BenQ W6000 - Competitors
How does the BenQ W6000 compare to other 1080p home theater projectors on the market?
9/23/2009 - Art Feierman
This section compares the BenQ W6000 home theater projector to the competition. You will find our impressions of this BenQ projector as it stacks up to existing projectors we have reviewed, and a couple that are about to ship, and not yet reviewed.
W6000 vs. Epson Home Cinema 6500UB and Home Cinema 8500UB
Essentially, the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB is the replacement for the popular 6500UB. The major differences between the two Epsons, are higher contrast - thanks to a new dynamic iris, and improved creative frame interpolation.
Basically, even the existing 6500UB should still have slightly better blacks overall, compared to the W6000, so the 8500UB will probably be a slight bit better still.
When it comes to color, the Epsons typically aren't quite as film-like, but still really good, and the Epson UBs, in part thanks to their black level performance, will likely have a bit more "pop and wow" to their picture, especially on darker scenes. The BenQ will likely resolve more dark shadow detail.
DLP fans will likely prefer the BenQ for picture quality, as will many purists. In general, though, most enthusiasts will like the Epson package.
The BenQ will have a huge advantage in brightness, in "best mode", and strong appeal therefore to movie fans wanting larger screens.
On the other hand, the Epson should have a slight advantage in brightest output, when you need lumens. And while the Epson at brightest is off on color, with too much green, etc. it is still better color balance wise than the BenQ at similar power (about 1800 lumens). To get respectable color, the BenQ can do about 1250 lumens, and the Epson more like 1500, so give the Epson the advantage (a small one) for maximum lumens.
While placement flexibility of the BenQ W6000 is fine, and will work for most people, the Epson is more flexible, in terms of zoom range and amount of lens shift, but for most people, this will not be an issue
When it comes to fancy features, with Epson you get creative frame interpolation, standard frame interpolation, and other features.
Whether you are sold on creative frame interpolation or not (I like it for sports, and only rarely for movies, but as they refine it, it may be more acceptable for movies.
The Epson's take 24fps movies and can do basic interpolation to 120 fps. Or they can do creative frame interpolation to 96fps. 60 fps content gets taken to 120 fps. There's one aspect of the 8500UB (what it does with 24fps content broadcast over 60 fps. The 6500UB handles that, but not well, The new Epson addresses that, but how it turns out - I'll need a unit to evaluate.
Noise wise, neither Epson nor BenQ are particularly quiet projectors, both on the noisy side of average, or on the quiet side of being noisy. Overall, the Epson is a tad quieter, but more likely it comes down to where you mount your projector. Both have dynamic irises that can just be heard. If you hear it easily, look to your shelf, or mount, it might be resonating, and you can solve that easily enough.
I'm a black level fanatic, like lots of lumens, sharpness, and "wow and pop". That splits pretty evenly between these projectors. Last year I favored the Epson 6500UB over the W5000. This year, I'll have to make the call, between the 8500UB and the W6000. It should be interesting. At this point, without having reviewed the Home Cinema 8500UB, it would be a really tough call. I'll wait.
Epson offers a two year warranty with replacement program, BenQ offers a basic one year warranty.
BenQ W6000 vs. Mitsubishi HC3800, HC6800, HC7000
OK, I've decided to tackle all the Mitsubishi's at once.
The HC3800 seems to be a particularly nice $1500ish DLP projector. That said, The BenQ has to be the better product. It's got the black level advantage, the brightness advantage, a dynamic iris, and if possible, a sharper image - yes it is slightly sharper. Overall, it's the step up projector from the HC3800 which is also a DLP. Is the BenQ worth a thousand dollars more? I think so, but it depends on how tight your budget is. I do believe that the BenQ W6000 is a next step up better product than the HC3800, in terms of overall theater experience. The HC3800 has limited placement flexibility, but does offer a 2 year warranty compared to the BenQ's one year.
At the other extreme is the Mitsubishi HC7000, their flagship 3LCD projector. It has slightly better placement flexibility, and is perhaps the quietest projector on the market, and at any rate far quieter than the BenQ, which is on the noisy side.
