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Thread: The Bloggs Report - BenQ W1210ST Gaming Projector

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    Pork & Beans Powerup Phage's Avatar
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    The Bloggs Report - BenQ W1210ST Gaming Projector

    Firstly, let me thank Hexus and BenQ for providing me with such a generous prize

    Background and Specifications.

    The BenQ is a native 1080p DLP projector that normally retails at approximately £950 as at the time of writing. It’s core feature set from the BenQ blurb is as follows.

    Low Input Lag for Smoother Gaming
    Unique Game Mode/ Game Bright Mode
    10Wx2 Speakers Powered by BenQ CinemaMaster Audio Enhancer
    Superior Short Throw Projection (100” @ 1.5 meter)
    Native 1080p Full-HD Image Quality
    Spectacular Color Delivered by Optimized 6x RGBRGB Color Wheel for video Gaming

    Benq have targeted a niche for console gaming on the sofa with a massive screen and built in speakers to make the projector as simple as possible to set up and use. The projector comes with its own nylon carry bag, remote and quick start guide, with the manual on a CDROM. There is no included HDMI lead, but this is hardly a problem in the modern home where most equipment uses this connector.



    Testing

    As a long standing member of the PC Master race I do not own a console, but luckily my friend Steve has both an Xbox, a spare white wall, and is home at the moment so has the time to sit down with me and play video games. All in the name of science, of course !



    Unfortunately, all projectors by their nature perform best in darker environments, and we had agreed to meet on possibly the sunniest Sunday afternoon for the year so far. So we drew the curtains, and balanced a picture in the other window to reduce the ambient light level as far as possible.

    I also brought with me a set of External PC speakers (Creative T20) to subjectively test the performance of the built in sound on the projector. Setup was indeed as easy as advertised. Correcting for keystone, and focus was a matter of moments and could be done from the comfort of the sofa with the supplied remote. Things were starting to look very promising.




    Total setup time was probably ten minutes and included finding an extension lead to move the XBox closer to the Projector from its normal home under the TV as I only had a 1.5m HDMI cable. I’ll return to this point later, but ease of setup was definite success.

    With the screen setup and the windows drawn it was time for some Xbox action.



    My lack of photography skills do not do justice to how amazing this experience was. The key word here is immersion. Immersion is a massive step up from a monitor, and GTA 5 had me trying to counter steer with my body. No-one wanted to hand over the controller at the end of their ‘turn’.

    Taking our hint from the manual we set the projector to ‘Gaming’ and bright and found that reproduction of the colours and contrast were much better than I had seen on other projectors, and more than adequate for some 1080p racing. The visuals appeared sharp, with good colour and reasonable contrast, given the limits of what a projector can do. Whilst I do not own the technology to scientifically test the input lag, it felt smooth and very responsive to player inputs. In some instances it felt better than my monitor.

    We also successfully tested streaming from an Andoid tablet before moving onto movies. In all cases the projector was truly Plug-n-Play.



    For the purposes of testing the projector on more mundane task of movies we needed an action film, and settled on a Bond movie as likely to have a mix of high-speed action and shots set in dark locations.

    In a word, it was brilliant.



    Even in the darkest of shots, with a lot of ambient light the pictures were excellent. Naturally they suffer from not having a backlit screen and it is not using the latest 4k or OLED technology, but these are countered by the huge screen and truly immersive feeling.



    There is only one criticism that I can offer on the projector, as I strongly believe that any comparisons with traditional TVs is not appropriate, and that is the built-in 10w speakers. Whilst they are adequate, and certainly provide ease of set-up, they do not match the excellence of the display. The external speakers were really needed to provide the immersion that the projector delivers.

    I have read with interest some of the reasons recently posted by readers of Hexus.net of their reasons for not owning a projector. Obviously I cannot comment on the price of the unit or replacement bulbs, but other perceived issues were the heat given off by the projector, and the noise of the cooling fans.

    The BenQ certainly kicks out heat, the exhaust was quite warm, but the fans were almost inaudible. You can’t hear them at all when playing, or viewing a movie with either the in-built or external speakers. The projector is whisper quiet.

    Conclusion


    A superb piece of kit that I think really ticks the box of image quality as well as providing a silky smooth gaming experience whose immersion has to be seen to be believed. Ease of set-up and configuration is another very strong point.

    Where I feel a little confused, is with the quality of the image and the pricing of the unit. I would imagine that anyone who is going to spend this sort of money will demand a sound system to match the image. Once you start adding surround set up, the ease of use starts to diminish.

    For example, if we imagine that we are in an average lounge room, the games console and possibly amp/speakers will be in one corner. In order to set up the projector you will need to rummage down the back of the entertainment stack and connect some very long leads, as well as the extension cable to supply power to the projector in the centre of the room.

    My suspicion is that anyone who will buy this projector will have it setup permanently at the heart of a home cinema, to really get the most from the frankly amazing gaming and movie visuals, rather than a more casual plonking in the middle of the room. It can be made casual, but it deserves much more.
    Last edited by Phage; 12-04-2017 at 08:29 PM.
    Society's to blame,
    Or possibly Atari.

  2. Received thanks from:

    scaryjim (12-04-2017),Terbinator (09-04-2017)

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