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BenQ W1350 DLP 3D Projector Review

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Can an all rounder impress all round?

by Phil Hinton Jul 31, 2015

  • Home AV review

    7,811

    BenQ W1350 DLP 3D Projector Review
    SRP: £799.00

    What is the BenQ W1350?

    The W1350 is being marketed as an entertainment projector and not a home cinema model. BenQ are positioning this single chip DLP model as a unit which can be used for big screen sport, gaming and the odd movie viewing but hidden away when not required. Cables can also be a thing of the past with the addition of the wireless (optional) HDMI transmitter and receiver units so you can do away with that 20ft HDMI lead. Other features include easy placement and lens shift capabilities, a bright and colourful image with good motion handling and a price point (£920 as of July 2015) that makes it affordable for the occasional big screen viewing event in your living room. So let’s see if it's any good…

    Design, Connections and Control.

    BenQ W1350 Design, Connections and Control.

    Like most of the current BenQ line-up of affordable projectors the W1350 chassis is based on an old fashioned business body layout with the lens to the right (looking from the front) and the air exhaust to the left hand side. Under the lens is a push button which can be used to adjust the height of the front of the projector when table mounted. Above the lens there is a manual focus and zoom ring around the lens body and to the back of this area is another wheel which adjusts the lens shift. Introducing a lens shift is welcomed but as with most of the BenQ DLP line-up correct positioning at screen height and angle is very important to avoid any image alignment issues. Whatever you do, avoiding the keystone adjustment is a must, although with their projectors BenQ suggest using it to position their models off to the sides of the screen etc. for flexible placement. If image quality matters to you, we always advise avoiding such installation practices. To the top of the projector's chassis are further menu and control buttons should you lose the provided remote.

    The remote control included with the W1350 is a handy white number that is backlit for use in darker surroundings; a nice touch at this price point. The button layout is logical with the power buttons to the top along with a well-proportioned area for direction and OK keys with menu, back and source positioned just below them. We also have player buttons for CEC use and then direct access keys for the major picture setup controls. Overall the remote has a good weight, and although plastic in construction, button presses felt solid and it sits nicely in the hand, allowing access to all the available buttons and keys.

    BenQ W1350 Design, Connections and Control.

    Around the back of the BenQ W1350 we have an excellent range of connections available to hook up various sources. There are two HDMI inputs with MHL available on HDMI 2, one set of component, composite and VGA video inputs along with RS232C and 12V triggers. There are also audio inputs and outputs and two USB connectors. When using the wireless Full HD kit the unit attaches to the right side of the W1350 and is charged by the projector, so only one power cable is required.

    BenQ Unboxing Video


    Features

    One of the major selling points of the W1350 is the wireless Full HD kit for sending HDMI signals without any cabling. Wireless coverage can be up to 30 meters (100 feet) in distance at best, under line of sight, and there are four built-in antennas to ensure the best streaming quality through cabinet doors and from one room to the next. This allows the BenQ to be used for big occasion gaming, TV events or movies without laying cables every time and makes occasional set up easy. Having the ability to hide the projector away in a cupboard and bring it out for certain occasions, placing it down without needing any wiring (except the power cable), is appealing.

    One feature we don’t agree with from an image point of view is the claim that you can position the projector to the far sides of any screen and use the 4 axis keystone correction tool. If it was a power point presentation at work we wouldn’t be making any fuss about this but if you are watching football, gaming or even movies in any kind of serious manner, you should do your best to make sure the projector is set up and positioned correctly to get the best possible image without introducing artefacts through the use of keystone or similar settings.

    At the price the BenQ sells at we doubt anyone would seriously consider hiring a professional calibrator to get the most out of the image, but it is nice to see that even at this end of the market there are dedicated ISFccc controls and hidden menus. Thankfully the W1350 does a decent job out-of-the-box in terms of colour and greyscale (see below) so there is no need to really worry at this level of the market.

    The W1350 is a single chip (darkchip3) DLP projector and as such it uses a RGBRGB colour wheel which could cause issues with people susceptible to the 'rainbow effect' (flashes of light in fast moving scenes or when moving your head). Before purchasing such a projector we recommend you get a good demo of the unit or arrange with your dealer that you can return the unit if this becomes an issue for you.

    The BenQ W1350 DLP Projector is 3D capable and comes with one set of active shutter glasses free of charge in the box; additional glasses are available at extra cost.

