BenQ W10000 1080p Projector Review - General Performance
User Memory Settings
Lens Throw and Lens Shift
SDE and Rainbow Effect
Audible Noise Levels
Lamp Life and Replacement
Projector Screen Recommendations
W10000 Projector: Menus
Since the W10000 has basically the same menus as my PE-8720, this section is easy.
The BenQ has lots of goodies on their menus, and it is time to explore some of the more interesting features that can impact the overall image quality.
Hitting the Menu button brings up a rather plain looking bar with 5 main menu options:
Picture Menu has all the usual settings, brightness, contrast, etc., but also the Preset modes (Cinema, Home Theater, Family Room, Photo, and Gaming), which you can see on the next image.
Below the Preset Mode sub-menu, is the the Extended Picture Settings sub-menu, which brings up separate color controls for Red, Green, Blue, Yellow (and in some modes, White).
You can also save user settings or load them from the Picture menu.
The second major menu choice on the Main menu, is the Display menu. As you can see, you can choose the aspect ratio as well as change sources (and in some cases change source configurations). This menu also controls Picture in Picture, and Picture On Picture (which gives you two side by side images of the same size).
I may have mentioned this elsewhere, but with a 1080 source, the Anamorphic setting defaults to a slight amount of overscan. I recommend using the Real setting instead which will give you one for one pixel matching.
The Options menu (not shown) lets you pick the background color, if there is no source - default purple, blac or whitek, and it allows you to control where the menus appear on the screen. It also let's you set a sleep timer for powering off the projector, and how long menus appear on the screen before they turn themselves off.
The Setup menu (also not shown) is next. It starts with language choice for the menus. Orientation is next: Floor Front, Ceiling Front (inverted for ceiling mount), Floor Rear, and Ceiling Rear.
You can also choose between 0 or 7.5 IRE for black levels (7.5 is standard for the US, I believe, while 0.0 is normally used for PAL and Japanese setups.
There is also Keystone correction (avoid - that's why you have lens shift), Patterns (choice of a grid, or an RGB+White with horizontal bands, with gradations for different brightness levels (very handy).
The Setup Menu also provides access to Lamp settings (full power - 250 Watt, or low power - 200 watt, as well as the lamp counter (in hours) and lamp hour reset, when you change lamps. A separate sub-menu is there for the dust filter as well. The projector will insist that you change the filter at 1000 hours. Here is where you can also reset that counter.
Finally, the Advanced Menu. Here's where the real fine tuning can be done.
First of all, you will find control of the manual iris. you can open or close it in any of 20? steps (documentation says 20 most places, but 30 steps one place?) If you are doing a basic user calibration, much of the "action" is here, most notably the white balance fine tuning which provides separate contrast and brightness controls for each of Red, Green, and Blue, and a choice of Warm, Normal, or Cool color mode, plus two user definables, and Native Lamp color temperature modes.
To the right is a shot of the White Balance menu, with it's access to the RGB gains and offsets, and the ability to save your changes at this level (which will be incorporated into the master 3 user savable memories.
Back to the main Advanced menu. There is a 3D Color Mangement menu, which provides very sophisticated six color adjustments. Access is to the ISF Calibration area (password protected to keep end users out).
Here is a look at the first level of the ISF menu, which, has many of the same color controls that are availble to end users, such as the white Balance and 3D Color Management, plus additional capabilities. . ISF calibration also provides two modes - ISF Night, and ISF Day, for your calibrator to target different ambient light situations.
OK, we should all be menued out at this point. Want more - the BenQ site has the full user manual posted, and it has the full menu tree displayed.
W10000 Projector: User Memory Settings
The W10000 has 3 User Savable Memory Settings, which in turn include other sub-settings which can be incorporated such as the 3 Favorite Color Space settings. The User settings can be accessed from the Menus, as well as the remote control, or the Memory button on the W10000 projector's control panel.
W10000 Projector: Remote Control
The remote control of the W10000 is identical to the PE-8720's so I can tell you right off, this is a great remote. What makes a great remote? A nice bright backlight is a good place to start, and the W10000 remote has that covered. Going beyond that, though, is for the remote to have well spaced out buttons, with different layouts and button sizes so that one can easily learn and find the buttons they want, without having to engage the backlight, or for that matter, even look at the remote control. Lastly, the remote should be such that it can easily be handled and just about everything easily reachable using just one hand.
The W10000's remote does all that. I've provided an image of the remote, and I'll quickly run through most of thethe buttons, and how they are organized.
At the top, all by itself, is the Red power button - Once for Power up, hit it twice for Power down.
The next two rows of three buttons each provide direct access to each of the six inputs.
