BenQ W1080ST Home Theater Projector Review

Here we consider the BenQ W1080ST projector’s brightness in various modes of 2D, and provide our subjective assessment of its 3D brightness. You will find images showing the differences in brightness (and color) between the 2D modes. Further down we get into the W1080ST’s sharpness, image noise, audible noise, etc.

BenQ W1080ST Brightness

Anytime you have a home projector that can reach 2000 lumens, it has to be considered bright.  That this $1099 BenQ projector claims 2000 lumens then, shouldn’t be too shocking, this is primarily a “family room” projector.  Mind you there are definitely brighter home projectors still, however, few are dramatically brighter.  Even when you consider other light canons like the Panassonic PT-AR100U ($1199), and the Epson Home Cinema 3020 ($1599), which are brighter, that’s primarily in “brightest mode”, not when they are all doing their best color in a “best” mode.

3D of course eats lumens.  Figure that at least 2/3 of the brightness is lost, which is another reason manufacturers are, in general, upping their maximum brightness.  Here’s how the BenQ W1080ST measured out:

Lumen Output and Color Temp at 100 IRE (mid zoom)
Dynamic 1832 @ 7514
Standard 1659 @ 6604
Cinema 1716 @ 6508, 1041 @ 6917 with Eco lamp, 1311 @ 6319 with Normal lamp and Brilliant Color off.
User 1 1659 @ 6486
User 2 1659 @ 6488

NOTE:  Standard, Cinema, User 1 and User 2 are virtually identical in RGB balance at 100 IRE.

Those numbers are all “right out of the box”, without any adjustments, to settings like contrast, which can affect overall brightness.

BenQ W1080ST Calibrated: User 1 "best" mode = 1446 lumens

That is rather exceptional brightness.  Keep in mind Brilliant Color is engaged, so technically, you can have a better picture with BC off, but with essentially the same color balance.

BenQ W1080ST Projector Modes: Image Comparison

Since most of the modes are almost identical, with the normal exception of Dynamic, below find three modes compared with good lighting control.  Below those, find Dynamic and User 1 taken (and looking pretty washed out) with my primary window shutters wide open.  As you can see, even going to dynamic, isn’t a huge jump in brightness.  For all these images, the diagonal image size is just over 96 inches.

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BenQ W1080ST Projector Modes slideshoe

BenQ W1080ST Projector Modes

User 1 (User 2, Cinema...)

BenQ W1080ST Projector Modes

Dynamic: A bit more pop, but not drastically so, as Dynamic mode just isn't dramatically brighter than the other modes.

BenQ W1080ST Projector Modes

lighting under control

BenQ W1080ST Projector Modes

User 1 (Calibrated)

Effect of zoom on lumen output (Dynamic mode):

Zoom out 1943
Mid-zoom 1832
Zoom in 1778

The BenQ W1080ST has limited zoom range, just 1.2:1, but that’s pretty common for these lower cost home projectors. With such minimal zoom range, we’re not surprised that the brightness difference between wide angle and telephoto settings is less than 10%, and therefore pretty insignificant.

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