BenQ W20000 1080p, DLP, Home Theater Projector Review: Overview
The BenQ W20000 is the flagship of the BenQ home theater projector lineup. It is a DLP projector using the Darkchip3 processor. BenQ refers to their iris system as a dual one. There is an iris that adjusts based on the preset mode (Cinema, Dynamic, Standard, User...), and a dynamic iris called Dynamic Black, which is the tradtional dynamic iris, constantly changing to match the scene and improve black levels in darker scenes.
Key W20000 highlights:
- One of the brightest 1080p projectors around, in both best and brightest modes, it easily goes way beyond its claimed 1200 lumens, when you need it to
- Vertical lens shift, making shelf mounting a possibility for some
- Limited zoom lens range (the reason not everyone can shelf mount)
- Very sharp image
- Reasonably quiet
- Very nice remote control, well laid out
- One of the physically largest projectors out there
- Really good color accuracy after calibration, but not the best
- Overall very impressive image quality
- A very good value proposition, with excellent price/performance
Most images in this review can be clicked on, to view a much larger version.
BenQ W20000: First Comments
One real plus of the BenQ W20000, is that, for a DLP projector, it has a feature rarely found - vertical lens shift. This, combined with a longer throw zoom lens than many DLP projectors have, make the W20000 suitable for shelf mounting, instead of only having a ceiling mounting option. The fact that the zoom ratio is only 20% (1.2:1), does mean that depending on screen size, and room depth, some may not be able to place the projector on a rear shelf.
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The W20000 projector is one of the brighter home theater projectors, offering significantly more lumens in its best, movie watching modes, than the typical 1080p projector. That doesn't mean, though that there aren't a few that are brighter still. In it's absolute brightest mode, it is again, above average, making it very suitable for larger screens, and for watching TV, especially sports when you don't want your room fully darkened.
Projector: Basic Specifications
Click here for full specs, and access to a pdf of the projector's brochure: W20000
MSRP: $7999 MAP price (assumed): $4999 (BenQ currently selling it from their own site, for that $4999 price)
Technology: Single chip DLP - Darkchip3
Native Resolution: 1080p (1920x1080)
Zoom Lens ratio: 1.2:1
Lens shift: Vertical, motorized
Lamp life: 3000 hours low power (eco-mode), 2000 hours at full lamp power
Weight: 21 lbs. ( 9.6 Kg)
Warranty: 3 Years Parts and Labor, with first year 48 hour replacement program
BenQ W20000 Projector: Physical Tour
I can almost write this section in my sleep, as this is about the 6th BenQ projector using the same basic physical layout. The first was the old PE8700, then the "plus" version, then the PE-8720, the W10000, and the W5000.
There have been some changes, mostly relating to the lens, and of course the oldest ones didn't have HDMI. Let's get started.
Facing the front of the W20000 (white cabinet, with silver trim), you see a large lens, centered, left to right. Around the lens are the rings for adjusting focus and zoom. The zoom lens has a 1.2:1 ratio (20%). To fill a 100 inch, 16:9 screen, the projector (measured from the front of the lens), can be as close as 13.4 feet, and as far back as almost 16.1 feet. That's a slightly longer throw than most DLP projectors offer, which in turn means the projector sits further back, and makes shelf mounting on the rear wall practical for many people. Since most DLP home theater projectors have 1.2:1 zooms, but no lens shift, the lack of lens shift prevents shelf mounting. As a result other manufacturers tend to favor a closer in position for a projector, since it will be ceiling mounted.
In most rooms, the W20000 projector will give the owner a choice of shelf or ceiling mounting, thanks to lens shift. Also on the front is the front infra-red sensor for the W20000 remote control. The exhaust for the fan is located on the front, as well. Below the front at the far left and right, are two (screw thread) adjustable front feet.
The vertical lens shift has a 0 offset. Translated, that means that you may place the projector (vertically) from even with the top of your screen surface, to even with the bottom of your screen surface (and anywhere in between). That's a good amount of range, although not quite as much as most 3LCD projectors, it is a major improvement over competing DLP projectors, which have no lens shift at all!
Moving to the top of the W20000 1080p projector, (looking from the rear), you will find a well laid out control panel, consisting of three indicator lights (power, temperature, and lamp). Next comes the four navigation buttons for the menus, laid out in the usual diamond shape. When not in the menu system, the left and right arrow buttons double for adjusting keystone correction (best not to use), and the up and down arrows control the motorized lens shift (up and down).
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Next come two rows of three buttons each. The first row has the Power button (press once for On, twice to shut down), on the left, the Menu button in the middle, and the Source button (to choose a source), on the right.
The second row, from the left, has the Preset button, that selects between the various preset color modes (Cinema, Dynamic...), in the middle is the Exit button for the menus, and on the right, the Enter button (also for the menus).
There's lots of space between buttons, and all considered, the control panel is laid out logically!
That takes us to the back of the BenQ W20000, for a look at the input panel. From the left, the W20000 starts with two HDMI inputs, support 24fps. Note, that the W20000 HDMI inputs are only HDMI 1.2, not 1.3. This means that the BenQ's HDMI cannot work with Deep Color, which requires HDMI 1.3.
In addition, the W20000 has two component video inputs (one set of three RCA jacks - R,G,B, and a set of 5 BNC connectors). An analog computer signal can be fed through the BNC connectors. There's also the usual S-Video and composite video inputs, and a 12v screen trigger to raise/lower a motorized screen, or to control a masking system. There is also the obligatory RS-232 to allow control of the projector from a computer or room controller. All considered, the W20000 has a pretty standard set of inputs.
All of this hardware informationis well and good, but as someone probably once said: "It's the picture stoopid." So, time to "turn the page" and we'll consider the BenQ W20000's image quality.