BenQ W1500 Home Projector – Review

BENQ W1500 SUMMARY PAGE 2:  FEATURES, EASE OF USE, WIRELESS

 

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W1500 Features

The BenQ W1500 has a reasonable feature set.  While it may lack a dynamic iris, it has some other goodies, that might come in handy in other areas.

First of all it offers creative frame interpolation, for smooth motion.  I know a few folk who really swear by CFI, but I don’t consider it a key feature for many, at least not for movie fanatics.  CFI tends to change the “intent of the director” by smoothing out things that perhaps shouldn’t be.  Consider the Bourne movies where a almost constantly moving, slightly jerky camera action is the norm.  Is CFI mellowing that out, to diminish the intended effect?

On the other hand, CFI is just fine on sports, the low setting on the W1500 is very mild, and some might not even notice it.  High though, has issues is jerky in its own right, and I don’t think should be used.  Enough said.  It’s your call.

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Worth mentioning are the 2 10 watt speakers, twice the power of the W1070′s speaker.  It has been pointed out by a reader, though, that plugging into the audio out port turns off the speakers.  That’s too bad, because it prevents easily adding a powered sub-woofer, to round out the sound.  You can still plug directly into any sound system, of course, but most folks have an AV receiver to handle sound and switching.

The 1.6:1 zoom is a nice range.  This projector can sit closer to a given sized screen than most (although not BenQ’s own W1080ST – their very short throw projector).  It’s not likely, though to be able to sit far enough back for a rear shelf, but then it doesn’t have enough lens shift for that anyway.

Menus are well laid out, and the remote is a good one with a respectable backlight (red).  You can save settings, there’s good energy management (eco) too, so, overall, I consider this an easy to use projector.  The projector feels pretty solid, lens controls work well.  The lens shift is a real plus, compared to projectors with none, but no match for those with lots of lens shift.

 

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WHDI Wireless HDMI

BenQ’s implementation of wireless HDMI uses the WHDI standard which is a lossless system.  It basically worked flawlessly, except for a couple of times with a Blu-ray 3D source, but 3D wasn’t a problem on another dozen plus attempts.  Range was good enough to work one room over through a pair of interior walls, at a distance of almost 30 feet.  I’m not convinced it will reach across a whole home, but it does have a bit more than “one room only” it would seem.  Nice job. That doubles the choice in the price range for wireless home entertainment projectors.  A comparison between the BenQ W1500 and the Epson Home Cinema 3020e is in the works.  There are some interesting trade-offs.

BenQ W1500 Projector Review: The Bottom Line

Here’s the very bottom line:   The BenQ W1500 earns our Special Interest Award.  Understand,  terms of picture quality, brightness and several other areas, the W1500 does deserve a Hot Product award, but it comes up short in one area that makes this Special Interest award more suitable.  Before I continue, at the time of this review being published the street price of the W1500 seems to be centered around the $1600 price point in the US.  Most dealers are there or higher.

That issue is price-performance.  And the primary reason really is due to just one competitor.  Sadly for the W1500, that other competitor, which can hold its own with the W1500 in terms of brightness, black level performance and great color, sells for at most, 40% less than the W1500.  In the US, the W1500 seems to be selling for True, that competitor lacks a few features found on the BenQ W1500, but only if you must have one of those features – the Wireless HDMI (WHDI), can I rationalize it as worth the pricing difference.

Special_Interest

A Special Interest Award indicates a really very good projector, but one that may be best for only a small slice of projector owners

So, which excellent home entertainment projector has such a big value advantage over the W1500?  No, it’s not the Epson Home Cinema 3020/e, or their 2030, no, it’s definitely not the Optoma HD25-LV which has great blacks but otherwise isn’t a match due to several fairly serious issues.

Figured it out yet?  No?  OK, I’m done tormenting you.   The main reason the W1500 had to settle for a Special Interest award, is the BenQ W1070.  Simply stated, if you don’t need the wireless, it’s just too hard to rationalize $600+ extra for the W1500.  Now I hear that there’s also a BenQ W1400 sold in some parts of the world, but not the US.  That W1400 lacks the wireless HDMI, so no doubt sells for the equivalent of perhaps $300 (US) less.  That W1400 projector from BenQ very well may equal the price performance of the W1070 for those that do not need wireless HDMI.

I hope BenQ can live with my award decision.   Remember, the color is great, the picture very bright and dynamic, ready to tackle a wide variety of rooms with “reasonable” lighting control.

This is a projector that many people will really love using and owning, it just comes down to the question:  Is it the right one for you?

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News And Comments

  • Richard

    Hi Art,
    With regards to CFI for sports content, could you elaborate a bit on the jerkiness you saw. Was there any setting for sports that worked as CFI should? It didn’t sound like any of the 3 settings were useful, ie there was either no effect or one with artifacts. I don’t care for CFI for film content however I do sometimes like it for sports.
    Thank you

    • ProjectorReviews.com

      High speed was the only one that really was noticeable. You are with me, no CFI for movies. (although the low setting on the W1500 is pretty benign, you still “notice it” on certain types of action. -a