The next two rows have a total of five buttons - for different aspect ratios. Of interest, when working with 1080 sources, the Anamorphic setting defaults to having some overscan, so it crops the image slightly. I recommend, instead (for 1080 sources) using the REAL aspect ratio button instead. If, however you have some non-HD content coming in on an HD source, you may find the overscan useful, as sometimes you might find some noise especially at the top of the image, this is typical of many such broadcasts, not the projector's fault.
Just slightly below those buttons, in the center, by itself is the Preset Mode select button (one of only two that aren't labeled on the backlit buttons. This will toggle you between the modes, including Cinema (best), Home Theater, Family Room, Photo and Gaming.
Four nice round buttons in an almost semi-circle allow you to select from the three user savable settings, and the default setting.
Next comes the well laid out arrow key buttons (nice and large) with an Enter button in the center. And below that, on the left, the Menu button, and on the right the Exit (escape) button which will move you back one layer at a time from the lower level menus to the top, and then turn the menus off. If you are already in the Menus, hitting the Menu button again closes the menus.
Next - four buttons for direct control of Brightness, Contrast, Color (saturation), and Tint.
The next six buttons (two rows of three) control the PIP and POP (Picture in Picture and Picture On Picture (two side by side images). The + and - buttons allow you to size the "In" Picture window. On the right side, is an Iris button providing direct access to opening or closing down the Iris (there are 20 steps).
The last row has lens function - a button each for power zoom, power focus, and power vertical lens shift. After hitting one of those, the arrow keys allow you to adjust.
And, all by itself at the bottom, where you can't miss it, is the Backlight button, where you can easily find it in the dark. I love this remote, and I've been using it for almost a year.
i should note that it also has plenty of range. No problem standing 20 feet from the screen and bouncing the IR off the screen to my projector, shelf mounted 21 feet back. An easy 40 foot reach!
W10000 Projector: Lens Throw and Lens Shift
The current (12/06) manual and literature are wrong. They indicate a 1.35:1 zoom ratio, like my PE-8720. In truth, the W10000 has a much more limited (in terms of placement flexitbility) 1.15:1 zoom range (15% instead of 35%). This is due to the 1080p DLP chip. The higher the resolution, the larger the chip. If BenQ didn't want to change the lens, or redesign the unit, at the full telephoto setting (of 1.35:1) the outer edges of the image would be lost.
So, we have to live with the smaller range. For a 100" diagonal screen, the minimum distance from front of lens to the screen surface is 13 feet 1 inch, and the longest, 15 feet 1 inch. (Personally, that's a drag for me. If I upgrade to the W10000 (very likely) shortly, I'll have to extend my shelf out another 16 inches from the wall, to accommodate the more limited zoom range. My wife says OK, though...)
The W10000 would still have to be described as a moderate to long throw projector, many people will be able to shelf mount it in the rear of their rooms, especially if, to compensate for the more limited zoom range, they have the option to increase or decrease their screen size by six or eight inches to make it work.
W10000 Projector: SDE and Rainbow Effect
The combination of DLP technology, with its less visible pixels than LCD, and 1080 resolution makes the pixel structure essentially invisible at any normal seating distance. Even with my close seating - 11 feet from eyeballs to my 128" screen, the pixels are pretty much invisible even in white credits on a black background - the easiest way to spot pixels. As a result there is no Screen Door Effect issue at all!
Rainbows are another matter. This is a typical higher end single chip DLP projector, and it sports a 5X color filter wheel. That means a small percentage of the population may be able to see or sense the rainbows. I, myself, am just a little bit sensitive, only seeing them on any 5X wheel projector, when I'm really tired and or moving my head quickly.
A note about rainbows. Even if you are sensitive - like me, or more so, you aren't likely to ever spot them, on, say, a football game. They are most visible when you have a bright (white or close) object moving across a very dark background. (or to some degree, the other way around). Thus, rainbows are more likely to be detectable in dark scenes in movies than watching a sitcom, or sporting event.
Bottom line, the W10000 should be as good as any single chip DLP projector, in regards to rainbows. Hey! If you see them, and they bother you, you'll need to be shopping for an LCD or LCOS projector - neither of which use color wheels.
W10000 Projector: Light Leakage
The W10000 leaks light out the front. Don't worry though. If I didn't tell you, you'ld likely never know. The only time I can spot it on the W10000, or my PE-8720, is with no ambient light at all, and a black image (no image) being projected (I have my 8720's background set for Black, instead of the defaut purple). Even then, you better have white walls, and be looking for it. I think I had my PE-8720 setup for 3 months before I ever noticed. The same will be true for the W10000.
