BenQ MW519 review

The BenQ MW519 is a likable data projector for classroom use, with good data image quality over a digital connection, 3D capabilities, and several eco-friendly features to prolong lamp life.
Photo of BenQ MW519

The BenQ MW519 is a likable data projector most fitting for classroom use. Its data image quality, which is best over a digital connection, is fine for typical presentations, while video quality is suitable for shorter clips. Some appealing features include 3D readiness, long lamp life, and several eco-friendly features.

This DLP-based projector is rated at 2,800 lumens of brightness, and has native WXGA (1,280 by 800) resolution. It has large and responsive metal zoom (1.2:1) and focus rings. Its design is simple yet handsome, with matte-black sides and a glossy black top. One downside to the glossy sheen is that it tends to be a “fingerprint magnet,” though the prints it collected could be cleaned off easily enough with a cloth. The projector measures 4.4 by 11.9 by 8.7 inches (HWD) and weighs a reasonably portable 5 pounds, although it lacks a carrying case.

The MW519 has a solid selection of ports, including HDMI; composite video/audio; S-video; two VGA inputs to connect with computers and one to connect with a monitor; two audio-in and one audio-out jack, an RS232 jack, and a USB type B connector for connecting with a computer.

Performance
I tested the projector in our studio, doing the official tests in theater-dark conditions but also viewing images and video in varying conditions of ambient light. The image filled our test screen (about 60 inches diagonal) with the projector about 6 feet away from the screen. The image was able to stand up to considerable ambient light without it looking degraded.

I did our data image testing (using the DisplayMate  suite of projector tests) when connected to a computer over a VGA connection, and then repeated the tests over an HDMI connection. Although in both cases the data image quality was suitable for typical classroom presentations, in several areas the HDMI results were superior.

A strong point over both connections was the MW519′s ability to display type that was readable down to our smallest test size. There was slight tinting with both connections, with some white areas showing a hint of yellow, while actual yellows looked dull or mustardy in all color modes.

With VGA, some grays—particularly ones with hatched patterns—looked green in all color modes, although less so in Presentation mode.  Over the HDMI connection, the grays looked fine, and a slight pixel jitter visible in some textured images over VGA disappeared when I switched to HDMI. With HDMI, it was also much easier to distinguish very light shades of gray.

With both connections, in some bright areas against dark backgrounds I notices the rainbow artifacts frequently seen in DLP projectors, in which little rainbow-like flashes can be seen by people sensitive to the effect, especially when one moves one’s head, or in moving images. It’s generally less of a problem with data images than with video, and even people somewhat sensitive to it aren’t likely to be bothered by it in the MW519′s still images.

Video Quality
As is often the case, the rainbow effect was more of an issue in video. Although the effect wasn’t unusually severe for a DLP projector, rainbow artifacts were apparent enough in some darker scenes that people who are sensitive to the effect are likely to be distracted by it, making the projector best for shorter clips.

Also effectively limiting the MW519 to shorter clips (or to use in a small room for video) is the feeble 2-watt audio system. It was sometimes difficult to hear, even at full volume, when I sat fairly close to the projector.

The projector has several eco-friendly features that can increase lamp life to as much as 6,500 hours. EcoBlank mode lets teachers easily take a break from a presentation, blanking the screen out and lowering energy consumption up to 70% while paused. The projector will also automatically enter EcoBlank mode after 3 minutes without a signal. SmartEco mode automatically adjusts lamp brightness depending on lighting conditions.

The MW519 is also 3D-capable, with support for 3D Blu-Ray via HDMI, as well as NVIDIA 3DTV Play, enabling it to display 3D content from NVIDIA 3D Vision. The active shutter 3D glasses are not included, and can cost up to $70 per pair. One other nice feature is built-in closed captioning for displaying subtitles.

The ViewSonic PJD6553w, also a DLP-based projector with WXGA resolution, is brighter than the MW519 at 3,500 rated lumens. It not only showed very good data image quality, it had better than average video quality for a DLP projector thanks to a minimal rainbow effect, and a more powerful 10W audio system.

The Editors’ Choice Epson PowerLite 1835 XGA 3LCD Projector has a slightly higher price and a lower (XGA, 1,024 by 768) native resolution than the MW519, but it’s brighter (3,500 lumens), has very good data and video image quality (as an LCD-based projector, it’s immune to the rainbow effect), and a loud audio system (though it didn’t have the best sound quality).

The BenQ MW519 is a likable projector for classroom use, with good data image quality, especially over an HDMI connection, and power-saving features that can extend lamp life. It’s bright enough for use in mid-sized rooms, although its audio is faint. It is 3D capable, but outfitting an entire class with 3D glasses might prove a tough sell to the school administrators. It’s best for use mostly with data presentations; there are better choices if video and audio quality are priorities.

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Specifications
Native Resolution 1280 x 800
Video Inputs Composite, HDMI, S-Video
Computer Interfaces Analog VGA
Wireless Connectivity No
Weight 5 lb
Rated Contrast Ratio 13000
Engine Type DLP
Type Business
Aspect Ratio 16
Rated Brightness 2800 ANSI lumens

Verdict
The BenQ MW519 is a likable data projector for classroom use, with good data image quality over a digital connection, 3D capabilities, and several eco-friendly features to prolong lamp life.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc