BenQ MP512 ST review: BenQ MP512 ST

Connectivity is a bit limited, but that is to be expected in a product in this price range. One HDMI input is the most important connection. There is also one 15-pin RGB/Component video input for a second HD capable source. For older NTSC sources, one S-Video and one composite video input are both included. I was pleasantly surprised to find an RS-232 control port, which I find unusual for a product in this price range.

The MP512 ST is not a serious home theater projector, and that was not BenQ's intent when they designed it. But for Wii gaming and other SD sources at a reasonable screen size of say 6-feet wide or so, it will deliver a pretty darn good picture for the money. It can' really compare with more-expensive HD projectors, however, so don't expect miracles from the MP512 ST in terms of picture quality.

The "screen door" effect, where the pixel structure appears overlaid like a screen door atop the image, is a real issue because of this unit's low 800x600-pixel resolution. This means pairing it with a smaller screen, where the structure will be less visible, is important. The BenQ is incapable of producing bright pictures, so again a smaller screen will yield a much higher contrast ratio, and consequently a better picture. I used it on my 92-inch diagonal Stewart Grayhawk RS screen and measured 10.5 footlamberts (ftl) of peak light output, which is slightly lower than the projected film specification in a movie theater of 12 ftl. I'd recommend a screen no larger than mine, and preferably smaller, in the 72-inch-wide range.

Those caveats aside, I have to say I was surprised how good a picture the MP512 ST delivered from both Blu-ray Discs and HD cable sources. The BBC 1080p version of "Planet Earth" looked impressive with nicely saturated colors and good detail. The T3 color temperature setting also produced a reasonably accurate grayscale, which was a welcome plus.

Black level performance on the MP512 ST was impressive for an 800x600-pixel resolution DLP projector, as evinced by its reproduction of The Assassination of Jessie James by the Coward Robert Ford on Blu-ray. This is an awesome transfer, but the movie's colors are somewhat muted and cold. The MP512 ST does a reasonably good job of reproducing the film's unique look.

Before color temp (20/80) 6250/6400 Good
After color temp N/A  
Before grayscale variation +/- 131 Good
After grayscale variation    
Color of red (x/y) 0.644/0.348 Average
Color of green 0.344/0.53 Poor
Color of blue 0.145/0.072 Average
Overscan 0.0% Good
Defeatable edge enhancement Y Good
480i 2:3 pull-down, 24 fps Pass Good
1080i video resolution Pass Good
1080i film resolution Fail Poor

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