Senior HTF Member
- Oct 30, 1997
- Aberdeen, MD & Navesink, NJ
- Real Name
- Sam Posten
BenQ HT1075 DLP Home Theater Projectorhttp://www.benq.us/product/projector/HT1075
I'm a front projector fan and am on my second one now, a 1080p LCD that I'm projecting at 120" in my basement. I love the cinematic look that projectors provide and I am always impressed by how immersive having a true big screen in front of you can feel. I've talked to quite a few friends who have seen my setup and want the same experience in their home. Most have been reticent to try one tho due to cost and setup complications, particularly competing with ambient light in the room where the PJ will go. Recently a crop of new PJs have come to market that try to take some of the sting out of these issues by streamlining features and costs (not to mention size and weight!) to make entry level, semi portable HD projectors a real option for these rooms. BenQ had a modest hit with their W1070 model, a sub $1k 1080p projector that turned a lot of potential PJ buyers into owners and fans. When they announced that an updated model, the HT1075, would soon be released I got emails from a few friends asking about it. With a little sleuthing I discovered that one would be headed HTF's way for a review so I jumped at the chance to put it through its paces and get to the bottom of whether I can finally recommend a PJ to someone outside the hardcore home theater crowd.
Out of the box and on the roadMy first run with the 1075 turned out to be putting it in as a temporary replacement for my old 720p projector which had found new life in my nephews' basement Xbox party cave. Unboxing the 1075 was a snap, it is snugly packed in a nice box with a carry handle, so you will want to save it for taking the PJ to the office or on vacations or maybe even to outdoor movie nights down the road. That's actually pretty appealing to us, we've had neighbors do that and it's worked out great with their sets and kids go nuts for it. In the box along with the unit itself are a generous length power cable, remote and instruction pack. The remote lights up at a touch, a nice perk.
We popped the old PJ off the table behind the main viewing couch and put the 1075 in it's place with the existing HDMI cable and powered it up. Immediately I could see that the lens shift was going to be radically different than my old PJ, and while the little turn screw does indeed allow the 1075 to shift up and down by about a foot worth of screen real estate it was not going to be sufficient for a behind the couch projecting spot. In this setup the PJ is aligned nearly with the middle of the screen, whereas most projectors without lens shift expect to be aligned with the bottom or top of the projected image. The 1075's limited shift was not nearly enough to bridge this distance.
Because there was no set picture frame constraining us, we made it work by raising the rear of the 1075, pointing the projected image downwards, causing a trapezoidal shift in the resulting image. While I normally shy away from using keystoning features as they tend to distort the image and lose effective resolution we tried it anyway and found with just two clicks of the remote we got an almost perfectly uniform rectangle and proceeded to play games and watch a few videos. It became pretty clear up front that if you have a screen on which to project you are going to want to be very sure you fit within the exact limits of this projector's adjustable range. Fortunately you can do that long before buying one, just by going to any of the hundreds of projector calculators out there. I recommend the one at Projector Central:
We did use the built in test pattern from the menu to confirm that the image was squared off correctly, if I had one request of BenQ it would be for them to put this test pattern on the remote, as having as a one touch effect would be VERY helpful for setup.
We only watched in the out of the box Standard Setting and found that sharpness was great but there was a bit too much blue and yellow in the picture and while we couldn't measure it we felt like the blacks were crushed a bit. We immediately noted how much brighter the unit was compared to the old one, and decided right away that it would be very tempting for them to upgrade to this unit rather than buying a replacement bulb for the old one. Even a fresh bulb would not produce this bright of a screen for them and would net them 3D capability and other features.
If my nephews were to upgrade tho they might be better served with the brother to this unit, BenQ's W1080ST which is a short throw projector, and to put that unit on a coffee table ahead of their couch. It runs about $100 more than the HT1074 but I'm told has a nearly identical feature set except that it has no lens shift at all.
They would have to move the projector ahead of their seating position to make that work however, which isn't exactly practical in their playroom. I'd recommend their dad put up a ceiling mount, but that would negate the portability of the unit. Tough call.
While in my nephew's basement we never had an issue with the projector sound or light leak, it didn't even occur to us to check intensely for them as we were having too much fun. One regret is that we never put it in Cinema Mode to see how much that might have changed things, but even without perfect calibration we played and watched for about 3 hours and enjoyed it very much. None of us noted any rainbows or sparkles and they were sad to see it go and have the much more dim 720p PJ put back in its place.
In my basement
I initially setup the 1075 in a similar configuration to how it was positioned at my nephews: on a professional stand behind the viewing position, roughly centered on the screen. Once again this proved to be problematic, so I made the command decision to move the couch about 3 feet back and place the projector in front of my seats. This caused me to have to also abandon the heavy duty stand (it was too tall at it's shortest adjustable position), and I used a cardboard box in its place. Were this to be a permanent part of my theater I would want to use a ceiling mount for sure as the slightest bump to a tabletop PJ is going to radically mess up where it is pointing at. No sweat if it's a bare wall but a nightmare if it is on a permanently attached screen. Since I'll only have the 1075 a bit longer, popping it on a box worked nicely for now.