With one of the best black level performances from any 3LCD projector, most likely blacks are at least as good as the W6000. The HC7000 is also a very sharp 3LCD projector, but not likely to be any sharper than the W6000.
The Mitsubishi HC7000 is motorized zoom, focus, and lens shift, vs. manual on the BenQ.
Perhaps the biggest differences are that the BenQ is much brighter, and it is also a bit less expensive. The Mitsubishi HC7000 has the longer warranty.
And that brings us to the new HC6800, the mid-priced Mitsubishi, that was recently announced. I really haven't had a chance to work with it yet. From a conjecture basis, the 6800 should be brighter than the 7000 by a good bit, but still not as bright as the BenQ W6000. How much brighter, is a good question, but a guess might be 25% brighter or more, when comparing best modes, and that's assuming with Brilliant Color off for the BenQ. With it on, the BenQ should be at least 50% brighter, and maybe a lot more. In brightest mode, I really don't have a good idea, but the BenQ in it's Native Lamp settings where the color can't be corrected, (but needs to be for good color), the BenQ will be brighter than any mode on the HC6800. If you have a small theater, the HC6800, like the HC7000 is also extremely quiet, which may be important. Finally, the Mitsubishis (6800 and 7000 for 3LCD projectors, should have a particularly sharp image, but not as sharp as the BenQ W6000.
BenQ W6000 vs. Sanyo PLV-Z3000
Two ultra-high contrast projectors. Black levels are probably pretty comparable, but the W6000 is a very bright projector, compared to the Sanyo PLV-Z3000 which is a very placement flexible 3LCD projector. I doubt very many people will end up with both of these two projectors on their short list. They are too different. The Sanyo comes with a 3 year warranty, and sells down close to $2000 online, so it's also definitely lesse expensive than the BenQ. While the "best" mode of the Sanyo, is barely 1/4th the brightness of the BenQ's best, the Sanyo does have some other "almost best" modes, which get the brightness up around 500 lumens - still below the BenQ, but at least competitive. So far, the Sanyo is still the least expensive ultra-high contrast projector, so it may compete, from a financial sense, as a good lower priced alternative, if everything else works out. I do believe the overall natural look and feel of the BenQ W6000 is better, but, we're talking the small stuff now, and not anything night and day.
BenQ W6000 vs. BenQ W5000
New vs. old. I may have someone bring down a W5000 they have for a quick side by side. Not sure if that will happen. If it does, I'll rewrite this. The W6000 has more placement flexibility than its predecessor, thanks to the wider range zoom.
With the new dynamic iris, the W6000 should definitely have blacker blacks, but not a great difference. The W5000 never quite had black levels that really quite got as black as I had hoped for. I think the W6000, at least to my taste, has just crossed that threshold. While I appreciate blacker blacks still. At some point better blacks goes from being the focus of one's quest - as the most important goal, to being just another capability that can always be improved. The W6000 does blacks just enough better, I think!
That said, with the W6000 hitting the shelves, there might be some great closeouts on the W5000 that will be very attractive to many.
BenQ W6000 vs. Sharp XV-Z15000
Now this contest is interesting. The Sharp is more basic than the W6000 in terms of placement flexibility, but probably is very close in terms of black levels. When it comes to brightness, the Sharp is no match for the BenQ W6000. In best mode, calibrated, the Sharp is just over 300 lumens, compared to 866 in the W6000's best, without Brilliant Color, and over 1000+ lumens, with.
When you need maximum horsepower, the Sharp does a bit better than in "best" mode, almost reaching 1100 lumens. The BenQ can get up past 1750 lumens but only with "shaky" color (real heavy on the greens). Still, the BenQ puts up a very nice picture, while outputting 1250 lumens, so it's still a bit brighter, when both are still looking good.
As I mentioned in the Sharp review, the XV-Z15000 isn't one of the sharper DLP projectors. The optics can't maintain sharpness across the entire screen, as well as most other projectors. Based on that, count the Sharp to be better than average sharpness, but not quite as good as the better DLP projectors for the home.
