BenQ MW851UST review

16 Jun 2012

Good picture quality and ease of use make this a great ceiling-mounted projector

BenQ MW851UST
Price when reviewed 
1,326
4

The MW851UST is a DLP ultra-short- throw projector with a 0.36:1 throw ratio, giving a 95in image when only 74cm from the screen. Screen image size range is 60 to 300in and it’s 3D ready. This projector is primarily designed to be suspended from a ceiling (although no kit is provided), but it can also be used as a table-top projector with a menu setting to help calibration.

However, using the MW851UST in this mode means all the connections are at the front of the projector, and you have to ensure the lamp is switched off before plugging or unplugging devices – or you’ll be dazzled by a bright light shining into your face. The MW851UST measures 339 x 323 x 237mm (WDH) and weighs 5.3kg, so you wouldn’t want to move it around too often.

BenQ MW851UST

On the upside, there’s plenty of connectivity with VGA, S-Video, HDMI and USB inputs, and the remote control has dedicated buttons for various signal sources, so it’s easy to switch from, say, a laptop to a DVD player. The lamp life is rated at 3,500 hours in normal mode, but can be extended to around 6,500 hours in SmartEco mode. The latter is designed to deliver the precise amount of lamp power required for the best contrast, and we found it didn’t have any dramatic affect on image quality. What’s more, a replacement is a reasonable £100 exc VAT. Two 10W speakers provide sufficient volume to fill a classroom, and sound quality isn’t bad either – you don’t desperately need external speakers.

Image quality is impressive, too, with both Presentation and Bright modes providing clear, sharp images with a good dynamic range, even in a well-lit room. Fan noise is low, but we did find it gets rather warm.

While we have reservations about its suitability for table-top use, the BenQ is a good bet if you want a ceiling-mounted projector with good picture and sound quality that’s simple to use.

Details

Price ex VAT £1,105
Price inc VAT £1,326
Overall rating 4
Image quality 5
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 4

Basic specifications

Projector technology DLP
Resolution 1280 x 800
Lumens brightness 2,500 lumens
Contrast ratio 13,000:1
Keystone correction? yes
Speakers? yes
Speaker type Stereo
Speaker power ouput 10W

Dimensions

Dimensions 339 x 323 x 237mm (WDH)
Weight 5.300kg

Optics

Max diagonal image size 7.6m

Video inputs/outputs

VGA inputs 2
S-Video inputs 1
Composite video inputs 1
HDMI inputs 1
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1