W7500 Overall Picture Quality
All considered, the W7500 scores really well for its price point when it comes to overall picture quality. There are some very good strengths, and a few areas ripe for improvement, but no glaring issues at all.
As a projector for general HDTV, and especially sports, the W7500 is tough to beat, as it's one of the brightest "serious" home theater projectors near the price, and it's exceptionally sharp (thanks to good optical design, and the inherent advantage of bing a single chip DLP.
While out of the box color is definitely very good, calibration makes for easily visible improvement. My issue here is that while the W7500 projector looks great on paper post calibration, it didn't calibrate as well as I expected, skin tones, not quite as natural, etc. Now, this quite likely isn't the projector. Understand, give 3 calibrators the same projector, and when they are done, the final results will all be a bit different, (but better than pre-calibration - or so we hope). That's why I plan to have Mike the Calibrator take a second look at it when he gets back for vacation.
I'm really not a big fan of Mike calibrating these projectors with Brilliant Color on, but it does provide maximum brightness (calibrated), and according to him, like most others, the inherent starting grayscale balance and color gamut of the W7500 is better with Brilliant Color on, than off. And since there's also a lot more lumens…it makes sense.
Fortunately, the W7500 (unlike some others) with Brilliant Color operating, isn't over the top. Lots of pop, but artifacts are under control. A close look at skin tones, for example may show a limited color palette available. We see this sometimes dramatically on some lower priced Optoma projectors, when they have BC cranked up. Here the overall picture is still pretty clean, there's lots of pop to the image...
3D is crosstalk free, color, as just mentioned above, is definitely off, but I have yet to see a projector, including the $15,000, 4K resolution Sony VW600ES, with really accurate color in 3D.
Getting down to the other things that matter, dark shadow detail is excellent, about as good as any, however, black level performance, while really good, is a step below the tougher direct competition, which includes Epson's UB projectors, the Sony, and the JVC closest in price. Epson's Pro Cinema 4030 - a step down from the UBs), which nets out for less than the W7500 (you get a free ceiling mount, longer warranty, spare lamp, and 2 pair of glasses for $2499, rivals the BenQ projector in terms of blacks. Panasonic's popular PT-AE8000U, in its second year, is another that's comparable in terms of blacks, but has its own advantages and disadvantages compared to the W7500 projector.
Add all of it up, and the W7500, when it comes to the picture, is a strong competitor. You'll have to decide which differences matter the most - black levels, inherent sharpness, color accuracy, etc.
I'll say this. There isn't a projector under $4000 that we've reviewed to date, that is truly superior to the W7500 in most important ways. I wouldn't say it's the best, but it certainly is a contender, and it is the best competitor, I can think of, without spending a lot more, that uses DLP technology. It's good to have a serious DLP projector to slug it out with the Sonys, JVCs, Epsons, Panasonics - all using other technologies. Single chip DLP projectors these days are mostly sub-$2000, really mostly sub $1500, or very expensive ones such as those from Runco or SIM2. As those pricey DLP projectors are all $10,000 plus we won't worry them here.
As a history lesson, eight or ten years ago, Runco's "entry level" (over $10,00) projectors were OEMs from BenQ. Runco would put in better optics, and improve on the image processing, but they were still primarily BenQ.