BenQ W7000 Projector - Performance
1/03/2012 - Art Feierman
Below, we discuss the BenQ W7000 projector's brightness in its "best" and "brightest" modes, with images showing relative brightness of the modes. We also look at sharpness, image and audible noise levels.
BenQ W7000 Brightness
Mike measured the BenQ W7000, "right out of the box", with default settings. This is a engineering sample projector - as a matter of course, we are used to getting engineering samples and pre-production projectors sometimes measuring a good bit less than full production, but the difference is rarely more than 10%. Note that we set the zoom lens at the middle point, so we do not get as many lumens as a manufactuer would, as they all measure at wide angle, which is almost always brighter than mid-point or zooming all the way out. Since this projector is based on the older W6000 projector with all the details long ago worked out, in terms of brightness, we wouldn't really expect a full production projector to be any brighter.
Our goal is more focused on good looking lumens, thus our "quick-cal" which is just tweaking the brightest mode for better color, without giving up too many lumens.
W7000 Lumen Output and Color Temp at 100 IRE (mid zoom):
Cinema= 1028 @ 6113, 1142 with Brilliant Color On
Dynamic= 1942 @ 8809
Standard= 1059 @ 6309, 1143 with Brilliant Color On, 838 with Brilliant Color off and lamp on Eco (default)
User 1= 1590 @ 7119
User 2= 1590 @ 7169
User 3= 1590 @ 7206
The difference in measured color temperature, in the 3 user settings shown above, is just sampling error.
Below are images of most of the modes. All are taken with the same exposure, to show relative brightness.
User 1 (calibrated):
User 3 (uncalibrated):
Post Calibration: Best Mode = 1571 lumens!
Wow! Now remember, Mike calibrated with Brilliant Color on. The Brilliant Color option on the W7000 is relatively subtle compared to many projectors, and as such, doesn't provide a big bump in brightness over having it off. In fact, it adds less than 15%. That would indicate that if Mike had calibrated the W7000 with Brilliant Color turned off, it would still measure upward of 1300 lumens! Talk about impressive. It's been years since I've seen a home theater projector (that's not an expensive 3 chip DLP), that measures this bright once calibrated!!!
People, with this projector almost incapable of putting out less than 1000 lumens, it may well be too bright for those of you with smaller screens (under 100" for sure).
Post Calibration: Brightest Mode = Dynamic 1761 lumens
This isn't a D65 (6500K) calibration, rather our "quick-cal", which is an attempt to make the BenQ W7000 projector's Dynamic mode a little more balanced in color than at the start. Most dynamic type modes, greens and blues tend to be over the top. Our goal is to just make a dynamic mode more natural, but with the paramater of not giving up too much brightness.
The W7000 before Mike's quick-cal, had even stronger greens, but for those demanding every last lumen, managed a maximum of 1966 lumens.
In reality, the BenQ beats the Epson, in brightest mode (after quick-cal) but I have to report that the Epson's color is better.
On the other hand, the Epson's quick-cal, doesn't look anywhere near as good as the BenQ's "Best" mode D65 calibration, and yet the BenQ, is only 90 lumens less bright in that case.
Translated - If brightness, and great color is your thing, the BenQ W7000 projector, is the ticket.
It can offer up a properly calibrated image at 2-3 times the brightness of most other projectors we review. (Consider - the Epson (503 calibrated), and Panasonic (422 calibrated) are almost certainly the two most popular projectors around the price (they are more expensive), yet no match. The BenQ calibrated, is as bright as the Epson, and the Panasonic (1637), even in their brightest (and not great color) modes.
The W7000 is a light cannon capable of filling a 130+ inch diagonal 16:9 screen with a typical white surface - with a fully calibrated image, and without breaking a sweat!
Effect of zoom on lumen output (Dynamic mode):
In all the talk above about lumens, remember that how you place your projector has a lot of impact on brightness. This BenQ with its moderate 1.5:1 zoom, loses brightness the further back you place it from your screen, as do almost all projectors.