In this configuration I chose the cinema setting and stuck with it. As someone with multiple color sensing deficiencies (i.e. color blindness) I rely on a second more accurate set of eyes for calibration. Since those were not available I leaned on the built in mode and found it very pleasing and fairly accurate. I bet I could squeeze out a bit more accuracy with a solid run via DVD Essentials or the official THX Calibration Disk, but for most people Cinema is going to be just fine, and I had zero complaints about the look.
I chose to watch True Romance in 2D and Sin City: A dame to die for in 3d, along with a selection of my favorite test disks acquired over the net, plus a bit of video gaming. Both films rendered perfectly for me, I was particularly impressed with the skin tones in True Romance and the black levels in both, tho obviously the glasses helped with Sin City.
And the glasses are probably my only real ding against this projector. By choosing to stay with IR based glasses BenQ have saddled the user with expensive, heavy and hard to find goggles vice the wide availability of very high quality and low cost Bluetooth frames. Frankly most of the IR glasses I have seen look dorky and have big blocks over the nose too. I personally bought a pair of SainSonic SSZ-200DLB 144Hz 3D IR Active Rechargeable Shutter Glasses for this review and found the 3D enjoyable and with minimal crosstalk. I've got some Xpandz to try out and will note in a follow up post if those are better or worse. It would be difficult for me to measure the diffence in light levels and overall effectiveness of the 3D in the 1075 vice my existing PJ, but I find it pretty amazing that a sub $1k projector is capable of displaying 3D at 120 inches at all. That it does an admirable job at 1/3rd the price of my existing setup says really all you need to know.
I did have one incident where swapping from 2D to 3D confused the unit a bit, causing a series of 'sparklies' to appear in dark areas. Rebooting the 1075 cleared this up and I never did see it again. It does take a bit longer to sync to 3D than my existing PJ and it constantly swaps between the two when a 3D movie is starting up, so you will want to keep an eye out for it and be ready to reset power if it happens to you.
I'm actually not a huge fan of gaming on the big screen so I did not spend too much time with that, but I did find the lag to be acceptable and there is a 'game' mode if you are fanatical about reducing lag in your own setup.
I did try it with Amazon's Fire Stick pluggable USB device, and that was kind of neat, being able to call up a Yule Log or Netflix app without tying it to to a receiver could be a boon for a lot of folks. When I used it this way I stuck with the built in mono speaker and was able to watch 2 Netflix episodes with no problem. The speaker is a bit tinny at higher volumes but it will work in a pinch, and could be great for gaming or movies outdoors without needing to lug around a big set of speakers. It's not fit for full time use but I bet it finds a lot of use in office use in addition to those who want it outdoors. I wish the Fire Stick didn't have to tie to a USB port for power, but since the 1075's worked perfectly this part of it is covered too.
Overall I came away impressed with what this unit brings to the table. Certainly it is no slouch in the Picture Quality arena, and that is what most are going to judge it on primarily. However, the limited amount of lens shift and zoom are going to be killers for a lot of setups. You really need to do your homework and make sure the sizing is going to work for you if you intend to have a permanent screen. If you are just going to put it on a table in front of you and watch on a bare wall tho, you couldn't ask much more of a unit in this category, it's light, portable, great PQ, has 3D support, can actually be used wirelessly with added hardware, and is a bargain to boot.
This Table Top setup attracts unwanted attention
Add in the powered USB port and built in speaker and you've got a sweet little box that can bring the party with you anywhere. We're going to have to seriously consider a 1075 for my nephew's next upgrade and my buddies who want PJs for their man caves will have to do some math to figure out if they can make the lens shift work or not, cause everything else on their list of concerns is checked off and they are good to go.
Bang for the buck price is hard to beat
The presence of lens shift at all at this price range is pretty incredible, despite its flaws
Cinema is pretty accurate right out of the box, wide range of ISF calibration controls under the hood
Filter free means no maintenance
Wireless kit is available soon at $350 cost
Minimal and hard to use lens shift
Cheap feel to legs
Heat and noise
No SD upconversion, HD only
Street Price: About $900 or a little less
2 HDMI ports,1 component, 1 composite
Zoom Ratio: 1.3:1 (10' - 13'3" throw range at 120 inches, sweet spot at 11')
Lens Shift:1.15: 1
Single Chip DLP (DarkChip3)
2200 ANSI Lumens, 1251 Lumens in Eco Lamp, 1831 Lumens in Normal
Lamp life of 6000 hours using Eco mode
6x 6 Segment Color Wheel (RGBRGB)