The Art of Home Theater Projectors

BenQ W7000 Home Theater Projector A "First Look" Review

I know many have been waiting so, here’s some useful information on the BenQ W7000 home theater projector, to get you started.   The W7000 BenQ rushed to me is pre-production, firmware version 0.22.  With a number that low, by now there are probably a couple of newer versions, and I certainly hope so, because this W7000 has a lot of things going for it, but other aspects are just a bit unfinished.

But first:

Greetings and happy holidays!   That’s from the whole crew here at Projector Reviews.   And with that, out of the way…

Back to the business of the BenQ W7000 home theater projector.  It’s a single chip DLP projector, small-medium in size.  It sports a 1.5:1 zoom lens, and both vertical and horizontal lens shift (it uses a joystick).  The BenQ W7000 is 3D capable, and comes with glasses.

Not surprisingly, it seems rather sharp, since it’s a single chip DLP.  By the same token it has at default a fair amount of sharpening going on, and it’s Clarity filter, which at first makes you think “razor sharp” under close inspection is paying a price for that, with sometimes visibly haloed objects, etc.  I’ve turned Clarity most of the way down, from the defaults.

I’m not sure the measurements Mike took, will hold up, by the time production firmware is in the projectors.  Overall the projector produces a good grayscale, but when Mike looked at the primaries and secondaries, there was a big dip in Cyan.  For that reason, he did go into the CMS and adjust Cyan.  We only mess with the individual colors when there’s a real issue, such as here.  I would expect that cyan issue to be addressed in newer firmware.  If not, no problem, Mike corrected for it just fine.


OK, check this out sports fans.  Not a single mode measured less than 1000 lumens, even without engaging Brilliant Color.

Post calibration, in User 1, the projector – with Brilliant Color on, measured a whopping 1571 lumens!  At maximum, Mike came up with just a few lumens shy of 2000, and he wasn’t pushing any adjustments to maximize that.  His improvement of Dynamic mode, in terms of color, still yielded over 1750 lumens.  Of course, that’s with Brilliant Color on, and that will affect the image a bit, such as flattening the colors, so that you might see faces as having slight flat spots. (Very typical of Brilliant Color).  Mike indicates that the projector does calibrate better with Brilliant Color on, but, probably more work with the CMS should level the field if you want calibrated color without the  “artificial” boost – a bit more pop and wow, added to the image.

Even as 3D brightness is always an issue, this, folks, is going to be a hot product for the big screen crowd.

Black levels are worth a comment.  I’m disappointed so far.   It’s been a long time since I’ve had a W6000, but I’d venture to guess that the blacks on this W7000, at best, just equal the W6000, and probably are not quite as good.   It’s definitely at the “entry level” end of the ultra high contrast projectors.  It’s not even close to the Epson 5010, which can almost beat the W7000 even with its dynamic iris off.

I’m hoping production W7000′s will push the iris further to dig out some deeper blacks on those really dark scenes.  Still, making it to being an ultra high contrast means never saying your really sorry.

3D brightness was not what I expected.   First when you switch into 3D mode on this projector, I’ve been having intermittent problems – again, stuff that should be gone with the firmware in first shipments.  The W7000 had stopped taking commands from the remote (had to restart).  Also, the lamp at times flickered.  I think this projector got really confused at one point.  Even some of the settings went back to default.   (and then reappeared after powering the W7000 down, and restarting.  Very strange, but very engineering sample, kind of problems.  I shut it down and restarted, and all was well again.

Back to 3D and brightness.   I’m hoping this will change, but the single 3D mode that exists isn’t near as bright on the screen as the brightest 2D mode, and that’s before you put on the glasses.  This may well change.

Now, even with the 3D image starting off darker, the BenQ W7000 is still pretty bright as a 3D projector.  Putting the BenQ, and the Epson 5010 side by side in 3D, overall, the Epson has a slight advantage.  The Epson has three glasses modes of brightness, the highest (brightest)  setting definitely adds ghosting (as expected).

The BenQ W7000 comes in perhaps just a tiny bit less bright than the Epson in Medium (on the glasses), and is brighter than the Epson, when the Epson glasses are in Low, for best image quality.  The BenQ (at least  on this engineering sample) does not offer glasses brightness (or related) controls.

Basically, for “serious 3D viewing” I would consider the Epson to be just a tad brighter.   You should consider it a tie, for now.

