BenQ W1500 Projector Review
Rs. 1, 75,000
• Full HD 3D
• Short throw
• Wireless HDMI input
• Vertical lens shift
• Wireless HDMI not up to the mark
• No bundled 3D glasses
BenQ has a wide range of projectors to cater to the needs of every consumer and business type and this is what sets this brand apart. You can find projectors ranging from a quarter to a couple of lakhs. The recently released W1500 lies in the latter price region and in this review we will see what are the new features in this projector and if it’s really worth putting so much money into it.
Available at a price of Rs 1, 75,000, it has the capability to run 3D in Full HD without an HDMI wire directly connected at its back. Now that is something pretty exciting and we can finally see a new sunrise to our never-ending cable woes. Right? We’ll see shortly.
You might be also tempted to compare it with a lower priced W1070 that also has output capabilities of Full HD 3D and many other similar features. Well, the W1500 certainly has an edge over it when we compare the Throw ratio. W1080ST is also one fierce competitor of w1500, with a short throw, good picture quality and 3D playback based on the same DLP technology
Design and Built
BenQ W1500 follows the similar design as with other BenQ projectors, but you will notice some worthy differences. The moment you hold it you will know it’s much heavier than the other models and the lens is protruding out of the front slightly. The top surface has a clean and plain white color instead of the grey white contrast. The grey color does appear on the back and at the front.
The lens shifting screw is much user friendly to use (like it doesn’t require a screwdriver as with W1070) which is placed inside a separate bay topped with a push-release door. Control buttons in white are placed diagonally opposite.
Below, there are four screws that on which the projector body stands. The screws can be rotated to come out or go in allowing for the height of the body to be adjusted. But there isn’t any pull-out stand that can elevate the front of the projector body.
As you will find in most of the BenQ projectors, the lens in kept to the left and the adjoining cooling fans are kept on the middle and right. The cooling is a bit noisy affair on it but the noise is much lower than that on w1070. I would say it won’t disturb you while in a mid of a silent movie scene if it’s running in SmartEco mode.
At the back the connections are neatly arranged with 2 HDMI ports and power input separated from the rest of the input ports with a hump that (presumably) houses the wireless receiver unit. The other connections include a set of composite AV-in, a D-Sub PC port, an RS-232 port, an S-Video port and an audio line input and output via 3.5mm input jack.
After testing its two great budget projectors released last year, we were confident of W1500’s quality. Moreover its specs scream high resolution output and color reproduction. It houses the celebrated Darkchip3 DLP technology
We hooked the projector to an HD source to test the picture quality of W1500. Since it has a very short throw, we decided to test it inside our office room itself. As calculated, it was able to make a 100 inch of a projection when kept at just 8 ft from the wall. Within five minutes of the realization that it has 1.6:1 lens has greater zoom and the span of picture it can produce, we were literally looking for bigger walls all around the work area.
While a wide image size at a short distance is certainly a welcome feature, it won’t be much useful for home use. It’s easy to run into a situation where it isn’t practically feasible to place a 150 (diagonally) inch screen projection, you won’t be able to look at whole of the screen from a small distance. But you will find a situation where you need an 80 inch image with the projector-screen distance of 6 or 7 feet and W1500 can handle it. Moreover, a small projection requires less brightness. Eco mode can run successfully, saving around 37% of power and prolonging lamp life. Extra brightness could be any day helpful and you would get a good visibility even with the lights ON. After all, it is rated at 2200 lumens of maximum light output.
The projector has three custom preset modes and three user preset modes for adjusting the image output. With the lights off, we had to lower the default set brightness in a 150inch frame to keep the contrast sharp. The black levels were maintained properly and night scenes maintaining their fidelity.
Like some of the BenQ projectors, W1500 also has on-board speakers (two of them). Each of the 10W speakers produce quite a loud output and are backed by SRS WOW that can be turned ON from the menu. Though the speakers are louder than that of both W1080ST and W1070, but they are not what BenQ claims them to be-an external speaker replacement. The audio is clear even if you are watching the screen in a mid-sized hall at your home. But it can’t really recreate that HI-FI audio experience.
W1500 is bundled with a wireless HDMI dongle that looks roughly the size of a pen drive from olden times. The dongle has to be powered through a micro-USB cable, the other end of which can either be plugged into a USB port on the same device giving the playback signals or you would need something like your smartphone charger and a separate electricity port to power the small wonder.
We tested the wireless capability of W1500 using the playback on a laptop, a disc player and a PS3. All three were placed at different distances from the projector when connected to create a real-life scenario. With the PC it worked fine for presentations and movies as well. On disc player, we noticed some bad frames in fast action scenes on Full HD. With PS3, well, it didn’t connect at all. The projector kept hunting for signals and started taking just the audio once.
The HDMI transmitter when connected and synced with the projector, converts and throws signals containing audio and video information in to the air which are intercepted by the projector’s inbuilt antennas. The signals are converted back at the projector end in to the usual playback format played at the source end and projected out of the lens on to the screen.
Now all the while the dongle is sending out signals, the projector needs to keep the link healthy and maintained. So, it works well within short distance like10-15ft or so. Moreover, the conversion and reconversion degrades the signals. So some degradation happens in the quality of the final projection that happens on the screen.
Still we would say the wireless HDMI is a plus if needed to be used with a PC within 5-7m of range. Being a short throw projector the W1500 is highly flexible when it comes to placement but once mounted on to the ceiling, placement of other things get restricted. With a wireless HDMI transmitter connected to the media device, cables are done for the day.
BenQ W1500 has stunning picture quality and is capable of projecting images that have a razor sharp contrast. The BenQ user interface, as usual, makes the projector setup a child’s play. Wireless connectivity, though present, is not fool-proof and needs some tuning. Otherwise, it has slightly better image quality than w1070, both in 2D and 3D as well as in the converted 3D mode. The inbuilt speakers too are certainly better. But at around a lakh and three quarters rupees, this projector goes out of the budget range. That said, W1500 is one powerful projector capable of projecting large image size aptly bright for 3D as well.