BenQ W1080ST Home Theater Projector Review

The Very Bottom Line on the W1080ST projector:

Almost every projector has some real strengths.  And every projector can be improved upon.

The BenQ W1080ST home entertainment (or home theater) projector joins its sibling, the W1070, as one of my favorite low cost home projectors.  One or the other should serve you well.   If your projector isn’t mounted, and perhaps it’s mobile – moved from room to room, or even outside, or maybe you need to borrow it for business presentations.  After all, it’s a very capable small portable projector with good resolution, built in sound, and all the necessary inputs for business and education presentations.

You get a typical warranty which is to say, one year.  That’s the same as most, but a few competitors offer two, or three year warranties.  Nothing to write home about, but one year is what most of the competition offers, as well.

I’ve barely mentioned it, but the projector does leak a little more light that most.  The light leakage is more than most, but not an issue in the typical family room.  Even in a dedicated home theater you might easily spot it when looking, but it wouldn’t likely be on your radar when watching content.

Mike calibrated this projector with Brilliant Color on.  For most folks who will get it calibrated, unless you have a really large screen, you might want to go with Brilliant Color off.  BenQ’s implementation of Brilliant Color seems excellent.  It’s loss of color palette and naturalness is very slight. With some competitors turning on BC takes a very noticeable toll in the projector’s skin tones and general imaqe quality.  Well done BenQ.  Still, BC off is the more natural choice.

If only black level performance was better.  Then this projector could slug it out with projectors twice the price. But isn’t that always the case – spend more, get more?

In summary, like its twin, the W1080ST projector on both Blu-ray disc and HDTV, offers color that is accurate and a forgiving easy to view image quality. There’s no shortage of “Wow factor!”  Certainly not on medium to brighter scenes, although it would take better blacks to really knock your socks off, on dark scenes.

It’s cute, it’s got serious performance for the bucks, and is almost unique in its short throw design.  The BenQ W1080ST projector should make an excellent choice for those wanting to mount close, or using this projector on table top and for multiple locations.  I’m certainly not going to stop you from breaking out your credit card.  This W1080ST is a good value!

BenQ W1080ST Projector: Pros and Cons

BenQ W1080ST Projector: Pros

  • Offers unusual short throw lens, sits about half the distance from the screen as most others, great for people to not walk through the image
  • One of the brightest 2D and 3D projectors (calibrated) that we’ve reviewed under $2,000
  • For those rainbow sensitive, minimal rainbows – excellent for the price!
  • Respectable blacks on dark scenes
  • Handles very large screens effortly for 2D viewing.
  • Does a decent to good job on medium and some larger screens for 3D
  • Extremely good color overall color! (calibrated, very good out of the box)
  • Calibrates very easily – it’s most of the way there to begin with
  • Excellent shadow detail
  • Excellent lamp life (3500 hours/5000 hours/ 6000 hours)
  • HDMI 1.4a inputs (2) support for Blu-ray 3D content
  • 10 watt speaker provide respectable audio when not hooked up to a surround sound system, great out back for a summer festival, or in any room for a quick setup
  • Audio output to feed a larger sound system
  • Like the W1070, the W1080ST offers a really good value proposition!

BenQ W1080ST Projector: Cons

  • Biggest nuisance is the lack of  a working Color Saturation control when the source is HDMI!
  • Black level performance is good for the price but no match for serious “ultra high contrast” projectors
  • 3D glasses could really be lighter and more comfortable
  • Glasses could also be RF instead of IR, and rechargeable instead of changing batteries
  • Only front foot and one rear foot are adjustable, having both rear adjustable would simplify for table top setups – that’s a drag, for a “home entertainment” projector
  • 1 year warranty could be longer (but is typical for the price)
  • Could leak a bit less light (but not serious)
  • Could be quieter in full power mode, though typical for a home “entertainment” projector.
  • Lacks CFI – creative frame interpolation – a plus for for sports.  CFI generally starts with more expensive projectors
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