Projector Reviews

BenQ HT1075 Projector Review – Picture Quality

HT1075 PROJECTOR REVIEW – PICTURE QUALITY – Page 1:  Out of the Box Color, Skin Tones, Black Level Performance

Impressive Out of the Box Color

Cinema mode looks really good without any adjustments.  The overall color temperature is just the slightest bit cool with most of the range being around 6700K, pretty close to the target of 6500K. When it comes to standard settings such as brightness and contrast, even there, the BenQ was almost dead on the money. In other words, not that we would expect folks buying a projector in the $1000 price range, few projectors need a calibration less than the HT1075. It’s good to go, right out of the box.  After our calibration, there was a slight increase in reds, visible in skin tones, which does look slightly better, but, again, one fine picture without any adjustment. There is only the slightest amount of crushing of near blacks, in fact, the calibration difference is changing the default 50 setting to 51, the smallest possible increment offered. Count the out of the box performance as one of the great things about this projector.

Skin Tones

Skin tones right out of the box are very good even if a touch cool (thin on reds).  Post calibration they look extremely good, as you can see from the images above. The HT1075 simply serves up excellent color – that is, a picture that looks right on skin tones, never offensive.  As an added bonus, the images here are very good representations of what was projected by the HT1075 onto my screen.  That isn’t always the case, as due to some technical aspects probably relating to “light” from the projector outside of the visible spectrum, affects the color that my camera records. We’ve noticed color shifts particularly with solid state engines including LED, LED/Laser, and most recently Epson’s dual Blue Laser projector.  That said, even traditional projectors sometimes surprise me due to the camera capturing a less than faithfully accurate representation of the projected image. My one complaint regarding skin tones is the slight tendency of them seeming over saturated.    Now before you look again at the images above and say – “yep, they are a bit over saturated,” understand this:  I normally reduce color saturation of a projector several small steps before doing the photo shoot.  That’s because the photos otherwise would be more saturated than the projected image. Unfortunately, at least with HDMI sources, the HT1075 projector does not provide access to the Color Saturation control. While these photos you are looking at do show visibly over saturated skin tones, in reality, the projector itself produces a less saturated image than these, but still a just a touch more than ideal. We’ve included three separate images of Daniel Craig (Bond) from Casino Royale, to remind you that the setting determines what makes the proper skin tones.  The first Bond image is sunlit, the second, is supposed to be fluorescent, and the last one, night time.  The colors of his face are drastically different.

HT1075 Black Level Performance

OK, I’ve told you how great the color is out of the box, and how skin tones look nice and natural, if a touch over saturated.   In both areas, that’s performance better than most projectors near the price. Black level performance, on the other hand, is the HT1075’s weakness.   It’s not terrible, it’s still better than some lower cost DLP projectors and any sub $1000 3LCD projectors, but it’s hardly anything to get excited about. With the W1070 being 2 years old before this replacement, I certainly had hoped to see some real improvement in this one area. Sorry, not this time.  Black level performance seems to be just about what the W1070 offered, and both claim the same 10,000:1 contrast spec. One can argue that “it’s OK”, this is a very bright projector suitable for living/family/bonus rooms, not dedicated theaters where you can fully darken the room.  It’s true, in rooms that you can’t fully darken, the difference in black levels between great projectors and good projectors gets minimized. The problem with the HT1075, like its predecessor, is that it is so competent in many other ways, that we consider it to be a great entry level projector for a serious home theater / cave, and in that case, black levels are the primary area of performance that leaves the HT1075 as “entry level” in that sense. In the photos above, a few varied “dark” images for your consideration.  The Shanghai image looks great, since it’s got bright and dark areas.  By comparison the dark factory from Divergent lacks the deep blacks that more expensive projectors can deliver, resulting in an image with less “pop.” The last 5 images are the black and white versions of the Bond night train scene we use.  Black and White (grayscale really)  simplifies seeing the differences for a number of reasons.  First of those is the HT1075 and then the older W1070 (sorry the exposures always vary at least a bit.  Then comes the Optoma HD131 which does better blacks but has other issues, and then the serious (but over 2x the price), The fourth one is an LED projector, one of the first large “pocket” projectors to sport 1080p resolution.  It is the recently reviewed LG PF85U, which is similar in price, but only a fraction of the brightness.  Finally Epson Home Cinema 5030UB/Pro Cinema 6030UB (the Home Cinema version at $2499 we consider to have the best black level performance of any projector under $4000, and many that cost far more.

Folks I remind you, lots of low cost projectors do great on color and medium and bright scenes. It’s the darkest of scenes (which most movies do have some of), that really separates the “entry level” from serious home theater projectors.   The BenQ does fine for its price, but it is the black levels that will be your primary reason for moving up the food chain, if you have a respectable room, and really want a better viewing experience. When you look at some of those projectors withthe ability to do deep blacks, the really dark scenes like the night train, or Kitness and Rue, sleeping (from The Hunger Games), those projectors pop on those dark scenes, the scenes are vibrant.  On projectors with lesser black level abilities those scenes usually look very flat and washed out.