BenQ W500 Home Theater Projector Review
BenQ W500 Projector: Menus
BenQ has finally come up with an all new menu look and feel, with the W500. Not that their older menu layout was poor, but rather, it was definitely very basic, and thin on cosmetics. The groupings of features has changed significantly as well, and the W500 now has both a Basic Picture Menu, and a separate Advanced Picture menu. Here’s a quick look at the key main menus.
The menu above is the Picture – Basic, menu of the W500, featuring the usual suspects – brightness, contrast, color (saturation), sharpness, etc. Of course there is the Picture (or preset) modes at the top.
Things get more interesting on the the Picture Advanced menu shown here.
Overall, the W500 offers a very impressive Color Management system, and there are too many bells and whistles, such as the Clarity Controls, to even begin to test all the options. The Advanced menu lets you save user settings, control the dynamic iris, and of course, use the color management system.
Here’s a screen shot of the Clarity Control. I left these all in default settings for testing and viewing.
As mentioned, the BenQ W500 does offer some extensive color management. In the screen shot here, you can see the controls for manipulating each of the Primary colors separately.
The Color Temperature controls are very typical, and allow separate control of both gain and offset.
Moving on to other main menus, the system menu is shown here:
This menu controls projector orientation (front, rear, table, ceiling), let’s you customize the background screen, offers a sleep timer, and the option of Auto search for locating live sources.
The Advanced Setup menu, controls lamp brightness, a dust filter and lamp timer, high altitude mode for the fan, and security features.
The last menu for your inspection is the Information menu, which is pretty self explanatory!
BenQ W500 Memory Settings
The W500 projector like other BenQ projectors, offers three User Memory settings, cleverly labeled: 1, 2, and 3. These can be accessed from the remote control, with each memory having its own button, for direct switching from one to another. The User memories are not input specific, so you have a grand total of three savables. By comparison, Optoma offers only one user savable setting, but is device dependent, so that the user area will hold one set of settings from your DVD player, another from your TV source, still another for your hi-def DVD player… I personally favor BenQ’s method of handling, but still would have liked to see at least 5 different savable settings in all.
BenQ W500 Remote Control
Click to enlarge. SO close
BenQ remote controls have always been favorites of mine. This one looks like just about all the others; white, long, thin, and brilliantly backlit. It follows the same layout as the others, except that it lacks some buttons as most of BenQ’s more expensive projectors have power zoom, focus and lens shift, while the BenQ W500 has manual controls for it’s zoom, focus and lens shift.
The W500′s remote control fits well into your hand, and I would venture to say, that it’s even a good size for someone with really large, beefy hands. It’s easy to navigate all your favorite buttons while holding and executing with one hand, and rarely having to slide your hand up or down the remote.
From the top. Top left, has a red power button, all by itself. Press once for on, twice for off.
Immediately below, two rows of input buttons, with both component video, and composite video on the first row, and the HDMI, computer (labeled D-sub), and S-video, on the second row.
Immediately below that there are five more buttons – a row of three, and then one of 2. These control aspect ratio, and are labeled: ANA (anamorphic) for normal 16:9 content (ie. HDTV, letterboxed movies, etc), 4:3, LB for letterbox, but this is a stretched mode, Wide (another stretched mode), and Real, which provides direct 1:1 pixel mapping (you would probably want to use this setting if you are feeding DVD’s from an upscaling DVD player set to 720p output.
In the middle of the two buttons on the second row, but just a little bit lower, is a round button that lets you toggle between preset modes (Cinema, etc.)
Directly below it, in a slight curve, are the three User memory buttons, and one labeled Default, which puts you (as you guessed) back into the projector’s default settings.
Further down, are the four arrow keys for menu navigation, with the enter button in the center.
Next row: Menu button on the left, and Exit, on the right.
The bottom row has four buttons, allowing direct access to image controls. From left to right; Brightness, Contrast Color (saturation), and Tint.
Then, at last, about 2 inches further down the remote, in the center, all by itself, is the backlight button, which, when pressed, stays on for more than 10 seconds. BenQ’s backlighting on the W500′s remote control, is nice and bright. It is easy to read the text on each of the buttons, even in a fully darkened room. All of the buttons but two, have their function printed on them. The exceptions are the Mode button (yes, Cinema, Dynamic…), and the Default mode button. The unique placement of the Mode button, makes it easy to find, even without a label.
Overall, an excellent remote control.
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