BenQ W20000 1080p, DLP, Home Theater Projector Review

  • 1.2:1 zoom is more limiting than the typical 1.6:1 up to 2.1:1 zoom ratios found on most 3LCD and LCoS projectors
  • A few projectors can beat the W20000 in terms of black levels
  • HDMI 1.2 compatibility, not 1.3 – the W20000 is not upgradeable, and therefore will not be able to support Deep Color, when such content hits on Blu-ray, etc.
  • Physically large projector
  • User memory positions use a soft save – make changes and the BenQ uses them as your new settings. Write down your post calibration settings, so you can go back to them, if you have changed them for a specific movie or show

BenQ W20000 Projector: Typical Capabilities

  • Manual
  • Lamp Life (2000 hours at full power, 3000 in eco-mode (low lamp power)
  • Overall image noise
  • Overall color accuracy
  • Audible noise levels, just a little noisier than average, but lower than most DLP home theater projectors

BenQ W20000 Projector: Competitive Aspects

With a whole new crop of 1080p projectors hitting the market over the next few weeks to three months, it doesn’t make sense to do a lot of comparing with many projectors we’ve reviewed, that will be replaced over the next couple of months. Here’s how the W20000 home theater projector stacks up against some of the tougher competition

BenQ W20000 vs. InFocus IN83

The InFocus IN83 is the projector I have mentioned most in this review, as competition for the W20000. When we reviewed the IN83 a few months ago, I literally raved about its performance. The InFocus has a small advantage in brightness in best modes, and an even slighter one in brightest mode. In addition, the IN83′s color accuracy is about as good as it gets. The difference is very slight in best mode, but a bit greater in brightest modes. Still the W20000 is more than acceptable at both.

The W20000, comes very close to the IN83 in black levels, and actually can match, and perhaps slightly beat the IN83 in this regard, when viewing very dark scenes with no really bright areas, thanks to the BenQ’s dynamic iris.

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When it comes to shadow detail in dark areas, I haven’t seen any projector yet (under $10,000) that can beat the W20000. It may well be the very best on the market in this regard.

While both projectors have 1.2:1 zoom lenses, the addition of vertical lens shift, makes the W20000 far more versatile in terms of placement in your room. The IN83 has more vertical offset, requiring it to be mounted above the top of the screen surface, which can be a real problem if you have low ceilings – 8 feet or under with a large screen (120″ or larger), if you have a beam in your room that requires you to mount the projector lower to pass under the beam. If you have a 7 foot ceiling (basements, attic conversions), even a 100″ diagonal screen is a challenge for the IN83.

The W20000 also has an extra year of warranty, and that first year replacement program.

Perhaps the best thing about the W20000 compared to the IN83, though, is that it sells for about $4000, which is $2000 less than the IN83. From an overall picture quality standpoint, the IN83, in my opinion, has the slight edge, but “slight” is the operative term. Most folks will be perfectly happy with the W20000, and not feel the need to spend the extra for the IN83. (Or perhaps they/you might put that $2000 to work in other ways, such as investing in a much better sound system.)

BenQ W20000 vs. Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB

The Epson is another favorite of mine, and I have rated it the best of the lower cost projectors. The big news with the Epson is that new models will hit in the Nov/Dec time frame, and Epson has lowered the price through a $300 rebate and a free, spare lamp, for a net value of around $2150. Thus, although “out of pocket”, at the time of purchase is still about $2800, in reality, it’s not much more than half the price of the BenQ W20000.

The Epson definitely does deeper black levels than the W20000, but as I’ve pointed out, the W20000 is pretty good in its own right. On the other hand, when it comes to shadow detail, the W20000 has a real advantage, the Epson is only good, while the BenQ is outstanding in this regard.

When it comes to warranties, the Home Cinema 1080 UB has only two years, vs. the W20000′s three, but the Epson has two years of replacement program to the BenQ’s one.

The W20000 is a bit more film-like, and definitely has the sharper, crisper image. Both are comparable in terms of color accuracy in best mode (the Epson may have a very slight advantage), but in brightest modes where both are about equally bright, the W20000 has the more accurate colors as the Epson is strong on yellows and green. I’d rather watch my football games on the W20000.

A big difference between the two, is in brightness in “best” modes, where the W20000 is roughly 50% (that’s a good amount) brighter. That means you can go with a screen a couple of sizes larger. The Epson lacks the muscle to really do a good job on my 128″ Firehawk G3, and with typical screens probably tops out at about 110″ diagonal, while the W20000 has no problem filling all of the Firehawk’s 128″ diagonal screen.

The Epson wins the value proposition battle, its low pricing does provide roughly comparable bang, for a lot less bucks. Even with the Epson beating the W20000 handily in black levels, the W20000 has to be considered the better home theater projector overall.

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