BenQ LW61ST DLP Projector Review: For Business and Education

Wireless Support for iPad and iPhone

BenQ isn’t the first to offer iPad, etc. support, but it is one of the few so far.  .  Remember, there are several million new iPads are being sold each month, and quite a few belong to people who present – teachers, managers, executives, scientists, doctors… To give you an idea of how prevalent they are becoming, I checked out the analytics for projectorreviews.com.  Pad and iPhone already combine for 13% of our total visits!

The BenQ LW61ST projector requires an optional dongle for it to wirelessly

Certainly, as an owner of an iPad and a MacBook Pro, when I’m traveling, I’m more than happy to leave my Mac laptop behind if I can (cutting the load by a at least 8 pounds – 3.6kg) , and present from my iPad, given similar abilities. I’ve got a keypad for the iPad, so I really can do most of what I do with my laptop, about as quickly. As I see it a good iPad interface is a real benefit for a significant number of road warriors and other presenters.

Short Throw Projector

Achieve large images from just a few feet away. This is a plus.  Although not as good as the ultra-short throw projector, when it comes to keeping the projector’s light out of the presenter/teacher’s eyes when in front of the screen, very short throw is the next best thing.  Certainly if you are interactive (either an interactive projector, or pairing a projector with an electronic white board).  BenQ even provides setup measurements for working with several of the most popular electronic boards, including those from Smart (SmartBoard).

One great advantage is that this BenQ can mount using a wall mount, not a ceiling mount.  Mount it right above the screen or board.  A telecoping arm allows for the projector to be placed at the right distance to fill that screen or board.

Right: A great picture – coming off of a Blu-Ray disc at 1080p

Click Image to Enlarge

"Eco" - The Laser light source way

While there is no full power vs Eco mode choice, the LW61ST projector and it’s LX60ST version, these projectors have an “eco” feature of their own.  With most projectors if you want to pause presenting for a few minutes (or seconds), say to make a point, or use some other technology, your projector lamp is still running at full, or eco power mode, drawing a couple hundred watts or so of power.  With this BenQ and its laser light source, you can let it rest – without shutting down a lamp, and still drop brightness by 90%.  With those other projectors, they will be drawing at least 75% of full power, unless you shut down the lamp, which, when you can, means a slow shut down, and a long get back to brightness, rather than the instant, user friendly BenQ.  For those that take advantage of this ability – to blank the screen and reduce power consumption, this can be a noteworthy additional reduction when it comes to cost of operation.  There is also an “eco” and a “standard” mode as well.

The most impressive thing, though isn’t efficiency, or savings on bulbs.  You are already paying more for this projector’s light source, so whether there’s a cost savings longterm, will likely be more based on how heavy the usage.

I’m impressed with the picture quality of this laser light engine.  I’ve been sitting here watching CNBC for hours while writing.  I’ve watched movies on it (ok 2), and used it with my Mac on data, and web surfing.  What I don’t notice, is that this is a laser. I’m not seeing any of the strange artifacts associated with laser projectors.  I think of the massive shimmer of the laser pico projectors.  Even the Casios – the first hybrid projectors (laser and LED) had some laser related effect.  If this BenQ projector has anything like that, it isn’t visible under casual viewing.

360 Projector Tilt

The BenQ LW61ST can be tilted “on axis” 360 degrees.  This allows the projector to be versatile for digital signage, and other applications where traditional projectors – which can only be tilted a few degrees off the horizontal, are not usable.  This BenQ isn’t the only projector with this capability.  It’s been around on a number of larger projectors, and more recently, we’ve seen at least one series of Epson projectors that can do the same.  Christie and Digital Projection are two of the higher end brands that offer models with this ability.

LW61ST Microphone Input

It’s always nice to have the option of plugging in a wired or wireless microphone into a projector to take advantage when a projector has some decent speakers that can easily carry a decent sized training or classroom.  This BenQ offers just that, a Mic input.

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