BenQ W1800i Projector Review: Ideal Entry Into 4k home cinema | Tech Reviews
With the W1800i, BenQ offers an interesting projector for beginners: Android TV, 4K resolution, HDR10 and high color accuracy. We took a closer look to see whether the overall package is really convincing.
The BenQ W1800i is an entry-level 4k projector for home cinema. It offers 4K resolution, high color accuracy (Delta E<3) and supports HDR10 and HLG. In addition, it offers various color modes (including Filmmaker Mode) and BenQ’s CinematicColor to improve the colors.
Google’s Android TV is used as the operating system, which enables pretty much any streaming app. Other well-known Android apps can also be run with it. BenQ advertises all of this in a fairly slim and aesthetic design.
BenQ gives a 2-year guarantee on the projector (without light source). There is a 3 year or 3,000 hour guarantee on the light source or lamp. If you want to read all of this in more detail, you can do so on the official BenQ website .
|Image||VGA (640 x 480) to 4K UHD (3840 x 2160)
6 color wheel segment (RGBRGB)
10 bits (1.07 billion colors)
15K – 102KHz Horizontal Frequency
100% Rec. 709
|Aspect Ratio||16:9, 16:10, 4:3|
|Brightness||2.000 ANSI Lumen|
|Projection size (diagonal)||60 inches – 200 inches|
|Max. lamp life in hours||Normal 4.000, Öko 10.000, SmartEco 8.000, LampSave 15.000|
|Keystone Correction (Keystone)||+/- 30 degrees (Vertical)|
|Ports||2x HDMI 2.0b, HDCP 2.2
1x USB Type A (1.5A Power)
1x 3.5mm Audio Out
1x Control Interface RS232
2x IR Receiver
|Audio||1x internal 5W speaker|
|Power Consumption||Max 380 Watt
Standard 310 Watt
Eco 215 Watt
Standby 0.50 Watt
|Voltage||100-240V and 50-60Hz|
|Dimension||31.2 x 11 x 24.6 cm|
|Included Supplies||Power cable, remote control, Android TV stick QS01, batteries for the remote control, printed quick start guide, warranty card|
|Price||1399 €* (1470.65 USD) *at the time of research|
The connections have everything you need for everyday use. There are two openly accessible HDMI 2.0 ports for consoles and TV receivers, a jack output for speakers, a USB-A port (unfortunately only for charging) and a VGA interface for the RS232 protocol. This allows the projector to receive firmware updates.
The “i” in the name of the W1800i reveals that it is a smart projector. However, the smart brain is not built into the device, but is added via an HDMI dongle (BenQ QS01). Basically, it’s an Android TV streaming stick, much like an Amazon FireTV stick.
The dongle attaches to an HDMI port behind a flap. It is hidden there and the other two HDMI ports are freely accessible.
Overall, the connections are perfectly adequate for a home cinema or a normal setup. With the more expensive projector models, there are even more connection options.
Lamp with DLP technology
The brightness of a projector lamp is given in lumens. The higher the number, the brighter the lamp and the more visible the image becomes. However, high brightness reduces the contrast value and the accuracy of the colors.
The BenQ W1800i is a home cinema projector with 2,000 ANSI lumens. Its area of application are films and series in rather dark rooms or a hobby room.
If you also want to use the projector in bright surroundings, you should rather use a daylight device. These models have enough brilliance to be clearly visible even in daylight, at the expense of color accuracy and black level.
For my test in the living room, this means the following: The picture looks a bit washed out on a bright summer’s day. However, as soon as it is night or the blinds are down, the BenQ W1800i can shine. He then throws a very pleasant picture on the wall.
The illumination across the entire image is extremely even and there is no projector version of the notorious “screen bleeding” or “light bleeding”.
A DLP color wheel is used as technology in the BenQ W1800i. This wheel colors the white light of the lamp in the colors red, green and blue. These serve as a building block for all other colors. The now colored light is passed on to a DLP chip and processed there.
Then a mirror throws the colored light over the lens to the screen, where it hits it in layers. However, the brain does not perceive a single color layer (red, green, blue), but only captures the whole picture. In some cases, however, individual color gradients can become visible as a rainbow effect.
