BenQ W500 Home Theater Projector Review
BenQ W500 Home Theater Projector: Physical Tour
Let’s start, facing the front of the W500 projector. The zoom lens is recessed (except for the trim ring), and mounted to the right of center. It offers a 1.2:1 zoom ratio, which is fairly limited, but typical of projectors priced around $1000. If you need more zoom range, you need to look to more expensive models such as the Panasonic PT-AX100U, and the Sanyo PLV-Z5 home theater projectors.
To give you an idea of placement range, for a 100″ diagonal, 16:9 screen, the front of the lens can be as close as 10 feet, 10 inches, and as far back as 13 feet one inch, which is similar to competing projectors.
In the center of the front of the W500 projector, is the front infra-red sensor for the remote control. On the other side of the lens is a joystick for adjusting the vertical and horizontal lens shift. As is typical, you get the maximum adjustment range for vertical lens shift, if you do not use any horizontal lens shift.
On the front bottom, (left and right sides) are the two, screw thread adjustable, front feet
Moving to the top, is the control panel shown here. The power switch is located to the left of the main panel. To it’s right is a centered, Enter button, surrounded by four arrow keys for navigation, and four additional “L” shaped buttons. The front left button engages the Menu, and the top right button is Exit, and moves you back, up, one level in the menus. The back left “L” shaped button, is labeled Mode, and let’s you select from preset modes, including Cinema, Dynamic and Standard. The back right button is labeled Source, and lets you choose from the various inputs.
Moving to the back input panel, from left to right: First is the rear infra-red sensor for the remote, then a USB port. The single HDMI input is next, followed by a standard HD15 connector for the traditional analog computer input. Further to the right (one above the other), are two component video inputs. (We would have preferred to see two HDMI’s and one component, but we can hardly complain.) Then come the two “lower resolution” video inputs – composite (NTSC/PAL/SECAM), and S-Video. Lastly, and furthest to the right, is a 12 volt trigger for controlling properly equipped, motorized screens. Below all this is the AC power recepticle, and a Kennsington lock slot.
The W500 does not vent hot air out the back, so the projector is suitable for shelf mounting, if that works best in your room. As is typical of 3LCD projectors, the BenQ does have a filter to clean/replace. It is housed on the bottom of the projector, along with the lamp door (for replacing the lamp), and a fixed, rear foot, to complement the two adjustable front feet, and provide a solid 3 point stance for those placing the W500 home theater projector on a table.
On the downside, if you ceiling mount, you will need to unmount the projector to change the lamp, however, the filter slides out to the front, and can be removed without unmounting the projector (at least, with most mounts).
That concludes our physical tour of the W500. The remote control (along with the menu options) will be addressed in the General Performance section.
Time to consider how well BenQ’s newest home theater projector performs, in terms of image quality, our next section.
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