Cinema mode with the lamp at full power. Strictly going by the numbers, that's enough to light up a 180" diagonal 1.3 gain screen at 24 foot Lamberts, well above the recommended 16 fL. Realistically, few people will want to use such a massive screen even if they could fit it inside their house, which is where Eco mode comes in. Eco reduces light output by 37%, making for a much more reasonable picture that is still plenty bright enough for big-screen use. Since Eco mode boosts estimated lamp life by 40%, most folks will want to opt for that setting. The projector's extra brightness can come in handy when watching 3D.
Hooked up to a Blu-ray player, the W1500 produces an image that is clean and sharp, with sparkling highlights and deep, dark shadows. Color saturation is excellent thanks to the projector's 6X speed, six-segment RGBRGB color wheel -- and with no white segment, color brightness and white brightness are perfectly balanced, producing an image that appears natural and life-like. (Click here for more on ANSI lumens vs Color Light Output).
The W1500 has full HD 3D capabilities, and can accept any of the standard HDMI 1.4 3D signal types. It also reportedly has limited support for frame-sequential 3D, though we did not have the opportunity to test this feature during our review. The W1500 uses DLP Link for synchronization, and it requires faster 144Hz glasses (not included).