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DIY Home Theater
BenQ W1500 Projector BenQ W1500
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Street Price: $1,250
MSRP:$1,999
3D: Full HD 3D
Contrast:10,000:1
Lumens:2200
Resolution:1920x1080
Aspect Ratio:16:9
Technology:DLP
Color Wheel:6x speed
Color Wheel:6 segments
Lens:1.6x manual
Lens Shift:Vertical
Lamp Life:3,500 Hrs
6,000 (eco)
Lamp Cost:n/a
Warranty:1 year
Connectors:  S-Video, Composite, Component, RGB, HDMI 1.4a (x2), Network 802.11, RS232, 12Volt Out
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, 576i, 576p

BenQ W1500
1080p DLP Home Theater Projector Review

Bill Livolsi, August 19, 2013

Key Features

Image quality. The W1500 creates a great picture, without a doubt. Even straight out of the box, the W1500 produces a sharp, clean home theater image with great shadow detail and well-saturated color. Black levels are very good, and SmartEco lamp mode can make them better in some circumstances, much in the same way an automatic iris can improve on/off contrast. Frame interpolation smooths out motion without making film look like digital video.

WHDI. Wireless Home Digital Interface, or WHDI, is a specification for one version of wireless HDMI connectivity. While external kits are available, the W1500 has a receiver built in to the projector itself, while a transmitter comes in the box. Since you only get one port to work with, the optimal solution is to hook the WHDI transmitter to the video out port of your A/V receiver. The WHDI transmitter will send full 1080p in either 2D or 3D plus sound. As far as image quality over WHDI is concerned, we did see some occasional artifacts when using WHDI. Macroblocking sometimes appears when transmission range is too great or signal strength is otherwise diminished.

Customizable. The W1500 has three User memory settings, which makes it easier to adjust the projector for different types of viewing. The W1500 also has ISF Day and Night settings, though these are only accessible once the projector has been tuned by an ISF-certified calibrator.

Quiet fan. Fan noise on the W1500 is quite low, even with the lamp set at full power. Your perception of fan noise will largely depend on where you are sitting in relation to the W1500's exhaust vent. Near that quarter of the projector's front panel, fan noise is slightly louder. Once in Eco mode, though, the W1500 is as close to silent as a projector this bright can get.

SmartEco mode, which cycles lamp power in response to image brightness, is not a new concept; several manufacturers have been including similar features in their projectors for years. However, the SmartEco implementation on the W1500 is among the first to not include audible, distracting fan cycling.

Onboard sound. Dual ten-watt stereo speakers give the W1500 a powerful sound system compared to most other home theater projectors. Of course, this is partly because most home theater projectors over $1500 don't include speakers at all, instead expecting you to have an external sound system. But the W1500's speakers are of good quality and get very, very loud, making them an excellent choice for casual or portable use, say in a game room or over at a friend's place for a sporting event. Our test sample had a volume scale from 0 to 10, and the speakers did not start distorting until level 8.

Good remote. We don't typically comment on a projector's remote control, since what we like might be someone else's pet peeve. But the W1500's slim, candy-bar style remote is easy to hold, easy to use, and its backlit buttons are easy to read in the dark. The red backlight isn't obnoxiously bright, either.

Placement flexibility. With a 1.6:1 zoom lens and vertical lens shift, the W1500 has more placement flexibility than many of its DLP competitors. The vertical shift is somewhat constrained, in that it only allows for a 15% to 20% adjustment of the image's vertical position, but it is better than not having any lens shift at all. The shift allows you to adjust the projector's throw offset to anywhere between 3% and 14% of the image height above the lens centerline.

Frame interpolation. Frame interpolation, or FI, creates interstitial frames in a video signal to smooth out the judder associated with camera pans and fast motion. The W1500's FI has three levels. Low is a subtle setting which smooths out motion without any hint of the digital video effect and is a good choice for film purists who still want to reduce judder. Medium shows a bit more digital video effect but has a commensurate increase in the amount of smoothing. High is a good choice when actually watching HD video, but many folks will find it too aggressive for 24p film.

No rainbows. Quite a few people see rainbows when viewing projectors with 2X-speed color wheels; fewer still see them when watching a projector with a 4X-speed wheel. The W1500 has a 6X-speed color wheel -- meaning the projector is nearly rainbow-proof. The wheel has six segments: two each of red, green, and blue. This arrangement also ensures 100% color brightness and rich color saturation, both important to a natural home theater picture.

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Performance
Review Contents: The Viewing Experience Key Features Performance Limitations
  Conclusion

Reader Comments(16 comments)

Posted Nov 23, 2014 3:43:57 PM

By Pejik

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I can confirm two 3D issues on fw 1.02 and now still on 1.03 1) (same as ROBERT MCBEE) Tearing during camera panning or fast movement when the FI is on. (can be solved almost always by turning it off and back on) 2) (same as John) Unnatural and aerie 3D when the movie is played in real speed (not noticable when paused or played frame by frame). Can be solved after a couple of switching the 3D betwen OFF-AUTO-FRAME PACKED back and forth while the movie is running. That usually helps and not needed to quit playback.

