BenQ W1500 Home Projector – Review

BENQ W1500 PROJECTOR – SPECIAL FEATURES 3:  CFI, Clarity Control, Brilliant Color, PIP

Frame Interpolation

BenQ serves up creative frame interpolation with 3 levels:  Low, Middle, High.  The low and middle settings seem to do relatively little, for sports I tried high, and it seemed a bit jerky.  I was watching a pan across a picket fence, and it looked more real with it turned off.  Sports seemed fine.  I remind you I’m not a big fan of CFI.  I use it in moderation for sports, and little else.   I think it’s a nice extra feature to have, but not one that many would consider essential, or even very important.

I did try watching a movie with the High setting, just to see if it showed the same jerkiness I spotted on sports, and sure enough, it was visible on a typical movie (1080i) off of HDTV.

Stick to the lower settings.

 

Clarity Control

There isn’t much information on how it works (none that I’ve seen).  It is a detail enhancement solution, but whether it dynamically adjusts I’m not sure.  At rate, it doesn’t seem to do as good a job as Sony’s Reality Creation, nor for that matter, Epson’s Super-Resolution which I don’t like quite as much as Sony’s approach.

It seems to be a fairly smart sharpening program, using some edge sharpening, and perhaps contrast enhancement itself.  Certainly as you dial it up thin lines tend to become higher contrast, going from darker to lighter.  I have several images in this player, where you can see different Clarity Control settings on the same frame.

In the dark scene of Rivendell you can barely make out subtle differences if you go back and forth between the three images.  Look at the large bright roof areas.  Much easier is the image of the priest from The Fifth Element.  Look at his cheeks, the threading in his cloak, his hair, etc.  There it’s easy to spot.  In both sequences there are three settings 4, 2, and 0 (off)

Overall, not a huge amount of difference between off and 4 which is the maximum, but there is a visible difference.  Noise in the Priest’s cheek is also noticeably more visible with the higher setting.

W1500 Brilliant Color

The last projector I reviewed had 10 different Brilliant Color settings.  That was the Optoma HD131Xe.  BenQ takes a simpler approach.  Their customization of Brilliant Color gives you a choice of Off, or On.  Brilliant Color adds some pop to the image.  The W1500 also measures about 30% brighter with Brilliant Color engaged.  Generally you have a more natural image without using Brilliant Color, but it does add a dynamic edge to the picture, one that’s very handy when there’s ambient light present.   With both pair of images shown here, the first one has Brilliant Color off, the second one has it turned on.

Picture In Picture - PIP

BenQ has been serving up home projectors with Picture-In-Picture for about as long as they’ve been selling projectors.  I owned three BenQ projectors consecutively back about 6-9 years ago.    I think they all had PIP, and they all had the same issue as PIP on this W1500 projector:  Only one of the sources can be HDMI.  Well, these days, HDMI is by far the standard out there, and few people are set up with component video, or other alternatives.  (OK, some folks will have an analog computer input in use.)

I had hoped BenQ would finally support two HDMI sources at once.  My hope came from the new Epson projectors, where Epson also didn’t in the past support two HDMI’s at once, but they do for Picture in Picture on several new projectors.

PIP in general, is another of those sometimes nice to have features, but few people will consider it an essential feature.  You just have to figure out what your “other” source will be.

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