BenQ W1080ST Home Theater Projector Review

Light Leakage

Whoa!  You probably won’t care in a “family room” environment, but the front exhaust leaks a fair amount of light.  The grates are large, but that’s no excuse.  Again, though, this is not a projector targeted for a dedicated home theater.  For some reason there’s even a nice round artifact of light to the right of the screen. It’s only a few inches in diameter, but I do notice it easily on my dedicated theater, when watching standard 16:9 content. That’s in part due to my setup, my screen is wider – 2.35:1, so that circle lands on the far edge of my screen, not on the darker wall around it where it would not be noticeable.  Still, once watching content I rarely noticed it. The greater sin is the average light coming out of the exhaust, which certainly doesn’t do anything to a projector with this kind of black level performance, especially in a “family room” type enivironment.   Bottom line is that the light leakage is no doubt slightly affecting black levels, but those black levels “are what they are”, which is good for the price, but far from rivaling most projectors twice the price.

Image Noise

Like the 1070, the W1080ST seems to be slightly better in terms of background mosquito noise than most other lower cost DLPs.  There’s always noise, it’s just that the W1080ST seems to have a touch less. The image does show that more, and has a slightly harder look with Brilliant Color engaged (as would be expected), although BC doesn’t cause as much “damage” to picture quality as some other manufacturer’s implementations.  We normally do not play with the noise reduction controls, so this is based on default settings.  Panning seems pretty good on 24fps movies.  At a certain speed of horizontal panning, the image tends to jitter.  Some projectors worse than others.  Put the BenQ down as “pretty good”. I’ve seen worse on a couple of over $3500 projectors!

Audible Noise

No one, I think, would expect a very small, very bright projector like the BenQ W1080ST to be particularly quiet.  Home entainment projectors like this one are rarely very quiet, especially DLP projectors running at full power. To complicate matters, DLP projectors tend to use higher wattage lamps than 3LCD projectors with the same brightness.  That makes them a bit harder to keep cool.

It’s certainly not quiet at full power, but it’s not out of control.  I’d say typical for the class of projector, especially those with 3D (bright).  The BenQ W1080ST projector has plenty of brightness, so if you are noise adverse you’ll probably find that Eco mode is noticeably quieter, and should be very acceptable to you.  Using Smart-Eco may or may not lower the fan, depending on what you are watching, and other factors.

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