BenQ W710ST DLP Video Projector - Review

Big Screen Projector Action for Small Spaces

BenQ W710ST DLP Video Projector - Front View With Accessories
BenQ W710ST DLP Video Projector - Front View With Accessories. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

BenQ W710ST is a moderately-priced DLP Video Projector than can be used in a home theater setup, as a gaming projector, or in a business/classroom setting.

The main feature of this projector is its included Short Throw lens, which can produce a very large image in a small space. With a native 1280x720 pixel resolution (720p), 2,500 lumen output, and 10,000:1 contrast ratio, the W710ST displays a bright image. However, but black levels are not as good as on slightly higher-priced projectors. On the other hand, the W710ST is easy to use and has quick turn-on/shut-off time. For more details, continue reading this review.

For further perspective on the BenQ W710ST, also check out my Photo Profile and Video Performance Tests.

Product Overview

The features and specifications of the BenQ W710ST include the following:

2. 3X Speed/Six Segment Color Wheel.

3. Lens Characteristics: F=2.77-2.86, f=10.16-11.16mm, Throw Ratio - 0.719-0.79

4. Image size range: 35 to 300 inches - adds flexibility for both small and large screen sizes and room environments. Can project 80-inch 16x9 image from 5 ft or a 120-inch widescreen image from 6 ft.

5. Native 16x9 Screen Aspect Ratio. The BenQ W710ST can accommodate 16x9, 16x10, or 4x3 aspect ratio sources.

6. 10,000:1 Contrast Ratio. 220 Watt Lamp and 4000 Hour Lamp Life (Low Light Output), 4000 Hour Lamp Life (High Light Output).

7. HDMI, VGA, HD-Component (via provided Component-to-VGA adapter cable), and Composite Video inputs. Any standard video source, except RF sources, can be connected.

8. Compatible with input resolutions up to 1080p (including both 1080p/24 and 1080p/60). NTSC/PAL Compatible. All sources scaled to 720p for screen display.

9. The W710ST is PC 3D Ready. This means that it can display 3D images and video (60Hz/120Hz Frame Sequential or 60Hz Top/Bottom) from PCs equipped with NVIDIA 3D Vision or other compatible hardware/software combination. The W710ST is not compatible with 3D input signals soured from 3D-enabled Blu-ray Disc players, Cable/Satellite boxes or Network Media players/streamers. DLP Link 3D emitter and glasses required.

10. Manual Zoom and Focus controls located on lens assembly. On-screen menu system for other functions. ​A compact wireless remote control provided.

11. Fast On and Off.

12. Automatic video input Detection - Manual video input selection also available via remote control or buttons on projector.

13. Built-in Speaker (10 watts x 1).

14. Kensington®-style lock provision, padlock and security cable hole provided.

15. Dimensions: 13 inches Wide x 8 inches Deep x 9 3/4 inches High - Weight: 7.9 lbs - AC Power: 100-240V, 50/60Hz

16. Carrying Bag included.

17. Suggested Price: $999.99.

Setup and Installation

To get started with the BenQ W710ST, first establish the surface you will be projection the images on to (either wall or screen), then position the unit on a table or rack, or mount on the ceiling, at the optimal distance from the screen or wall.

Next, plug in your source (such as a DVD or Blu-ray Disc player) to the proper video input on the back of the projector. Then, plug in the power cord of the W710ST and turn on the power using the button on the top of the projector or the remote. It takes about 10 seconds or so until you see the BenQ logo projected on your screen, at which time you are set to go.

At this point, you can raise or lower the front of the projector using the adjustable foot (or adjust the ceiling mount angle). You can also adjust the image angle on the projection screen, or white wall, using the ​Keystone Correction function via the onscreen menu navigation buttons on the top of the projector, or on the remote or onboard controls (or use the Auto Keystone option). However, be cautious when using Keystone correction as it works by compensating the projector angle with the screen geometry and sometimes the edges of the image will not be straight, causing some image shape distortion. The Keystone correction function on the BenQ W710ST only compensates in the vertical plane.​

Once you have the image geometry as close to rectangular as possible, you can then use the manual zoom control to get the image to fill the screen properly. After this, you can use the manual focus control to sharpen your image.

The W710ST will search for the input of the source that is active. You can also access the source inputs manually via the controls on the projector, or via the wireless remote control.

Hardware Used

The additional home theater hardware used in this review included:

Blu-ray Disc Player: OPPO BDP-93.

DVD Player: OPPO DV-980H.

