Projector Reviews

BenQ W6000 – Competitors 1

How does the BenQ W6000 compare to other 1080p home theater projectors on the market?
9/23/2009 – Art Feierman

This section compares the BenQ W6000 home theater projector to the competition. You will find our impressions of this BenQ projector as it stacks up to existing projectors we have reviewed, and a couple that are about to ship, and not yet reviewed.

W6000 vs. Epson Home Cinema 6500UB and Home Cinema 8500UB

View a more in-depth comparison of the BenQ W6000 vs. Epson Home Cinema 8500UB in our Home Projector Comparison Report 2010.

Essentially, the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB is the replacement for the popular 6500UB. The major differences between the two Epsons, are higher contrast – thanks to a new dynamic iris, and improved creative frame interpolation.

Basically, even the existing 6500UB should still have slightly better blacks overall, compared to the W6000, so the 8500UB will probably be a slight bit better still.

When it comes to color, the Epsons typically aren’t quite as film-like, but still really good, and the Epson UBs, in part thanks to their black level performance, will likely have a bit more “pop and wow” to their picture, especially on darker scenes. The BenQ will likely resolve more dark shadow detail.

DLP fans will likely prefer the BenQ for picture quality, as will many purists. In general, though, most enthusiasts will like the Epson package.

The BenQ will have a huge advantage in brightness, in “best mode”, and strong appeal therefore to movie fans wanting larger screens.

On the other hand, the Epson should have a slight advantage in brightest output, when you need lumens. And while the Epson at brightest is off on color, with too much green, etc. it is still better color balance wise than the BenQ at similar power (about 1800 lumens). To get respectable color, the BenQ can do about 1250 lumens, and the Epson more like 1500, so give the Epson the advantage (a small one) for maximum lumens.

While placement flexibility of the BenQ W6000 is fine, and will work for most people, the Epson is more flexible, in terms of zoom range and amount of lens shift, but for most people, this will not be an issue

When it comes to fancy features, with Epson you get creative frame interpolation, standard frame interpolation, and other features.

Whether you are sold on creative frame interpolation or not (I like it for sports, and only rarely for movies, but as they refine it, it may be more acceptable for movies.

The Epson’s take 24fps movies and can do basic interpolation to 120 fps. Or they can do creative frame interpolation to 96fps. 60 fps content gets taken to 120 fps. There’s one aspect of the 8500UB (what it does with 24fps content broadcast over 60 fps. The 6500UB handles that, but not well, The new Epson addresses that, but how it turns out – I’ll need a unit to evaluate.

Noise wise, neither Epson nor BenQ are particularly quiet projectors, both on the noisy side of average, or on the quiet side of being noisy. Overall, the Epson is a tad quieter, but more likely it comes down to where you mount your projector. Both have dynamic irises that can just be heard. If you hear it easily, look to your shelf, or mount, it might be resonating, and you can solve that easily enough.

I’m a black level fanatic, like lots of lumens, sharpness, and “wow and pop”. That splits pretty evenly between these projectors. Last year I favored the Epson 6500UB over the W5000. This year, I’ll have to make the call, between the 8500UB and the W6000. It should be interesting. At this point, without having reviewed the Home Cinema 8500UB, it would be a really tough call. I’ll wait.

Epson offers a two year warranty with replacement program, BenQ offers a basic one year warranty.

BenQ W6000 vs. Mitsubishi HC3800, HC6800, HC7000

OK, I’ve decided to tackle all the Mitsubishi’s at once.

The HC3800 seems to be a particularly nice $1500ish DLP projector. That said, The BenQ has to be the better product. It’s got the black level advantage, the brightness advantage, a dynamic iris, and if possible, a sharper image – yes it is slightly sharper. Overall, it’s the step up projector from the HC3800 which is also a DLP. Is the BenQ worth a thousand dollars more? I think so, but it depends on how tight your budget is. I do believe that the BenQ W6000 is a next step up better product than the HC3800, in terms of overall theater experience. The HC3800 has limited placement flexibility, but does offer a 2 year warranty compared to the BenQ’s one year.

At the other extreme is the Mitsubishi HC7000, their flagship 3LCD projector. It has slightly better placement flexibility, and is perhaps the quietest projector on the market, and at any rate far quieter than the BenQ, which is on the noisy side.

