It’s fair to say that in my house, the arrival of the BenQ W1210ST gaming projector caused more excitement than the arrival of Nigel Mansell at a moustache-fanciers’ convention.
Film aficionados in the house stroked their Blu-rays while gamers clutched their joypads at the thought of a projector built just for them. Whatever the BenQ W1210ST’s performance, it seems conflict lies in its future.
Made for speed
You can, of course, play games on just about any projector that has the right inputs. So where does the W1210ST’s ‘built for gaming’ claim come from?
It’s not just the projector’s 1.07-billion colour display that makes it suited to button-bashing, although its colour rendition is calibrated to look vibrant, particularly with display mode set to ‘Game Mode' or 'Game Bright Mode’. Neither is it the W1210ST’s 2,200 ANSI lumen output, which has been specced so you don’t need to install black-out blinds to play.
No, what marks the W1210ST apart as being a gamers’ projector is its super-quick, 16.67-millisecond response time. That means the action will not only stay sharp, but the image is tailored to respond to control inputs with the kind of precision most projectors can only dream of.
This is important. I load up Need for Speed and engage in the kind of driving that would have an instructor stomping on the dual controls. Every bump and scrape feels immediate and, frustratingly, I have no technology to blame when my driving isn’t up to scratch.
I push the W1210ST to its limit with Doom. Doom is a special case when it comes to console gaming. Responding quickly to your surroundings is vital if you want to make it through the game in one piece. Given that danger lurks around every corner, your reactions – and that of your gaming display – are absolutely essential. With its incredibly low input lag, the W1210ST is designed to keep up.
Big screen in a small space
The W1210ST’s other main trick is its practicality. It’s a short-throw projector, which means it doesn’t need to be miles away from its projection surface in order to produce a usable picture.
I start off with the lens just under a metre away from the wall. Turning the W1210ST on promptly produced a 60in display. Pulling the projector back to around a metre and a half away creates a huge, 100in, Full HD image. Within the confines of a Victorian terraced house, I’m used to juggling furniture to accommodate projectors. Thanks to its short throw, with the W1210ST I can get set up without lifting a finger – much less a sofa.
It’s subtle, too. Fire it up and, apart from a gentle initial whoosh, its fan generates under 30 decibels, making it almost whisper-quiet.
But it can do noisy. The W1210ST solves the most common problem associated with projectors – the lack of included speakers. A pair of 10-watt stereo drivers with CinemaMaster Audio Enhancer tech provides a bit of welcome audio oomph, allowing you to get cracking without dragging speakers around.
100 inches of epicness
Gaming on a huge screen is revelatory. Forget claims of immersion from TV makers: watching the cut scenes in The Last of Us Remastered blown up to 100in adds a gorgeous new cinematic dimension to the story and makes me ever more anxious for next year’s second instalment. Swinging across rock faces in Uncharted 4 feels more perilous than ever. Darker games, such as creep-’em-up Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain are equally at home. Sneaking through the undergrowth and dispatching an unsuspecting goon has never felt more real. And I’ve never felt worse: these lifelike guards have families, y’know?
There’s more to like with the W1210ST. Setup is designed to be easy: getting the screen straight and doing previously irritating jobs such as correcting keystone – where the image tapers at the top or bottom because the projector isn’t dead-flat to the projection surface – are simplified by its plain-English menu system. You don’t need to hunch over the projector prodding its buttons either, thanks to the remote control, which illuminates red to allow you to adjust settings and volume when the lights are low. Handy for day-to-day use; essential if you install your projector on the ceiling. Also critical if you use it in a back-projection setup and can’t reach the projector to adjust the image.
A couple of days in, I’m hooked. Playing on such an epic screen is a whole new gaming experience. My anticipation of this year’s new titles has been rekindled to the extent that I even spent an hour watching big-screen game trailers on the PS4’s YouTube app. The W1210ST doesn’t just prompt excitement when you get it out of the box, it seems.
To find out more about the BenQ W1210ST, click here >>