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Thread: Angry Dad's BENQ W1210ST gaming projector review

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    DILLIGAF GoNz0's Avatar
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    Angry Dad's BENQ W1210ST gaming projector review

    Angry Dad’s BenQ W1210ST review.


    I have never dabbled in owning home projectors but I have an extensive background in projectors, I spent 7 years working for a company providing onsite service to among other things! Projectors including BenQ as it happens, we also covered Epson, Hitachi, Toshiba, Casio & Smart so my review is based on price and technology as well as how pretty it looks on my Ikea blind!

    As it stands I am 2 years out of the loop as I changed careers so I am going in blind on this but still I am probably going to be more critical than most but it is better to find out before you buy rather than after you have a problem. The reason I never owned one is mainly price and maintenance costs as you can expect to throw £100+ at a new lamp and a simple vacuum over the fan grills will suffice on my plasma TV.

    The review is meant to be based on console gaming but the closest I will get to that is a game of GTA5 on my laptop (Dell XPS 15 with the 1050 NVIDIA card so it is a very capable portable gaming rig) to see how that side of things work, I will also be looking at it as a home cinema projector.

    Initial impressions were the size of it, it is on the large side for portability and it is aimed at something you can take with your Xbox to your mate’s house. in 2010 this sort of size would be great, better than taking your games pc and monitor anyway but in 2017 it is a bit bigger than what I consider portable but this is part due to a reused chassis and large fans to keep the noise level down as you would expect in home cinema projectors. Looking at what you can get around the £1k mark you have plenty of options for decent all-rounders but this seems to be a 1st aimed at gamers.

    It has a nice menu system, a basic graphical initial menu along with an advanced mode that is best described as a typical projector menu and something I have seen for nearly a decade, why change something that isn’t broken, I like the advanced system as it is so easy to leave out the advanced features, thanks benQ for not locking that out.

    It has a very nice lens but no optical keystone adjustment, just the expected zoom and focus behind a sliding door to prevent light bleed. I would like to see optical keystone at this price range as you need to get the projector setup in the correct position and it has no sideways keystone setting at all only vertical. Optical adjustments wishful thinking at this price but why leave out sideways keystone or 4 corner keystone, it is only a bit of software code after all. I do not like any form of digital keystone as at the end of the day this reduces your usable pixel count so a single click of the keystone and you no longer have 1080x1920. I used to spend a lot of time explaining this to customers when they complained about image quality when it was due to them not having the projector mounted correctly to start with. The good thing for BenQ with this being a middle of the room on the table projector is being able to adjust its feet, move it sideways and when needed to stick a few books under it until the image fills the screen. I would prefer a screw adjuster on the front rather than the ratchet type but this is normal on most projectors anyway.


    Anyway, gripes out the way and the scripted review guide in the Recycle Bin after a quick look I will begin. (I am not a fan of being told what to do)

    It will happily do 200” with very respectable brightness, in fact I was taken back by the brightness at its 200” maximum rating, so was my 7-year-old as my movie of choice was Angry Birds due to the bright vibrant colours, and yes it does deliver, fast mode was off for the film to allow a better quality image and the room was very dark as her room has the Ikea blackout blind.

    Latency wise set to fast mode (This means all post processing is disabled normally) I couldn’t really see if it is faster than my laptop, the XPS-9560 has a great screen let down by latency in some cases but in my opinion the problem is the XPS can’t clear the image fast enough so it causes trails, it is >30ms while the BenQ is around 16ms, my 50" 5-year-old plasma Panasonic on the other hand seems to match the BenQ so hardcore console gamers will be impressed if they are used to a standard TV that doesn't have a form of game mode to turn off all the bells and whistles to bring the lag down to acceptable levels. It certainly puts the laptop screen to shame when I play a game and at the end of the day if you're taking this to a mate’s house colour reproductions down the list and filling the wall with GTA is top of the list. Looking at a latency it is half of the next best, that being an older BenQ as it happens, after that numbers rise to the 90's so basically terrible if you have an old projector. This is on par with a modern high end TV lag wise provided you turn off everything or stick it in game mode. It isn’t a 2ms gaming monitor but I guess it isn’t aimed at the PC crew as the scripted review is aimed at console games hence me using my laptop to give the review some bias.

    I tried it on the good old Ikea blackout blind and I am rather impressed, so long as you don't have a calibrated screen next to it you would be more than happy with the colours (I shut the laptop screen at this point as consoles don’t tend to have a built-in screen)
    I am pleased to see no image trails in fast moving scenes but I am not used to looking at such a large 1080p image, it is twice the size of my 50" plasma so my head was bobbing around the image trying to keep up, you can easily move the projector back to a 200" screen and have a bright image but it may look more like Nintendo Wii pixel wise if you are close to be warned!
    If you have a dark room and are used to having to sit in front of your 32” TV to play games then get this filling 200 inches of real estate you are in for a treat sat across the room.
    Some DLP based projectors suffer from the dreaded rainbow effect, this is not the case, it was noticed once and that was when I walked into the room and across the image at a fair pace, I did spot it and soon realised this doesn't happen when you are sat watching the image so it isn't an issue.

    Something I really like is the ability to tell it what colour surface you are using, my dining room has some form of pink and setting the projector to a red background kept the whites looking very white, a very good idea but you could allow custom colours to make this perfect rather than a very limited range.

    It has a good remote, backlit for dark rooms and a button that seems to glow so you can find it in the dark. Front and top remote sensors but of course you are always best to aim it at the screen as all projector remotes are more than capable to pick up a reflected signal making it a more natural way to use it.