    Picture Settings Out-of-the-Box

    Out-of-the-box the best settings on the BenQ W1350 came very close to being almost perfect against the standards for greyscale. We chose the Cinema Picture Mode, set the Brightness and Contrast for our viewing room and selected a Colour Temperature of Normal. Usually a Warm setting would get close out-of-the-box on most displays, but we found on the BenQ the Warm settings were not accurate at all. Colours were a little more disappointing, but completely understandable for a colour wheel DLP projector.

    The native colour gamut is restricted and will never be capable of reaching the Rec.709 colour space used for HD broadcast and Blu-ray content and as such colours do look slightly muted and off hue, especially in the green and cyan areas. This is a drawback of the technology used. If you have no intention of calibration then using the settings above will get you in the ball-park for watching film and TV as close as it is possible on the BenQ to the creator’s intent. You could pump up the brightness and ramp up the colour control for personal preference but doing so adds in more image artefacts and starts making skin tones look over tanned and unnatural.
    BenQ W1350 Picture Settings Out-of-the-Box
    BenQ W1350 Picture Settings Out-of-the-Box

    As you can see from the measurements of the best out-of-the-box settings the greyscale tracked very well with no visible errors or colour cast. Gamma tracked well to our review standard of 2.2 but was capable of producing good results at 2.4 and 2.6 if required, although there is more detail crush in the lower end near the (grey) black. As mentioned the colour gamut is restricted natively so the main concern here is luminance of the colours and these are slightly low out of the box across the whole range.

    However, if you are not calibrating we see no obvious issues when considering the likely environments this projector will be used in i.e. unlikely to be ideal for critical viewing.

    Picture Settings Calibrated

    Unusually for such a budget conscious projector the W1350 comes fully equipped with ISFccc controls, a hidden menu and night and day setting presets. It is debatable if any owner of this projector will ever pay for a professional calibration (exactly 1/3rd the costs of the W1350) and we would suggest the end results, given the restricted colour gamut, would not be worth the outlay. But here at AVForums we strive to find not only the best out-of-the-box settings to use, but also perform full calibrations on every display we review.

    Without measurement and repeatable tests, image quality reviews are nothing more than conjecture and subjective opinion on the part of the reviewer. Here we like to make sure that opinion is based on accurate testing and measurements married to years of experience. So even though in the real world there is little point performing a full calibration on the W1350, we can still push its performance to test how well it produces images and how accurate you can get. Plus, with measured testing and evaluation we can also feedback any issues with the display to the manufacturer with suggestions on how things could be improved.
    BenQ W1350 Picture Settings Calibrated
    BenQ W1350 Picture Settings Calibrated

    As we can see in the left hand graph we have been able to get the greyscale tracking to a DeltaE error of 1.5 maximum. Given that anything under 3 is usually, for most viewers, imperceivable this is a fantastic result and an important one as the main image canvas is now tracking perfectly as it should in the black to white ranges. There is no colour tint or cast to the image - it is neutral.

    Gamma is also tracking as we want it to at 2.2 for review purposes but as we mentioned above it works just as well at 2.4 for darker environments. As the BenQ is likely to be used in rooms with white walls, ceiling and some ambient light the 2.2 target is the better option here and it tracks perfectly.

    The colour gamut is natively restricted and as such there is no way to widen it to meet the Rec.709 colour standard (main triangle). However we can correct the luminance of the colours to make sure they are correct and fix slight hue errors to improve the look of colours slightly. At 25, 50 and 75% saturation (luminance) tracking, the results as you can imagine are not very accurate in most cases but as this projector will not be used for professional colour correction, or critical home cinema viewing where accuracy is a must; we can see where corners have been cut to meet the price point. Plus with most content, the majority of those viewing the BenQ in a living room environment with the image projected on a white wall or in a room with no light control, will not see the restrictions of the colour gamut.

