BenQ W1000 Projector Review

A summary of the BenQ W1000 projector’s pros and cons and capabilities.

BenQ W1000 Projector - The Bottom Line

This is our third review of a $999 projector. This BenQ W1000 shares a lot of “projector” with the Vivitek H1080FD, but they are different enough, to have some different traits. All three are single chip DLP’s but after that, there’s a reasonable amount of difference. One thing I really love about the BenQ is its brightness!

That’s because when brightness is important, the BenQ W1000 has a distinct advantage over the Vivitek, and even more compared to the Optoma! Overall, there are few projectors under $5000 that are as bright. With over 1200 lumens in its “best mode” (with Brilliant Color On, and 644 with it off), the BenQ W1000 can handle an impressive amount of ambient light.

Compare brightest modes and the W1000 has a brighter picture with more accurate color, I’d say, than the other two $999 projectors, and for that matter the Mitsubshi HC3800 and Epson Home Cinema 8100, two not too much more expensive competitors.

Black level performance is one of two weak links for the W1000. I’d say the W1000 defines “entry level” black level performance. Both the Vivitek and Optoma are slightly better, but all three really are in the same class. If you want better, look to that Mitsubishi HC3800, or the Epson.

In a family room that can’t be fully darkened, however, you aren’t going to miss the blacks that much. Let’s put it this way. If you are going to be an enthusiast – you will want better blacks, but the picture is always very watchable, in fact, other than dark scenes, the W1000 rocks, with lots of punch, it is bright and dynamic.

For HD sports – awesome. It’s the brightest thing around, and with good color to boot. Its image is sharper than most projectors, and basically there’s nothing not to like. Well, actually, for sports, having creative frame interpolation would be nice.

Color performance is pretty good, not exceptional. This is as as one would expect from one of the lowest priced 1080p projector around. The W1000 doesn’t offer a full set of calibration controls so the overall color temp is a little off. It’s definitely a little warm (toward red, soft on blues), whereas the similar Vivitek, is the other way around. Functionality of the projector is very good. Inputs are ample, with two HDMI inputs.

The speaker will be a deciding factor for many people not looking for a permanent installation, who might just get to make good use of it. The audio out means you can output any sound routed through to the projector, over HDMI, or input through one of the two audio inputs. That might come in handy if you want more powerful sound while moving it around. Skin tones really did look pretty good in “best” Movie mode. Many projectors will look a little better in that regard, but few will have a complaint about BenQ W1000′s “best” mode. In terms of color accuracy, once we got done playing with it, even with Brilliant Color on, color was better than most of the LCDTV’s I looked at recently at Best Buy and other stores. With Brilliant Color off, the BenQ drops from about the all time brightest (1225 measured lumens) under $5000 1080p projctor (for a best mode) to a still better than average 600+ lumens, and more natural skin tones.

The two images below, from the recent Star Trek movie: The first one, in “best” mode with Brilliant Color On, and the one right below, same exposure, Brilliant Color Off. It’s darker, and definitely a touch more natural (though less dynamic looking).

Brilliant Color On
Brilliant Color Off

I mentioned another weakness besides black level performance, and that is the slow color wheel. For those of us who are sensitive to the rainbow effect, a 2x projector – is as slow as they come, so rainbows will be more visible than with any of the other projectors near the price. For me, I really can’t deal with 2x, 3x, or 4x color wheels well enough to own a DLP projector of those speeds. I’ve had 5x and for me, that’s not too bad, and with a 6x wheel, I rarely spot any rainbows. It may be that for someone, the faster wheels on the Optoma, Vivitek or Mitsubishi will work better for them. Of course the safe course, if you have no idea if you are rainbow sensitive, would be to get an LCD projector. Remember though, most people aren’t rainbow sensitive.

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