Effect of zoom on lumen output (Dynamic mode):
Zoom out: 1966
Zoom in: 1698
Since mid-zoom puts the front of the projector about 13 feet from a 100" screen, you can figure that if you are ceiling mounted, you almost certainly will have use of near the maximum lumens.
If you are comparing against the Epson and Panasonic competition, those projectors have the zoom range (2:1) to sit in the very back of most rooms on a shelf, if desired, that's a lot less likely to be possible here, unless you go with particularly large screen for your room size. Of course, that's exactly what the BenQ is capable of - really large screen sizes.
W7000 Brilliant Color:
First image has Brilliant Color On. It is turned off in the second image. Both images were taken with the same exposure. With BC off, the image is only very slightly less bright, roughly 10%. That's an unusually small difference, as we've seen some projectors jump brightness by over 50% when BC is turned on. However, in such cases, the Brilliant Color is almost certainly over the top, in terms of seeking a faithful image for movie watching. Not so the W7000 projector which looks great with BC on. Note the small differences below, and remember, only BC on was D65 calibrated. BC causes a slight shift, so in this case, with BC off, it's not quite D65 calibrated.
Note, Mike calibrated with BC on. If I was buying this projector (a real possibility), I'd calibrate the projector both with BC on, and off. I would also calibrate it with BC off, and lamp in eco-mode, for those times when you want both the best picture, and the least bright one!
BenQ W7000 Eco-Mode vs. Full Power
True, dropping to eco-mode will make the lamp last longer - but not by much. Eco - is 2500hours instead of 2000 at full power. Since low power only buys you an extra 25% lamp, most likely if you are using low power, it is to reduce fan noise. (discussed below.)
Lumen Output (Eco Lamp, Dynamic): 1542
That's about a 21% drop, and should be consistent, regardless of which modes you use.
Compared to the Panasonic and Epson, both of those projectors loose significantly more lumens dropping into eco mode (the Panasonic loses 38%!)
I mention that, as the BenQ remains almost as bright as the other two at brightest - even when it is in eco mode. That's good news for the really noise adverse, who can enjoy additional quiet in eco-mode.
BenQ W7000 Pre-Calibration Color temp, Cinema, User Modes:
Color Temp over IRE Range (Various Modes):
Cinema User 1, 2 or 3
30 IRE 6065 7458
50 IRE 6227 7450
80 IRE 5957 7275
100 IRE 6113 7119
Per Mike: Despite the higher color temps, Users 1, 2 and 3 all have better RGB balance. Cinema has too much red in the balance and so the User modes are the best uncalibrated modes.
Per Art: We'll see if there are any changes to the default settings for either Cinema and User, when we get the new firmware. Also, note that if we did full CMS calibration of the primary and secondary colors, the advantage of the User modes would likely be negated.
BenQ W7000, Post Calibration, Best Mode (User 1)
Calibrated Color Temp over IRE Range (User1):
20 IRE = 6742
30 IRE = 6770
40 IRE = 6697
50 IRE = 6622
60 IRE = 6480
70 IRE = 6473
80 IRE = 6518
90 IRE = 6593
100 IRE = 6832
Average gamma= 2.20
BenQ W7000 3D Brightness
We have no accurate way to measure net brightness to one's eyes, in 3D. From subjective testing compared to the Epson, Acer, and Sony VW95ES, I can say that calibrated mode is almost as bright as the Epson, and Dynamic mode slightly bests the Epson equivalent. The BenQ in its calibrated mode seems to have better color than the others at their brightest. The end result
BenQ W7000 Sharpness
Like the W6000, the W7000, as a single chip DLP projector is expected to be very sharp, and it is. Focusing about 1/3 out from the center, you get a very nicely sharp image from center to edge. No question, the W7000 is crisper than the recent Epsons, Panasonics and even Sonys - all 3 panel LCD or LCoS. Not having to converge three color optical streams really does make a difference.