    Getting down to business I plugged in the Xbox gamepad and loaded GTA5 then headed into a night map with the projector set to game mode, curtains shut of course but daylight outside. Lag wise it is more than acceptable compared to the XPS15 panel, zero ghosting and to my 42-year-old eyes lag free play, it did make my XPS15 panel look the same latency wise along with a lot less detail in very dark scenes, the XPS is a adobe 100% calibrated panel so this is to be expected. Simply put I can see a lot more in the shadows on my laptop, at this point I loaded up my games rig with my aging Dell 2407 screen that has a very respectable 6ms response time and could see the same details on this once high end monitor.
    At this point I opened the curtains letting direct sunlight in and switched to game bright, happily I could make just enough but the image was more washed out than before but still playable, not at its rated maximum of 200” but 100” was fine.

    After my blast on GTA5 projector noise was average and drowned out my Ultrabook screaming at 4500rpm, looking into the side I could see one fan was still turned off and the only way to bring this into play was activating high altitude mode, something I doubt you would ever need to use. maybe in summer when temps are warmer this would kick in but the projector was happy leaving it off for my review. As predicted the heat coming out would be enough to style your hair!

    BF1 was next, this is a lot more fast paced and you can tell it has respectable latency figures as inputs seemed instant to me, I would expect the Counter Strike crowd to scream lag regardless at 16ms but I also doubt they could handle having to look around such a large screen area anyway. In BF1 on my laptop I seem to die even when I seem to have got the 1st shot off a hell of a lot more than playing on my games rig, lag can "always" be blamed for this (nothing to do with me being old of course) and along with my 2407 monitor the BenQ seemed to help my poor gaming skills but I ended up moving the projector closer to the wall to shrink things down so I could see more without moving my head as much. This also helps with quality as 1080 resolution on such a large surface seriously reduces the quality of such an immense game (who plays a FPS across the room?)

    Having built in speakers is nice but ignore what it says on the box, these are small certainly not immersive. I am used to Bose headphones on my laptop, Sennheiser PC350's on my games PC and a rather nice 5.1 setup in the front room and 3.1 on the PC when I get the house to myself so this is a "make do" situation when you take this to a mate’s house. If you sit just behind the projector I would call them mediocre. I do like my sound systems though so this was never going to be any good in my eyes, just a shame it is hyped up so much on the box.
    When it 1st loaded BF1 all they did was fart a lot until I took the volume to 30% then they resembled my laptop, this also farts a lot playing BF1’s intro sequence unless the volume is below 50% but it’s a laptop and this is a projector so you get what you get.

    If you are playing alone then headphones would be the better option if you have nothing else.

    Would I buy this. In short I initially I thought no as I have no real need for a gaming projector but read down a bit and I changed my mind. I personally would go for a home cinema setup as gaming in the front room wouldn't happen often and would probably be in the form of a Wii U having a laugh after several drinks so lag wouldn't really come into it. It really is aimed at gaming with friends in the front room/bedroom and not so much the online gaming scene in my opinion but my opinion does change when you load the latest alpha of "Star Citizen" as 200" of cockpit looks frikkin awesome. I got my extra-long HDMI lead out, placed the projector upside down on a cushion on top of a box on top of my gaming desk making this almost ceiling mounted 3 meters (ish) from the wall, gamepad plugged into the PC reversed the speakers and turned my chair, feet up on the dining room table around to 200 inch of cockpit. I did this as a bit of an afterthought late last night and umm well it started getting light outside before I finally gave up and went to bed. Totally and utterly amazing flying a spaceship through an immense universe on a screen this size, sod the size of the pixels.

    What is my ideal situation for this being a generation older than most gamers, I think it would be excellent paired with a Nintendo Switch and the party games they advertise. I am giving it serious consideration along with a projector screen in the front room, you wouldn’t be able to find a fault in this situation. For me though I am blown away playing Star Citizen on a 200” screen even in smart eco mode this delivers results & possibly whiplash
    Last edited by GoNz0; 11-06-2017 at 09:28 AM. Reason: spelling

    Capitalization is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack
    off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse.

  2. #2
    DILLIGAF GoNz0's Avatar
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    Re: Angry Dad's BENQ W1210ST review

    Continued.

    To conclude, plus points.
    • It really has a genuine game mode and a corner of the market not exploited until now.
    • Anyone can have this setup in 5 minutes and be playing games.
    • It is well built using tried and tested parts so it doesn’t hide any gremlins.
    • It really can deliver at 200” although it is marketed at 100” and pulls this off very well.
    • Decent quality carry case with room for all the cables you need.
    • It’s quiet due to large fans





    And taking points away.
    • It is on the large side but this is to keep it cool and quiet.
    • Speakers are not that good for low end sounds.
    • Price, it is an expensive investment and you need to consider buying a screen to go with it along with lamp replacements down the line.
    • No built-in Wi-Fi, at this price point along with the fact most of this is from a previous model it should really be included instead of an expensive optional extra.

    I did take pictures and video's but straight after installing the windows creators update via the fast ring, I didn't realise but it messed up the video drivers and framerates were seriously reduced. I was filming on my Sony A77m2 at a very dodgy angle so you can see the laptop and the projected image to show the lack of lag between them both. Unfortunately instead of a solid 60FPS I was getting 15-30 at the time of filming, I had intended to redo the video today but my camera decided to take a huge dump and I face a wait for a replacement so I may update the video's later.

    BF1 Intro
    https://youtu.be/RyQbOBUPqUg

    GTAv intro (NSFW, this has swearing a few seconds in)
    https://youtu.be/1GIr1pJ8uME

    Random shots through the fan



    GTAV



    Front view


    Top views,



    Rear shot




    If you made it this far, thanks for reading
    Last edited by GoNz0; 11-06-2017 at 09:29 AM.

    Capitalization is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack
    off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse.

  3. Received thanks from:

    peterb (04-04-2017)

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