BenQ PE8720 Darkchip3 DLP Home Theater Projector

BenQ PE8720 Projector Performance - Other

I’ll start with the BenQ projector’s remote control, and move right to the menus, then look at all those other pesky issues, like noise, best screen choices, etc.

There’s not a single thing wrong with the BenQ remote. This long white remote fits nicely in my hand, and the backlight button – by itself, near the bottom (but not too close), is easy to hit with my thumb, without shifting the remote in my hand. Hit it and all the buttons light up a bright orange (there’s nothing I dislike more than a backlit remote who’s buttons don’t light up bright enough to be easily read!) From there, I can easily hit the menu button, and all the arrow keys, enter, etc., again without shifting my hand or needing my other hand.

That said, let’s start at the top of the BenQ projector’s remote.

Below the bright red power button are two rows of three source buttons. Below them are 5 aspect ratio buttons: Anamorphic, 4:3, Letter Box. then below, is the Wide button, and this is important, for you “regular” TV watchers.

Although I didn’t test it, according to the manual, the Wide mode will take a 4:3 aspect ratio image like regular TV or “Full screen” dvd, and stretch it across the entire width of the screen. The really important point, is that this BenQ uses an algorithm to keep the center of the image virtually true, while stretching the left and the right third, so that you don’t notice the distortion of stretching the image (since normally most of what you are looking at tends to be near the center). This non-linear stretching of the image, is a fairly common feature on most plasma displays, but rare on projectors (for some reason). I played with this, watching a non-Hi-Def football game, and found the results pleasing. The best way of describing the lack of this feature, is watching Shaq O’Neill play basketball. When you stretch the whole image he tends to look like a 5′ 8″ dwarf, not tall, but super wide! Kudos for adding this capability.

 

Click Image to Enlarge

There is a preset button below these, and brings up a choice of the 5 preset modes – Cinema, Home Theater, Family Room, Photo and Gaming.

Then comes the three user savable settings. You can tweak your color, brightness, clarity, and many other options and save them. You’ll probably want settings for fully dark, as well as ambient light viewing, as well as maybe a different setting for movies, vs say sports.

All that is great, but the BenQ has lots of extra goodies on their menus, and it is time to explore some of the more interesting features that can impact the overall image quality.

Hitting the Menu button brings up a rather plain looking bar with 5 main menu options:

Picture has all the usual settings, brightness, contrast, etc., but also the Preset modes, which you can see on the next image. As noted, on this pre-production projector, I found the best setting to be the Family Room preset.

Below the preset option, are the extended settings which brings up separate color controls for Red, Green, Blue, Yellow (and in some modes, White).

I was able to get really good color by dialing down the red a bit, the blue up a touch, and yellow up a couple of clicks.

The second major menu choice on the Main menu, is the Display menu. As you can see, you can choose the aspect ratio as well as change sources, but also select Picture in Picture, or Picture On Picture (which gives you two side by side images of the same size).

Let’s skip to the Advanced Menu. Here’s where the real fine tuning can be done. If you are having the BenQ PE8720 projector calibrated, much of the “action” is here, most notably the white balance fine tuning which provides separate contrast and brightness controls for each of Red, Green, and Blue, and a choice of Warm, Normal, or Cool color mode. (For most of my testing I used either Normal or Cool, as the projector, as noted comes out of the box, a bit strong on reds.

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BenQ PE8720 Projector Menu Slideshow

BenQ PE8720 Projector Menu

Menu Main

BenQ PE8720 Projector Menu

Menu Picture

BenQ PE8720 Projector Menu

Preset Family Room Mode

BenQ PE8720 Projector Menu

Color Menu

BenQ PE8720 Projector Menu

Menu display

BenQ PE8720 Projector Menu

Menu Advanced

BenQ PE8720 Projector Menu

Advanced RGB

In addition to the user savings mentioned, there are addition save modes, for these advanced color settings. These saved settings, I believe are also held as part of the main User settings.

Ok, that’s enough menu items, but I did want to mention the Edge Optimizing, and the Clarity Control on the Advanced Menu.Both sound interesting, but the manual says almost nothing. I did notice that they will function on 480 sources, but not on 1080i. I am waiting for a bit of an explanation from BenQ, and will provide more info, when I understand what it is they are supposed to really do, and can then play with them and see what results are visible.

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