The projector has two hearts: the comprehensive Android TV and the controller for the projector. On the top of the BenQ W1800i there are buttons for calling up the menu, setting the input channel or switching the projector on/off.
The remote control controls both systems (Android TV and projector) and thus makes the buttons on the device superfluous. The small remote control is easy to hold and the buttons are pleasantly “clicky”. There are also special keys for Amazon Prime Video and Google’s language assistant. The voice control usually works well.
The menu of the projector is clear and clearly structured. Settings for the image format, video mode or various image enhancers can be adjusted here.
There are five picture modes to choose from: Bright, Living Room, Sports, User, and Filmmaker. The last mode is particularly interesting for home cinema, since most of the color enhancements are deactivated there. The picture is exactly as the film says it is.
The projected image can also be changed in the projector menu using so-called keystone corrections. This is necessary if the projector is at an angle or the screen is not completely straight. But there are also feet for readjustment. After just a few minutes, I had adjusted the projector exactly to my needs.
The real star, however, is Android TV in version 10. As with an Android smartphone, apps can be downloaded and used from the Google Play Store. There are virtually no limits to the projector. That’s why I was even able to play a little on the projector.
In addition to Amazon Prime, YouTube, FamiLand, Google Play Movies, YouTube Music, Google Play Games Wireless Projection and Droid Settings were preinstalled. Android TV also offers Google Cast too. This enables screen mirroring and easy sharing of content. Would you like to have photos and videos from your cell phone on the big projector? No problem!
Overall, I really liked Android TV: It looks chic, is easy to use, is powerful thanks to the Play Store and the customization options are versatile. The only point of criticism is the somewhat older Android version. There is now Android 12 (and soon Android 13) for smartphones.
As an entry-level device, the W1800i has a lot of technology for a good home cinema: With 4K-UHD there is a sharp resolution, 10-bit color depth and support for HDR content (HDR10, HLG). Unfortunately, the “Dolby Vision” that is so popular with films is not supported as an HDR variant.
The projector is pre-calibrated at the factory and should therefore offer high color accuracy (100% Rec. 709). It is also suitable for 3D content and there are even matching glasses available as an optional accessory.
The projector can be used in different resolutions that are worth mentioning. In 1080p it can reach around 120Hz refresh rate, in 4K it’s still a standard 60Hz.
Now that we have clarified the technology: how does the BenQ W1800i fare in everyday life? I used the projector for almost three weeks, switching back and forth between my own Android TV and my Xbox Series S.
Due to home office limitations, I didn’t have a suitable canvas on hand. Certain colors or wallpaper “swallow” a lot of brightness and therefore a high-quality white screen is worthwhile, especially for home cinema devices. So my white woodchip wallpaper wasn’t exactly the ideal test background.
So don’t make the same mistake I did: If you don’t have the perfect wall for a projector, it’s worth buying.
Still, the BenQ W1800i has done well and the image projected on the wall looks really good! The high resolution ensures a clear display, the colors are bright but never overdone. When I watched content in 1080p at 120Hz, everything felt pleasantly smooth. To test the HDR capability, I ran the new season of Stranger Things in HDR and 4K and was impressed with the image quality.
Most of the time I used the “Filmmaker” picture mode and the “SmartEco” energy mode. I have achieved a good compromise between image quality, brightness and fan noise. If you want to watch during the day, you can also switch to the “Bright” or “Living Room” picture modes, alternatively you can also use the “Normal” energy mode. It’s worth playing around with the two modes a bit.
I used the “Sports” picture mode for soccer games and tennis matches. Personally, the picture seemed a bit too oversaturated and too gaudy for me. Of course, this is a matter of taste and can also be an advantage, for example, when gardening outdoors – since the image has a higher contrast and is easier to recognize.
I am very satisfied with the picture quality of the BenQ W1800i: the colors are very good, the contrast is high and the picture is pin-sharp. No matter what I saw or played with it, it was always fun and looked good.
Last but not least, something about the maximum size of the projected image: BenQ specifies a distance of 2.5 meters for 100 inches, and it should be between 5 and 6.5 meters for the maximum screen diagonal of 200 inches. I had no problem using it to illuminate my entire living room wall with a decent image. There are also different settings for mounting the projector: in front of the screen, mounted on the ceiling, etc.