I’ve already contacted BenQ and waiting to hear back.  As I said above, a number of things will likely be corrected or improved.  I hope to have some answers for the full review.

Also of note, besides a dynamic iris (Dynamic Black), the W7000 offers CFI for smooth motion.  I believe it also works in 3D, but will need to confirm.

That’s it for now, folks I’ll add to this, tomorrow,  gotta get some sleep. -art

PS.  Assuming all these “minor” issues are resolved, the W7000 will likely demand serious attention from almost everyone shopping its price range, which is right around $2500 here in the US.

News And Comments

  • kevo

    Hi art thanks for the tid bits. Me and alot of the guys on the acer h9500bd thread on the avs forum have been wondering how this unit will stack up against the acer. The benq and acer seem to be the 2 main choices for our low cost high contrast DLP needs. It would be great to bear this in mind whilst conducting the review. My deciding factor for the price diff will be how they go head to head in the 3D brightness department. Keep up the good work as your our greatest asset in the projector game and I’m a huge fan

  • Dustin

    What is the published/known color-wheel speed Art? Thanks.

  • Robert

    How does the W7000 compare to the Acer 9500BD in 3D brightness?

  • A.West

    You might want to get the price right and fill in the missing pieces of the Sony VW95 before moving on to this review.

    • Lisa Feierman

      Uh oh A.West. Thought that was done. Will fix… thanks for the heads up… -a

  • Grant

    Art, your preview of the W7000 makes the Acer H9500BD look like a real winner. I’ve been waiting for more information on some of the 3D projectors and have now pretty much settled on the Acer. Unless Benq comes up with a solution for its poor black level then its a done deal. I know of one professional reviewer who has reviewed the Acer along the big boys from Sony and JVC and bought the Acer for his own use — now that’s an endorsement.

  • Irfan

    We had our hopes set high on this BenQ 7000 but first look is kind of disappointing. I am a fan of DLP picture quality despite the spec sheet, DLP picture looks better than LCD. I wish if you could do a comparison of BenQ 7000 and the Mitsubishi HC7800D.

    • Lisa Feierman

      Hi Irfan, Hi Grant

      I’m not that disappointed with the W7000 at all. You have to realize what an “engineering sample” can be. I’ve received engineering samples where the HDMI isn’t operative. and others where you can’t get to the CMS with HDMI, and still others with only one working input (maybe an HDMI). Not to mention missing menus, menus in asian languages (that can’t be changed) and so on. A few weeks means an awful lot of fixing. The question is what shows up as full production in a couple of weeks. Most of the glitchy stuff, some flicker, I would hope has already been taken care of in newer firmware versions. I hope to talk with them tomorrow, regarding the black levels. I suspect they’ve simply backed off in how much range they use. I’d like to see more. I would suspect it’s the same iris as the W6000, in which case they may have changed it for more smoothness, and gone too far? Ahh, the conjecture.

      I will say this. I’ve been watching X-Men: First Class – you’ll all be seeing lots of images – I like the color etc. of the movie, even great dark scenes. The BenQ really looks great on it. Oh, the dark scenes could have used the blacker blacks, (and part no doubt due to the brightness), but the BenQ just really looked like what I always liked about DLP projectors. Depth, dark rich colors, etc. The W7000 unless there’s an improvement in blacks won’t match the Epson 5010 on those dark scenes, but when it comes to more typical scenes, the BenQ is certainly ready to take on the Epson 5010 and the PT-AE7000.

      So, I hope firmware 1.0x o 1.1… will take care of all the details. BenQ probably is already 2-4 firmware versions past this one, since this projector’s been in the US, apparently, for weeks.

      Grant, – I still like the Acer first as a family room projector. I wasn’t expecting good blacks from it, at it’s price point, but it has them. I am curious to see this weekend, or early next week, how much difference there is between the Acer and the BenQ in that area. Remember, most of these projectors are pretty great, it’s only when you compare. BTW as to the reviewer. Always a good thing. People do things for all kinds of reasons – for example, (whether or not that was part of his reason), those “dedicated home theater projectors” from Sony and JVC, aren’t near as bright as the Acer… Mike my calibrator, sold off his JVC RS1 and bought an Epson last year… change of pace?
      I never know what I’m doing until I do it. I still use my RS20 when not reviewing something else (or watching sports), but I want 3D, I might keep my JVC and buy a lower cost projector like the Acer or Epson 3010. There are always trade-offs. -art