The BenQ HT2150ST shows top-notch resolution and color accuracy during our testing. It blows us away with the kind of theater-worthy images we'd only expect from a much more expensive projector. The lamp is a little dim for projecting in a bright room, but the quiet fan makes this a perfect choice for a home theater. It can function as a presentation projector, but you'll probably notice the usually vibrant colors become a bit washed out in the presence of ample ambient light. This is a fantastic projector compared to the competition for home theater use that won't completely break the bank.Editor's Note: We updated this BenQ review on August 9th, 2022, with a new and improved testing process.
BenQ HT2150ST Review
Pros: Solid color accuracy, natural-looking skin, lens cover, full HD, good value
Cons: Subpar focus range, poor dark contrast, yellows turn very green, poor brightness
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|Pros||Solid color accuracy, natural-looking skin, lens cover, full HD, good value||Great black and white contrast, lens shift, 3D capabilities, easy adjustments||Impressive brightness, perfect for a business setting, carry bag, assortment of input types, skin tones look natural||Impressive brightness, relatively cheap, WXGA resolution||Portable, easy to use, WiFi connectivity, 3.5-hour-long battery life, streaming capabilities|
|Cons||Subpar focus range, poor dark contrast, yellows turn very green, poor brightness||Skin tones are far too warm, generally poor color accuracy, loud fan||Confusing interface, no Bluetooth audio capabilities, small buttons, buttons are not backlit, blacks are washed out||Poor contrast, color slightly off, buttons not backlit, loud fan||Subpar brightness, lacking in image quality, no backlit buttons on remote, pricey|
|Bottom Line||With great color accuracy, besides yellows, and solid resolution, this projector is great for an at-home cinema||A projector with great resolution, contrast ratio, a mostly intuitive interface, and streaming service capability via WiFi||A projector built for the office with unmatched brightness, and a plethora of input options||A bright projector at a reasonable price that is great for presentations but not movies||With a small footprint and an easy to use interface, this projector is a great option for those who are always on-the-go|
|Rating Categories||BenQ HT2150ST||Epson Home Cinema 2250||Epson Pro EX9240||ViewSonic PA503W||Anker Nebula Capsul...|
|Contrast Ratio (30%)|
|Color Accuracy (25%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Fan Noise (5%)|
|Specs||BenQ HT2150ST||Epson Home Cinema 2250||Epson Pro EX9240||ViewSonic PA503W||Anker Nebula Capsul...|
|Specification Brightness||1780 Lumens||2700 Lumens||4000 Lumens||3600 Lumens||200 Lumens|
|Measured Brightness||1449 Lumens||1780 Lumens||3136 Lumens||2245 Lumens||168 Lumens|
|Maximum Resolution||1080p||1080p||1080p||1280 x 800||1280 x 720|
|Apect Ratio||Native 16:9||Native 16:9||Native 16:9||Native 16:10||Native 16:9|
|Zoom Ratio||1.0 - 1.3||1.0 - 1.6||1.0 - 1.6||1.0- 1.1||Automatic|
|Throw Ratio (Wide to Zoom)||1.15 - 1.5||1.33 to 2.17||1.32 to 2.14||1.55 - 1.70||1.3|
|Vertical Keystoning Correction?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Horizontal Keystoning Correction?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Dimensions||15" x 4.8" x 11"||12.2" x 12.4" x 4.8"||12.2" x 11.2" x 4.1"||11.6" x 4.3" x 8.6"||3.15" x 3.15" x 5.9"|
|Weight||7.3 lbs||8.4 lbs||6.8 lbs||4.9 lbs||1.5 lbs|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The BenQ HT2150ST performs impressively in our testing and is among our top recommendations for those seeking a home theater projector. The 1080p resolution is crisp, but its true claim to fame is the lack of alteration to skin tone. The backlit remote makes it easy to control, even in the dark, which is great because this projector does not do as well in lighter conditions. While the BenQ HT2150ST is not an inexpensive device, it is on the lower side of high performers fit for an advanced home theatre. Read on to get into the nitty-gritty details.
With a contrast ratio of 15000:1, the BenQ HT2150ST does not blow its competitors out of the water. When viewing our black and white test, it becomes obvious that whites are not quite bright enough, and mid-tones are difficult to distinguish.
The darkest blacks are dynamic, but greys can be difficult to differentiate from one another. This is also made evident in the shadows of our Costa Rica video test. The whites are also somewhat dull. Overall, there seems to be a shift towards blacks giving the BenQ HT2150ST a somewhat average performance in contrast ratio.
The BenQ HT2150ST may struggle with bright whites and mid-tones, but its color accuracy is phenomenal. It shines especially bright in the skin tone department compared to its competitors.
Finally, a projector that won't have you mistaking every movie you watch for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory due to an Oompa Loompa-like warmth to all the actors' skin. While it does still err on the warmer side, skin tone is not drastically changed, ultimately providing a wonderful viewing experience.
