BenQ LW61ST - Physical Tour
May 28, 2012 - Art Feierman
BenQ LW61ST Appearance
It is a box, but, beyond that, the BenQ LW61ST is very cool looking. Or perhaps I should just say bold looking. The lens hood and cosmetics behind the lens are bright irridescent blue.
The front consists of the large lens area offset to the right (if facing the projector). An IR sensor for the remote completes the front (along with venting). Two adjustable feet are located underneath the front, with a single rear foot "bar" in the back center, for a 3 point stance.
The control panel is located on the top of the projector toward the back. The focus ring for the lens is also on the top, just behind the front of the lens, and recessed. All the inputs and connectors are located on the back.
Moving to the top rear of the projector you will find the control panel. The projectors functions can all be controlled via the control panel, but it certainly is much easier to navigate the menu system with the remote.
This BenQ LW61ST, as well as the LX60ST, are filter free, for less maintenance.
LW61ST Setup and Control Panel
The greatest challenge of setting up this BenQ projector comes from its fixed lens. Without any zoom on the lens, to fill a screen perfectly requires finely adjusting the distance of the projector to the screen. This, however is very common with ultra-short, and very-short throw projectors, as few of them have any zooming ability at all.
From a practical standpoint, you would be adjusting the placement of the projector by an inch or two forward or back, when you are close, to get it to exactly fill the screen.
Of course, if ceiling mounting, or wall mounting, this is a one time adjustment to be done by the installer. As a portable projector, though, fully filling the screen correctly is a minor challenge. This is standard stuff, as noted, for short throw projectors.
The control panel on the top has a clean layout. As you can see, the power button is separate, just to the right.
The three rows of three consist of:
Navigation arrows - in a diamond configuration (top center, center left, center right, and bottom center).
Menu in the top left corner. It doubles as the Exit button when you wish to leave the menus. Auto setup is in the upper right - designed to lock onto a computer analog signal.
In the center-center position, is the Enter button when navigating. It will toggle you through the different modes, however, when not in the menus. The lower left is the Eco-Blank button, which blanks the screen instantly, while reducing power consumption about 90% (per BenQ). The lower right button provides Source selection. Also of note, those left and right arrow buttons (when in the Menus) function as Volume Up and Down, when not in menu mode. It is all pretty straightfoward, and typical.
LX61ST Lens Throw
You have already read that this lens is fixed - that is, no zoom abilities. And you know it's short throw. The magic number is 0.49. That's the ratio of distance from the screen compared to screen width. Thus, for a screen that is 80 inches wide, the distance from the screen, to the front of the lens, is 0.49x80 = 39.2 inches. For any 16:10 (WXGA) shaped screen, that's how you figure the distance to this projector. If the screen is 60 inches wide, then it would be 29.4 inches away. Even the 39 inches and change, is not too long for today's wall mounts designed for short throw projectors.
Best to look at some images of the main menus, from left to right:
A few key sub-menus for your consideration:
BenQ is another one of those companies with an overall well organized menu design and feel, and has been sticking with mostly the same basic look for many years. As a former owner of a BenQ with a not dissimilar menu structure, I always found it to be well laid out - logical. The same holds for this LW61ST projector.
LW61ST Projector Remote Control
BenQ's remote control is compact, with lots of small buttons in the top and bottom halves, but with a very large navigation area in the middle.
The top section has the obligatory Power On switch, and in this case, a separate Power Off button. They are green and red, respectively. Then come two rows of buttons for source selection, and a third row, with Eco-Blank, Auto (setup) and Menu/Exit
Below that is the usual navigation in a round configuration with the Enter button in the center. When not "navigating" the center button lets you toggle through the different picture Modes.
Below that, comes a single yellow button - holding it down lights the laser pointer. Below that, five more rows of three buttons. 10 of them make up the numeric keypad, however each of those takes on a different function when not in the menus. Those include:
Page Up/Page Down, Digital Zoom In/Out, Volume Up/Down, Freeze frame, Aspect ratio, and Mute.
The last two rows have Network Settings, Smart Eco mode, Mic Volume Up/Down, and the Test and Capture buttons.
No backlight, but that's typical of business education projectors. Overall, a very functional remote. It is light weight, is sculpted to fit most hands nicely, and has good, ot exceptional range. 20 feet was no problem at all, even with a bounce off our screen.