Projector Reviews

BenQ EW800ST Smart Classroom Projector Review – Performance

BenQ EW800ST Smart Classroom Projector Review – Performance: Brightness, Contrast, Audible Noise

Brightness

Color Mode Lumens (Full Power) Lumens (ECO)
Bright 4445 4050
Presentation 2611 2060
Infographic 2695 2145
Video 2851 2286
sRGB 2724 2300

BenQ claims 3,300 lumens for the EW800ST. Its brightest mode, Bright, beat its claim by a long shot! That mode measured 4,445 with the lamp at full power. This mode, not surprisingly, has strong greens and yellows, however, so it is not recommended for use unless the ambient light in the room is uncontrollable. For most rooms, any of the other modes will do just fine.

On the previous page, I had rated Presentation Mode as the best mode for presentations in ambient light conditions, but as you see in the chart here, it measured a handful of lumens less than Infographic Mode, at 2,611 lumens. Presentation mode is more saturated, and appears brighter, even though it is not. Infographic Mode is the best mode for presentations in terms of color, and is plenty bright in the face of ambient light, as you will see in the photos within the next section. That mode measured 2,695 lumens.

sRGB has the best color of all the modes, and is even brighter than Infographic Mode at 2,724. This is the best mode for video, but could also be used for presentations if you so desired. I just found that Infographic was more true to color on presentations than sRGB, which has a warmer tone to it that looks great on skin tones. Video Mode measured at 2,851 lumens. Any of these modes will be sufficiently bright for most K-12 classroom environments, and even medium sized university classrooms.

Contrast

The BenQ EW800ST has a contrast claim of 20,000:1. When it comes to contrast, we concern ourselves with how the projector performs in terms of black levels. How blacks do the blacks look? Do they look true black, dark grey, or, at worst, light grey. Business and education projectors tend to hang out in the medium grey to medium dark grey spectrum, and we don’t expect them to have true black.

This BenQ has entry-level black level performance, which is what I would expect on a sub $1000 education projector. In fact, the black levels are about as good as any home entertainment projector in the same price range. All this to say, the black level performance of the EW800ST is satisfactory. I have provided two images, overexposed, one in color and one in monochrome, to demonstrate what the blacks looks like in reality.

Audible Noise

The EW800ST has a rated fan noise of 33db at full power, 29db in ECO Mode. That’s pretty great considering my home theater projector has a rated fan noise of 31db, and those types of projectors are typically quieter than an education projector. While watching video content on this BenQ, I barely noticed the noise from the fan, even though the projector was sitting on a table top about two feet away from me. The speakers are powerful enough to cover any sound you might here.

This projector will likely be ceiling mounted, however, which would place the projector well above and in front of any students’ desks. Even if the fan can be heard, say, when projecting a presentation with no audio, it is not likely to be distracting. No more than the gentle hum of an A/C. Any sound they would hear would quickly fade into the background.

That does it for our review of the BenQ EW800ST projector! On the next page, I summarize everything you learned in the review, and tell you my take on the pros and cons to the EW800ST. See you on the last page!