I know a number of you have been waiting for this. Finally BenQ sent another W5000 to me, to see if the image noise issue has been dealt with. This BenQ has the 2.01 firmware, which BenQ says is the latest.
No way for me to tell if any earlier versions were better than the early W5000 I reviewed, or as good as this one.
I am pleased to report, that this W5000, which arrived on Friday, is definitely much better than the first one. The usual amount of image noise is still there, to be sure, but at what I would call normal levels for a typical 1080p DLP projector. The first W5000 I reviewed wasn’t terrible in terms of image noise being enough to really ruin the experience, but it was more noticeable, by a slight amount, than any of the other 1080p projectors I’ve reviewed.
In fact, I hooked up the W5000 and a W20000 to my PS3, via a gefen switcher, and watched them both, side by side for a number of minutes, standing about 4 feet from the two, side by side, roughly 40″ diagonal images.
I could just make out the usual image noise on both. I can say this. IF there is a difference in image noise between this W20000 and this updated W5000, it is very slight. IF, I had to say which was better, I would give the W20000 the advantage, but, I’m really not sure that there is any real difference, they are so close.
Note, the 4 feet from 40″ for viewing is a typical close viewing position, the equivalent of sitting 10 feet from a 100″ screen.
I also watched some football (and a movie segment) on the W5000, on my Firehawk in my main room, filling most of the 128″ diagonal. I sit 11.5 feet back. Unlike the first W5000, with this unit, image noise never jumped out and said “hey, I’m a bit of a problem”. Oh, sure you can always see image noise on the right subject matter, when looking for it, but with this firmware, I withdraw my previous complaint about much higher than normal image noise.
This only reaffirms my enthusiasm for this projector, and my previous decision to give it our Runner-up – Best in Class Award for mid-priced 1080p projectors – $2000-$3500 price range, back in our 1080p Projector Comparison report.
As an additional note, I also took a look at black level performance between the W5000 and the W20000.
There is definitely a difference, however, it isn’t as great as many would guess. It’s just enough to be easily visible on the appropriate dark scenes, but hardly a huge difference. If black level performance is the primary criteria, it would be hard to rationalize the extra cost of the W20000. That said, it depends on how much you are willing to spend to get from “very good” to “even better”, in that regard. On the other hand, black level improvements are exactly the kind of things enthusiasts are willing to spend the bucks on.