When viewing the color wheel, some of the pie slices are a little off, but nothing other than yellow is enough to notice while watching videos. Reds and oranges appear darker and deeper rather than bright and saturated. Purples lean ever-so-slightly pink, but nothing compared to some of the lower-performing projectors in our suite. Greens have a blue tint to them and blues a little undersaturated, but neither of them affects the viewing experience. Our biggest only bone to pick with the BenQ HT2150ST is that bright yellows turn a slightly green color. This may negatively affect your viewing experience if you are watching movies with especially bright yellows, but overall the BenQ does a great job of portraying accurate colors.
The HT2150ST also has excellent preset color modes. This is great for people who like to fine-tune and tinker or want to optimize their projector's color settings.
The BenQ HT2150ST rocks a 1080 pixel resolution which helps keep images and videos crisp and clean.
High-definition imagery is displayed with next to perfect precision. Small details like eyelashes have a slight haze to them, but overall the image is clear. Our Siemens Star Test reveals a slight staircase effect showing a somewhat pixelated star near the center when zoomed in to about 400%.
Zooming in on still images shows a slight blur, but video viewing is impeccable. Hectic, fast-paced scenes are no problem for this model. Everything from car chases to football games look seamless and smooth. In addition to creating sharp images, the 1080p resolution also produces crisp text and graphs. If you're looking for a top-notch image and don't want to break the bank, the BenQ HT2150ST is an obvious choice.
The throw ratio of the HT2150ST is 0.69 to 0.83, which is shorter than most of the leading home cinema projectors on the market. This can make a huge difference in many home theaters. For instance, placing the projector just over 8 feet from the screen can create a massive 150" picture, which would require most projectors to be around 14 feet from the screen. This opens up the opportunity for massive pictures in even smaller rooms or rooms where all the convenient mounting opportunities are closer to the screen.
Ease of Use
While we didn't see a huge difference between models for ease of use as for other metrics, the HT2150ST is among the highest performers.
This is one of the few models in our review that offers a lens shift feature. Lens shift allows you to move the image up or down without digital distortion. This is incredibly useful for those constructing permanent mounts as it affords much more room for error in placement. The 1.3x zoom also gives you some screen size adjustability. Vertical keystone correction is controlled via an easy-to-use remote, and the knobs that control lens shift, zoom, and focus all feel smooth and solid. They also have a retractable cover that hides them away. This is nice if you plan to put the projector on a permanent mount, as you can dial in all the ideal settings and then close the cover to make sure the knobs won't accidentally get nudged out of place.
Both of the back feet of the HT2150ST sit on adjustable screws, allowing you to level the unit if it's sitting on a tilted surface. The front leg slides freely up and down when a button is depressed and locks into place when released. It is quite easy to adjust the projector's angle by first pulling the front leg all the way out, pushing the button, slowly lowering the unit until the image is at the proper height, and then releasing the button. The front leg is somewhat shorter than most models', but our testers confirm that this is not a hindrance. The only inconvenience of the projector body itself is its size. The HT2150ST is one of the heaviest and largest models we tested and is thus not very portable. At 7.3 pounds, it's not immobile but certainly is not a great choice for people who will be traveling with their projector.
The remote control for the HT2150ST is also a favorite among our testers. Its buttons are well labeled and easy to press. The button layout is intuitive, allowing you to easily scroll through color modes, adjust contrast and other settings, and correct for keystoning. The entire control panel is backlit with a red light that doesn't affect your night vision but still allows you to clearly read the labels on each button. The light stays on for about eight seconds after you've pushed a button and can also be turned off instantly by pushing the 'light' button in the upper right-hand corner. This backlight is especially useful if you're using the projector's built-in speakers, as it allows you to easily adjust the volume mid-movie.
We measured the brightness of this projector at 1449 lumens, which is about less than the manufacturer's claim of 2200 lumens. This makes it one of the dimmest model in our tests for a full-size (non-pico) unit.
We find this relatively dim brightness level to be ideal for viewings in a dark home theater, though it is just a bit weak in a well-lit room. The HT2150ST retained its sharp resolution and stellar contrast ratio when projecting in ambient light, but some colors become washed out. White areas in text and graph-heavy pages take on a blue tint. Skin tones lose their healthy glow and look a bit paler.
The HT2150ST has a somewhat loud fan, but the lower pitch keeps it from being too distracting.
Due to the lower pitch, we barely notice the fan, even when pushing the lamp heat to the extreme by projecting bright white images for extended periods. This is yet another aspect that makes the BenQ HT2150ST ideal for a home cinema setup.
Should You Buy the BenQ HT2150ST?
For those looking to spend less for a home theater rig, the BenQ HT2150ST is a great choice. It offers the best image quality you can find in this price range, with stellar resolution and some of the best color accuracy we've seen, especially for skin tones. While clearly still expensive, we think this projector is a great value if it's within your budget. It is a great model to consider for a home theater with stellar image quality and a low-humming fan.
What Other Projectors Should You Consider?
If you need something that is more budget-friendly for at-home use, the ViewSonic PA503W is half the price with a bright image that offers decent enough images for enjoying an outdoor movie night, but with the price-cut comes a much lower quality image. If you need an office mate, the Epson Pro EX9240 might be the better choice, but it will cost you about the same as the BenQ. It offers amazing brightness but slightly lower image quality. Because it is super bright, it allows for better results in lighter office environments where controlling ambient light can be challenging.
— Hayley Thomas and Jessica Riconscente
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