BenQ LW500ST Review - Budget Golf Simulator Projector

Looking for an affordable projector for your golf simulator? Our BenQ LW500ST review shows a budget golf simulator projector, but does it perform?

BenQ LW500ST

Just getting into the indoor golf world and not quite ready to splurge on that high-end, 4K projector? Let’s review how the BenQ LW500ST Golf Simulator Projector compares to other entry-level golf simulator projectors BenQ and Optoma offer.

BenQ Golf Simulator Projectors Under $1,000

BenQ specifically offers a couple short throw projectors for under $1,000 that work great in a golf simulator, including the TH671ST and newer LW500ST. 

Sure, you could go even more entry level and buy one of those super cheap $200 projectors off Amazon, but be careful! Many of those claim to have amazing specs for the price, but they don’t live up to the claims. 

Comparing Budget-Friendly Golf Simulator Projectors

In the table below, we will compare the specs of the BenQ LW500ST and BenQ TH671ST, and also throw in the specs for the Optoma GT1080HDRx just for more comparison sake. The GT1080HDRx is one of the most popular and talked about golf simulator projectors and is also in a similar price range.

The highlights signify which projector is the “best” in that spec. 

Specs

BenQ LW500ST

BenQ TH671ST

Optoma GT1080HDRx

Pricing

See Pricing ($799)

See Pricing ($799)

See Pricing ($849.95)

Light Source

LED

Lamp

Lamp

Light Source Life

>20,000 hours

4,000-15,000 hours

4,000-15,000 hours

Native Resolution

1280x800

1920x1080

1920x1080

Native Aspect Ratio

16:10

16:9

16:9

Brightness (ANSI lumens)

2,000

3,000

3,800

Display Color

30-bit (1.07 billion colors)

30-bit (1.07 billion colors)

n/a

Contrast Ratio

20,000:1

10,000:1

50,000:1

Throw Ratio

0.72-0.87

0.69-0.83

0.49

Keystone Adjustment

2D, Vertical/Horizontal 30 Degrees

1D, Vertical 40 degrees

Vertical 40 degrees

Input Lag

33.4 ms

16.7 ms

16 ms

Dimensions (WxHxD)

11.7” x 4.7” x 9.39”

11.65 “ x 4.72” x 8.82”

12.44” x 4.25” x 9.61”

Weight

5.07 lbs

5.95 lbs

6.61 lbs

 

BenQ LW500ST Review

The BenQ LW500ST Projector has great color and the right adjustment settings that make it easy to mount in a golf simulator. However, compared to the BenQ TH671ST and Optoma GT1080HDR, we found the picture quality inferior, particularly in bright environments.

Is the BenQ LW500ST the best entry level golf sim projector? Well, that’s up to what specs are most important to you.

If flexibility in mounting your projector is a key factor in your space, then the LW500ST is the top option; the other two need to be mounted centrally width wise to fill the screen with a rectangular or square image. With the LW500ST’s keystone and corner fitting options, you can be sure to mount it out of the way of flying golf balls and swinging clubs. We would still suggest protecting it with Carl’s Floor Mounted Projector Enclosure, as we would with any short throw projector that is floor mounted in front of the golfer. 

However, if you’re worried about resolution, or brightness due to having some ambient light in your golf sim area, then this is likely not the projector for you. The picture on the LW500ST was noticeably more pixelated. To keep the price down, you have to balance out the higher end specs and sacrifice elsewhere. 

One interesting aspect of the LW500ST is that it comes with nine different picture modes, including a golf option that seems to warm up the colors of the projected image. 

BenQ LW500ST vs BenQ TH671ST

Comparing the BenQ LW500ST and the BenQ TH671ST side by side, in a golf simulator environment, the TH671ST stood out. In particular, we noticed the difference in brightness. Sure, the LW500ST had great color, but the TH671ST’s brightness blew the LW500ST out of the park. 

By comparing golf simulator projectors in person, we are confident saying, you can’t solely trust the specs. An in-person comparison between the BenQ LW500ST and the BenQ TH671ST paints a different picture.

BenQ LW500ST Summary

If you need the flexibility to mount your golf simulator projector off-center, or high or low, the BenQ LW500ST is a decent budget-friendly option. But you will sacrifice some on image quality.

The TH671ST gives you a nice, bright, HD (1920x1280) image for indoor golf. But you will only have the flexibility to mount it up or down compared to the central point of the screen as it only has vertical keystone. Any move left or right will essentially make it impossible to get a squared up image on your screen. 

In summary, to get a golf simulator projector priced under $1,000 some specs are going to be sacrificed. 

  • BenQ LW500ST forfeits on high brightness
  • BenQ TH671ST gives up keystone abilities and a little contrast ratio

If you want it all, a bright, HD image with great color and the flexibility to mount it up, down, left or right, you’ll have to dole out a little more money for something like the Optoma ZH406ST

 

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