The W5000 projector immediately impresses, right out of the box. Color Temperature measurements produced a consistent color temperature, very close to dead on, but with a slight increase in greens, which can be adjusted out (see calibration section on the General Performance page).
Upon first putting on the W5000, the things I immediately noticed was the overall very good out of the box performance in Cinema mode, the sharpness, and the rich colors. Overall, the W5000 meets the description of being very "film-like". Image noise is higher than most, but distracts very little from the overall picture quality.
Home Theater Projector: Skin Tones
Out of the box, skin tones are very good, but with that little extra green to them, they can be slightly improved. Let's take a look as some of my favorite screen images, starting with the usual Lord of the Rings images of Arwen and Gandalf, from standard DVD (SD-DVD).
As I have been doing in other recent reviews, I must point out that good skin tones need to reflect the lighting conditions. In the series below, James Bond's skin tones look very different, depending on the scene lighting. First is full sunlight, then florescent lighting in an airport, then filtered lighting, and finally incandescent lighting:
Bottom line: While the out of the box color performance (Cinema mode) on skin tones is very watchable, setting up a user mode, based on Cinema mode, but decreasing the green content just slightly, makes the BenQ W5000 really excellent!
W5000 Projector: Black Levels and Shadow Detail
Again, the BenQ W5000 is extremely impressive. OK, Black levels are not best in class (that honor falls to the Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB), but the W5000 is just about next best, competing directly with the Sony VW40 for that honor. Shadow detail is excellent, both before and after adjustment, it has a slight advantage over the Epson, and is about the same as the Sony. I could compare it to other projectors as well, but let's stick to those projectors that also have really good black levels. Projectors like the HD80 series, and the other 3LCD projectors, can't quite match the W5000 in black levels, so even if they do rival the shadow detail, they aren't overall competition. Consider for example, the Mitsubishi HC4900. It has very good shadow detail, but what is now worst in class black levels. That means you can see the dark details, but the image never has the pop and wow of a projector with much better black levels, no matter how good the shadow details.
Nice inky black blacks, and lots of stars. When comparing to the similar image on other reviews, note the brightness, which does vary, from one review image to the next. The more overexposed, the more stars, you will see. This image, though, also reveals good details in dark areas.
Here are a couple of side-by-side images comparing the W5000 (always on the left), to first, the Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB, then the Optoma HD803 (another DLP, recently reviewed), and lastly to the Sony VW40!
Note, it is impossible to get the projectors identical in brightness for these side by side shoots. I do what I can. In this case, as you can see upon inspection, the W5000 turns out to be just from just slightly brighter to a "little" brighter in the three sets below. One indication is the amount smearing of the bright red lights in the space shot that all three sets have in common.