BenQ W20000 Home Theater Projector Review: Image Quality-8

Bottom Line Sharpness: About as good as it gets. Nothing tested yet is noticeably sharper, while a number of highly rated projectors, including the Epson’s the Panasonic PT-AE2000U, and the JVC’s are visibly softer. Mind you, all of these projectors are inherently pretty sharp. Think this way. The differences between the best and worst of the 1080p models is slight enough, that unless you are viewing side by side, you are most unlikely to notice when watching movies, as the film grain adds its own softness to the projected image. On HDTV, however the difference is still slight, but more definitely there. No one is going to walk in and say, “isn’t it focused properly?” Still sharper is better. Just keep in mind it is probably one of those minor trade-offs between projectors, not a major one.

BenQ W20000 Performance: HDTV and Sports

Very sharp. I’ve already watched several football games (HDTV), a couple of music videos (Blu-ray) and a smattering of other HDTV content. The W20000 does extremely well, with lots of lumens, and a great, crisp image. Although I still favor the recently reviewed IN83 by just a little, for both movies and HDTV, the W20000 is one of the best. Considering the IN83 is about $1000 more, for HDTV and sports viewing, it will be hard to rationalize the extra cost of the InFocus.

Overall Image Quality

Being a former owner of BenQ home theater projectors, I am pleased to say that the W20000 is very much like the older 720p BenQ’s I owned. Of course, it’s higher resolution, has better black levels and shadow detail, and is also brighter. Still, when watching content on the W20000, this BenQ “feels” like a BenQ, and that’s a good thing. Below are a number of images, from all types of scenes, bright ones, dark ones, etc. The BenQ handles everything at least very well. One note about the photos in this review. I mentioned above, that this is the first photoshoot using the RAW format. I can tell you, that I had “calibrated” my Olympus dSLR previously to get the most neutral color, to accurately reflect what was on the screen. As it turns out, however, there is a definite shift in colors between RAW and JPG formats. It will likely take me a couple more reviews before I have my camera adjusted to do the best possible.

Before we get into a series of general images, here’s another side by side with the W20000 on the right, and the IN83 on the left. This image is from Casino Royale, and gives you a good idea about the color handling and general picture quality of these two projectors

This whole batch of images, definitely adds a slight green/blue cast to the photos. It is most noticeable when viewing grays, but you can also see the shift in some of the images with sky, and also in the background buildings behind Gandalf in the images of him.

As it turns out, when watching the W20000, objects with neutral grays were very, very neutral. I could correct in Photoshop, but I stick to the practice of not altering any of the images (other than cropping and resizing). Once I start editing color… well, best not go there!

Overall Picture Quality: Bottom Line

Overall, the combination of a very sharp image, really very good (but not the absolute best) color accuracy, and brightness that is notably brighter than average, both in its best and brightest modes, produce a most impressive image.

Black levels are very good, but a number of projectors can best the W20000 in this regard. Still, the black levels exhibited are more than sufficient for most potential owners. The W20000 comes very close to the InFocus IN83, and may well be as good as, or better than the Sony VW40. The JVC’s, and the Epson UB, do a bit better, with the JVC RS2, still the reigning champ.

Shadow detail, on the other hand may well be the best I’ve observed to date. I can’t think of any projector I’ve reviewed that can do better, and most will come up short by comparison to the W20000. (That includes those JVC’s, and I own one of them).

When it comes to that somewhat subjective term – ” film-like”, the BenQ is also very good. I find it to be more film-like for example, than my low cost favorite, the Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB, or most of the Optoma’s. I should also note that the W20000 provides a feeling of excellent depth to the content.

In a nutshell, a most impressive projector to watch for movies, and thanks to brightness and image sharpness, down right sensational on HDTV.

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