I’ve been playing all sorts of games on the BenQ W1200 for about a week now, and I’ve had plenty of time to see what it can (and cannot) do.
The BenQ W1200 retails for about $1499 and is native a 1080p projector. Both the W1200 and the recently reviewed Optoma GT720 are both DLP, but they are vastly different projectors. Read on!
Though most games still are presented in 720p on consoles, the projectors that are native 1080p always seem to add a little extra “wow” to the image. The BenQ W1200 was no exception. It threw an extremely sharp image, sharper than many other 1080p projectors I have seen. It was also respectably bright in “best” mode - brighter than my Epson 6500UB. It was also brighter in “brightest” mode, but there was much smaller of a difference.
If you are looking at the BenQ W1200, some thought does need to be put into projector placement. It does have a decent zoom, but there is no horizontal lens shift and to get a respectable screen size you need at least a 10ft throw distance. Just something to keep in mind…
I hooked the BenQ W1200 up my to my PS3 via HDMI and I was pleasantly surprised by sound coming from the W1200. I was not expecting built in speakers to be included in a “home theater” projector, but I won’t complain!
The speakers were exactly what you would expect from built in projector speakers – audible, with zero low end. Again, my view is that built in speakers can be useful in a “plug and play” type environment, but anyone seriously looking at a projector with built in speakers should probably invest in a pair of bookshelf speakers at the very least, for some much needed extra volume and low frequency sound. Luckily, the BenQ W1200 sports a 3.5mm stereo output for this very purpose!
The black levels and shadow detail on the W1200 are noticeably better than the GT720 (~$799). However, it doesn’t come close to the 6500UB (~$2000). I’d say it’s right where it should be for the price… I found dark scenes a tad washed out and felt they could have a little more shadow detail. ( But I’m spoiled )
So…it’s sharp, bright and throws a beautiful image in native 1080p, what’s not to like!?
Unfortunately, the BenQ W1200 has some issues with input lag. I noticed it immediately when playing Amplitude in my “qualitative” input lag test. It was…unplayable. I also struggled on-line with some FPS play. Simply put, there was just too much input lag. I stated in a previous blog that >60ms is near the “threshold”. The BenQ W1200 doubles that number.
I’ve spent the past couple days in the depths of the W1200′s settings making sure I don’t have any extra features activated that may falsely increase input lag. So far, the best response I have measured from the W1200 has been ~100ms. (On average it has been around 110ms.)
This is with frame interpolation, noise reduction and every other feature I could find – OFF. As you can imagine, engaging frame interpolation just makes it worse. Low, middle and high frame interpolation settings each seem to add ~10ms of input lag, leaving the W1200 with 140ms of input lag with frame interpolation on high, 130ms on medium and 120ms on low. Below is a picture with FI – HIGH. Noise reduction and all the other features (except frame interpolation) seem to have no effect on input lag.
I did enjoy playing some of my slower paced games, however. It handled Oblivion and Resident Evil 5 well enough. I also noticed that the BenQ’s frame interpolation system was not as aggressive as others I have seen. My Epson 6500UB on HIGH makes things very digital looking. It’s too much when watching movies, but I enjoy it while playing games. I did miss that a little bit. The W1200′s FI was noticable, but even on HIGH you had to look for it. (Similar to “LOW” on my 6500UB – for those who are familiar.)
I know I’ve beaten up on the W1200 a little bit, so I want to say that I think it is a great projector. I took the time to watch some movies on it over the past few days and this is where it really shines. BenQ was definitely targeting home theater enthusiasts rather than gamers with this projector and in that light, I think they were a success.
I can see very casual gamers enjoying puzzle games (Bejeweled anyone?) or slower paced RPGs on the BenQ W1200, but I think it is safe to say that for anyone who wants to play FPS or any faster paced games – there is just too much input lag.
That’s all for now!
I did not see rainbows on this projector like I did with the GT720. Just a side note…
Oh, and btw…I’ve got an Optoma Neo-i on the way and an Optoma GT750 (the GT720s older brother) in a couple weeks. Stay tuned!