Posted on April 1, 2020 By Nikki Zelinger
The BenQ EW800ST is a DLP, WXGA (1280 x 800) resolution, short throw projector with smart capabilities. It is primarily positioned as a classroom projector, but is suitable for conference rooms and meeting rooms where its feature set would be useful. BenQ calls this an interactive projector, but it is not interactive in the same sense of other interactive projectors we’ve reviewed. Those types of projectors allow for annotation of presentations and lesson material with interactive pens or finger-touch technology. This does not have that, but it does have several smart capabilities that streamline efficiency.
We’ll begin with a brief overview of the projector and a preview of its highlights before starting a deeper discussion of its special features. We’ll take a close look at the projector’s hardware, then get into the good stuff – the projector’s picture quality and performance. I’ll summarize everything for you on our last page, as well as provide some insights into the competition and this projector’s pros and cons.
We wish to thank Epson America for sponsoring this year’s Best Classroom Projectors Report.
The BenQ EW300ST is a lamp based projector, with a lifespan of up to 10,000 in its ECO modes. At full power, you can expect the projector to go for around 5,000 hours.
This BenQ has WXGA resolution (1280 x 800), which is the education world’s 720p. It’s the lower resolution of HD, with a different aspect ratio. The aspect ratio, or width/height ratio of the projected image, is 16:10 instead of 16:9, so make sure you get a 16:10 screen if you’re buying a new screen.
WXGA is plenty sharp for K-12 applications. In education, you really only need the higher resolutions for special circumstances. For example, a video production, photography, yearbook, or graphic design class may want to have a WUXGA. Higher education may have more of a need for WUXGA, but rarely 4K, except in the case of medical films, scientific renderings, simulation, architecture, film and design applications.
The BenQ EW800ST claims 3,300 lumens, which is bright enough to handle the ambient light found in most classrooms. In most cases, you may need to only dim the lights to get a vibrant picture. There is a deeper discussion about ambient light later in this review.
An infographic, projected by the BenQ EW800ST in sRGB Mode.
A presentation slide, projected by the BenQ EW800ST in Infographic Mode.
A website, projected by the BenQ EW800ST in Infographic Mode.
The EW800ST is a mere $999. That is excellent for a smart interactive projector. It’s not your typical interactive projector, as it does not have the usual pens and touch functions, but it does have some exciting features that make this projector truly unique – this is why it received our Special Interest Award.
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