Projector Reviews

BenQ HT1075 Projector Review – Picture Quality 2

HT1075 PROJECTOR REVIEW – PICTURE QUALITY – Page 2:  Dark Shadow Detail, HDTV and Sports viewing, Overall Picture Quality

Dark Shadow Detail Handling

Few home projectors these days do a poor job on revealing dark shadow detail.  Overall, looking at our usual scenes (bond night train, etc.), the HT1075 performed well, but not exceptionally.  It does seem to be losing a little detail in the shrubs behind the tracks on the Bond night train scene.  Same is true on a couple of the others, but I’ve only provided a couple of comparisons for The Hunger Game sleep image.

Those Hunger Games images appear in the following order:  HT1075, BenQ W1500 (a variation of the W1070, so very similar, the Optoma HD131Xe (a close competitor) the more expensive Epson Home Cinema 5030UB/Pro Cinema 6030UB, and finally, the Epson Home Cinema 2030, a direct competitor.  Look in the darkest area (bottom center to bottom center left, as well as the upper left, or mid-to lower right side for fine details that some projectors show, and others miss.

Tip:  Since not all of these “sleep” images are exposed the same, you can figure out what’s going on by the amount of overexposure/bluriness in the pause icon in the lower left.  You’ll note that the least overexposed is the HD131Xe (but even with a better image, it does lose by far the most dark shadow detail).  Note also that the Epson 5030/6030UB is similar in dark detail, but a touch less overexposed, but also it has much darker blacks, which means the near blacks you are looking for are also darker and therefore harder to spot.  Again, that projector is there to demonstrate what a more expensive projector might look like, and in this case, you can easily see the black level differences but far less so on shadow detail.

All considered from these images and other viewing, the two projectors revealing the most dark detail are the W1500 (so why isn’t the HT1075 better), and the Epson Home Cinema 2030.

Again, not enough difference to worry about. Only occasionally do we run into a projector that really crushes the near blacks.  Mostly, these days, that seems to be some of the Optoma projectors, where there seems to be a real trade-off between detail, and “punch”.

HT1075 HDTV and Sports Viewing

Great projector for sports.  I’ve watched a few NFL games, as well as some other sports with the HT1075.  It’s bright, its color is good, it shows no obvious weaknesses.  My only complaint really probably relates to the optics or processing, which can certainly resolve pixels clearly enough, but the overall image sometimes seems like it has a softness, or rather a lack of clarity.  It may simply be my take on the lower contrast of the picture – and lighter blacks since the projector’s black levels are nothing special.

That said (hey I’m “paid” to be critical), I, and friends, have been very happy on sports, and I’ve watched a fair amount of my saved music videos and shows.  The natural colors go a long way to a great experience.  On some of the music (Jools…, night scenes from music festivals, my complaints come back to the black level performance so that there’s definitely less pop, compared to some better projectors (that cost more).  At the moment though, I have to count the HT1075 as doing a great job for sports or most HDTV content viewing.  And don’t forget, there’s plenty of lumens behind the HT1075, so that it does allow for a reasonable amount of ambient light in the room before the image takes a serious hit to picture quality.

With 2000 measured lumens (calibrated, mid-zoom), few projectors even home entertainment ones, that are at all serious about home use, can claim to be significantly brighter.

There’s Bright mode, but as expected, heavy green yellow.  That mode is more contrasty, more pop, far less natural.  Mike tried tuning it for better color, pictue, without sacrificing too many lumens, and basically gave up.  He was able to hang on to an extra 200 lumens but the color was still pretty inferior.  In other words, a nice calibrated Cinema mode, is all you need.

That said, I still wish there was a color saturation control, because on a couple of football games. but more so on concerts and watching 30 Rock, I was definitely feeling a bit too much color saturation, when viewing with the lights down (normal for my concert viewing).

When you have a lot of ambient light, extra saturation helps.  (Note:  This 30 Rock group photo was not taken on my theater screen (Stewart Studiotek 130).  Rather it was taken projecting onto an outdoor portable screen we just reviewed – ProjectoScreen 120HD by Vapex.

HT1075 Overall Picture Quality

It’s hard not to like the HT1075.  It is definitely the successor to the popular W1070 in that regard.  Its strengths include color accuracy, a natural and reasonably sharp image, and respectable dark shadow detail handling.

Its weakness most certainly is its black level abilities, but then, few projectors around its price can do better.  For the most part, you have to get up about $1500 to see projectors that are significantly better there, or for the few that are, at the price, most seem to have other more significant issues.

All considered, the HT1075 has to be considered an especially good projector for the price when it comes to picture quality.  Some can beat it at brightness, some can match it for color accuracy, and so on, but all considered, the picture aspects of this projector have to be considered first class for the money spent.   There are few new projectors recently announced that compete with the HT1075, so we’ll have to see how those other new ones stack up.  Generally I favor the picture quality of BenQ projectors over their Optoma competition, but you never can tell.  Epson has a whole new series, mostly expensive but they have a $1299 priced projector shipping later this month, that should be interesting competition, as the Epson’s also usually have great color, very good dark shadow detail, and below $2000, not particularly impressive black levels.  Should make for an interesting comparison.  I’m hoping to hang on to this BenQ until one of those arrive.  I’ve got a lower cost Optoma on deck (HD141X), that too might prove interesting if it has better dark shadow detail than its predecessors.