BenQ W20000 1080p, DLP, Home Theater Projector Review

The W20000 is a typical DLP home theater projector with a 5x color wheel. That means a very small percentage of the population will notice those flashes of rainbow, as fast moving white (or near white) objects move across a dark background (or the other way around). I’m a bit rainbow sensitive, and spot the rainbow effect occasionally in many movies with nighttime scenes, etc. I managed to live with RBE (rainbow effect) for 4 consecutive years of owning a DLP. I’d rather not notice them, but the effect, for me, at least is very minor, and infrequent.

As to Screen Door Effect, welcome to the world of 1080p projectors. You really need to be significantly closer than normal seating distance for a screen door effect to materialize (yes, it looks like looking through a screen door). One can still make out faint pixel structure, without being close enough for the distorted screen door effect. The combination of being a DLP projector, and being 1080p resolution, means that you will only likely spot any pixel visibility on things like movie credits, and signage found on programming, such as the boxes with stats on sports events, or boxes housing scrolling text on a news channel.

Bottom line, if you are sensitive to the rainbow effect, you’ll have to weigh that into your decision to go DLP projector or stick to 3LCD and LCoS projectors – neither of which can cause rainbows, because they are 3 chip devices, and don’t need, or have, a spinning color wheel. As to both Screen Door Effect, and Pixel Visibility, consider them non-issues. Oh there may be a few fanatics who would only buy an LCoS projector (they have by far, the least visible pixels), or the Panasonic 1080p projector – a 3LCD projector, but one that has their SmoothScreen technology, which makes the pixel structure completely invisible unless you are only a couple of feet from the screen.

W20000 Projector Brightness

Very nice! Not the brightest home theater projector around, but it is definitely significantly brighter than most of the competition. Off the top, there are a few that are brighter still: InFocus IN83 and IN82, and the Optoma HD81-LV come to mind. There are several much more expensive projectors as well (most over $10,000).

The W20000 is brighter than most, in both its best movie watching mode, and also in its brightest mode. There are so many options that we did a lot of measurements on the W20000. Here’s what we found:

First, the W20000, when set for Cinema mode (best pre-calibration mode), automatically closes the iris almost all the way down, that improves black levels slightly at the expense of brightness. You can, however open the iris as much as you want, getting a brighter image without fundamentally changing black level performance

With Cinema, and Color Temp set to warm, lamp on full power, iris on 2, and the second iris – dynamic black off, along with TI’s Brilliant Color off, the W20000 measured an impressive 660 lumens. It drops about 15% if you kick the lamp setting down to low (eco-mode) power.

Better still, if you open the iris all the way up to its maximum (19), lumens jump to 774. Simply stated, 774 lumens in best mode, is very bright, and perfect for those who like big screens like my 128″ Firehawk, which it handles with ease.

Engaging Brilliant Color significantly jumps the lumens up, but the picture is less acceptable to the purist, and I wouldn’t call any setup of the W20000 to be a “best” mode. It’s not bad, but, just not “best”. Brilliant Color affects many aspects of the image quality, including a shift in the color balance.

Engaging Dynamic Black (the dynamic iris) seems to add a little brightness when measuring, but, by its nature, it’s really there to lower overall brightness on dark scenes, to further improve black levels. Mike did nor run full testing with dynamic black engaged (normally you don’t want any dynamic iris on, for measurements).

That takes us to brightest mode. There are several combinations, but, there are two keys: To get a whole lot more lumens out of the W20000, the color temp setting to use is Native Lamp. Unfortunately that creates a very cool color output, over 9000K, through most of its range. You get a picture with extremely weak reds.

But, it just goes to show you: Turn on Brilliant Color, when you need the brightness. The minor issues I have with BenQ’s implementation (and most others aren’t any better), in terms of image noise, artifacts, etc., are, to me, non-issues when you need lots of lumens to cut through ambient light. Turning on Brilliant Color, with Native Lamp, however dramatically lowers the overall color temp, to create a far better looking image from a color standpoint, and it makes the projector brighter still.

For your consideration, here are two photos. Both are post calibration. Both are shot at the same exposure. The one on the left is with Brilliant Color off, the one on the right, with it turned on. Note the brightness difference and the noticeable shift (towards red) in color

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