BenQ PE8720 Darkchip3 DLP Home Theater Projector

Pros

  • Extremely Sharp image
  • Vibrant colors (good color saturation)
  • Bright enough for larger screens
  • Excellent reproduction of flesh tones
  • Extremely good verall color accuracy (out of the box!)
  • Truly excellent black levels
  • Lots of image control
  • Picture in Picture, and Picture On Picture
  • Really good remote control
  • Lens shift
  • Cable cover (for neat ceiling installations)
  • Warranty
  • Price relative to performance
  • Quiet

Cons

  • Overly large projector
  • Would have liked to see a 2nd HDMI input
  • Manual – has what you need for setup, but doesn’t explain well many advanced features, and when some of those features, are available, and when they are not.
  • Lens shift (yes it has it, but it would have been nice to have a little more range so the projector could be placed a foot or so above the top, or below the bottom of the screen) Note, the range on the lens shift is typical for DLP home theater projectors

Typical

  • Power Zoom, Power Focus (at least for it’s price range)
  • Zoom lens range
  • Number of Inputs
  • Lamp Life

BenQ will be distributing this product through local CEDIA (custom installation, and local home theater company) dealers, and does not plan to allow internet sales, which is typical for the more expensive projectors. If that’s the case, I expect the street price to be $7000 or slightly more. If internet sales are allowed, those guys would more likely sell it intially for under $7000.

At either price, this should be one of the best values out there, especially since most of the manufacturers that have projectors sold by local dealers only, are over $10,000 for their Darkchip3 powered DLP projectors. In fact a number of those companies are starting to ship lower cost projectors in the $6000 – $9000 range using the lower contrast and older HD2+ (Darkchip2) chip. While some of these may have advantages over the PE8720 projector, they almost certainly won’t come close in terms of delivering great black levels and shadow detail

Kudos to BenQ for an excellent overall projector, whos most notable issues should be corrected with new gamma, IRE, color tables in the upcoming production models. (And if they don’t get it all fixed, there shouldn’t be anything that a professional calibration won’t cure!)

If you are torn between those under $5000 projectors available online, and the $10,000+ models available only through local dealers, this new home theater projector from BenQ appears to deliver that $10K+ performance at a definitely more affordable price.

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