Posted on April 7, 2012 Art Feierman
There really is no, one best projector for everyone, not even in a particular price range. There are so many variables that each buyer must consider, in choosing the right projector for their viewing requirements. Our goal this year, is to help you quickly eliminate projectors that may be excellent values overall, but just won’t work for you, for one reason or another.
There are many such reasons – limited brightness, placement flexibility, rainbow effect susceptability, fan noise, etc. We’ll list many of these issues in the Competitors section, in charts, so that, for example, you need a really quiet projector, you can find a list that only shows you the quieter ones (or if it’s simpler, a list of the ones to avoid because they are noisier).
Image above, from Casino Royale. The projector: BenQ W1200 ($1499)
My point is, that while one projector may be excellent at many things, it may be disqualified by you because of a specific requirement you have. As a result, there needs to be a choice of “best projectors” in this report, so people still have a usable recommendation even if one of our favorites won’t work for them.
Due to the concept of “no one perfect projector”, we will be giving out “Best In Class”, and “Runner-Up” awards in each price category, and an occasional “Special Interest” Award. This means, perhaps 9-11 rewards out of roughly 30 projectors considered. Click here for a list of the winners!
Bottom line – it’s still your job as the potential buyer, to consider some of the disqualifying attributes, immediately toss out those projectors from your consideration, and choose the best choice from the remaining ones. Your life will much simpler that way. Otherwise, you might find yourself really wanting a particular projector, get all exited about it, and then remember – oops it won’t work for this reason or that..
Below is a short paragraph highlighting key aspects of each projector considered for this review. They are organized by the our three price categories (Classes).
Below, HDTV image (DirecTV) shot using the JVC DLA-HD250
Perhaps the single greatest surpise I encountered, this year. We’ve reviewed an few Acer biz projectors, but this was the first home model. I hope Acer decides to stay in the home entertainment, and home theater market with projectors. The H9500BD, offered a number of surprises, and my only complaint is something easily corrected in the next generation model – a more capable color management system. That’s firmware, so not too tough. Black levels are excellent for the price range. You get the DLP feel, some very respectable placement flexibility, including lens shift.
Overall, the H9500BD is a lot of value for the price. It’s rather bright overall, and also offers very respectable 3D.
Here’s a projector back for the second year. BenQ’s W1200. It’s step up from their entry level 1060 (we haven’t gotten to that one yet – we reviewed the W1000. The W1200 performs nicely but is no match for BenQ’s W6000 which has now seems to be selling for down around $1500.
The W1200’s performance splits the difference between the others. It’s black levels are still entry level, not as good as it’s most direct competition, the Mitsubishi HC4000. With the ability to put up to about 1400 lumens on the screen, it outpowers the HC4000 and also the Epson 8350 but not the newer Epson 3010 which also gives you 3D. A solid family room choice on a budget, but not a serious enthusiast projector.
The BenQ W6000 is back. An impressive 2D only, DLP projector now selling in the $1500 range, the BenQ W6000 projector is available both online and locally. The W6000 is one of a very few lower cost DLP projectors with lens shift (Acer is the other). The W6000 offers pretty respectable placement flexiblity. The biggest strengths, however of the W6000 projector include its really impressive brightness, and some really good black level performance for a DLP projector in this price class. I consider the W6000 to be an ultra-high contrast projector. Mind you, it just makes that grade in terms of black, but, that’s a nice grade to have.
Now that the W6000 is almost $1000 lower than it was just months ago, it establishes itself as a major player in the under $2,000 Class
For those who enjoy that DLP look, the W6000 remains one of the best values in this price point. While this W6000 is more than bright enough for family room type setups, it is at least equally at home in a dedicated home theater. It’s black level performance isn’t beat by any other projector we’ve reviewed in the under $2000 range. 2D only for you? Large screen desired? This one’s still “hot”!
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