The design and layout (almost identical to the PE8700) is as follows, the projector is wider than deep, weighs about 18 pounds, and has a silver finish. The only visible cosmetic difference between it, and its big brother, is the center section on the top and front. This BenQ has a light colored section housing the control panel, while the 8700 has a darker purplish piece of the same size and shape.
From the front: Two screw thread adjustable feet for those not mounting the projector The lens itself is recessed, with recessed focus and zoom rings on the top. The zoom has a 20% adjustment range. There are IR sensors on the front and back, so controlling it with your remote, even if ceiling mounted, should be no problem at all.
The top has a large, well spaced out control panel, with all the usual features: Power, Input selection, Menu, Arrow keys, Enter and Exit (cancel) buttons, plus a Memory button that toggles you between different savable settings. In addition there are power and lamp indicator lights.
Lets talk about the Lens and throw distances, and the practical difference from the PE8700 series. Since the lens is the same on both, but the 7800 uses a lower resolution and smaller DLP chip, the effective result is that the lens becomes “longer throw”. While the PE8700 would have to be described as having a particularly short throw zoom lens, the PE7800, will sit further from the screen because of this difference. To “throw” a number at you, to fill a 100” diagonal 16:9 screen, the PE7800 can sit from approximately 11.7 ft. to 14.4 ft. from the screen.
Overall, this BenQ is good looking, but since of course, it’s designed to work in a fairly dark room, the fact that it isn’t as modernistic or “sexy” as some models, probably doesn’t matter to anyone. (Ultimately it’s still box shaped with rounded corners, but some thought did go into the styling, so it doesn’t look like a plain box.)
Power and all inputs/outputs are located in the back. Here’s what you will find:
- S-Video input
- Composite video input
- Component video 1: three RCA jacks, (supports interlaced only!).
- Component video 2: 5 BNC connectors, supports interlaced and progressive, can also be used for data such as a PC.
- DVI input, supports HDCP for future compatibility
- 12volt Screen trigger
- RS-232 for command and control
- The rear Infra-red sensor for the remote
- Power connector, and off/on switch
The spacing on the back panel is very, very good. Many of today’s high quality cables are thick and bulky, and many projectors place all the inputs too close together. The PE7800 gives you plenty of room between connectors – a real plus.
I previously mentioned front feet. The BenQ also has two matching screw thread rear feet, so adjusting the angle of the projector is simple.
Let’s get to the fun – and see how the PE7800 projector performs. Check out the next section.