BenQ W1000 Projector Review
This projector review of the BenQ W1000 projector has been completed. You will find nine pages of information on the W1000 projector, organized in the Table of Contents below. Enjoy!
March 2010 - Art Feierman
BenQ W1000 Projector Overview
Well, after months of waiting for the W1000 to arrive, I got caught completely by surprise. Yes, I've received tons of requests to review the W1000, but it's been hard to obtain from BenQ. Since I avoid reading any other projector reviewers reviews, prior to writing my own reviews, I guess I blindsided myself.
You see, turns out the BenQ W1000 projector, and the Vivitek H1080FD projector that I reviewed in November, are, essentially, the same projector. Why, I'm still sorting out the more subtle differences as I'm writing this. And, I'm waiting on some answers from BenQ as well.
What is surprising, though, is that there do seem to be some real differences. But the similarities come first:
The W1000 projector looks almost exactly like the Vivitek, The projectors themselves are almost identical in dimensions, and what fractional differences there are, seem to be the result of the slightly different styling/sculpting of the projector case. Both weigh the same. Both have the same lens, in the same position. Both have the front drop down foot and control in the same place, and both have the same input panel, with all the same jacks in exactly the same places.
But, there are, as noted, differences. The lamps have different wattage ratings (180 watts vs. 230 watts, per the data sheets). The W1000 projector has a 6 segment 2x color wheel, the Vivitek a 5 segment 3x wheel. (Lamp and color wheel differences should explain almost all the measured performance differences btween these projectors). Just a few of the menu items are in different locations, and, well, the remote control is identical except the Vivitek's is white compared to the BenQ W1000's black remote control with red backlighting!
Forgetting the Vivitek for a moment, the BenQ W1000, for an entry priced 1080p projector, it's exceptionally bright. The W1000 also has pretty good color, and it has an internal speaker, which could come in handy on occasion, for those not permanently mounting the W1000 projector.
I know I'm going to sound like "a broken record" thoughout this review, but, this BenQ projector is a good match for family rooms, bonus rooms, or even out in the back yard, or cul-de-sac for a movie party (not to mention the conference room). In fact, some might say it's almost too bright for a dedicated theater with dark walls/ceilings. (I don't think so.)
Ultimately, what we have here, is one of your few choices to own a 1080p resolution projector for under $1000. So far, while similar to the Vivitek in most things, the BenQ review unit I have here (still sealed as new when arrived), does outperform the Vivitek in terms of brightness. The BenQ projector's other direct competition is the Optoma HD20.
For those with a bit more in their budget, the most likely competitors for the BenQ W1000 home entertainment projector, are the Mitsubishi HC3800, the Epson Home Cinema 8100, and probably the Sanyo PLV-700 and the Viewsonic Pro8100, at least based on current selling prices. The BenQ, it seems, is very typical of low cost DLP projectors - limited placement flexibility (discussed in the Tour section), filter-free design for less maintenance, compact, and typically a bit noisier than competing projectors that use LCD design. So far, the only chance of a comparably priced LCD home projector, would be a possible closeout. Figure $300+ more for an LCD projector with more placement flexibility.
The BenQ W1000 is a cross-over projector. It was originally designed for both home and business applications. That explains several things, including, the internal speaker, the skid-free surface of the case, the slow (2x) color wheel - which would make rainbows more of an issue for those of us rainbow sensitive. The W1000 does produce as many lumens as most of the entry level business/education projectors, so it definitely can "play" on the business side, as well as playing movies or sports, in your house.
Let's get rolling by first summarizing some of the most notable aspects, and then we can dig into more detail.
W1000 Projector Highlights
- Entry level 1080p projector for home, that can double for business - a "cross-over" projector
- Exceptionally bright, suitable for family room/bonus room viewing (measured over 2100 lumens at brightest)
- An extremely bright "best mode" with over 1200 measured lumens with Brilliant Color on, and only 644 with Brilliant color off
- Good, though not exceptional overall color (color controls lack a full grayscale - individual color adjustment ability)
- Black levels are entry level, but fine for those using the projector in rooms that aren't completely darkened
- Very good (and typical) selection inputs and connections
- Typical limited placement flexibility of lower cost DLP projectors - Most will ceiling mount or place on a table
- For those rainbow sensitive, the 2x color wheel will make rainbows easier to see than on competing projectors
- Very good remote control - nice backlighting, and good range
- $999 - If you need a bright 1080p projector for the price, this is the brightest we've seen.
Specs for BenQ W1000
Click here for full specifications: BenQ W1000 home theater projector
Native Resolution: 1080p (1920x1080)
Brightness: 1800 lumens, claimed, and measured ( 800+ lumens in best mode)
Zoom Lens ratio: 1.2:1
Lens shift: None
Lamp life: 4000 hours in Standard, 3000 hours at full power (Boost)
Weight: 7.8 lbs. (3.5 Kg)
Warranty: 1 Year Parts and Labor
The image above, from a trailer including Pinnochio. Note this old movie is 4:3 aspect ratio like (old) TV, not 16:9 or Cinemascope.
BenQ W1000 Special Features
The BenQ W1000 home theater projector is a pretty basic projector, when it comes to special features. Even so:
Built in Sound
The W1000 has a small, rear facing 5 watt speaker. It actually throws out a very healthy amount of sound. Of course, bass is noticeably limited. It may not be surround sound quality, but it will do the job in a pinch. I can picture taking out the projector for Sunday football, plenty of volume.
And, consider, this projector is suitable for business presentations. The speaker will come in handy there. The BenQ projector has a pair of stereo audio inputs, and one stereo output as well, so you can, for example run a cable from the projector, to a nice boom box, or other portable solution if you want to move the projector from room to room, take on vacation, etc. Or, just get by with the single speaker.
High performance Lamp, Lens, and Color Wheel?
In trying to figure out the differences between this BenQ W1000 home projector, and the similar Vivitek, a lot of it comes down to these three differences.
The BenQ's lamp is only 180 watts, compared to a 230 watt in the Vivitek.
The Color wheel is 6 segment and 2x, compared to 5 segment, 3x
The lens has a slightly longer throw, and more lens offset.
So, how do these three factors affect the projectors?
The BenQ measured almost 20% brighter - figure some of that comes from the slower 2x color wheel, - the faster the wheels, in general, the less bright. Some probably comes from the different optics, as BenQ indicates that.
This is despite the dimmer lamp. Ultimately, though, regardless of the reason, the BenQ is definitely brighter. Offsetting that advantage is the Vivitek's higher wattage lamp, and higher contrast ratio (which may well be tied to the color wheel?)
There are color differences as well (discussed later) which also tie to the color wheel, and possibly image processing in general.
Image below - from Quantum of Solace