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BenQ W1500 review

John Archer

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Reviewed:

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BenQ W1500
  • BenQ W1500
  • BenQ W1500
  • BenQ W1500
  • BenQ W1500
  • BenQ W1500
  • BenQ W1500
  • BenQ W1500

Summary

Our Score:

7

Pros

  • Excellent motion handling
  • Good colour performance
  • Decent wireless video system

Cons

  • Black level response could be better
  • Rather limited zoom and vertical image shift
  • Weird 3D

What is the BenQ W1500?

The W1500 is an unusually ambitious DLP projector by BenQ's recent standards, providing 3D playback, wireless HDMI playback, ISF-certified calibration tools and hopefully superior picture quality to its recently tested BenQ W1080ST and BenQ W1070 models for a £1400 price tag.

Aesthetically the W1500 looks surprisingly similar to its cheaper siblings, with a glossy white finish and passably stylish sculpting. The main difference is that the W1500 is a bit bigger, reflecting – we presume – its use of a higher-grade optical engine.

Key Features: Full HD single-chip DLP projector; 3D playback with triple flash system; 2200 Lumens max light output; Wireless HDMI system included; ISF certified

BenQ W1500 - Design

While the W1500 is passably attractive, though, we’d be lying if we didn’t say that some aspects of its design – in particular the rather plasticky and awkward design of the lens section and the appearance of fans immediately behind open grilles on the projector’s sides – had us feeling a bit concerned about its performance potential.

BenQ W1500

These concerns are underlined, moreover, while trying to set the projector up. Our attempts to mount the projector on the usual stand behind our test room ‘sofa’ were instantly scuppered by a combination of the surprisingly short-throw nature of the W1500’s lens, its somewhat disappointing amount of optical zoom support, and the aggravatingly limited amount of vertical image shifting supported by a little wheel arrangement tucked under a flap above the lens barrel.

Obviously any amount of vertical image shifting will reduce the likelihood of you having to distort your pictures by applying digital keystone correction to them. But we’d have expected a bit more vertical shifting range on a £1400 projector.

BenQ W1500 - Connections

The projector’s rear holds a very presentable suite of connections. Two HDMIs provide both 2D and 3D digital connection, and there’s a component video port, a D-Sub PC port, an RS-232 port, an S-Video port, a composite video port, and even an audio line input to reflect the fact that the projector carries a built-in 2 x 10W speaker system (should you not mind listening to sound that’s appearing from somewhere other than the screen it’s supposed to be coming from!).

As usual with BenQ, the projector system at the W1500’s heart is a single-chip DLP affair, delivering a high claimed maximum brightness of 2200 ANSI Lumens and a fair to middling claimed contrast ratio of 10,000:1. Colour comes courtesy of a 6-segment colour wheel that should produce better colour depth and range than colour wheels with fewer segments.

BenQ W1500Lamp life is quoted at between 3000 and a very respectable 6000 hours (depending on what lamp setting you use), while running noise is quoted at a respectable – though certainly not groundbreaking – 33dB or 28dB, again depending on which lamp output setting you’ve got selected.

BenQ W1500 - Wireless HDMI

The W1500 is one of a growing number of projectors to support wireless HDMI, whereby it can receive full HD video signals without the need for a cabled connection. Provided it works well, this is a really handy feature given the long cable runs usually needed for connecting sources to a projector.

The necessary transmitter for the wireless HDMI is included free with the projector – as is one free pair of BenQ’s 144Hz active shutter 3D glasses. The projector’s 3D transmitter is built into its chassis.

rwestley

June 11, 2013, 2:45 pm

I cant believe that this reviewer did not realize that he was testing this projector with the old Benq glasses that do not support 144kz. That is why there is a problem with 3d.
Hope this review gets revised with the right glasses.

jim

August 29, 2013, 2:14 am

it said the unit came with a pair of 144Hz active shutter, so where does it say he was using the wrong ones?

Steve

October 20, 2013, 12:31 am

"144Hz 3D. Many DLP Link 3D glasses top out at 120Hz, which was the maximum synchronization rate for a lot of first- and second-generation 3D projectors. The W1500 runs at 144Hz, so these slower glasses will not work. While the new glasses are not too much more expensive than the old ones, it is one additional thing that can go wrong when attempting to purchase your complete 3D system. At least one review rolling around criticizes the W1500's (excellent) 3D capabilities because the reviewer accidentally used a pair of 120Hz glasses to do their evaluation"(Retrieved from Projectorcentral.com).

bobR

October 20, 2013, 5:44 pm

He doesn't. But another reviewer (Bill Livolsi) claims that's
happened, without mentioning Archer's name. Livolsi says 'another
reviewer' used 120 Hz glasses instead of 144Hz. Doing searches for reviews, I only found Archer's to be critical of the 1500's 3D ability.

ProjectorReviews.com

December 25, 2013, 2:05 am

Hi, I'm just publishing our review of the W1500. I've used the provided (144 hz) 3D glasses, and have found nothing weird. I have old BenQ glasses here, too, though, and they barely work, so I tend to agree that most likely the glasses were responsible for the issue. If there's one issue with the 3D, it's that you tend to notice that the blacks are a little dark red. That's very DLP-link, and one more great reason to move to RF 3D glasses on those projectors that give you the option, or are already standardized on the newer types.

John

March 8, 2014, 1:18 am

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.

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