BenQ W1080ST Home Theater Projector Review

Gaming with the BenQ W1080ST

Most small DLP projectors are pretty good for gaming.  The speed of the color wheel can come into play for those who are rainbow sensitive as I am, but this BenQ W1080ST projector has a pretty fast color wheel.  The other key factor is the lag time.  One of our gaming projector bloggers – Pete -got to play with the W1070 back at the end of 2012.  To our knowledge, there are no differences between the W1080ST and the W1070 as far as gaming performance is concerned. At that time Pete indicated that depending on the features you have on, lag times vary from 0 to 40ms.  Even 40ms, is considered acceptable for serious gaming that requires maximum speed.  We assume 30 ms is very good, over 50 to be a bit too slow (that’s 1/20 of a second).  In other words, the W1080ST like the W1070 should be a high quality gaming projector.

Here’s a link directly to his W1070 gaming blog:  http://www.projectorreviews.com/game-projector-blog/review-benq-w1070.html

Pete shows lag time results, gaming, and also, his own general take (review) of this projector.  He’s certainly less wordy than I.

Let it be noted that this pair of BenQs are among the few projectors that are nvidia 3DTV Play certified (for gaming, including 2D to 3D game conversion). There aren’t many, and most are 720p projectors not 1080p like this BenQ!

The first of the two images from Casino Royale was taken using the calibrated W1080ST projector, while the one below it was done with the W1070.  Mike calibrated both.  You can see a touch more pop on the upper one (W1080ST) and perhaps a touch of orange in her skin tones.  These are variations that are not projector specific.  If Mike recalibrated both, just as likely that the W1070 would be the one with more pop and the W1080ST projector the slightly more natural.

The image from Casino Royale was taken using the calibrated W1080ST projector
The image from Casino Royale was taken using the calibrated W1070 projector
The image from Casino Royale was taken using the calibrated W1080ST projector
+The image from Casino Royale was taken using the calibrated W1070 projector

W1080ST Brilliant Color

These paragraphs are almost identical to the discussion in the 1070 review, but has some updates and new comparison images:

The BenQ W1080ST offers Brilliant Color.  BC is a suite of “adjustments” to the image. BC comes from TI (Texas Instruments), the maker of DLP  chips.  It’s a system that can be customized by each manufacturer.  In some cases - like this BenQ, your choices are Off or On, with some others, I’ve even seen up to 10 levels of adjustment.  That might even have been a very old BenQ, now that I think of it, I just can’t recall.

While Brilliant Color – to some degree with any projector possessing it, tends to add pop, and brightness, it also reduces the naturalness of the picture a bit.  The W1080ST is no exception.  That said, you won’t notice a huge difference with this projector as you switch back and forth. In terms of picture quality that’s a good thing, because the relatively brighter Brilliant Color is (compared to Off) with most projectors, the less faithful the image.  With most projectors, not only is engaging Brilliant Color obvious, but upon close inspection, you can see that it can deteriorate the smoothness and limit the color pallette available for a skin tone.   At its worse, BC can really take a good image and drastically alter it - not for the better.  This BC implementation though isn’t near that great.  In some cases a projector in Brilliant Color is twice as bright as without, and that usually means brightness at the EXPENSE of picture quality.   With the W1080ST, you get a boost in brightness and pop, but skin tones still look respectable.

Check out these BenQ W1080ST Projector Images regarding Brilliant Color On vs. Off

The first of the two images from Fast Money on CNBC was taken with Brilliant Color on, the second, with it off.

One additional thought about the BenQ W1080ST projector’s Brilliant Color options.  There seem to be color saturation differences between Brilliant Color engaged and off.  Since it’s difficult to adjust saturation normally (the control is grayed out when your source is HDMI), this feature might be a quick way to get more desirable results in terms of color saturation on the BenQ W1080ST projector.

The image from Fast Money on CNBC was taken with Brilliant Color on

The image from Fast Money on CNBC was taken with Brilliant Color off
+The image from Fast Money on CNBC was taken with Brilliant Color off

Full Color Management System - CMS

The BenQ W1080ST does have a full set of controls for adjusting grayscale (Gain, and Bias for R, G, and B), but also a full CMS to individually tune each primary and secondary color.  This is what you expect in expensive home theater projectors.  Few projectors in the price range of the W1080ST projector provide this much control.  That’s a good thing too, as the one thing the W1080ST is missing is a color saturation control.  It isn’t easy but you can effect reducing color saturation using all the individual color controls.

More on calibration on the Calibration page , and under Performance.

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