BenQ EW800ST Smart Classroom Projector Review

April 1, 2020 / By Nikki Zelinger
BenQ smart projector

The BenQ EW800ST is a DLP, WXGA (1280 x 800) resolution, short throw projector with smart capabilities. It is primarily positioned as a classroom projector, but is suitable for conference rooms and meeting rooms where its feature set would be useful. BenQ calls this an interactive projector, but it is not interactive in the same sense of other interactive projectors we've reviewed. Those types of projectors allow for annotation of presentations and lesson material with interactive pens or finger-touch technology. This does not have that, but it does have several smart capabilities that streamline efficiency.

We’ll begin with a brief overview of the projector and a preview of its highlights before starting a deeper discussion of its special features. We’ll take a close look at the projector’s hardware, then get into the good stuff – the projector’s picture quality and performance. I’ll summarize everything for you on our last page, as well as provide some insights into the competition and this projector’s pros and cons.

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Projector Reviews Special Interest Award
This award goes to products that are either a cut above, but may have a rough edge. Or, if it is a quality, but specialized product.
BenQ Specs
Price
Technology
Native Resolution
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim)
Contrast
Zoom Lens Ratio
Lens Shift
Lamp Life
Weight
Warranty

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We wish to thank Epson for sponsoring this year’s Education Report and Guide!

Overview

The BenQ EW300ST is a lamp based projector, with a lifespan of up to 10,000 in its ECO modes. At full power, you can expect the projector to go for around 5,000 hours.

Lamp ModeHoursEstimated Time Before Lamp Change
Normal5,0006 Hrs/Day in 180-Day School Year = 4.62 Years of Use
ECO10,0006 Hrs/Day in 180-Day School Year = 9.25 Years of Use
The BenQ EW800ST has good color in multiple modes.
The BenQ EW800ST has good color in multiple modes.

This BenQ has WXGA resolution (1280 x 800), which is the education world’s 720p. It’s the lower resolution of HD, with a different aspect ratio. The aspect ratio, or width/height ratio of the projected image, is 16:10 instead of 16:9, so make sure you get a 16:10 screen if you’re buying a new screen.

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16:9 Aspect Ratio

Aspect-Ratio-16-9

16:10 Aspect Ratio

Aspect-Ratio-16-10

WXGA is plenty sharp for K-12 applications. In education, you really only need the higher resolutions for special circumstances. For example, a video production, photography, yearbook, or graphic design class may want to have a WUXGA. Higher education may have more of a need for WUXGA, but rarely 4K, except in the case of medical films, scientific renderings, simulation, architecture, film and design applications.

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The BenQ EW800ST projects a sharp, WXGA resolution image.
The BenQ EW800ST projects a sharp, WXGA resolution image.

The BenQ EW800ST claims 3,300 lumens, which is bright enough to handle the ambient light found in most classrooms. In most cases, you may need to only dim the lights to get a vibrant picture. There is a deeper discussion about ambient light later in this review.

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The EW800ST is a mere $999. That is excellent for a smart interactive projector. It’s not your typical interactive projector, as it does not have the usual pens and touch functions, but it does have some exciting features that make this projector truly unique – this is why it received our Special Interest Award.

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Highlights

  • Bright at 3,300 Lumens
  • Sharp WXGA Resolution (1280 x 800)
  • Good Lamp Life: 5,000 – 10,000 Hours
  • Short Throw with Fixed Lens
  • 2-Watt Mono Speaker
  • Quiet Fan: 33db (Full Power), 29db (ECO)
  • Smart Features: Personal Cloud Storage, BenQ Smart Control App, Infographic Mode, Wi-Fi (Dongle Included) + Bluetooth
  • 3D Ready
  • Anti-Dust Accumulation Sensor
  • Support for HID-Compliant Mice
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