BenQ W500 Home Theater Projector Review

Time to take a look. This first image, from Lord of the Rings, when you click on it, will provide a close up of the lower right hand corner, one that is a bit overexposed. You will note the loss of shadow detail, in that you can barely make out the mountains, and really can’t see the fields below them, as you can with this same image on a number of other projectors.

Next, from Space Cowboys (Blu-Ray DVD), is the re-entry scene I have been using in recent reviews.

Click on this image to see a more overexposed, larger frame. You can compare this with other projectors, looking for the detail in the dark areas of the earth’s surface on the right side.

By comparison, here is the same sequence from the Optoma HD73 (note the lack of red shift).

Click to enlarge. SO close

Clicking on this image below, from Lord of the Rings (SD-DVD), will bring up a larger, and overexposed version. You are looking for how much you can see in the dark areas of the shed, along the bottom, etc. This image is also found in almost all reviews.

In the hunt for shadow detail, click on the image immeditately below, for a closer overexposed image. Even here, there is very little detail in the portion of the satellite occupying the lower left.

Click Image to Enlarge

BenQ W500 home theater projector: Sharpness

The W500 produces a good, sharp image. Not quite as good as some of the more expensive 720p projectors, but a touch sharper than the entry level DLP projectors. click below for a larger closer look at two images. Both are from 1080p sources. There is also a little bowing of the image, especially if using most of the vertical lens shift. Of late, I’ve been reviewing a lot of 1080p home theater projectors, so, in switching to the W500, I have to say, about it’s image sharpness, “not bad at all”, and I’m definitely spoiled by the 1080p projectors.

BenQ W500 Overall Picture Quality

The “big picture” impression of the W500′s image quality is really very good. As I am writing this I just watched a bit of Jay Leno on it, and then a hi-def concert of The Who. Despite its flaws, the W500 is enjoyable to watch. It is at its best on brighter scenes and is weakest in the really dark ones. That said, most without a critical eye, would not realize there is more detail that could be revealed.

Here are a few general purpose images, both hi-def DVD and hi-def cable:

This scene from House of the Flying Daggers really looked wonderful on the W500. (As did all the bright scenes in that movie:

And now a few off of HDTV (hd cable channels):

Bottom Line: Overall, good picture quality, a sharp image for an entry level 720p projector, plenty of brightness even in Cinema mode, for medium to larger screens. Black levels are just fine, with dynamic iris on, but there is some dark crushing – a lack of shadow detail, relative to the competition. Not bad, overall, in fact most enjoyable to just watch.

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