Four Great Home Theater Projectors Compared
Cost of Ownership or Operation
The Epson also wins when it comes to Cost of Ownership or Operation. When BenQ designed the original in this series, the W6000, it sacrificed lamp hour life for more lumens. The W7500 is still the same, one of the reasons it manages to be so bright. That explains the 2000 hours at full power, 3000 in eco-mode numbers for the W7500. Call that “old school” as most projectors do a good deal better than that. The Epson is one of the best at lamp hours, with a claim of 4000 at full power, and 5000 in eco-mode. Epson also sells replacement lamps for less.
The BenQ W7500 has the longer warranty – 3 years, while the Epson has only two, but offers a replacement program for both. As mentioned elsewhere, Epson sells a 3rd year, with a 3rd year of replacement for $287 in the US. If you go that route, you’ll have the best overall warranty, but you’ll need to factor that cost into your totals.
I’ve got no winner for you here when it comes to audible noise. I was listening again to both of them, set about 4 feet apart when shooting side by side images and videos. The pitch is slightly different, but both are on the noisy side of good home theater projectors, and close enough that I can’t even decide. The Epson though, in some installations, has a noticeable rumble to its dynamic iris. So perhaps, if the Epson’s iris rumble (very low pitch) does bother you, then the BenQ would have the slight edge.
Styling wise, both are “interesting” – no awards for either though. But, there is one important difference. The BenQ is black with silver trim, and the Epson white, with black trim. I hate to think that some folks projector decisions are based on the color of the projector rather than the picture it’s capable of, but it happens all the time. In fact, for me, it just happened. The projector I chose to install in my living room next month (part of our Dream Home automation project), had to be white. No way the wife was letting a black projector grace the white ceiling of our main room. (Especially since I do have a dedicated home theater.)
But I digress. Let’s run though a few more differences. An obvious one is placement flexibility. The BenQ W7500 projector has a 1.5:1 zoom lens which is pretty good, but the Epson trounces that with a 2.1:1 as much front to back placement range as any other under $10,000 home projector. The Epson can be placed closer to a 100” diagonal screen, (9.8 feet vs. 11.75) or be placed about 3 feet further back (20.9 feet vs 17.7 feet). Where that comes into play would be if you wanted to shelf mount in the rear of your room (high up we suggest). If that’s the case, the Epson, for that size screen can be as far back as about 21 feet compared to 16.
Then there’s lens shift, which is usually more of a problem for DLP designs. Sure enough, the BenQ does pretty well, with a 0 offset – when ceiling mounting, the center of the lens can be as high as even with the top of your screen surface. But, the Epson can go a good deal further. In fact on a 120” screen it can be mounted with the center of the lens up to 27 inches above the top of the screen surface. Both offer horizontal lens shift as well, and of course the more you use horizontal shift, the more vertical range you sacrifice.
Also, both have great remote controls and very good menu systems.
If you aren’t using a dynamic detail enhancement, then the BenQ definitely has to be considered the sharper of the two projectors. That said, fancy sharpening tools and dynamic detail enhancement used in moderation do affect that result. The Epson’s dynamic detail enhancement seems to surpass the BenQ’s so that when you are using both projector’s controls, we’re back to being about a tie.
Image noise issues (not relating to CFI which both have), seems to favor the Epson by a fair amount, as DLP projectors as a group seem to show a good bit more background noise. Huge difference? No, but one more factor. Both are comparable I believe when viewing slow panning in 24 fps movies. Both have CFI, both work fine. I don’t count CFI as a comparison factor though, unless one projector has, the other lacks or really has a serious problem.
The Bottom Line
Bottom Line: I’ve got to go with the Epson as the stronger overall choice, but the BenQ W7500 is no slouch. Both can deliver very bright images with really good color, both have plenty of lumens for reasonably bright 3D viewing.
The BenQ ultimately has minor brightness advantages and the DLP look and feel, while the Epson’s superior black level performance makes it the better projector on those really dark scenes that show up in most movies. For a pure sports fanatic though, both are comparable, and I’d suggest other factors, such as placement, cost of operation, and some specific features might be the final deciding points for your installation!
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