Posted May 27, 2014 5:38:50 PM

By Miguel Pradilla

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I want basically a home theater to watch movies and sports, you have a very good image in 1080. I've thought a Benq W1500 or the LG PF85U.

What do you recommend, or have a better suggestion.

Best regards

Miguel Pradilla

Posted Mar 7, 2014 5:08:52 PM

By John

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I recently purchased the W1500. In 2D it is hands down superb. Bright, clean, sharp imaging. Wonderful! However, I have consistently experienced some 'unusual' issues with 3D Blu Rays. I use a PS3 for Blu Ray playback. When I insert and begin playing a 3D disk, the projector switches to 3D and runs through a 'test' mode before the disks menu appears. This takes several seconds but is normal. The issue that arises though is that when I proceed to play the movie itself, the resulting 3D playback has some significant depth of field issues that frankly make it horrible and pretty much impossible to watch. The eye is extremely confused by what is being projected. It has nothing to do with the 'invert' option (I have tested this option several times in the projectors 3D menu) as there is some sense of correctness about the image, but it is barely watchable due to the above mentioned depth issues. The only way I have found to correct the issues is that while the actual 3D movie is playing, I must switch the projector off (which takes a minute or 2 while it cools) then switch it back on while the ACTUAL movie is paying, at which point the projector runs through it's test mode again. The resulting 3D image is now correct and perfectly watchable. I have tested with several disks and 2 separate 3D glasses (one of which is the Benq glasses that came with the projector) and the problem is consistent. I am in the process of contacting Benq to see if they have a resolve for this, but wondered if others had experienced the same problems as 3D issues are commonly reported in other reviews for this projector.

Posted Jan 6, 2014 3:19:10 PM

By ROBERT MCBEE

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This projector has an issue with Blu Ray 3D when using Frame Interpolation. Only half of the screen is smooth which is sad because FI is great when watching 3D which gives it more of a smooth realistic image. You can see image tearing down the center half of the screen when fast moving horizontal panning with or without the glasses. Don't know if the issue is just with a few or all of these BENQ W1500 models, but do hope they can get this resolved and notify customers when it is. Ruled out player, HDMI, disc, glasses, wireless, the issue was still there. Does anyone see this issue ?

Posted Nov 11, 2013 7:17:30 AM

By rxtheo

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Hi, I would like to know which Matt (White or Grey screen)of screen is better for W1500? Please comments. Thanks!

Posted Oct 17, 2013 3:17:10 PM

By jim chatterton

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Is this a replacement for the W7000? Also have you checked out the Oppo 103D? It sounds interesting.

Posted Oct 2, 2013 12:17:11 PM

By garratt

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Cedia is over now :) how about that article :)

Posted Aug 27, 2013 12:41:35 PM

By yvan

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Whit this projector can we whatch some sport like hockey ufc football

Posted Aug 23, 2013 10:03:54 AM

By Mr Dai

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Can I Buy it in Vietnam?

Posted Aug 23, 2013 9:36:49 AM

By Bill Livolsi

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Folks,

We fully intend to do a proper shootout between the W1500 and some other projectors. However, since the 2013 CEDIA expo is right around the corner, we have postponed the article until we see what else is coming out this year that may be relevant to the comparison.

As for the W1070, we were unable to do a direct shootout because we had to send our W1070 back to the vendor. They are, however, sending another sample of that projector so we can do a direct shootout of the W1070 vs. W1500 soon.

Thanks for your patience.

Posted Aug 22, 2013 9:11:16 AM

By SLN

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Could you please give some opinion as to how the W1500 compares to other projectors including the W1070

Posted Aug 22, 2013 8:23:52 AM

By JasonD

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I echo Garratt's question. In your opinion, is the W1500 worth the extra $600 when compared to the W1070? Especially if you don't need Frame Interpolation or Wireless HDMI?

would love to hear your thoughts thanks! JD

Posted Aug 21, 2013 8:12:22 AM

By HAT

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Hopefully the w1400 will be just as good...

Posted Aug 20, 2013 8:42:51 PM

By garratt

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I was wondering if you might be able to comment on the quality of picture on the 1070 vs 1500? If you dont need fi and wireless signal is it worth it? And this seems to be at the same price range as the 7000 is the 7000 a better buy in your opinion?

Posted Aug 20, 2013 12:07:24 AM

By Elessar

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Thanks for the review. I have one very important question (to me) for the reviewer, though. Does the W1500 support frame interpolation in 3D? I have been reading conflicting reports on that. And in case you have checked out other projectors, how good is the frame interpolation compared to other models, for instance the Acer 9500/9501? Please, could you elaborate on that? Thanks!

Posted Aug 19, 2013 10:26:01 PM

By lax

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Can you comment how this projector compares to the W1070 and other projectors in the under 2k price category?

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