BenQ W7000 Projector - The Bottom Line
The overall picture quality - notably the colors, of the W7000 really do look impressive. That DLP look and feel - rich colors yet without being over the top, is in its full glory with the W7000. That's not to say you can't find more natural looking color, especially on far more expensive DLP projectors. What I can say, though, is that for a roughly $2500 projector, it should knock your socks off.
After all, it's not just good color and skin tones, it's also near wall-melting brightness (ok, that's a bit over the top). Still over 1500 calibrated lumens, is rather dazzling considering much of the BenQ's competition would be very happy if they could deliver even 600 calibrated lumens. Wow!
Our only real complaint was black level performance. We expected it to be the same as the older W6000's but it turned out not to be. BenQ says the full production projectors should be as good, though.
Update: W7000 black levels are much improved. As noted on the Image Quality page, they are now comparable to most of the other projectors in the $2000 - $3500 range, which is to say, extremely good black levels. Only the Epson 5010, near its price (a couple hundred dollars more in the US), has a slight advantage in terms of blacks. To find the next more expensive projector to best the W7000 you would have to go up by almost $1000 to the JVC RS45 projector. Of course, the W7000 is dramatically brighter in "best mode" than either of those two projectors.
Add to the image performance a good set of features - CFI for smooth motion, an impressive Detail Enhancement function (seems to dynamically sharpen), and Picture in Picture, and the value proposition of the BenQ W7000 projector gets even better.
After watching the 3D IMAX version of Hugo, sneak yourself into a standard 2D showing of Hugo for a few minutes. If that doesn't sell you on 3D for your home, then probably don't worry about it. Also remember this, 3D is best large - lots of immersion. Small LCDTVs and plasmas (say 40 - 50 or 60 inch diagonal), really don't cut it, compared to a projector. Those TVs doing 3D seem downright puny by comparison.
The BenQ for 3D, allows a reasonably bright image on fairly large screens, especially compared to most of the competition.
If you've seen 3D in non-IMAX theaters at your local cineplex, you may be one of many who complain the picture isn't bright enough (I agree in most cases). This BenQ W7000 should easily be brighter on, say, a 100 or 110" screen than I am finding 3D theaters to be!
The BenQ W7000 seems to have a MAP price of $2499 - that's Minimum Advertised Price, and that typically would be about the lowest you can find this projector for, at least until it gets near the end of its life, or an unexpected price drop before that..
That's great news, especially when you consider that placed the W7000 about $200 below the Epson Home Cinema 5010, and $500 below the Panasonic PT-AE7000!