BenQ W500 Home Theater Projector Review
BenQ W500 Remote Control
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.
BenQ W500 Projector: Lens Throw and Lens Shift
As noted, the W500 has adjustable lens shift,
As to distance, for a 100″ diagonal screen, the front of the lens can be as close as 10 feet 10 inches, to approximately 13 feet 1 inch from the screen. That’s only a 20% range, less than typically found on LCD home theater projectors, but as good as any of the entry level DLP home theater projectors offer.
Adjustable lens shift almost always simplifies installation, and is typically needed for a shelf mounting in the back of your room. As mentioned in the overview, you can adjust the projectors lens shift from the joystick on the front of the projector. If you are not using any horizontal lens shift, then the vertical range allows you to place the center of the lens anywhere between 55% above to 55% below the center of the screen. An example for you: With a 100″ diagonal screen, the screen height is approximately 49.5 inches (we’ll call that 50 inches for simplicity). With the W500, the center of its lens could be positioned as high as 27.5 inches above the center of the screen, or as low as 27.5 inches below.
That’s a good range for shelf mounting, but those with higher ceilings are going to have to hang that projector way down, below the top of the screen surface, by, in this case 22 inches. By comparison, with the DLP competitors, they have to be about 17 inches above. Compared to the lens shift range of the Sanyo PLV-Z5, or the Panasonic PT-AX100U, the W500 is relatively limited!
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