BenQ W1070 - Review Summary
A Hot Product Award for the BenQ W1070. One of my easiest decisons of the year. Read on.
1/6/2013 - Art Feierman
BenQ W1070 Projector - The Bottom Line
If you can purchase this W1070 projector for under $1000, then I can't think of a better value at the moment in a low cost 3D capable projector.
Oh, this is certainly a projector with minimal frills. But, if you can live without fancy features like CFI for smooth motion (nice but hardly a deal breaker for most) and very clever image processing for "detail enhancement", and a host of other goodies, and if , instead, you just want a very bright projector with excellent color, 3D, and a low price point, then the W1070 is probably for you.
There's serious performance here. Start with brightness, with over 1700 lumens calibrated - about 3 times the average home projector.
Add to that excellent color if you calibrate the W1070. Or just use our published settings, and save a few hundred. Ours is just a calibration of the projector, not everything a calibrator can do, but, it should make a noticeable improvement, even if the BenQ W1070 looks very good right out of the box.
This is first and foremost, a family room projector - a home entertainment projector rather than a home theater projector. That is, it's intended for less than opitimized rooms. But the BenQ W1070 is also a 3D capable projector with very good 3D. 3D demands "horsepower". With active glasses the theoretical minimum brightness loss relative to 2D, is 50%. Unfortunately, we're not there yet. Consider that the W1070 is a very bright projector.
That means the BenQ W1070 has plenty of lumens for large screens, or, it can handle medium sized screens (I'm talking 100 - 120 inch diagonal) in rooms with enough ambient light to render some far more expensive projectors rather ineffective. And it also can give you a reasonably bright 3D image.
Can you drop the W1070 in a dedicated home theater? Absolutely. Its color accuracy will rival any "home theater projector" anywhere near its price. Family room projectors tend to be a little noisy, in terms of fan noise. The W1070 is hardly a quiet projector, but rated 33db, puts it in the same range, and I'd say it's at least as quiet at full power, as Epson's Home Cinema 5020UB one of the best under $3000 home theater projectors around.
While the W1070's brightness is wonderful, and its color accuracy excellent post calibration, this projector isn't great at everything. That would be asking too much.
Black level performance (while very good for the price), is certainly no mach for that aforementioned Epson HC5020UB, or most of the over $2000 projectors for that matter. It would seem a good thing, therefore, that this is only a one thousand dollar projector.
As long as I'm now pointing out some of the weaknesses, consider: There's the remote control. It's small, it"s white (easy to find in a partially darkened room), but it lacks a backlight. Oh, you'll eventually learn which buttons are which, but BenQ makes some great remotes for other projectors, that I'm disappointed. No backlight is always a pain when the lights are out. I already pointed out that there are a lot of advanced features - and frills, that the projector lacks. Another thing is the 3D glasses. I won't complain that none are included, as I think the W1070 is a great value even without. But I will mention that they could be a good bit lighter. Comfort isn't bad, but try those lightweight Epson and Panasonic glasses, and you'll know what I mean. And I'd prefer to see RF, not IR on the glasses, and have them rechargeable. But with luck, as you decide you need more glasses next year, perhaps there will be lighter ones.
But, other than black level performance, most areas of performance aren't weak at all. Dark shadow detail handling is also extremely good - for any price point. And then there's a radical surprise, lens shift on a really low cost DLP projector. Unheard of. As mentioned before, it doesn't have very much shift, but what it does is pretty much where you are most likely to need, and use it. The point is, it has good black levels and no specific reasons why the W1070 wouldn't make a good dedicated home theater projector for the price.
The image below, from the recent Spiderman movie.
The remote might not be ideal, but the menu layout is well organized and easy to navigate. Some might find the text a little small if they sit far back, but that's about it. Oh, they could provide additional info on the Information menu. I could provide a list, or they could just see what some other manufacturers add. Alas now I'm really quibbling. So I'll stop.
By the way, if you really don't like the remote, splurge for a decent universal, and control multiple devices.
The Very Bottom Line on the W1070 projector:
Almost every projector has some real strengths. And every projector can be improved upon.
At today"s consumer technology level, my personal take is that the BenQ W1070 is the best projector (with 3D capability under $1100), that I've encountered. True, you can spend more and find projectors that are just as great values. There are definitely other fine projectors, all at least a little more that I respect, that I also praise, such as the Panasonic PT-AR100U, the Epson Home Cinema 3020, the Acer H9500BD, BenQ's own W7000, Optoma HD33. Some of those have more features. A couple have better blacks. None mentioned, I think, can match this BenQ's shadow detail, and not one calibrates to a better balanced picture in terms of color.
The warranty's nothing to write home about, but one year is what most of the competition offers, as well. There are a couple of two's and two three year warranties that I can think of, under $1600, but only one or two multi-year warranties around $1000 (in a 1080p projector). The light leakage is more than most, and might be a noticeable issue in a dedicated home theater, but I'm sure not going to worry about it in a family room.
It's the picture folks. I talk about natural image. This W1070 isn't that natural as described, because I almost exclusively used it with Brilliant Color On. Most folks will prefer it on, unless in a really dark room, thanks to the roughly 50% increase in brightness that results. In that really dark room you won't need all the brightness, and it's where you are more likely to notice the minor downsides of Brilliant Color. Turn BC off, and calibrate the BenQ with it off (something we didn't) and this W1070 likely has a really phenomenal image with that true DLP "look and feel".
From Victoria Secret Fashion Show:
I only wish its black level performance produced blacker night scenes. But then that's the stuff of mostly $2500 and up projectors.
In summary, on both Blu-ray disc and HDTV, the color is accurate and the picture easy to watch. It's rather forgiving overall. When it comes to the "wow factor", it should blow away all your friends.
This BenQ W1070 has a great picture for the bucks, and is as solid a value as I think you can find without spending a good deal more, and I'm not just talking a hundred or two. Hey, it's cute too!
BenQ W1070 Projector: Pros and Cons
BenQ W1070 Projector: Pros
- Brightest 2D and 3D projector when calibrated that we've reviewed to date under $2,000
- For those rainbow sensitive, minimal rainbows - excellent for the price!
- Respectable blacks on dark scenes
- Handles very large screens effortly for 2D viewing.
- Does a decent job on medium to large sized screens for 3D
- Downright Excellent overall color! (calibrated, just very good out of the box)
- Skin tones are also impressively good post calibration, and good right out of the box
- Calibrates very easily - it's most of the way there to begin with
- Excellent shadow detail
- Excellent lamp life (3500 hours/6000 hours)
- HDMI 1.4a inputs (2) support for Blu-ray 3D content
- 10 watt speaker provide respectable audio when not hooked up to a surround sound system, great out back for a summer festival, or in any room for a quick setup
- Has lens shift - rare in a low cost DLP (limited amount of shift, but very useful)
- Audio output to feed another sound system
- Excellent value proposition!
Image above, from Iron Man 2
BenQ W1070 Projector: Cons
- Black level performance is good for the price but no match for serious "ultra high contrast" projectors
- 3D glasses could be a bit lighter and more comfortable (though not bad)
- Only front foot and one rear foot are adjustable, having both rear adjustable would simplify for table top setups - that's a drag, for a "home entertainment" projector
- 1 year warranty could be longer (but is typical for the price)
- Could be quieter in full power mode, though typical for a home "entertainment" projector, better than most
- Lacks CFI - creative frame interpolation - which is nice for sports. However so far, no projectors near its price have CFI
Above, Captain Pike, from the Star Trek movie
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