BenQ HT1085ST DLP Projector Reviewed

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BenQ HT1085ST DLP Projector Reviewed

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Measurements
Here are the measurements for the BenQ HT1085ST. Click on each chart to view it in a larger window.

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The top charts (Grayscale) show the TV's color balance, gamma, and total gray-scale Delta Error, below and after calibration. Ideally, the red, green, and blue lines will be as close together as possible to reflect an even color balance. We currently use a gamma target of 2.2 for HDTVs and 2.4 for projectors. The bottom charts (Gamut) show where the six color points fall on the Rec 709 triangle, as well as the luminance (brightness) error and total Delta Error for each color point. For both gray scale and color, a Delta Error under 10 is considered tolerable, under five is considered good, and under three is considered imperceptible to the human eye. For more information on our measurement process, check out How We Evaluate and Measure HDTVs.

The Downside
The HT1085ST is a single-chip DLP projector. If you are sensitive to rainbow artifacts with DLP, you will probably see some here. I'm generally not sensitive to it, and even I noticed the occasional color flash from the corner of my eye.

If you're a professional calibrator or a meter-owning DIYer who would calibrate this projector yourself, I did encounter a few oddities during the calibration process. As I mentioned above, the RGB gain controls do not appear to do anything at all. I was able to dial in the dark end of the gray scale with the RGB offset controls, but I could not precisely fine-tune the bright end. Also, I originally tried to calibrate the User 1 picture mode because its color points were a little more accurate than those of the Cinema mode, and for whatever reason, it simply would not save my color management adjustments. Twice, I adjusted the six color points (and achieved very good results), only to see the improvements disappear when I ran through my final post-calibration check. When I calibrated the Cinema picture mode, I did not have the CMS issue and obtained great results. At least one other video reviewer I know had similar problems with his review sample of the HT1085ST. Again, most shoppers in this price range aren't going to calibrate the HT1085ST anyhow.

The lack of lens shifting can make it difficult to place the HT1085ST's image precisely on a screen without resorting to keystone correction, which hurts picture detail. You need to be mindful of the height of your screen and whether or not you can position the projector directly in front of it.

The 3D Version II glasses were not comfortable or well-fitting for me. I could barely keep them up on my nose, and I don't think I would enjoy wearing them for an entire movie. Apparently BenQ has released newer Version IV and V glasses that are designed to fit better. The glasses are not included with the projector and will cost $59 each.

Comparison and Competition
The home entertainment projector category continues to grow in popularity. We have previously reviewed the LG PF85U DLP projector, which also has a $1,299 MSRP and includes a built-in TV tuner and WiFi, with LG's smart TV platform. However, the LG's picture equality isn't good as the BenQ's, it lacks 3D capability and zoom, and its fan noise is extremely loud. We've also reviewed Epson's Home Cinema 2030 3LCD projector, which has similar features but also doesn't perform as well, particularly in the black-level department. Optoma's HD25-LV and InFocus' IN8606HD are other possible DLP competitors, but I have not reviewed those products.

Conclusion
The BenQ HT1085ST is a great little home entertainment projector. For those who desire a nice combination of accuracy, brightness, and detail in a lower-priced projector, the HT1085ST will make a great choice. Its black-level performance may not suit the videophile who spends most of his/her time watching movies in a dark room, but it strikes a great balance between light output and black level for the more casual viewer who desires big-screen viewing with a variety of content and viewing conditions. If you have a decent-sized room and don't need a short-throw projector, then you can save some money and get the HT1075 instead, which adds limited vertical lens shifting for a bit more setup flexibility. Either way, I think you'll be pleased to see what BenQ brings to the coffee table.

Additional Resources
BenQ Introduces HC1200 DLP Projector at HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Visit our Front Video Projectors category page for more projector reviews.

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HTR Product Rating for BenQ HT1085ST DLP Projector

Criteria Rating

Performance

4

Value

4.5

Overall

4.5

Disagree with our product rating? Email us and tell us why you think this product should receive a higher rating.


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