BenQ W1500 Home Projector – Review

BENQ W1500 HOME ENTERTAINMENT PROJECTOR – OVERVIEW

Under $2000 gets you the W1500 projector: Good in a theater, better in a family room, it serves up great color, 1.6:1 zoom and wireless HDMI, for convenience, plus plenty of brightness.

Happy Holidays from  myself, Lori, Lisa, and the rest of the crew.  -art

BenQ W1500 Highlights

  • 2200 lumens claimed – suitable for family/living/bonus rooms – or a home theater
  • 3D Capable
  • Good contrast for black level performance
  • Vertical lens shift (the amount is limited, but better than none)
  • 2 x 10 watts of Audio, audio output
  • Wireless HDMI (WHDI) using included dongle
  • Full color management controls, ISF certified
  • Minimal lag times for great gaming
  • Remote control
  • Smart-Eco for energy efficiency (see more below)
  • Very long lamp life (for low cost of operation)
  • New lighter 3D glasses from BenQ (not included)
  • Good warranty
  • All around, well thought out projector

W1500 Projector: Overview

The BenQ W1500 is the third projector in the BenQ lineup that offer essentially the same picture performance.  The W1500 home entertainment projector is by far the most expensive, and most feature laden of the three.  We’ve previously reviewed the W1500 projector’s siblings, the basic, and extremely popular W1070 just one year ago, and the W1080ST (similar but with a very short throw lens).

The BenQ W1500 simply ups the capabilities, without really affecting what is already impressive picture quality.  The major feature additions that make the W1500 BenQ’s flagship home entertainment projector, are the zoom lens – which offers more range – 1.6:1, that’s twice the flexibility of the W1070 and even more compared to the short throw W1080ST.

But the highlight “extra” feature has to be the Wireless HDMI solution. There are few projectors that offer such capability (and convenience), so far.  Epson, for example offers up their competing Home Cinema 3020e with wireless HDMI, and they also offer it on their $900 more expensive Home Cinema 5030UBe, but that one is a step up projector, not only in price, but performance.

Other than that, there are several 3rd party wireless hdmi solutions out there, in fact I’m reviewing the latest version of the DVDO Air, at the same time as reviewing this BenQ projector.  (I’ll even let you know later how the BenQ’s WHDI wireless solution performs compared to the outboard competition.

The W1500 is a gamer’s projector as well.  It offers up low input lag time numbers that make it more than suitable for serious gamers, so get out your Call Of Duty, or auto racing game, or your other favorite forms of digital distraction, and have a blast on the really “big screen.”

One interesting consideration:  BenQ offers a second projector for the home, that sells for about the same price.  That’s their W7000.   It too is bright, but that projector is the one really built for your dedicated home theater or cave, thanks to much better black level performance.

Of course there are other trade-offs, such as that the W7000 has shorter lamp life, and lacks the wireless HDMI.  That said, it’s nice that BenQ gives you a choice around the $2000 price point, and both do sell for less than that, and typically within $100 – at most $200 of each other.

We’ll ultimately discuss the differences between the BenQ W1500 and the W7000 in a separate  head to head comparison review, which will be written shortly after this review first goes live.

In other words, it’s not about which is the better projector, they have different “focuses.”  Rather, we’ll help you decide which of those two similarly priced BenQ projectors is the better solution for your own use.

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News And Comments

  • ROBERT MCBEE

    This projector has an issue with Blu Ray 3D when using Frame Interpolation. Only half of the screen is smooth which is sad because FI is great when watching 3D which gives it more of a smooth realistic image. You can see image tearing down the center half of the screen when fast moving horizontal panning with or without the glasses. Don’t know if the issue is just with a few or all of these BENQ W1500 models, but do hope they can get this resolved and notify customers when it is. Ruled out player, HDMI, disc, glasses, wireless, the issue was still there.
    Art, can you verify this issue ?

    • ch

      Hi! I have the same issue, and I posted a (ridiculously long) post on the avsforum w1500 thread.. For me, this happens when FI is already enabled when you enter 3D mode (ie you left FI on the last time 3D mode exited).. So if you turn off FI while in 3D mode (watching a 3D movie), then exit 3D viewing, then return to 3D viewing, exit again and return again (exiting 3D mode twice with FI off seems to give it a guaranteed clean slate..), you can enable FI and the entire frame will be doing FI. (However, I’ve also noticed times when no matter which Low -> High FI is enabled, it only gives it “Low” for example.) Thank you for indicating you’re seeing the same issue. I’ve been waiting to hear from BenQ on if they’ve reproduced this.

      • ROBERT MCBEE

        Thanks for the info ! I have contacted BENQ, but no response ! I have tried two of these projectors and both had the same issue and I also could see some 3D imaging on the second one that was not stable such as the image inverting back & forth on its own. For now I will just have to be happy with my OPTOMA HD33 which seems to have a much better picture than the BENQ W1500 by far !

        • ch

          Awesome, thanks for your response! In regards to inverting back and forth.. could you elaborate? Do you mean 3D/2D/3D etc? Or was it like a horrible version of “squigglevision”..? I’ve seen this a few times with my projector, but I’m unable to reproduce it. I have it on video, but my camera also started dying, so there are blocks of white noise / static in the video image, so I haven’t shared it (don’t want anyone confusing the real problem from my camera’s problem.) (haha.. classic “LOOK I have a UFO on video!!! but the video footage….” excuse, I know..) It essentially looked like left/right FI frames were being built from a checkerboard of the left/right original frames, at all edges (like a person’s body outline against a background) within the image.

          Anyway, I’ve had periodic emails with BenQ.. mostly me “checking in” and them saying they haven’t gotten to it. (I also had a malfunctioning remote which they fixed ASAP, so they ARE helpful.) Seeing as it has been the holidays and post holiday-rush I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt. I also doubt this is the sort of issue they’re used to dealing with. They’ve been pretty forthright with me when they respond, and very friendly, even though I’m sure they cringe every time they see a new email from me, haha. They’ve given me the option to exchange my projector, but I really want them to test this officially and fix their $#@%… I’m sure official QA and firmware dev teams are not in the US, so maybe it’s not a trivial communication chain once anything is confirmed, but I was at least hoping someone at BenQ USA could reproduce the problem and verify that they did in fact have some kind of bug somewhere in the firmware (or firmware/hardware combo, etc etc I don’t know..). The consistency with which I can produce a number of issues seems way too great for this to be a one off issue. It’s good to know you tested 2 w1500s and had the same problem. (And with their w7500 about to come out, would it have the same issue? I don’t know.. but I bet it’ll be more popular than the w1500, so for their sake, let’s hope not, or that they fix it first.)