The BenQ HT2150ST delivered the best image quality in our testing, blowing us away with the kind of theater-worthy images we'd only expect from a much more expensive projector. It did this while also having the quietest fan, making this a perfect choice for a home theater set up, though the lamp is a little bit dim for projecting in a bright room like an office. It certainly can function as a presentation projector as well, but you'll probably notice the usually vibrant colors become a bit washed out when used in that capacity. For home theater use that won't completely break the bank, this is a fantastic projector compared to the competition.Editor's Note: We updated this BenQ review on February 25, 2022, with sections designed to help you make a projector buying decision.
BenQ HT2150ST Review
Pros: Great image quality, vibrant colors, full HD
Cons: Dim lamp, not ideal for well lit rooms
Compare to Similar Products
$899.00 at Amazon
|$1,000 List||$850 List||$580 List|
$529.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Great image quality, vibrant colors, full HD||Crisp image quality, accurate color depiction, intuitive interface, WiFi connectivity, streaming services on device||Great image quality, perfect for a business setting, carry bag, impressive brightness, assortment of input types||Portable, easy to use, WiFi connectivity, 3.5-hour-long battery life, streaming capabilities||Bright image, relatively cheap, WXGA resolution|
|Cons||Dim lamp, not ideal for well lit rooms||No remote button backlight, not very portable, loud fan||Confusing interface, no Bluetooth audio capabilities, small buttons, buttons are not backlit||Subpar brightness, lacking in image quality, no backlit buttons on remote, pricey||Poor adjustability, unimpressive colors|
|Bottom Line||Offering excellent image quality and a whisper-quiet fan, this is a fantastic home theater option||A projector fit for most scenarios, with amazingly crisp image quality, stellar color accuracy, an intuitive interface and streaming service capability via WiFi||A projector built for the office with amazing image quality, brightness, and a plethora of input options||With a small footprint and an easy to use interface, this projector is a great option for those who are always on-the-go||A bright projector at a decent price that is great for presentations but not movies|
|Rating Categories||BenQ HT2150ST||Epson Home Cinema 2250||Epson Pro EX9240||Anker Nebula Capsul...||ViewSonic PA503W|
|Image Quality (45%)|
|Ease of Use (25%)|
|Fan Noise (15%)|
|Specs||BenQ HT2150ST||Epson Home Cinema 2250||Epson Pro EX9240||Anker Nebula Capsul...||ViewSonic PA503W|
|Specification Brightness||2200 lumens||2700 lumens||4000 lumens||200 lumens||3600 lumens|
|Measured Brightness||1548 lumens||3166 lumens||7400 lumens||168 lumens||2588 lumens|
|Maximum Resolution||1080p||1080p||1080p||1280 x 720||1280 x 800|
|Apect Ratio||Native 16:9||Native 16:9||Native 16:9||Native 16:9||Native 16:10|
|Zoom Ratio||1 - 1.2||1.0 - 1.6||1.0 - 1.6||n/a||1.0- 1.1|
|Throw Ratio (Wide to Zoom)||0.69 to 0.83||1.33 to 2.17||1.32 to 2.14||1.3||1.55 to 1.70|
|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"||3.15" x 3.15" x 5.9"||11.6" x 4.3" x 8.6"|
|Weight||7.3 lbs||8.4 lbs||6.8 lbs||1.5 lbs||4.9 lbs|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The BenQ HT2150ST performed impressively in our testing and is among our top recommendations for those seeking a home theater projector for under a grand.
Earning incredibly high marks in our image quality testing, the HT2150ST is an excellent projector for your home theater needs.
The secret to the image quality of this device is its black levels. It produced the darkest, truest blacks of any of the tested models. These deep rich blacks automatically made other colors look more vibrant, lending brilliance to the overall image. The HT2150ST excelled at projecting bright scenes as well. Where other models would wash out the brightest sections of an image into a muddled patch of white, this projector produced bright whites that retained their definition. It also produced very accurate skin tones, avoiding the problems of washing out or over reddening present in many other models. The HT2150ST produced very accurate colors in everything from wide shots of landscapes to harshly lit indoor scenes. In our testing, it went from red scenes of a Martian landscape to the bright interior of space stations without any odd color artifacts or inconsistencies.
The HT2150ST also has excellent preset color modes. This is great for people who like to fine-tune and tinker or that would like to have a professional come in and optimize their projector's color settings. Hectic, fast-paced scenes were also not a problem for this model. Everything from car chases to football games looked seamless and smooth without odd lagging or rainbow effect. In addition to creating sharp images, the 1080p resolution also produces crisp text and graphs, though ambient light dulls some colors when projecting these types of things in a bright room. Regardless, if you're looking for a top-notch image in this price range, this is the clear 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, a feat that 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 was among the better scorers.
This was one of the few models in our review to offer a lens shift feature. Lens shift allows you to move the image up or down without any sort of 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 an adjustable screw, 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 didn't find this to be 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 was also a favorite of 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 adjust the volume mid-movie easily.
We measured the brightness of this projector at 1548 lumens, which is about 31% less than the manufacturer's claim of 2200 lumens. This made it the dimmest model in our tests for a full-size (non-pico) unit.
We found this relatively dim brightness level to be ideal for viewings in a dark home theater, though it was 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 became a bit washed out. White areas in text and graph-heavy pages took on a blue tint. Skin tones lost their healthy glow and looked a bit paler. Colors, in general, became a bit duller and lost some of their luster. We certainly wouldn't suggest this projector if you're looking specifically for a high-definition presentation projector.
The HT2150ST had the quietest fan in the bunch. We barely noticed its fan at all, even when we pushed the lamp heat to the extreme by projecting a bright white image for an extended period of time. With such a lack of fan noise, we often forgot we were even watching a projector until someone walked in front of the lamp. This aspect makes this model ideal for a home cinema setup.
Should You Buy the BenQ HT2150ST?
For those looking to spend less than $1000 for a home theater rig, the BenQ HT2150ST is a great choice. It offers the best image quality you will find in this price range. While clearly expensive, we think this projector is quite a good value if it's within your budget. This is a great model to consider for a home theater with stellar image quality and the quietest fan of our tested models.
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 good enough images for enjoying an outdoor movie night. 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 but with slightly lower image quality. Because it is super bright, it allows for better visuals and use in lighter office environments where controlling ambient light can be challenging.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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