BenQ W600 DLP Multimedia Projector Review

10-14-10 -Mike Rollett

Appearance

The BenQ W600 has a clean look, with nicely rounded edges.  Starting with the front panel, the lens is recessed on the right side of the front face, which keeps it protected, as there is no lens cap.  Just behind the lens, in a recess in the top of the projector, are zoom and focus adjustment rings.  There is one front height adjustment foot in the center with the usual push-button release.  There is an IR receiving eye on the top left side of the front face. On the bottom of the projector, there is a single adjustment feet in the left (facing the front) rear, to allow for leveling the projector on an unlevel surface.  The lamp cover is also on the bottom of the projector, which unfortunately requires you to unmount the projector to change the lamp if the projector is ceiling mounted.

Moving to the top of the projector, in addition to the aforementioned zoom and focus rings, there is a control panel in the right rear covering the most frequently used commands, as well as some other handy functions.  Included are indicators for power on, lamp status and for temperature (i.e.; overheating).  There are buttons for Power, Auto Setup, blanking the screen image and selecting the source.  There are also buttons to bring up and select from the on-screen menu, as well as menu navigation (Up, Down, Left, Right) buttons.  The Left and Right menu navigation buttons also function to bring up the FAQ page and to lock the Panel buttons respectively.  The Up and Down menu buttons also function to adjust keystone correction up and down as well.  Finally, the Menu Select button also functions to select the Picture mode.

On the left side (again facing the front of the projector), is a heat exhaust vent.  On the right side, moving from front to back, is the built-in 2-watt speaker, followed by an air intake vent.

Moving to the rear panel, starting on the left side and moving from top to bottom, is a set of component video jacks.  Just below them are S-video, composite video and stereo audio inputs.  Below that is the power cord connector, USB port, RS-232 port and mono audio input and output jacks.  Moving to the right across the back panel, there is a VGA computer input, two HDMI inputs (very unusual, but welcome on this class projector), a second IR receiving eye and a Kensington lock.

BenQ W600 Setup and Menus

Setup of the W600 was relatively easy.  As we’ve seen before with DLP projectors in this class, zoom range is limited.  So, first thing you’ll need to do is check the distance chart in the owner’s manual to find out how far the projector needs to be from your particular screen.  Next, if you’re using the projector sitting on a table or cart and you don’t have a fairly level surface, the image height can be quickly adjusted and leveled with the front and rear adjustment feet.  If the projector is still not level, the auto-keystoning feature will square the image to the screen with minimal edge distortion.  We typically recommend that if you have to use keystone adjustment, you should keep it to a minimum to avoid unwanted picture distortion and the W600 is no exception.

That being said, the auto keystone feature in the W600 certainly comes in handy for quick setup and works quite well for small adjustments.   It should also be mentioned that if you’re projecting on a wall rather than a screen, the W600 has a Wall Color selection section that allows the user to select from a number of non-white wall colors, including Light Yellow, Pink, Light Green, Blue, and Blackboard.

Once set up, the user goes to the Picture mode section of the menu to choose the desired preset picture mode (Dynamic, Standard, sRGB and Cinema), depending on the intended use.  If picture adjustments are desired, the user selects one of the two User modes.  This allows for selection of one of the preset modes as a starting point and then the usual picture adjustments (contrast, brightness, color, tint and sharpness) are available.  In addition, there is the ability to turn Brilliant Color on or off and a choice of four different color temperatures.  Going a step beyond most projectors in this class, BenQ has also included full color management, which includes adjustment of saturation, hue and gain of each primary (Red, Green and Blue) and each secondary (Cyan, Magenta and Yellow) color.  While proper use of color management requires professional calibration equipment, this feature will allow for the most accurate color reproduction.  All of the above settings can be saved in either of the two User modes, allowing for different setups for different lighting conditions.  While grayscale adjustments would have been a nice to have along with the color management, it’s not often seen in this price range in anything but a dedicated home theater projector.

For better time management during presentations, The BenQ W600 also includes a timer that can be set to display on screen or sound a warning when the end of the preset time is approaching.

BenQ W600 Remote Control

The W600’s remote control is a medium-sized, black remote with translucent buttons that are all backlit.  Most multimedia projectors don’t have backlit button remotes, but as the W600 is a hybrid (designated as a home entertainment projector), the backlighting is a welcome feature.  Buttons are well spaced, are appropriately grouped and cover many of the important functions without accessing them through the menu.  Starting at the top and moving down, there are Power On and Off buttons, followed immediately by source selection buttons, then menu activation and navigation, right in the order you’d probably use them.  Then, right below the menu navigation buttons are buttons to directly access the two User modes.  Below that are picture adjustment buttons, volume and mute for the built-in speaker and buttons to freeze the picture, blank the screen, bring up a test pattern and activate the backlighting of the remote.

It’s rare that we see such a well-thought out and arranged button layout on a remote and BenQ is to be commended for putting this amount of planning into the W600 remote.

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