Projector Reviews

BenQ W1500 Projector: Performance 3

BENQ W1500 PERFORMANCE PAGE 3:  IMAGE NOISE, AUDIBLE NOISE, RAINBOW EFFECT (RBE)

W1500 Projector - Image Noise

Based on a good deal of general viewing, and of course, walking up close to the screen to look at some of the finer points of image noise, and running a couple of tests, let’s just say that the BenQ W1500 Projector passes easily.

Like most DLP projectors, including the W1070 and W1080ST we also reviewed, I found mosquito noise – that general background noise, to be more visible than on other technology projectors.  Of course, the only other technology in the price range is 3LCD, as LCoS start a lot higher price wise.

Panning was very smooth on 24fps movies without any fancy noise reduction.

But most importantly, there was no heavy “noise” that can show up in close ups of faces, and some types of gradients.  That type of noise tends to make the image look like there isn’t enough color palette, and/or too much contrast.   This is an area where the BenQ’s do great, and by comparison, the Optoma DLP’s suffer significant issues.  Acer falls somewhere between the two, but is definitely more acceptable than those Optomas (like the HD25-LV).

In this image gallery, the same closeup of Jennifer Lawrence from The Hunger Games is shown first from the W1500, then the Optoma HD25-LV which definitely shows some noise problems when you look at her cheeks, third is a nice expensive $3500 LCoS projector (the JVC X35) which does really well.  I didn’t take this image with the Pro Cinema 4030, but here’s  a similar image from Epson’s $999 HC2030.  It too also has less of a problem than the DLP projectors.

It should be noted that both DLP projectors, the BenQ and Optoma had Brilliant Color engaged, which can add to the noise, but even without Brilliant Color both showed more such noise than any of the non-DLP competition as well.

Before you panic, while this type of noise is something worth noting, it is going to be less noticeable when you are viewing a movie, rather than a paused image.  Even so, the Optoma of this group, is still visibly inferior to the others, while the BenQ’s issue is only slightly noticeable when viewing, and probably not an issue unless it specifically bugs you.

Audible Noise - W1500 Projector

Single chip DLP projectors have never been known for being particularly quiet in terms of fan noise, etc.   This BenQ W1500 is no exception.  At full power, it is another over 30 db projector, but that puts it in good company, including with some favorites of mine like the Epson 4030 and 5030UB.

Those of us who are the most noise adverse will not like this or the other BenQ projectors when running at full power.  Fortunately, for movie viewing this projector is sufficiently bright that most folks can use the far quieter – and not at all an issue, Eco modes.

All considered audible noise should not be a problem for the vast majority who buy this projector.  I tend only to notice the fan noise if there’s silence “on the screen”, or when I’m taking images (with the movie paused).    I don’t consider myself to be particularly noise adverse, as rarely has a projector running at full power, made enough noise to really get my attention.

Rainbow Effect - BenQ W1500

One thing I have always liked about BenQ.  They’ve taken RBE – the rainbow effect more seriously that most other DLP projector manufacturers.  I am rainbow sensitive, but barely spot any rainbows when viewing typical content where they appear (dark scenes with bright white areas moving across the dark, is a great example).

BenQ’s info is a little murky, but considering most of their competition tends to not even say what their color wheel speeds are, I shouldn’t complain.  The only “if” relates to the actual speed.  The brochure says that this is a 6 segment, 6X speed color wheel.  But it also says @ 50 hz.   Now I’m trying to remember what that means, but I think that the the wheel runs at 6x if the projector is running in a 50 hz world such as in the EU.  It may well only be running at 5X in the US.  But, even if it is only 5X, this projector’s lack of rainbows would seem particularly good.

In the old days, I used to own DLP projectors (BenQs in fact), despite the rainbow effect.  However, as other technologies dramatically improved black level performance and other aspects, I haven’t owned a DLP in years.   But the bottom line is, I could own this BenQ because I rarely see the rainbows.  I might notice 2-3 times in an entire movie, as opposed to noticing dozens of times, whenever there’s a rainbow unfriendly scene.  It’s nice to have a DLP projector this low in price with so little issue with rainbows.  If this projector met all my other requirements better than the competition, it’s RBE would not prevent me from owning it.

The image here of Florence and the Machine performing in a fairly dark Church, provided content that would generate lots of visible rainbows, on a projector with a lesser color wheel, but, again, I barely noticed at all.

If you are not rainbow sensitive, do try to remember that some of your family members or friends just might be.  Still, few have a serious problem except with projectors with very slow color wheels such as 2X, and some others, with 3X wheels.

Click Image to Enlarge