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BenQ W1500 Projector BenQ W1500
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Street Price: $1,458
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

Performance

Light output. For a home theater projector, the W1500 has power to spare. The projector's specifications list a 2200 lumen maximum white light output, and our test sample measured 1980 lumens in its brightest mode (Dynamic). Dynamic mode uses the projector's Lamp Native color temperature option, which boosts green and makes minimal efforts at color correction but does boost light output. Standard mode, at 1750 lumens, reduces the green push and provides a much more balanced white (around 6900K on average). Cinema mode produces 1766 lumens -- yes, more than Standard mode -- and by default has a color temperature around 6400K, though there is too much green in the image. While this is not ideal for real home theater use, it can be easily tweaked to produce a perfect 6500K grayscale without too much effort.

If you plan to do most of your viewing in 3D, you're already all set - the W1500's high brightness will serve you well on a screen up to 120" diagonal. If you plan to watch more 2D content, it's time to talk about reducing light output. Eco mode on the W1500 drops light output by 37%, bringing Cinema mode to 1112 lumens. That is a much more reasonable number when it comes to home theater viewing in a darkened environment. It also pays to keep in mind that the 1.6:1 zoom lens will reduce light output by 21% at its maximum telephoto setting, so if you plan to place the W1500 near the back of your viewing room, you should make allowances for the light loss. Still, that brings Cinema mode to roughly 875 lumens, which is still more than enough for a 100" to 120" diagonal screen. When you do want to watch 3D movies, simply switch the projector back to Normal lamp mode for a brightness boost.

Contrast. The W1500 is rated at 10,000:1, a modest number in today's market. But the projector performs where it counts. Black levels are solid and very competitive with other projectors in the W1500's price range, especially when using SmartEco mode. Dynamic range is quite good, and the projector has no trouble reproducing shadow detail thanks to a solid factory gamma calibration. Gamma defaults to 2.4 in Cinema mode, which actually measured around 2.35 on our test sample. The result is a picture with plenty of pop and three-dimensionality, once again proving that specifications don't tell the whole story.

Color. The W1500 has the potential to be a great performer when it comes to color, but it does take a little bit of fine-tuning to get things just right. By default, our test sample's Cinema mode displayed a green push, which boosts brightness but does not do any favors to a home theater image.

BenQ W1500, Cinema mode, RGB levels, factory default

BenQ W1500, Cinema mode, RGB levels, factory default

This is not difficult to fix, luckily. The W1500 has full RGB gain/bias controls, allowing for full adjustment of the projector's white balance. It can be a little bit tricky to find the controls, though: from the Picture-Basic menu, go to Advanced, then Color Temperature Fine Tuning.

By default, all Gain controls are set to 100 and all Offset controls are set to 255. Our final calibration reduces green in both Gain and Offset and adjusts the red/blue balance in Offset to yield a final calibration that is a smooth 6500K across the grayscale.

BenQ W1500
Cinema mode
Gain
R100
G96
B100
Offset
R258
G249
B256

BenQ W1500, Cinema mode, RGB levels, post-calibration

BenQ W1500, Cinema mode, RGB levels, post-calibration

As far as color gamut is concerned, our test sample was so close to the Rec. 709 HD standard that we did not feel the need to make any further adjustments. This is good news for you, because gamut adjustments are almost impossible to make without a color meter and calibration software package. Those tend to get expensive, so it's nice to find a projector that does not require gamut adjustments to begin with.

BenQ W1500 color gamut
BenQ W1500 color gamut

Sharpness and clarity. Detail on the W1500 is razor sharp, even without the aid of a smart sharpening system. Fine detail from 1080p HD movies is reproduced perfectly, without even a hint of fuzz or blurriness on the part of the projector. This is most evident when watching a high-quality Blu-ray transfer of a well-shot movie. The opening IMAX-filmed sequence in The Dark Knight is a particular favorite for this, and it'll make a good projector like the W1500 look amazing. It doesn't hurt that the camera tends to linger on its subjects during this sequence, making it even easier for you to notice the fine detail in every frame.

Input lag. Gamers concerned with quick response times need projectors with fast input lag numbers, which indicate that the image from the source reaches the screen as quickly as possible. The most demanding gamers want projectors with input lag of 33 milliseconds (2 frames) or below.

Unfortunately, the W1500 measured an average 66ms (4 frames) of input lag when fed a 2D 1080p input signal over HDMI. This is slower than several of its competitors and makes it a tough sell for gamers sensitive to input delay. WHDI increases this delay to 118ms (7 frames) on our test sample, so gamers who do opt for the W1500 will want to stick to wired transmission. Using features like frame interpolation will further delay processing, so it is wise to leave these features turned off when playing games.

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Limitations
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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