While TV sizes are constantly growing, projectors have always been the go-to choice for those looking to build a home theatre. Long the domain of the affluent, budget projectors have finally made possible for the more modest consumer to create a home theatre. To this end, BenQ has released the W1080ST, with its ‘ST’ denoting Short Throw. This allows it to be used in compact spaces while still delivering huge pictures.
While the ST term hasn’t been bandied around much, its inclusion is significant for those who has compact living quarters. To give one an idea of the kind of throw ratios this projector offers, the W1080ST is able to project a 65in image from only a distance of 1m. This opens up the possibility of turning a relatively small living space into a serviceable home cinema environment. With the projector so close to the screen, you also won’t get people walking in front of the projector; this makes console gaming with the Kinect or Wii a real treat.
Beautiful out of the Box
I might have been impressed with the potential of the Short Throw lens but what really sealed the deal for me was the picture quality; simply put, it is amazing. The image produced is exceptionally clear and sharp with a tremendous amount of detail. It isn’t so sharp that it produces grainy images but just enough that a large majority of movie buffs will find themselves quite chuff with what they are watching. Moving objects exhibited a slight hit to clarity but nothing too major. As for brightness, BenQ makes it impressive while still producing excellent black levels. Using the standard Cinema preset, colours proved to be vibrant and punchy, with a palette mix fleshing everything out.
Even so, enthusiasts may still feel the need to adjust the picture quality as it does sometimes appear to be too warm with certain tones standing out. Unfortunately, if you’re connected through HDMI, you’ll only be able to adjust the temperature, brightness and contrast; only analogue inputs allow adjustments to the colour and tone, which is a shame.
No Longer a Pipe Dream
The BenQ is a dream come true for movie buffs on a budget, with excellent picture quality and a convenience not many projectors can offer. Whether it is movie watching or gaming, the W1080ST handled it with aplomb, dazzling everyone in the room. Unfortunately, if 3D is your thing, you’ll have to buy the glasses separately as BenQ does not include them in the box. You might also want to get your own speakers to complete the cinematic experience; it may seem obvious, but the built-in speakers weren’t exactly meant to blast Hans Zimmer epics. Throughout this review, I really struggled to find something negative to say about the W1080ST, which speaks volumes about the value and quality of this home cinematic wonder.
Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (16:9)
Throw ratio: 0.69 – 0.83
Brightness: 2000 Lumens
Contrast ratio: 10000:1s
Image size: 38in – 300in
Ports: HDMI (x2), Component, Composite, S-Video
Size: 104 x 312 x 244 mm
Verdict: Sharp picture quality along with punchy colours makes this a fantastic choice for a compact home cinema experience.
Total Score: 8.6/10
This review was written by Daryl Tan, and an be found in the December issue of PC.com.