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BenQ W500: Affordable Home Theater Projector Review - Image Quality

Posted on September 11, 2007 by Art Feierman

This section is organized into four areas. You can click on these anchor links (coming soon) to jump ahead to any topic: Black levels and shadow detail, Sharpness, and finally, General image quality. Let's get started:

BenQ W500 Home Theater Projector: Skin Tones

In the brighter scenes, the W500 did extremely well on skin tones. It is only on dark faces, that there appears to be too much red. This backlit image of Johnny Depp in Pirates, picks up a slightly redish caste in the darker skin areas, that I couldn't solve with this particular W500. From Space Cowboys: In general this image tends to have more red in the photos than what I see on the screen. This is a limitation of my digital camera. However, in this scene the shirts are supposed to be gray, and the skin tones, well, less red! Here's some night time images, this time from Phantom of the Opera, HD-DVD and two from House of the Flying Daggers: Back to Phantom Of The Opera, this time, from the Black and White scene at the beginning. You can make out here, the shift to red, especially in the lower left, that I have mentioned (again, and will again). Overall, skin tones are well handled, the issue being skin tones in darker scenes, where red is strong, plus the shift to red overall, in the lower left side of the screen.

BenQ W500 Home Theater Projector: Black Levels and Shadow Detail

The W500 projector is capable of nice dark blacks, the problem is that there is little shadow detail in the sample I received. The dark detail is all crushed, basically gone. I used the default 7.5 IRE setting, which should be correct. Switching to 0.0 IRE, produced more shadow detail, but sinficantly raised black levels up to dark grays that just weren't dark enough.

The Dynamic Iris performed well, noticeably dropping black levels in the types of scenes where frame by frame iris control is most effective. Without the Iris engaged, it is fully open, and once again, black levels are too light a gray. I strongly recommend running the Dynamic Iris On for movie viewing.

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