BenQ W5000 Home Theater Projector Review – General Performance

W5000 Menus

As usual, this section will be posted a few days after the review. In the meantime, although there are some differences, a look at the BenQ W10000 review’s menu section will give you a good idea of the menu structure. The W5000 is ISF certified, and therefore has an ISF area, requiring a password to enter, for use by an ISF certified calibrator, to create custom modes for ISF Day, and ISF Night. Overall, I found the menus to be better than average. Navigating is easy, and they are intelligently grouped. The real trick relating to the menus, is in how to set up your own user settings. One complaint though, when you want to switch color (picture, image) modes, the W5000 doesn’t offer a pull down menu. Instead, you have to toggle through them. This means sometimes passing two, or three, or even four modes you aren’t interested in, to get to the one you want. The problem with that, is that the BenQ W5000 takes its time, often several seconds to go into each mode. As a result, getting from Cinema, to User 2, for example, could take 10 seconds. As a reviewer, I do lots of that, you will do so less, but it’s still annoying.

W5000 User Memory Settings

The Picture mode area (Cinema, Standard, Dynamic) also has three User programmable modes: User 1, 2, 3. There are three user modes in the Color Temp menu, in addition to Warm, Normal, and Cool. In addition if set up, you should also have the choice of ISF Day, and ISF Night modes. When I first started to calibrate the color temperature, I went directly to the Color Temp menu, selected User 1 and went to work. Bad idea! The W5000’s out of the box color balance (Cinema mode) being very good, and needing only a minor reduction of green, should be easy to fix. However, using User 1, starts you out with settings not even remotely resembling Cinema mode. A quick contact with BenQ, and I learned that the way to do it with the W5000, is to first go to the picture modes and instead of Cinema, select one of the User modes, let’s say, User 1. Once you do that, you have access to a menu item that lets you tell the W5000 which mode you want that based on. I selected Cinema, and now, I could adjust color temperature, in the Color Temp area, but starting with the Cinema mode settings. Bingo, instead of a struggle, final grayscale balance became a snap.

W5000 Projector - Remote Control

BenQ is using the same basic remote that’s been around for at least three years. Good idea, because it’s a good remote, well laid out. Range on the remote is good, but not exceptionally so. Sitting 12 feet from my screen, and the projector sitting about four feet behind me, I can normally get a bounce off the screen/front wall, as long as I’m pointing pretty much where I need to be, to have the bulk of the signal bounce back to the projector. I can say that when I owned the PE-8720 which sat on a shelf about 10 feet up, I did the same thing. With the W5000 that’s a total of 26 feet, and more like 32 with the positioning I had on the PE-8720. Bottom line: For larger rooms the BenQ should have just enough to get you by bouncing off the screen, without having to turn around or point it over your shoulder directly at the projector.

W5000 Lens Throw and Lens Shift

The BenQ W5000’s zoom lens has to be considered a medium-long throw. If ceiling mounted, it will probably be directly over the heads of people sitting in your “first row” (or only row), or further back. For a 100″ diagonal 16:9 screen, the W5000 can be as close (measured from the lens) as 13.4 feet, and as far back as 16.1 feet (give or take a fraction). Lens shift is identical to that on other BenQ projectors – that is, the center of the lens can be placed as high as even with the top of your screen surface, or as low as the bottom of your screen surface. This is great for shelf mounting, or low to average ceilings. Those with high ceilings will need a longer pole that most LCD projectors, which have a bit more lens shift, and can be perhaps a foot or two above the screen top, if need be. Other DLP projectors, without lens shift, typically have a lot of offset (Optoma and Mitsubishi, to name a couple), placing the projector about 18 inches above the top of a 100″ screen. The limited zoom range, as I stated in the Physical tour section, can make shelf mounting tough. You may find that the numbers will require you to use a slightly larger or smaller screen than you might think ideal, depending on roo

W5000 SDE and Rainbow Effect, Pixel Visibility

BenQ’s W5000 projector has a typical 5X speed color wheel. That means a small percentage of us (less than 5%?) will detect rainbows. I am one who is a little sensitive, and I can see those rainbow flashes on occasion – darting my eyes from side to side, but more significantly, when a fast moving bright whitish object moves across a dark background (or the other way around).

When it comes to pixel visibility – again, this is a classic DLP, and at any normal seating distance pixel visibility should be no problem at all. If you want to sit 5 feet from a 100″ screen, sure you’ll see pixels, but, no one sits that close.

 

W5000 Projector Brightness

Impressive! Brightness was one of the reasons I had purchased the PE-8720, the similar 720p BenQ projector, which may still be the best 720p DLP on the market without getting into those “expensive” names like Marantz, Runco, SIM2, Vidikron, etc.

As those of you who follow my reviews know, I value lots of lumens. That’s especially true as, over the life of the lamp, it can dim as much as 50%, so, creating a setup where you have just enough lumens to go around, when everything is new, can start to disappoint, when you have 1500 hours on the lamp.

As a result, I did most (but not all) testing with the iris fully open. Here are the numbers. The Cinema mode measurements were taken with default color temp settings unless otherwise noted.

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First set: Brilliant Color turned OFF

Cinema Mode: Lamp on high (Normal) Iris at 2, (default, and almost fully closed): 472 lumens

Note, by switching lamp to low power, lumens dropped about 19% to 383 lumens. That drop should be fairly consistent, no matter which color modes you are in.

Cinema Mode Lamp on high, Iris at 19 (fully open): 670 lumens

Cinema Mode, Lamp on low, Iris at 2: 379 lumens

Dynamic, Lamp on high, Iris 19, (default color temp – cool): 501 lumens

Dynamic, Lamp on high, Iris 19, color temp normal: 559 lumens

Dynamic, Lamp on high, Iris 19, color temp Native: 755 lumens

Standard, Lamp high, Iris 19, color temp normal: 555 lumens

Brilliant Color turned ON:

Cinema Mode: Lamp on high, Iris at 19: 825 lumens

Dynamic Mode: Lamp on high, Iris at 19: 1270 lumens

 

Note, please, Brilliant Color may boost lumens, but takes the image quality from very film-like, to one significantly poorer in quality. On some content, in darkened or mostly darkened rooms, it can look just good, but very dynamic, while on other content, it leaves something to be desired, with skin tones somewhat unnatural, and loss of definition in subtlely shaded areas like clouds. See the photos in the image quality section.

Bottom line: One of the brightest projectors around in “best mode”, but to crank out even more lumens, you need to turn Brilliant Color on, and it seriously degrades the picture quality, even if some folks don’t care. Very usable for sports, etc, but even there, you can see the Brilliant Color creates issues.

Even so, with Brilliant Color off, and some tweaking, of dynamic mode, you should be able to get a very respectable image at about 1000 lumens.

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