For those torn between the lower cost Mitsubishi HC3800, and feeling squeezed by the price of the BenQ W6000, the Sharp may be the compromise. In other words, The BenQ has the advantage, but the Sharp, is, in a number of ways, similar in picture quality, even if the BenQ has a slight advantage.
W6000 vs. JVC DLA-RS10 and DLA-RS15
No, the W6000 is not expected to have blacker blacks than the RS10, and for that matter, the JVC DLA-RS15 that will shortly replace it. And of course, the JVC (unlike anyone else) accomplishes their great blacks without a dynamic iris, so dark scenes not only have the blacker blacks, but more dynamic range as well, and translates to more dynamic looking darker scenes.
The BenQ W6000, on the other hand, definitely has the sharper image. There won't be any contest in that regard, as the JVC is very "average sharpness" and the BenQ about as sharp as it gets.
Audible noise wise, the JVC wins easily - it's not the quietest around, but will definitely best the W6000. When it comes to colors, many may prefer the skin tones of the W6000. The RS10 lacks a full color management system, and never could muster up skin tones quite as natural as achievable by the more expensive RS20. How that aspect might change, with the new DLA-RS15 (or the HD550 version), is hard to say.
The BenQ supports an anamorphic lens, something JVC saves for the higher end RS20 and it's replacement, the DLA-RS25 and HD950 plus the new RS35and HD990.
When it comes to sheer horsepower, the BenQ has the JVC beat, but really just barely, if you run the BenQ with Brilliant Color off (the way I favor it so far), where it has, at the most about 100 more lumens than the JVC. When you need maximum power for dealing with ambient light. The BenQ's 1750 lumens is almost double that of the JVC's maximum. True, the BenQ working in Native Lamp mode puts out an unattractive heavily green image, whereas the JVC's "brightest" mode is virtually as good as its best mode. Still, the BenQ can output a pretty good looking 1250 lumens and even that is a good 40% brighter. I'd be quite a bit happier with my RS20, for example, if I could coax 1250 lumens out of it. (RS10 and RS20 are virtually identical when it comes to brightness.)
This is an interesting contest, because, except for black levels, most of the contest favors the BenQ W6000 which is half the price. I do think the W6000 will be very popular with folks that would like to own a JVC, but just can't rationalize the much higher prices for those JVC projectors. Afterall, the BenQ wins on price, brightness, sharpness, and even has a subjective edge on overall color and image handling (except for blacks) for those that really like the DLP look and feel.
I can appreciate that, as I had gone from a BenQ DLP (the old PE8720) to the JVC RS1, a couple of years ago. And, in my mind, that's not a not completely dissimilar move.
Afterall, I got better blacks with the JVC, but not better color, and the old BenQ had a sharper look (even being 720p, as back then there wasn't a lot of 1080 content to play with. My old BenQ, however, didn't have as much brightness advantage over the RS1, as the W6000 has over the RS10. In other words, when I moved to the JVC, I was most pleased overall, but definitely missed some aspects of the BenQ, where it bested the JVC.
OK, in re-reading what I wrote, it almost sounds like the BenQ is a better projector overall. That wasn't my intent. I would definitely favor the JVC. The black level, and dark scene difference should be rather impressive. In other words, that's a big advantage. And since brightness in "best" mode is close, the big BenQ advantage is going to be extra lumens in sports, combined with a bit more sharpness. While you are sure to appreciate the sharpness of the W6000, on movies I don't find the difference critical. On HDTV sports, however, well, I'll say it again. I wish my own JVC was as sharp as the BenQ. On that all digital content, one can really appreciate that extra sharpness.
JVC provides a two year warranty, to BenQ's one year.
The BenQ makes a rather excellent low cost alternative to the RS10, and family, especially for those looking for really good color.
BenQ W6000 vs. Sony VPL-HW15
I did only a brief amount of viewing of the W6000 vs. the Sony VPL-HW15, and that was a couple of weeks ago, before CEDIA. I'm likely to take a much longer look shortly, and update this paragraph.