With one of the best black level performances from any 3LCD projector, most likely blacks are at least as good as the W6000. The HC7000 is also a very sharp 3LCD projector, but not likely to be any sharper than the W6000.

The Mitsubishi HC7000 is motorized zoom, focus, and lens shift, vs. manual on the BenQ.

Perhaps the biggest differences are that the BenQ is much brighter, and it is also a bit less expensive. The Mitsubishi HC7000 has the longer warranty.

And that brings us to the new HC6800, the mid-priced Mitsubishi, that was recently announced. I really haven’t had a chance to work with it yet. From a conjecture basis, the 6800 should be brighter than the 7000 by a good bit, but still not as bright as the BenQ W6000. How much brighter, is a good question, but a guess might be 25% brighter or more, when comparing best modes, and that’s assuming with Brilliant Color off for the BenQ. With it on, the BenQ should be at least 50% brighter, and maybe a lot more. In brightest mode, I really don’t have a good idea, but the BenQ in it’s Native Lamp settings where the color can’t be corrected, (but needs to be for good color), the BenQ will be brighter than any mode on the HC6800. If you have a small theater, the HC6800, like the HC7000 is also extremely quiet, which may be important. Finally, the Mitsubishis (6800 and 7000 for 3LCD projectors, should have a particularly sharp image, but not as sharp as the BenQ W6000.

BenQ W6000 vs. Sanyo PLV-Z3000

Two ultra-high contrast projectors. Black levels are probably pretty comparable, but the W6000 is a very bright projector, compared to the Sanyo PLV-Z3000 which is a very placement flexible 3LCD projector. I doubt very many people will end up with both of these two projectors on their short list. They are too different. The Sanyo comes with a 3 year warranty, and sells down close to $2000 online, so it’s also definitely lesse expensive than the BenQ. While the “best” mode of the Sanyo, is barely 1/4th the brightness of the BenQ’s best, the Sanyo does have some other “almost best” modes, which get the brightness up around 500 lumens – still below the BenQ, but at least competitive. So far, the Sanyo is still the least expensive ultra-high contrast projector, so it may compete, from a financial sense, as a good lower priced alternative, if everything else works out. I do believe the overall natural look and feel of the BenQ W6000 is better, but, we’re talking the small stuff now, and not anything night and day.

BenQ W6000 vs. BenQ W5000

New vs. old. I may have someone bring down a W5000 they have for a quick side by side. Not sure if that will happen. If it does, I’ll rewrite this. The W6000 has more placement flexibility than its predecessor, thanks to the wider range zoom.

With the new dynamic iris, the W6000 should definitely have blacker blacks, but not a great difference. The W5000 never quite had black levels that really quite got as black as I had hoped for. I think the W6000, at least to my taste, has just crossed that threshold. While I appreciate blacker blacks still. At some point better blacks goes from being the focus of one’s quest – as the most important goal, to being just another capability that can always be improved. The W6000 does blacks just enough better, I think!

That said, with the W6000 hitting the shelves, there might be some great closeouts on the W5000 that will be very attractive to many.

BenQ W6000 vs. Sharp XV-Z15000

Now this contest is interesting. The Sharp is more basic than the W6000 in terms of placement flexibility, but probably is very close in terms of black levels. When it comes to brightness, the Sharp is no match for the BenQ W6000. In best mode, calibrated, the Sharp is just over 300 lumens, compared to 866 in the W6000’s best, without Brilliant Color, and over 1000+ lumens, with.

When you need maximum horsepower, the Sharp does a bit better than in “best” mode, almost reaching 1100 lumens. The BenQ can get up past 1750 lumens but only with “shaky” color (real heavy on the greens). Still, the BenQ puts up a very nice picture, while outputting 1250 lumens, so it’s still a bit brighter, when both are still looking good.

As I mentioned in the Sharp review, the XV-Z15000 isn’t one of the sharper DLP projectors. The optics can’t maintain sharpness across the entire screen, as well as most other projectors. Based on that, count the Sharp to be better than average sharpness, but not quite as good as the better DLP projectors for the home.

For those torn between the lower cost Mitsubishi HC3800, and feeling squeezed by the price of the BenQ W6000, the Sharp may be the compromise. In other words, The BenQ has the advantage, but the Sharp, is, in a number of ways, similar in picture quality, even if the BenQ has a slight advantage.