DVDO EDGE Video Scaler used for baseline video upscaling comparisons.

Audio/Video connections made with Accell, Interconnect cables. 16 Gauge Speaker Wire used. High Speed HDMI Cables provided by Atlona for this review.

Software Used

Standard DVDs: The Cave, House of the Flying Daggers, Kill Bill - Vol 1/2, Kingdom of Heaven (Director's Cut), Lord of Rings Trilogy, Master and Commander, Outlander, U571, and V For Vendetta.

Proceed to Page 2: Video Performance, Pros, Cons, and Final Take

Video Performance

The BenQ W710ST projects high definition sources very well in a traditional home theater setting, where there is little or no ambient light, with consistent color and detail, and provides adequate contrast range, but falls a little short in producing deep black levels.

However, with its strong light output, the W710ST can also project a viewable image in a room that may have some ambient light present. Although black level and contrast does suffer somewhat, which also affects color saturation (engaging the Brilliant Color function can help compensate), the image quality is acceptable. This makes the W710ST a good option for classroom or business meeting use, as well as some living room settings, where control of ambient light is not always the best.

It must be noted that the W710ST can accept the maximum 1080p output from a Blu-ray Disc player or similar high definition source, but the displayed image on the screen is 720p. The 720p images have good detail, especially when viewing Blu-ray disc content, but as you increase the size of the projected image, you can tell that it is not as detailed as you might see from a video projector with full 1080p native display resolution.

I also conducted a series of tests that determine how the W710ST processes and scales standard definition inputs signals. The test results showed that the W710ST passed most of the tests, but there were some exceptions. For more details, check out my BenQ W710ST Video Performance Test Results.

 

Audio

The BenQ W710ST comes equipped with a 10 watt mono amplifier and built-in loudspeaker. In a home theater setup, I would definitely suggest that you send your audio sources to a home theater receiver or amplifier for an audio listening experience that can really complement the large projected images. However, in a pinch, or if you are using the projector for a business meeting or classroom presentation, the speaker and amplifier output the W710ST does provide an adequate sound quality for voices and dialog, but both the higher frequencies and lower bass frequencies are just not there. Think of the sound quality as being about on par with an AM/FM table radio.

 

What I Liked About The BenQ W710ST

1. Good image quality from HD source material for the price.

2. Accepts input resolutions up to 1080p (including 1080p/24). However all input signals are scaled to 720p for display.

3. High lumen output produces bright images for large rooms and screen sizes. This makes this projector very flexible for both living room and business/educational room uses. I also feel that the W710ST would be a good choice for use as an outdoor projector on those warm Summer nights.

4. Short throw capability provides a large projected image with minimal projector-to-screen distant. Great for smaller spaces.

5. Very fast turn-on and shut-off time. I wish all video projectors had this fast a response time when powering up or shutting down.

6. Backlit remote control.

7. Built-in Speaker for presentations or more private listening.

8. A soft carrying bag that holds the projector and included accessories is included.

 

What I Didn't Like About the BenQ W710ST

1. Good deinterlacing/scaling performance from standard resolution (480i) analog video sources with some caveats (see test result examples)

2. Black level performance is just average.

3. No Motorized Zoom or Focus Function. Focus and Zoom adjustments must be done manually at the lens. This is not a problem if the projector is table mounted, but cumbersome if the projector is ceiling mounted.

4. No Lens Shift.

5. 3D feature not compatible with Blu-ray or other non-PC signal sources.

6. DLP Rainbow Effect sometimes visible.

 

Final Take

Setting up and using the BenQ W710ST is easy. The inputs are clearly labeled and spaced out, and the on-unit control buttons, remote control, and menu are easy to use.

Also, with 2,500 maximum lumens output capability, combined with its short throw lens, the W710ST projects both a bright and large image suitable for small, medium, and large size rooms in most homes.

Even though the BenQ W710ST cannot project a native 1080p image, the detail from 1080p sources, scaled to 720p, was good. However, the W710ST delivered mixed results on some aspects of upscaling standard definition source signals to 720p and downscaling 1080i and 1080p signals to 720p.

The BenQ W710ST is a little more expensive than many 720p resolution video projectors, but with its ability to project a large image in a small space, combined with a high brightness output that can provides a good viewing experience in rooms with ambient light present, it is a very good value.

The only disappointment for me was that its 3D functions are not compatible with Blu-ray disc players or cable/satellite/network streaming boxes.

 

For a closer look at the features and video performance of BenQ W710ST, also check out my supplementary Photo and Video Performance Test Profiles.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.