W10000 Projector: Audible Noise Levels
Quiet, no, very quiet, exceptionally so for a DLP projector. In low power mode, noise is a non issue. In high power the projector gets a little bit louder, but I doubt that anyone who isn't noise adverse to the extreme, will have any issues, even in high power mode, and even if sitting a few feet from the projector.
BenQ claims 23db in low power, the quietest I have seen claimed for any DLP projector. (This is a large projector, so plenty of room to baffle the sound and keep it quiet.) Even in full power, the BenQ still claims 25db, considered very quiet. Many of the DLP home theater projectors we review, in full power are 30 - 34 db, which is about four to nine times as loud. The rough difference works this way: If you are 1 meter from a 25db projector, the noise will be about the same as being 4 meters from a 31 db projector. Anything under 30 db is considered pretty quiet.
W10000 Projector: Brightness
One of the things I like most about the W10000 is that it is a pretty bright projector. It has no trouble in Cinema mode, filling my 128", light gray surface Firehawk screen. (More on that later.)
I need to talk about the BenQ's Iris briefly before we get going. Many LCD projectors have a dynamic iris that is constantly adjusting frame by frame. Not so the W10000. It's iris is manual, and stays where you set it. The purpose is to increase contrast, by stopping down the iris, and letting out less light. The good news is that stopping the iris way down, doesn't significantly improve contrast, so, if you need more lumens, open it up. BenQ claims 10:000:1 at best, but even with the iris wide open, will still generate blacker blacks than LCD projectors with their dynamic iris's working, unless the scene is completely devoide of anything resembling bright areas. (Dark scenes with no bright - is where dynamic irises are most effective. With a dark scene, and even a fairly small very bright area, the dynamic iris usually does little or nothing and black levels go right to gray.
OK, so why is this important? With an LCD projector to have overall good black levels, you need a dynamic iris. DLP projectors with Darkchip3 DLP chips are inherently far, far better than any LCD (or LCOS) projector without a dynamic iris. Where I'm going is this. The W10000 doesn't need an iris to deliver great black levels, wherea its essential for the Panasonic PT-AE1000U and Mitsubishi HC5000. Those projectors, with their dynamic irises operating appear much dimmer than the W10000 with its irs fully, or mostly open!
The BenQ is rated 10:000:1 contrast (and probably is closer to 8800:1 at best), however it should still be doing between 6000 and 6500:1 with the iris full open. More to the point, its the black levels that are what's important. Before irises (especially dynamic ones) contrast ratio was an excellent guide to black levels, today it's mostly selling specs are far less relevant.
So here goes:
Cinema mode - default settings; full power on the lamp, iris at default (about 2/3 closed):
173 lumens. switch to low power and you get a slightly greater tha 20% drop to 133 lumens. (This matches up well with the lamp specs - 250 watts at full power, 200 at low power).
Now that sure isn't a lot of lumens, but here's the beauty. Just open the iris up. and bingo, still in cinema mode, full power, you now have 506 lumens, and 402 lumens in low power. Now were talking! Basically, just open the iris and the projector increases in brightnes by 3X!
Of course I did a grayscale calibration on the Cinema mode. (More on that in the Calibration section). Doing so was easy, and cost only about 4% of lumens, netting 478 lumens iris open), still impressive.
OK, moving to the Home Theater mode: In this mode the iris defaults to about half way open, and with lamp at full power, the W10000 measured 311 lumens. Open the iris and 629 lumens!
Family room mode - designed to fight some ambient light, defaults to the iris wide open. With default settings and full power yielded an even 800 lumens. In the hunt for maximum brightness I played around a bit, changing the Family Room Mode's default color from Cool to Native Lamp. Whoa! Lumens now jumped to 1119!
Of course pushed to get out the most lumens, color accuracy tends to suffer. I played around with the color settings for a better color temperature, and still came up with 913 lumens.
To wrap this up, I also measured the Photo mode - 671 lumens, and Gaming mode at 892 lumens. Photo mode had a nice color temperature - looked good on my digial photos.
Bottom line. The W10000, with Iris open produces a very healthy 500ish lumens in best mode, while sacrificing almost nothing. Many with smaller screens may stop down the iris, but more to limit brightness than to improve contrast. At maximum power in Family room mode, it can't match the brighter 720p projectors, but is easily a match for the other 1080p's I have reviewed so far.
it's a projector that can fill my 128" Firehawk, in Cinema mode. I'm happy, and you will be too.
