For gamers, size matters – when it comes to screen size, that is. PC gamers demand the best screens, while console gamers need large and gorgeous TVs to enjoy their games on. There’s no doubt about it – the bigger your screen, the more amazing your gaming experience is going to be. So what better way to blow up your gaming experience than with a projector? While technically you can hook up any decent projector to have a good gaming night, BenQ has one-upped this with the introduction of the W1210ST projector, which is specifically designed with gamers in mind.
Build Quality & Design
Projectors can get quite large or cumbersome, but thankfully the W1210ST packs a small footprint. It comes with a handy carrying case, so it’s easy to take over to a friend’s house to set up for a few local multiplayer matches. The W1210ST features a clean, white design with a red ring around the front of the lens. Around the back you’ve got two HDMI ports, USB Type-A for powering devices such as a Chromecast, VGA, as well as 3.5mm audio in and audio out ports. I would have loved for the VGA port to be swapped out for a DVI or DisplayPort, as I really think in this day and age no one is using VGA ports any more.
You’ve also got plenty of ventilation around the front, back, and sides of the W1210ST. This helps keeps things cool, but the W1210ST also features larger internal fans that spin at a slower speed, enabling them to keep the projector cool without making too much noise. There are also adjustable feet at the back and a drop-down foot at the front, so you’re able to angle the projection a little bit. There’s a little sliding door at the front which lets you manually adjust the focus and zoom levels.
BenQ says that the W1210ST is capable of projecting a screen size of between 60 to 120 inches, with a 100-inch screen being thrown at a distance of a mere 1.5m. That’s pretty great for anyone who wants a nice big image but doesn’t have the luxury of space to set up the projector far away. But the large projection size also means that you’ll need to play around with the throw distance and zoom levels – on my first test the projected image was far too big for the wall I was testing on, so I had to move the projector around a bit until I found a suitable distance.
You’ve got a brightness of around 2200 lumens coupled with a 15000:1 contrast ratio, making for some really spectacular images. While the W1210ST has standard picture modes for Vivid and Cinema picture quality, it also has two Game modes to really brighten up the projected image without making it appear washed out. This is especially useful for games that have darker visuals, such as Call of Duty and Dark Souls. Even when projecting on my very ordinary wall, the image was projected perfectly – obviously investing in a projection screen will improve the image appearance, but you can happily enjoy the W1210ST just by projecting on a flat white wall.
I tested the W1210ST with an Xbox One and a PC to see how it would handle either. On the Xbox One, games like Just Dance really shone, with the bright colors and visuals really lighting up the room I was projecting in. It’s not the most intense game to play, so I switched over to Titanfall 2, which of course had plenty of action and frantic gameplay in it. The W1210ST boasts a super response time, and I was surprised to see that there was no noticeable lag while playing the game. Most good quality TVs can get a response time down to around 20ms, while the W1210ST scrapes this down to around 16ms. For a projector, this is actually pretty good – no match for a gaming PC monitor which dials it down to 1ms, but it would be supremely unfair to try and compare the two. PC games on the W1210ST ran similarly well, with both Overwatch and Call of Duty running really smoothly. These are both games where even the slightest lag can mean the difference between being taken down by an enemy or not, so after a couple of matches in both games I’m happy to report that you can snipe away and always hit your target. Movies performed similarly well, though there was a slight white fading that happened towards the edges on certain videos. It wasn’t enough to distract from the viewing experience, and you’ll only notice it if you look for it, so only projector purists will kick up a fuss.
The W1210ST bundles two 10W speakers for audio if you need it, but frankly they’re a wasted effort. BenQ boasts its CinemaMaster Audio+, but in all fairness I’d prefer using a separate soundbar or speaker system or even headphones rather than trying to enjoy audio through the built-in speakers.
It’s nice to see that BenQ decided to come up with a projector that specifically targets gamers, and actually does a decent job as well. The W1210ST offers some very crisp and clear images, and both gaming consoles and PCs run really well on it. It’s a decent investment to make if you’re looking for a really immersive projection experience that can double for both gaming and movie nights.
The BenQ W1210ST retails for AED 4,350.