2D IMAGE QUALITY
From a distance of 3 metres, the image can be adjusted in size from 177 cm to 283 cm. It'd be great to see that kind of range in more projectors!
Once we'd tried out all the W1500's modes to get the most accurate image (see recommended settings, below), this BenQ projector displayed a well-calibrated picture. Colour fidelity is decent, with an average Delta E of 3.3. Cyan and green colours are clearly off the mark (see below), but this isn't visible to the naked eye. The same kind of deviation in flesh tones would have been much more problematic.
Average Delta E = 3.3
Contrast is on par with the W1070, varying on average from 350:1 to 1250:1 in relation to the amount of white in the projected image. These results are within average compared with other projectors we've reviewed. The black is a little less deep in this model (0.35 and 0.098 cd/m² compared with 0.26 and 0.07 cd/m²) but the white is brighter. In real terms, any difference is barely noticeable to the naked eye.
Rainbow effects are kept well under control in the W1500. As usual, we asked the members of our team most sensitive to rainbow effects to come and take a look at this projector in action. The verdict? Although rainbows were still visible in certain scenes, the general consensus was that the W1500 kept them at an acceptable level.
Users looking for smooth, judder-free images will appreciate the addition of a frame interpolation mode in the BenQ W1500. And the good news is that this works very well, as judder is effectively eliminated. However, we don't recommend you go any higher than the "Minimum" setting, as even at this level the function leads to a slight "soap-opera" effect. This intensifies as you increase the setting.
Performances are clearly good here and image quality is excellent, but we have to admit that in terms of value for money, the W1500 doesn't seem quite as impressive as the W1070.
3D IMAGE QUALITY
In 3D mode (active-shutter technology) picture quality is quite simply excellent. That said, we weren't expecting anything less from this projector—the W1070, also equipped with DLP-Link technology, has the same top-notch 3D image quality.
Ideally, the "R" image shouldn't overlap onto the "L" image and vice versa
Thanks to DLP technology, this projector can display three-dimensional images with no sign of crosstalk, a flaw still often seen in LCD models. This projector even beats plasma TVs on that front, as plasmas still show some traces of crosstalk in the most highly contrasted scenes (black on white, for example).
However, to use the 3D mode you'll need to get your wallet out again, as BenQ doesn't include any glasses with this projector. Compatible glasses cost around £80 a pair, which adds up to £320 if you need to kit out a family of four!
Note that once switched to 3D mode, the onscreen black gets a strong red overtone when viewed without the glasses. It's really quite strange, but thankfully it's not noticeable with the glasses on. It's no doubt a means of compensating for the way the 3D glasses affect colour.
HARDWARE & HANDLING
The BenQ W1500 has a nicely finished casing. The image settings are controlled via buttons on the top of the projector, from where you can also access the zoom and manual focusing rings. There's a lens-shift control too, which is a pretty rare feature in a DLP projector. However, like the W1070, there's only limited room for manoeuvre. The picture can only be moved vertically by 5 centimetres up or down.
A full range of connection ports can be found around the back of this projector. As well as two HDMI entries, there are VGA, composite, S-video and component (YUV) ports. Plus, BenQ has added an audio line in and a headphones socket so you can send the sound to an external speaker set. And that's good news, as the built-in 2 x 10 W speakers aren't great. Sound saturates at higher frequencies and is almost devoid of bass. Still, voices can be heard clearly, which is at least something.
The BenQ W1500 comes with a compact remote control that has loads of shortcut keys. And, to help make things easier to find in the dark, BenQ has backlit the buttons. We definitely approve!
NOISE & ENERGY CONSUMPTION
With its brighter image, power use is naturally higher here than with the W1070. We measured the W1500 using 1 watt on standby and almost 310 watts when running, compared with 210 watts for the W1070.
Finally, we measured the noise level at 38 dB at 1 metre from the projector. The fan stays nicely discreet in Eco mode.