W10000 Projector: Lamp Life and Replacement
Lamp life is standard - 2000 lumens at full power, 3000 at low power. Lamp replacement is easy - it doesn't require unmounting a projector, or even flipping it on its back. There are two tabs to release the side cover (right side if you are facing the projector). Underneath is the door for the lamp, and also the filter. BenQ recommends cleaning the filter every 100 hours - (fat chance that most people will) , and changing it every thousand hours (they provide a spare filter). Remember, keeping the filter clean on a projector, lets the projector run cooler, which, in turn, prevents shortening the lamp life.
W10000 Projector: Projection Screen Recommendations
I'll start by saying that the W10000 matches up extremely well with my Firehawk screen - a light gray high contrast surface. I'm very pleased with the combination. I have, however thought about replacing the surface with Stewart's Studiotek 130 white surface (considered by many to be the industry standard). I do, however have to deal with some side ambient light in my theater room, so, I'm sticking with the Firehawk for now.
In my testing room, though, I have a 106" Carada Brilliant White, with a 1.4 gain (measured 1.3). In cinema mode, with the iris wide open, I actually found the image to be almost too bright. I actually closed down the iris about 1/3 of the way. That also, by lowering brightness, reduced black levels to what I find more acceptable.
i would therefore say, that if you want a large screen (110" and up, the Studiotek 130, Carada Brilliant White, or similar screens from Da-lite, etc.) are a definite option, as the W10000 produces more than good enough black levels to skip the HC gray surfaces. You still have the option of staying with white surfaces on smaller screens thanks to the iris.
If you have a fully darkened room, therefore, these white screens are a very good choice. If you have any side ambient lighting to deal with, though look to the HC grays, or even a gray (Like the Elite Cinetension or ezFrame with their HC gray surface (which has very little HC).
About the only thing I would stay away from are really dark gray surfaces, like Stewart's Grayhawk, and others, which were designed for older LCD projectors with contrast ratios down below 1000 (way below 1000).
While there are good affordable choices (if you are putting just about your whole budget into affording the W10000), from Carada and others, my own two cents is that the Firehawk is an exceptional screen, and worth serious consideration if budget allows. Screens do make a difference.
W10000 Projector: Measurements and Calibration
This is for those of you who plan to due more than the basics. Results will vary from projector to projector (especially since mine is a pre-production). Also your lamp will be different than mine. (Best calibration is said to be done after the lamp has 100 - 200 hours on it. This projector was measured with approximately 60 hours on the lamp. Overall, though the W10000 behaved very well and has the controls to easily dial in good results.
Out of the box Cinema mode was a bit cooler than the ideal 6500K for movie watching, with white (100IRE) at 7300K. Various levels of gray were very close to the white:
That's about as "tight" as you could hope for, but, as I said still too cool (blue). A quick grayscale calibration targeting 6500K, required only an adjustment of the Blue Gain to 403 from 408 (leaving all other Gain and Offsets at default) This spread out the color temperature a bit, and a little more work with the Offset would have tightened things up again, but these numbers are very good:
Those are the settings I used for all photos from movies in the Image Quality section (unless otherwise noted).
The Home Theater mode - more suitable for TV/HDTV/Sports, should be around 8000K, but I measured 8676K at 100IRE, not far off. I did not measure the lower IRE's nor attempt to calibrate this mode.
Family Room mode - I had fun here. As noted under brightness, I switched from the Cool (color setting) to Native Lamp, then did a quick adjustment, the result was overall better color balance, but still "tweaked" to cut through ambient light. The Default color temp on Cool, was too cool at 10,348, and I was surprised that the Native Lamp mode not only increased brightness by almost 30%, but also lowered the color temp to 9270K. Further adjustments brought the color temp down a bit further, while still giving me over 900 lumens. The final settings I ended up with in this quick calibration were:
Gain: R=512, G=478, B=458
Offset: R=15, G=4, B=0
The other two modes I only measured brightness (found under the Brightness section) and color temperature:
Photo: 100IRE 8061K
Gaming: 100IRE 10150K
W10000 Projector: Image Noise
Very good overall, there is the usual amount of light background noise that you can pick up in still scenes when standing close to the projector, but rarely noticeable during normal viewing. This is typical of DLP projectors.
The projector does a great job on handling potential jaggies, smooth as it gets on the flag test from the HQV disk. (Too bad, though, the 1080 version of the HQV test disk isn't out for another month or two), so the HQV tests are at 480, and are to complement visual observations from 480 an 1080 sources.
Of greater interest, the W10000 is very good on motion artifacts. it also does well most additional tests from the HQV test disk, although it does have some problems with some of the cadence tests (most projectors do, except, I guess the ones using HQV processing - funny about that).
Overall, I have see no issues with the static or motion image noise artifacts. Solid performance in this area.