Home Theater Projector Comparison Report: Best 2D and 3D Value Proposition – BenQ W1070

1080p Home Theater Projectors, Our Award Winners:

Class: Entry Level Projectors: $2000 and under, Street Price

Best In Class 3D and 2D: Best Value Proposition: BenQ W1070

For a projector that sells for under $1000, this new for this year entry from BenQ, truly impresses.  The W1070 (click for full review) is a single chip DLP projector, and it’s a rather bright one at that.  The feature set, however, is also interesting.

The BenQ W1070 projector.DLP projectors in the lower ranges have rarely offered lens shift.  These days, the Acer H9500BD does, and BenQ was always big on lens shift, so the W7000 (and older W6000) did as well, but when you look at most other under $1500 DLP’s no such joy, which means the W1070 (click for specifications) is much easier to place in your room, especially if ceiling mounting it.   The 1.3:1 zoom is fairly typical of low cost DLPs, but the lens shift is the deal maker.

Let’s start with color and picture quality.  We calibrate the projectors we review, but we also realize that few people buying a sub $1000 or even a sub $2000 projector are likely to shell out hundreds of dollars for a calibration. That makes the Out of the Box picture quality rather important.  This BenQ delivers very good color without touching a setting.  Cinema, Standard, and User 1 all do a very nice job.

Calibrate the BenQ W1070 projector and color further improves.  In fact, that’s a key ability of this projector.  As I said in the review itself:  “Post calibration the skin tones have to be considered very, very, good. No, maybe not, maybe I should say truly excellent!!”

BenQ doesn’t push Brilliant Color hard, so there’s little degradation in terms of color palette, which might be seen as a flattening of colors in a close-up of a face (less colors to go around creates less smooth looking skin).  We found the W1070 to be perfectly acceptable to view calibrated with BC on, even if a touch better with it off.  When Mike calibrated the W1070 he said this:

The W1070 has amazingly good RGB balance right out of the box and almost perfect with just a few minor adjustments to the Gain. I say “sweet!”

Let’s talk BenQ W1070 brightness:  Ridiculously bright for the money.  Calibrated the W1070 projector tops 1700 lumens, and that’s with the zoom at mid-point.  Light Canon!   All modes are almost identical in brightness.  Thus, no “brightest mode” for us to discuss, just 1700 calibrated lumens with Brilliant Color on.  If you calibrate the projector with Brilliant Color off, that will give slight improvement, but only cost you about 20% of brightness still giving you over 1350 calibrated lumens!

Gamers rejoice. Here’s an excellent 1080p projector for gaming. Pete played extensively with the W1070 for his gaming and basically raved about it. He reported depending on features engaged, lag times varied from about 0 to 40 ms. For most gaming purposes though figure lag times will stay at 20 ms or lower. That’s really good!

3D is really good.  It’s reasonably bright, and typical of DLP lacks any inherent cross-talk.  Glasses could be lighter, and they could be rechargeable and RF instead of IR (RF / rechargeable is the new trend), but all considered, the 3D picture is what counts.

This W1070 is receiving our Value award, so it better be affordable. That brings lamp life into play, where this BenQ offers a very respectable 3500 hours at full power.  Prefer eco-mode?  It’s wow time:  In eco-mode (low power), the W1070 projector provides a best in class 6000 hours lamp life..  At 30 hours a week a lamp will last 4 years!  Are you a light user of your projector.  At 6-8 hours a week, your kids will grow up, and you’ll have grand kids before you need a new lamp!  One area of improvement in terms of value, would be warranty.  Fair enough, the one year is typical for the price, but there are some two and three year warranties out there, even under $1000.

BenQ W1070 Portability?  The W1070 has the advantage of being especially small. That’s great if you move it around – say to the backyard.  And when it comes to moving it, nothing like having a built in 10 watt speaker, so in a pinch, you don’t have to drag an entire sound system outside at night, if that’s where your next showing will be.  Now comes the fun.  There’s an audio out!  What that means for you, is the option of some real bass.  Go out and buy a small powered subwoofer, and hook it up, to “rock the house” without needing fully separate sound system.

The W1070 isn’t perfect of course, and one immediate complaint is that it’s remote control lacks a backlight. That’s a nuisance in a family room setup, and a headache, in a dark theater.  Oh well.  The real travesty is that BenQ makes a great remote for it’s more expensive W7000, in this case saving a buck or two, I think was a mistake by BenQ.

Black Level performance is fine for a sub $1000 projector, better than those without irises, and those with “clunky” irises.  No, the W1070 even with a dynamic iris, can’t produce “ultra-high contrast blacks, but it produces competitive black level performance, and better than those without irises.  Consider the blacks to be about comparable to the Epson Home Cinema 3020 projectors. If this W1070′s blacks were better still, most likely it would be slugging it out with the Acer and Epson overall.

Ultimately, though, the BenQ W1070 projector has a great feature set for the money, which it combines with very good out of the box color, and calibrates excellently.  Overall it’s a light cannon that will wow you when it comes to brightness.

The W1070 has to be considered a better family room projector than dedicated theater one, but, lacking great black levels notwithstanding, it’s competent in the theater as well, as long as it isn’t too bright for you.  You can’t expect much more today, for under $1000. With the BenQ W1070, we’re talking serious “bang for the buck.”

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