    BenQ W1350 Video Review


    Benq W1350 Picture Quality

    Out of the Box performance

    Unusually for us here at AVForums we would recommend the suggested out-of-the-box picture settings and use those with the BenQ W1350 to achieve the most accurate images. With a restricted colour gamut and an out-of-the-box greyscale that tracks just under a DeltaE of 3 there is not a lot else you can hope to achieve with such a budget display. That is not a negative either as getting a good tracking greyscale out-of-the-box on a bulb device is very good indeed. We also have to be fair given the price point of the W1350 and not expect miracles when it comes to black levels, because there are none here. Grey is the new black and low end shadow detail is non-existent. Even using ND filters of various strengths to see what improvements could be made, didn’t warrant the hassle. With an item like a sub £1K DLP projector you just have to accept that blacks will be weak but there are strengths to be gained elsewhere. Plus, in the vast majority of cases the W1350 is going to be used in ambient light with light coloured walls and ceilings and in those circumstances the black levels are irrelevant to overall performance.

    This W1350 will never be near a bat cave cinema room and a quality screen as it is just not that type of product and to be fair, is not sold as one either. It is squarely marketed as a catch-all gaming, sport and occasional big screen projector that can be added to any room in any lighting. The wireless HDMI optional box also points to this being an entertainment product and as such we need to remember that when assessing its performance. Overall we got an image that was very watchable even when projected on to the white wall in our living room compared to the usual Screen Excellence 10ft scope screen in the bat cave room. If gaming or watching sport on the wall with the family is what you want the BenQ offers that in spades and the lacking blacks are not an issue. The motion handling and strong colour palette (even with a restricted gamut) are enough to entertain and produce a quality image. Even in our cinema room test environment once you accept the poor blacks, the W1350 looks sharp and detailed with good colours that don’t look too out of hue and believable skin tones. Motion is very good and this pays off with 3D material as well with very few instances of cross talk or blur.

    Calibrated Performance

    There is not much more to add to the above comments. The difference in colour performance would be negligible to most viewers and as the greyscale was very accurate out-of-the-box, the improvements made with calibration are again subtle here. There is nothing we can do to improve the poor black levels, but as stated above they are probably of no concern to the target audience of this particular model.

    Conclusion

    7
    AVForumsSCORE
    OUT OF
    10

    The Good

    • Decent picture quality in ambient light
    • Good natural colours when set in a dark room
    • Good motion
    • Excellent 3D performance
    • Good value for money for living room use

    The Bad

    • Poor black levels
    • No shadow detail in lower reaches
    • Difficult set up to obtain perfect images
    • Wireless HDMI unit should come with the projector
    • Some rainbow effect visible
    • Noisy even in low lamp setting
    You own this Total 0
    You want this Total 0
    You had this Total 0

    BenQ W1350 DLP 3D Projector Review

    The BenQ W1350 is not a home cinema projector and to be fair it is not marketed as such either. Instead what we have here is an entertainment DLP projector that is intended for occasional living room use, probably with a white wall as the screen and for viewing big screen sport or gaming. It has the optional accessory of wireless HD cabling to help cut down on long HDMI runs and add to the flexible use of the unit. It also boasts a bright image from its UHP lamp which is most suited to living room environments where there is little light control and lots of light coloured walls and ceilings. It is also quite noisy in use, even in low lamp mode and has a restricted native colour gamut that cannot get wide enough to meet the HD picture specifications. Added to this the black level performance is poor and very noticeable in a bat cave cinema room, but not as critical when used in such living room environments as mentioned above.

    If 3D is your thing and you want to share it with the whole family then the W1350 offers a compelling performance given the good brightness and excellent motion handling on offer. You get one pair of free glasses in the box and can purchase more. In its intended environment and with sports, TV and gaming the W1350 does everything it sets out to do and makes no excuses for not being the next best critical movie viewing machine. It’s priced to sell to a wide audience and to appeal to those wanting to add some fun to their family viewing and as such we cannot really fault it.

    So, if you are looking for a fun, occasional big screen experience for the living room where image quality needs to be usable, appealing but not earth shattering the W1350 might just be for you and joins a few other models in their line-up designed to do very similar roles, such as the W1080+, W1070+ and ST (Short Throw) models which are all still available for under a grand online (July 2015).


    The Rundown

    Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black levels

    6

    Colour Accuracy

    6

    Greyscale Accuracy

    7

    Video Processing

    7

    Image Uniformity

    7

    2D Picture Quality

    7

    3D Picture Quality

    9

    Picture Quality Out-of-the-Box

    6

    Picture Quality Calibrated

    7

    Features

    7

    Ease Of Use

    7

    Build Quality

    7

    Value For Money

    7

    Verdict

    7

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