BenQ W10000 projector vs. Panasonic PT-AE1000U
To me, this isn't a direct competition - too many differences. First of all, the Panasonic, being the least expensive 1080p projector on the market, is going to sell for almost $2000 less. It also has the advantage of placement flexibility with its wide range zoom and an unbelieveable amount of lens shift. Lastly, the Pansasonic has slightly better color accuracy out of the box.
After that, however, it's all BenQ W10000. Right off the bat, the W10000 is significantly sharper, which will be important to many. The BenQ also, in my opinion, produces a more vibrant image. And for those wanting every last ounce of performance, the BenQ is ISF certified, and has everything needed to be fully calibrated for your room, screen, lighting, etc.
The W10000 also can crank out more lumens in its best mode, enough to move up one or two sizes in screen. I've deemed it just fine for my 128" Stewart Firehawk, whereas I was barely satisfied with the Panasonic's brightness in its Cinema 1 mode, when using only about 106" diagonal of my screen. So brightness is another BenQ advantage. Note, the two are much closer in maximum brightness (lowest image quality) modes.
Is the the W10000 worth the extra almost $2000? I've got to say YES, if you have the budget, and it works in your room, overall, I would say go for it. Of course, you must decide your priorities.
BenQ W10000 projector vs. Mitsubishi HC5000
Now this is a much more interesting comparison. The Mitsubishi, an LCD powered 1080p projector has the advantage again, in placement flexibility, with its 1.6:1 zoom and more lens shift than the BenQ W10000. It also is comparable to the W10000 in sharpness. Perhaps its biggest advantage, however is price. With a MAP of $4495, it is likely to be about $1200 less than the BenQ (+/- $200).
Although I think the HC5000 is a great projector, and that few would be disappointed, my take is that overall, the BenQ does produce a slightly better picture.
The BenQ has several things in its favor, enough for many to easily rationalize the price difference. First of all, it definitely delivers better overall black levels (although shadow detail is pretty much a tie.) In dark areas on scenes with some very bright areas, the BenQ has a significant advantage in black levels, although in scenes that lack any bright areas the two are close.
Also tied to this is the advantage the BenQ has in achieving very good black levels without a dynamic iris. The Mitsubishi's dynamic iris is sometimes detectable during scene changes, or the addition or subtraction of a bright area in one scene. Many may not notice this, or more likely never be concerned about it on the Mitsubishi, but it is another plus for the W10000
Perhaps the biggest difference to some, will be pixel visibility, since the HC5000 is LCD, its pixels are inherently more visible. But, since it's 1080p, people sitting at most normal distances won't have a problem. The pixel visibility was just barely visible in credits at my seating distance, but projecting a smaller image in the 106" diagonal range. So, if you like to sit fairly close, the BenQ has this advantage as well.
Like many, I generally find that DLP projectors tend to be more film-like. What causes that is up for debate, as several factors are involved, but I'll stick with my preference for DLP projectors.
The BenQ W10000 also has that extra year warranty, and the first year replacement program in its favor.
Is the W10000 worth the $1000 plus difference (assuming it works in your room in terms of placement)? My vote is yes, but if your budget is not able to stretch for the W10000, the Mitsubishi - all else being equal, is a great alternative.