Top left: BenQ W7000 , Top Center - Optoma HD8300, Top right - Runco LS-5.
2nd row left: Panasonic PT-AE7000, center: Optoma HD33 (lower cost single chip DLP), Right: JVC DLA-HD250 (LCoS)
BenQ W7000: Bottom Line Sharpness
"Sharper still," the W7000 is nice and crisp, as is expected from a single chip DLP with a reasonably sharp lens. When watching 1080p digital content, you should notice that the W7000 to be sharper than competing LCD projectors and LCoS. The optics are part, and the lack of convergence issues associated with 3 panel (or chip) projectors, takes care of the rest.
One feature of the W7000 projector is its detail enhancement. I find the default settings in almost all modes to be too high. (settings from 0 - 10). But I must admit you get an oversharpened, but razor sharp look. Default settings like 4, 7, or 8 are too much for me. I did most of my watching with Detail Enhancement set to 2. Here are some samples of the different settings:
Detail Enhancement: left to right: 0, 2, 4 - second row: 8, 10
The change from image to image is definitely noticeable, and from 0 or 2, compared to 8 or 10, dramatic.
There is soft lighting visible in the vents but these should not be a problem at all. There is no overt leakage through the lens, putting light outside of the image area on your front wall, unlike several other projectors we've reviewed recently. Yes, there is some, but it is relatively minor, with you not likely to spot it if the wall behind your screen is dark, even when watching really dark scenes. Further improvement in black level performance might even further reduce that minor leakage. Overall, no issues of any significance.
Other than 3D aspects, the W7000 looks really good. Just the usual caveat that mosquito type noise is more visible on DLP projectors, than other types. This is true for the W7000 as well. We mormally do all of our viewing with noise reduction in default settings.
BenQ has been using Silicon Optix for image processing, and they are one of the very best. We use the Silicon Optix test disc here, so we're hardly surprised by the excellent processing.
3D picture quality, in terms of noise, seems good. Crosstalk it seems, is less of an issue with DLP projectors, which is a plus. Overall, I have little problem with 3D artifacts, beyond the fact that we're never free of them.
It's a DLP projector - and a particularly bright one, so with most DLP projectors being noiser than most non-DLP projectors, we didn't expect anything particularly quiet.
Nor did we find the W7000 to be quieter than expected, which is to say, the same as the W6000.
Specs claim 32 db. That puts it in the same range as the Epson projectors, noisier than the Panasonic, and typical for a DLP projector. Most of the more expensive LCoS projectors are a bit quieter, as well. No one will call this a particularly quiet projector at full power!
Switching the BenQ into low lamp power - eco-mode - however, produces a dramatic reduction in audible sound. In low power it should be acceptable to most of the "noise-adverse", even though the folks who are most noise adverse will find full power to be a problem. Most of us though will rarely notice the noise - and then primarily on very quiet scenes, or will just choose to mostly run in low power. It's a much greater drop than with most other projectors - surprising since the brightness drop isn't that great. If I had to guess, I'd put the W7000 at least 6 db quieter in eco-mode, which is really good.
The dynamic iris makes some noise too. The iris is just a touch noiser than the Epson's. I'd say, if fan noise at full power isn't an issue, the iris won't be either. Like the Epson, for me, when viewing, I'm only likely to notice the iris if I have the audio off. Even on quiet packages, I really just don't notice unless listening for it.
One additional thought - over the years of playing with projectors - sometimes when you mount a projector or even place on a table or shelf, the surface will resonate with the projector's fan noise, or perhaps the iris noise. That is, what you do with the setup of your projector, could make any noise a good bit louder. I've suggested (for shelf or table), some sort of material (foam, cardboard, or an accoustic sound absorber, or...) between the feet and the surface. A mount and ceiling can also amplify noise, so some sort of sound absorbing spacers can help (could be as simple as a "cardboard" washer, you cut out of a box. Please be aware of heat issues - cardboard might not be the best choice.