The Sony, simply put, is the more refined projector. It's quieter, its dynamic iris is definitely better behaved (and, I should note improved in that regard over last year's HW10) than the W6000's, although most of the time they are pretty similar. In the particular scenes that the W6000 iris had trouble with, the Sony, like the Epson, did much better.
No contest though in sheer lumen output in any mode. Even at it's brightest "best" mode, the Sony is no match for the W6000, (536 lumens vs. either 866 with BC off, or 1039, with BC on).
It's even a bigger difference when you need lumens. The Sony's brightest, with it's over 10K color temp, is not quite as bad in color accuracy as BenQ's brightest, but neither are very pretty. And that works out to brightest vs. brightest being 837 vs. 1751 lumens. Or if you want to have much better color on the BenQ, then it's 837 vs. 1250 lumens.
Bottom line - no contest in brightness, even though, as a pure movie watching projector the Sony's 500+ lumens are pretty good and will work for most.
The overall image of the BenQ W6000 is more dynamic looking than the the Sony. Let me put it this way, the Sony seems "reserved" the BenQ, is more pop and wow. The BenQ is, though, a little less perfect (ie. their dynamic iris isn't as smooth as the Sony).
I do believe I had that same philosophical difference between the W5000 and the HW10 last year. My own preference is for the BenQ W6000, but overall, these are roughly comparable as competitors, different, but both of very good quality.
BenQ W6000 vs. Panasonic PT-AE3000
Both have one year warranties. The PT-AE3000 is of course 3LCD, vs. the BenQ's Darkchip 3 DLP.
Brightness wise, in "best mode" it's not even remotely close. At it's best the Panasonic is in the 300 lumen range. Even in it's best "mid" position, it's still only in the mid-600's and at its brighest the Panasonic is not going to get to 1000 lumens.
The Panasonic is a well behaved projector, with good, well balanced color. It is one of the "ultra-high" contrast 3LCD projectors and may slightly beat the W6000 at blacks (they both use dynamic irises), but they should be fairly comparable.
The Panasonic is strictly average when it comes to sharpness, so its no match for the W6000 in that regard.
The Panasonic, with it's 2:1 zoom, has more placement flexibility (more lens shift too), but again, the BenQ is pretty placement versatile, so if the BenQ does work in your room, the differences become a moot point.
I've favored the Epson over the Panasonic, in much the same way I favor the BenQ over the Sony. I like the horsepower and dynamic "pop and wow", and in this case, both of those favor the BenQ.
The Panasonic PT-AE3000, though, has it's anamorphic "lens emulation" which has appeal to some who want to go with Cinemascope shaped (2.35:1) screens to have no letterboxing when viewing most movies. That's a nice feature, and so far, they are the only folks with it.
The Panasonic's dynamic iris is overall, a bit smoother than the BenQ's.
Panasonic also offers very nice CFI (creative frame interpolation), which the BenQ lacks. Sports fans in particular, will like that. BenQ uses basic frame interpolation to take a 24fps source up to 48 fps, but that's the extent of it.
Ultimately the BenQ can tackle bigger screens, provide a more dynamic look and feel, and definitely at least equal the Panasonic in color accuracy. I'll give the BenQ the advantage in terms of natural skin tones as well.
Finally, however, the Panasonic is currently about $500 less selling price, and that will tip a fair number of potential buyers towards Panasonic, at least those looking for average to smaller screens.
No word yet, if Panasonic will introduce the PT-AE4000 to the US market (it's announced for the EU, and if they plan to launch in the US, Panasonic should have announced by now. I'm not that familiar with the PT-AE4000, other than to say it should be a evolutionary improvement, so it wouldn't compare much differently than the PT-AE3000.
Like the Sony HW15, the Panasonic is not a spectacular appearing projector. It does a very good job, and really has a very excellent feature set. The BenQ, however, will be more fun, for most folks.
NEXT: BenQ W6000 warranty