BenQ W10000 1080p DLP Home Theater Projector - Overview
12/7/06 -Art Feierman
The BenQ W10000 has fully lived up to my expectations. Consider that I currently own their 720p projector, the PE8720, and that the W10000 is essentially the same projector (it looks identical) but sporting 1080p native resolution, for a sharper image with more detail. I expected the W10000 to be at or near the top of my list for replacing my PE8720, and in that regard, its performance puts it at the top of the list right now, although I have two more 1080p projectors to review yet. All said, the W10000 is a first class 1080p projector, and I am pleased to give it our Hot Product Award. I like to point out why a projector gets our award, as some projectors earn it for performance and capabilities for a small segment of the market. Not so the W10000 home theater projector. It earns the award for an extremely sharp and film-like image, combined with excellent price/performance. It's going to be hard to beat.
There are, of course some improvements in the W10000 over the PE-8720, including the fact that the W10000 home theater projector is ISF Certified.
Quicktip: ISF (Imaging Science Foundation) is the organization of professional calibrators. Understand right off, that being ISF Certified doesn't mean the projector has been fully calibrated by a professional before you get it. Rather, it means that within the service menus (places where normal folks aren't allowed to go), all the tools and options are there for a professional to maximize the projector's performance. I believe that the certification also means that the projector's parameters are such that together, the projector and the calibrator can end up with ideal settings for your environment. (A true professional calibration is done at your home, so that the settings take into consideration, your room, screen type, wall coloring, etc.)
But, back to the W10000. To the consumer, this 1080p behaves almost exactly like the PE-8720, right down to the menus.
There is one other change of note, and that relates to the zoom lens and throw distance. The W10000 has less zoom range (for placement flexibility) than the PE-8720, which I will cover later.
This is the third of the new "affordable" (selling from under $4000 to under $7000) 1080p resolution home theater projectors to be reviewed. We have previously reviewed the Panasonic PT-AE1000U (the lowest cost) and the Mitsubishi HC5000, both LCD powered. Our next review is Optoma's HD81 home theater projector, which like the W10000, uses a 1080p Darkchip3 DLP, and has a MAP price about a thousand dollars more than the W10000.
Early next year we hope to review both the Sony Pearl VW50, and the forthcoming JVC LCOS projector (due to ship in February/March timeframe at about the same price as the Optoma HD81). Also early next year look for our review of the $10,000 SIM2 single chip 1080p home theater projector. That SIM2, will be the least expensive of the 3 1080p models from SIM2, recognized as a high end line - their 3 chip 1080p, lists for $49,995! But I digress.
Here are the basics:
BenQ W10000 1080p Home Theater Projector - Basic Specs
For more complete specs click: W10000
MSRP: $9995, MAP $5995
Technology: Single Chip DLP (Darkchip3)
Native Resolution: 1080p (1920x1080)
Brightness: 1200 lumens
Zoom Lens ratio: 1.15:1
Lens shift: Vertical
Lamp life: 2000 hours full power, 3000 lumens eco-mode
Weight: 20.9 lbs.
Warranty: 3 years Parts and Labor, with 1st year replacement Program
BenQ W10000 Physical Tour
Starting facing the front, the W10000 home theater projector is dominated by a large center mounted zoom lens. Just outside the lens trim on the upper right is the front infrared sensor. The hot air vents out of the front. Below the front are two screw thread adjustable feet.
Although this is the same zoom lens, (which, as with the PE-8720, provides an exceptionally sharp image), the zoom has less zoom range than the PE-8720. Whereas the PE-8720 offers a very impressive 1.35:1 zoom ratio (impressive for a DLP projector), the W10000 offers only 1.15:1 range. This is due to the fundamentals of DLP chips. The 1080p Darkchip3 DLP chip is larger than its 720p counterpart used in the PE-8720. As a result, to use the same lens with it, at the telephoto end, the outer edge of the image would be lost. BenQ's solution was simply to limit the zoom ratio to 1.15:1, which does limit placement flexibility. (In my case, since my PE-8720 is shelf mounted in the rear of my room, if I finally choose the W10000 to replace my PE-8720, I'm going to have to extend the shelf another 16 inches to put the projector a bit closer to my screen, so as not to overshoot the end. Still the remaining 1.15:1 combined with a moderately long throw, will work for many in a rear shelf situation, especially if buyers are willing to be a little bit flexible with their screen size, to make it work in their room.
Moving to the top of the W10000 projector, is a large, well spaced out control panel, as shown here. Nearest to the lens are the "usual" three indicator lights - Power, Temperature, and Lamp. Not far behind them are four widely spaced arrow keys for navigating the menu system. The Up and Down arrow keys double (when not in Menu mode) to control the power zoom lens. The Left and Right arrow keys, double to control the power focus.
Further back are two rows of three large buttons. On the far left of the first row (looking from the back), is the Power switch, in the center, the Menu button, which, once the menus are open, doubles as an Exit button. On the right, is the Source select button, which when in Menu mode functions as the Enter button.
On the second row there is a Memory button which lets you toggle between the preset and user modes. The center and right buttons control the vertical, power lens shift. All in all very straightforward, and easy to navigate.
That takes us to the rear of the BenQ W10000. If there is one weakness with this projector, it is in the limited number of inputs. From the left, at the top is the single HDMI input (sure would be nice to have a second, and even a third). Next to it are three RCA jacks for the Component Video input. And to the right of them, is a composite video (RCA jack) and S-Video (DIN plug), input. The lower row is dominated by five BNC connectors which can accept either a computer signal, or be used as a second component video input. Next is a 12Volt Trigger for automatically controlling a motorized projection screen (that is equipped to handle 12Volt control - optional on many motorized screens). Last is an RS-232 port for command and control of the projector from a computer.
Separate from the control panel in the lower right is the power receptacle, and the "hard" power switch - which, of course, must be ON for the Power button on the top of the W10000, or the remote control, to power the projector on and off.
BenQ follows the most common protocol for Powering up and down. Press once for On, press twice to power down.
I'll cover the remote control in the General Performance section, along with the Menu options.
Time to cut to the chase - let's consider the BenQ W10000 home theater projector's image quality.