BenQ W1080ST Home Theater Projector Review

W1080ST ISF certification

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The W1080ST has two extra savable modes specifically for a professional calibrator to use.  They are password protected by an ISF calibrator (should you hire one) to prevent you from messing those settings up.   If you want to save settings, there are savable User 1 and User 2 modes.

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W1080ST Smart-Eco mode

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Smart-Eco mode is interesting.  I never had to leave it.  On really bright scenes, it seems every bit as bright as full power, but on dark scenes it will save you lamp and power consumption.   Not a new technology – lamp dimming, but a fine implementation.  They indicate that switching to a darker scene can drop power consumption 40% or more.  They mention up to 70% energy savings, but they fail to specify how to get that much (a pitch black image?)  Seriously though.  I’d recommend starting in Smart-Eco.  Fool with the other two if you wish.

W1080ST Audio

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There’s a 10 watt speaker in the W1080ST projector. If your setup is permanent, you probably have a separate sound system. But if you are moving from room to room – the kids borrow it – or you borrow it from the kids, you probably don’t have a nice home theater system in each room. Oh, the sound quality is about what you would expect, no low bass at all, but not really tinny either.  What is important is that it does generate a decent amount of volume. Not enough bass to rattle your room, but you can use the audio output to feed a nice powered subwoofer – do that, and you can “rock the house.”

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W1080ST Lamp Life

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Darn impressive!!!  3500 hours at full power isn’t by any means the longest out there, there are now a number of 4000 hours and even a few 5000 hours.  But BenQ also claims 6000 hours in Smart-Eco!  That really is as long as I have seen, short of a solid state (LED/laser) light source, at least in home projectors.

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When playing with Smart Eco, even on the brightest scenes, there’s virtually no detectable difference. But when your projector is idling, say when you pause a movie, or as when I have paused my DirecTV box, and there’s just a small graphic, bouncing on the screen, the BenQ can go into lower power consumption modes.  According to them, a drop of up to 70% from full power is doable when there’s nothing seriously bright to project.  Along with the lower power draw possible at times in Smart-Eco, BenQ claims an extra 1000 hours of lamp life – making it 6000 hours, in Smart Eco, compared to standard Eco mode.  I assume that depends on usage.  If you are watching nothing but bright sporting events, I would suspect lamp life would be close to standard mode.

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