BenQ W7000 Home Theater Projector Review

Split Screen viewing

Once again (for almost as long as I can remember), BenQ has been offering projector models with Picture in Picture – a larger active window, and typically, a lower res, small window. The W7000 projector is no exception. My primary complaint is that you can’t feed it two separate HDMI images or even HDMI and Component. One input has to be “lower quality” such as S-video.

BenQ W7000 Dynamic Iris

The W7000 uses a dynamic iris. The verdict is still out as to how good blacks will be. The engineering sample does not have black level performance rivaling that the the older W6000. The “good news” is that in conversations with BenQ, they have said that:

“We did the measurement of the latest unit of W7000 and W6000 we have, and the result shows that they are about the same.”

Since these are so similar projectors (but for the 3D and a slightly more powerful lamp for the W7000), I would expect them to be essentially the same. And we plan to confirm (or deny) this as soon as we can get a full production projector, or a firmware update for our engineering sample.

If all proves well, the W7000 should turn out to be a good ultra high contrast projector. The W6000 was and we were very pleased. The W6000 was roughly the equal or better than the Panasonic PT-AE4000, but blacks weren’t quite as black as the Epson Home Cinema 8700UB.

Professor X

Victoria's Secret

X-Men: Last Stand

BenQ W7000 Projector 3D

The 3D is about as bright as any I’ve seen so far. The W7000 is right up there with the Epsons and the Panasonic. Like the others, it has right around 2000 lumens to work with, and that’s pretty respectable.

In truth, the W7000 is probably the brightest of the group in its Dynamic mode. Since the dynamic mode isn’t that great looking color wise – a native lamp mode, we much preferred using the calibrated mode, giving up only a few hundred lumens, and essentially seems just a tad less bright than the Epson. But not enough to worry about, especially since the W7000′s color in 3D in its calibrated mode, is better than the color of any of the other projectors, at their brightest.

In other words, the BenQ is certainly fully competitive with those other bright 3D projectors, and it costs a good bit less.

Among other 3D content, I used the BenQ W7000 projector to view a bit of a college football game, Tron, some of Monster House, Ultimate Wave, Legends of Flight, and a variety of concerts, travel, and science programming in 3D. This projector was as satisfying as the Epson and Panasonic – my two favorites due to brightness combined with good color.

BenQ’s glasses are a bit bulky, and run on lithium batteries. I wear glasses, and I must say, they worked rather well, with no back reflections, and a wide view. There should be plenty of 3rd party glasses that are compatible, which also includes Optoma glasses, and most others that use DLP-link.

Bottom line on 3D:

The BenQ W7000 is about as good as it gets in terms of color and brightness. It’s also pretty clean in terms of ghosting, although no projector so far has been clean in 3D on all types of content. Still this is a great choice if you are really into 3D.

BenQ W7000 Creative Frame Interpolation – CFI – smooth motion

The BenQ W7000′s creative frame interpolation is well done. It’s not so unnoticeable that I’d use it for watching movies, extremely few projectors are. It’s fine for sports, I did watch a lot of football with it engaged. I only really noticed related noise around fast moving objects when looking for it. Beyond that, it isn’t any more noticeable, than say, the visibility of 24fps, especially with fast motion. A net plus when you want to use it. BenQ’s CFI is called True Video. In the Menus they give you a choice of True Video, or True Cinema (which is CFI turned off). There is just one setting, whereas some projectors’ CFI may have as many as three settings – such as low, medium, and high. (When a projector has 3 settings, I generally find it best to avoid the highest setting.)

For your consideration: The image above was taken with the calibrated W7000 engineering sample. The side by side image below (W7000 on the left, calibrated Epson 5010 on the right, is using the new W7000 but is not calibrated. This should give you a good idea as to the importance of calibrating the W7000, as you can see, even in User 1, the mode that will result in our “best” mode of the W7000, is way too green, thin on reds. Obviously, the calibrated engineering sample above, is extremely similar to the calibrated Epson below right:

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BenQ W7000 Lamp Life and Cost of Operation

The BenQ is built for brightness, no other 2D/3D projector comes close near its price range, when doing 2D. The price one pays for all that brightness though, is a 300 watt lamp, and an average power draw of just over 400 watts. Most projectors run lamps from 170 to 250 watts, so your electric bill will be a bit higher.

The lamp life itself is below average – 2000 hours at full power, and 2500 in eco mode. We consider average: 2000 hours at full power, 3000 in low. Truth is, though, that several competitors are offering 4000 or 5000 hour modes. The shorter lamp life and higher wattage lamp, will make this BenQ W7000 a bit more expensive to own, from a long term standpoint, than most of the competitors. Still, the difference is likely only to be significant if you are a very heavy user in terms of hours per week. That more frequent lamp replacement is likely an unfortunate by product of being designed for maximum brightness.

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BenQ 1.5:1 Manual Zoom Lens

The 1.5:1 lens offers really good range compared to most other lower cost DLP projectors. That’s still not as much as some LCD and LCoS projectors but, combined with lens shift, provides very good flexibility. As mentioned elsewhere, the W7000 is typically ceiling mounted, as you would need an especially large screen, in most rooms to be able to place the W7000 far enough back to place on a rear shelf. Of course this is a projector designed for larger screens!

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