Projector Reviews

BenQ W6000 – Review Summary 1

A summary of the BenQ W6000 projector’s pros and cons and capabilities.
9/21/2009 – Art Feierman

BenQ W6000 Projector - The Bottom Line

Very nice! The W6000 is a worthy successor to the older W5000. It comes at you with slightly better black level performance, far more lumens, and the same razor sharp image as the older W5000.

Rainbows seem less visible, a definite improvement for those of us who are rainbow sensitive. Unlike the BenQ DLP’s I owned just 3 years ago, the rainbow effect is rarely visible with the W6000. I owned those older ones, but always wished for a few less rainbows. This projector delivers on that wish.

But, for majority, who never see the rainbow effect there’s still plenty to get excited about. Not the least of it, is lots of lumens in “best” mode. With this particular projector, so far, I slightly favor viewing movies with Brilliant Color off, and doing that, I still have 866 lumens, far more than most competition. Better still, with Brilliant Color on, there’s about an other 175 lumens. Over 1000 lumens in a “best” mode is a whole different world for most of us.

Skin tones are classic DLP, and I’d say, classic BenQ, as well. There’s something recognizable in the BenQ’s skin tones that remind me of older BenQ’s. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but let’s say that while they are definitely very good, the BenQ’s skin tones have sort of a subtle “BenQ” flavor.

 

When it comes to black levels, the W6000, while it has a very high contrast number, doesn’t by any means, have the best black level performance in its price range. It’s pushing its iris very hard and can get things pretty dark, on the right scenes, but overall, on a range of dark scenes, it’s not as good as those with the best blacks. Still, I qualify it as making the cut – my definition of an “ultra-high contrast” projector.

It could match the Epson 6500UB for blacks, on certain scenes, and beats it at shadow detail, but generally the Epson has a real black level advantage, and BenQ the shadow detail. Nonetheless, the W6000 makes “the cut” on black levels, by my measure. What I mean by that is, the BenQ’s blacks are black enough, that other factors can be weighted more heavily, when considering against other projectors. More likely the BenQ and the very respectable Panasonic PT-AE4000 or Sanyo PLV-Z3000 are closer in black levels to each other, and that’s not a bad place to be.

 

I just love this image below from Red October. Watching that movie, the BenQ W6000 looked truly outstanding, noting, of course, that there were times the iris was occasionally evident in the underwater scenes.

The sharpness of the W6000 is about as good as it gets without dropping a bundle on some really expensive projector. For all digital content like much of the best HDTV programming the BenQ just looks “razor sharp”. It’s got enough sharpness that movies look about as sharp as they are going to get. Sweet!

The Dynamic iris is my major reservation about this projector. As I’ve described in detail, it’s not the worst, by any means, it’s just more visible on what seems just to be certain types of scenes than some “better” ones. Many people will simply never notice, but those of us who spend too much time watching projectors instead of watching content, it does show up on your radar from time to time, and more so than on some competitors.

A few of you, on your second or third projector, might be turned off by it, and keep you away, to me, it’s just another trade-off item, in a world of imperfect projectors. It is a minor nuisance when it appears. You have to weigh for yourself if something like a slightly smoother iris on another projector (they are all sometimes visible), is minor or major, compared, to say, having 50% or even double, the lumens of another projector you are considering, or some other trade-off, like having a sharper image than that other projector.

The Dynamic iris is my major reservation about this projector. As I’ve described in detail, it’s not the worst, by any means, it’s just more visible on what seems just to be certain types of scenes than some “better” ones. Many people will simply never notice, but those of us who spend too much time watching projectors instead of watching content, it does show up on your radar from time to time, and more so than on some competitors.

 

A few of you, on your second or third projector, might be turned off by it, and keep you away, to me, it’s just another trade-off item, in a world of imperfect projectors. A minor nuisance when it appears. You have to weigh for yourself if something like a slightly smoother iris on another projector (they are all sometimes visible), is minor or major, compared, to say, having 50% or even double, the lumens of another projector you are considering, or some other trade-off, like having a sharper image than that other projector. Placement flexibility is about as good as you are going to get on a single chip DLP home theater projector. This BenQ W6000’s got a 1.5:1 zoom with a slightly longer throw range than most zoom lenses. That means most likely you can ceiling mount it, or shelf mount it, in your room. Even one of its major competitors, the Sony VPL-HW15, with a 1.6:1 zoom, can’t be placed as far back from a given screen. Thus the BenQ is more likely to be rear shelf mountable.

OK, the Bottom Line: You may have reasons for scratching the W6000 from your shopping list, but certainly it’s a projector that should be considered. It’s got very good blacks, though not the “best in class”, but it’s sharper than most of the competition, and in “best” modes, far brighter than any serious competition. Overall picture quality is classic DLP with rich deep colors (good depth), and very good skin tones. What’s the serious competition – most directly, the Sony VPL-HW15, the outgoing Epson 6500UB, and their soon to be released replacement, the Home Cinema 8500UB. Those should be very similarly priced. For a bit less money, the competition would be the Sharp XV-Z15000, another DLP that I really liked when I reviewed it in June, and the Mitsubishi 6800 (just coming out), we haven’t seen that one yet.

If you have a lot more money to burn, then of course you’ll be comparing to the JVC RS10, HD 350 (and their replacements, the RS15 and HD550), and the Mitsubishi HC7000. I’m commenting on most of those in the Competitor’s section of this review (the one’s I’ve seen so far).

If DLP is your thing, the W6000 is likely as good as you will find, overall, under $3000. None of the 3LCD or LCoS projectors around the price of the W6000 are clearly better, or worse, but rather offer any number of trade-offs. The performance improvement this year, in the form of the W6000, is going to make choosing a projector between $2000 and $4000 just that much more difficult!