Integrated speakers have gotten much better in recent years. Be it smartphones or notebooks, there are definitely devices with a decent sound. The BenQ W1800i only has a small speaker with 5 watts, but it sounds quite useful.
All pitches (lows, mids and highs) are properly separated. The highs aren’t peaky even with the volume turned up, and there’s even some bass. Of course, with music or quiet films, you can see that this is just a mono speaker and there is no stereo effect. Otherwise, the small speaker is solid. It actually gets really loud, so I used it at half the volume most of the time.
I used the projector for almost three weeks and at no point did I curse the sound quality. It made a good impression when watching movies, listening to music and even playing games.
Of course, if you use the projector as a home cinema and want a suitable sound for visually stunning films and games, you cannot avoid external speakers. These can be easily connected via the jack connection on the back. Of course, AV receivers and systems also work via the HDMI connection.
Operating volume and Consumption
The volume of projectors often depends on the brightness of the lamp. The brighter the lamp, the more heat is generated. A fan is usually used to cool the lamp.
BenQ specifies average volumes for the two most important modes: In standard mode, the BenQ W1800i should reach a volume of 35 dB(A). There is an audible hiss, but it’s not too loud or annoying. In eco mode, the lamp does not need to be cooled as much, which is why the fan noise is said to drop to 29 dB(A). I don’t have a volume meter at hand at the moment, but the information works.
Also positive: The fans run very monotonously and do not constantly turn up or down. As a result, the brain fades out the fan noise quite quickly.
The standard mode (310 watts) is only suitable if you need the “extra” in brightness. In return, the fan noise is audible. In most situations, however, the eco mode (215 watts) should be sufficient. This ensures quieter fans and a longer lamp life.
Projectors use bright lamps to conjure up images on the wall. Like any illuminant or lightbulb, they wear out and need to be replaced. BenQ claims a lifetime of around 4,000 hours (167 days) of continuous use.
However, the service life can be increased through various modes of the projector. This is usually at the expense of the maximum brightness and/or requires better cooling. A lamp lasts around 10,000 hours in Eco mode, 8,000 hours with SmartEco and 15,000 hours (625 days) in the strictest LampSave mode.
Of course, you never run the projector for hundreds of days at a time. If you use the lamp for four hours a day in LampSave mode, it will last for around 10 years.
I mostly operated the device in SmartEco mode, as it is a good compromise between the brightness and volume of the built-in fans. If you mainly operate the projector at night or in a room without much sunlight, the LampSave mode is completely sufficient.
Should you then have to replace the lamp, this can be done quite quickly with the W1800i: there are two small black screws on both sides. You loosen this and then remove the service flap. Between the flap and the lamp there is a glued piece of plastic glass that can be easily removed.
Then you are already at the lamp. This can easily be replaced by loosening another screw and removing a small power plug. You can get the spare part directly from BenQ at the current* price of around 160 euros. Experience has shown that BenQ spare parts are available over a long period of time.
Conclusion: Good entry-level device with many talents
From my point of view, the BenQ W1800i performs very well. It looks nice and is quite compact. It looks good on my TV table.
The small 5-watt speaker is surprisingly loud and absolutely sufficient for everyday use. If you want better sound or simply stereo sound, you can easily connect external speakers via the jack. The built-in fans are also on a good level and never interfere. Since they also work monotonously, they are quickly faded out.
Image quality is decent and any kind of media looks good on it. Even video games work amazingly well on the BenQ W1800i. It is important that it is a home cinema projector that can show its true strengths in darker environments. In a lot of daylight or bright surroundings, the good picture is unfortunately a bit lost. Then there are daylight projectors.
In addition to the good picture, the Android TV used is one of the highlights of the projector. It is easy to use, can be greatly expanded thanks to the Play Store and otherwise works without any problems. You can even use it as a kind of Chromecast and thus easily view pictures, videos or other media via the projector. The W1800i doesn’t need to hide from any Smart TV.
If you are looking for a projector with 4K resolution, the BenQ W1800i is a good choice. The price is currently just under €1,399.00*, which is not without costs. Anyone who can do without the high resolution or needs a little more luminosity can take a look at the BenQ TH685i .