BenQ W1350 Review - Picture Quality, 3D, Sound and Verdict Review

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BenQ W1350 – Picture Quality

The W1350’s pictures are more of a mixed bag than we’d hoped. Starting with the good points, colours look impressively natural, bright and well-balanced right out of the box. You can, as ever, improve things by tweaking the presets to take your room characteristics into account, but it’s a boon for casual users that they can enjoy such credible tones with next to no effort.

It’s not just the naturalism of the colours that impresses either; they’re also delivered with an impressive agree of subtlety, with minimal blockiness and striping over subtle blends and skin tones.

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The image is strikingly bright for a budget home entertainment (as opposed to data) projector as well. Even if you use the least bright Economic lamp setting bright areas look bold and punchy, avoiding the flat, lifeless look sometimes seen with budget models.

 BenQ W1350
It has to be said that the W1350 is happier with the light end of the luminance spectrum than it is with dark areas – more on that later – but it still delivers a respectable sense of contrast overall with most of our test sequences.

More good news concerns the W1350’s handling of motion, which manages to look reasonably light on blur and judder without looking processed or suffering the sort of fizzing noise over skin tones that single-chip DLP projectors can exhibit.

Detail levels are strong with native HD content too, and the projector delivers handsomely on that DLP advantage of no obvious pixel structure. This helps the picture look more cinematic, as well as meaning you see practically no evidence of jaggedness around curved object edges. Finally in the plus column there’s impressively little dotting noise in dark areas by budget DLP standards.

Turning to the W1350’s less impressive picture points, the main one is a disappointing black level response. The darkest parts of the picture look grey rather than black, and can even seem to ‘glow’ slightly at times. This effect also causes quite significant amounts of shadow detail to sometimes get crushed out of dark scenes.

BenQ W1350

It doesn’t help, either, that the level – or perhaps it might be more accurate to say temperature – of the image’s lighting seems to vary slightly in different areas of the picture.

The second key picture problem is that we often felt a little distracted by the rainbow effect. We quite regularly noticed the telltale momentary flashes of stripes of colour, especially where bright picture areas appear against dark backdrops, or we when moved our eyes over the image. Although we’re not sure why we noticed more rainbowing on the W1350 than we’ve tended to with other recent BenQ projectors, our best guess would be that it’s to do with its high brightness output. Though we still felt aware of the rainbow effect even when using the relatively subdued Economic lamp setting.

BenQ W1350 – 3D Picture Quality

Switching the W1350 into 3D mode
initially made our hearts sink, as before donning the glasses we could
immediately see that weird red wash over pictures we’ve seen on so many
BenQ 3D projectors before. Fortunately, though, the glasses prove more
successful at removing this redness from the image than any we’ve tried
before, ensuring that dark scenes in particular no longer suffer with a
residual red undertone.

This leaves you free to engage much more
with the W1350’s 3D images, enabling you to appreciate strengths such as
decent detail levels, a solid sense of depth and space, and a good
degree of contrast and punch as the projector’s brightness comes into
its own in 3D mode.

BenQ W1350

Motion
is a touch unconvincing, but at the same time it certainly doesn’t
suffer as much with either the judder or the ‘cellophane’ effect
sometimes seen with budget 3D display devices. There’s only the
slightest evidence of crosstalk too, leaving crushed detail in dark
scenes as the only really significant 3D problem. In fact, the W1350 is
arguably better in 3D mode than 2D mode.

BenQ W1350 – Sound Quality

BenQ’s
Resonant Chamber Speaker technology really works. The W1350 produces a
soundstage that’s streets ahead of the competition in terms of volume,
dynamic range and clarity. Voices sound clear and are projected
surprisingly well beyond the projector’s bodywork, busy soundtracks
enjoy plenty of detail, and there’s even some bass in the mix. All this
is delivered, too, without distortions.

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The sound isn’t powerful
enough to really open up for action scenes, and inevitably audio –
voices in particular – doesn’t sound like it’s coming from anywhere near
the on-screen action. So obviously you should still try to use an
external sound solution if possible. But as built-in projection audio
systems go, the W1350 has one of the best.

BenQ W1350 – Other Things To Consider

As
well as the black level and rainbow effect problems noted in the
picture quality section, you may find your enjoyment of movie viewing on
the W1350 compromised by its fairly high running noise. Even when using
the lowest level of lamp light output the whir of the cooling fans and a
slight whine from the colour wheel can be quite discernible during
quieter movie moments. Certainly you should try to site the W1350 as far
away from any likely viewing positions as possible.
BenQ W1350
If
you anticipate indulging in some big-screen gaming action on the W1350,
the good news is that we measured its input lag at barely 30ms. This is
low enough not to significantly upset your gaming performance, and even
better, it remains unchanged if you’re using the Wireless HD
transmission system.

Should I buy a BenQ W1350?

The W1350
certainly has its attractions. It’s very affordable for a 3D projector
that ships with a pair of glasses, its pictures are bright and richly
coloured, and it offers exceptional set up flexibility to help it
integrate into the most awkward room shapes. But it also exhibits enough
flaws to leave us preferring other BenQ models like the W1080ST+ and
superb value W1070+.

One final point worth including here
concerns the included 3D glasses. For while this seems a reasonably
generous inclusion for the W1350’s money, if you’re going to watch 3D
movies on the W1350, you’ll probably want to watch it with at least one
other person – so you’ll need to invest in at least one more pair of
glasses. Also, unless you really are a 3D fan then perhaps you could
look towards one of BenQ’s cheaper models and forego the 3D glasses.

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Verdict

The
W1350 is capable of producing beautifully rich, clean and bright
pictures, and the lengths it goes to to adapt itself to almost any room
layout are admirable. Its charms are ultimately compromised, though, by a
fan noise and a duo of potentially distracting picture flaws.

Trusted Score


Score in detail

  • Features 8
  • 3D Quality 8
  • Value 7
  • Design 8
  • 2D Quality 7
  • Sound Quality 7

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