Best in Class, Runner-Up Award (tie): BenQ W7000
Somehow, BenQ almost always manages to pick up a key award each year. They seem to do this not by having the smoothest and slickest projectors, but by offering some real value that can't be found from the competition. In this case, the big advantage it has over everything else in the price range, is the unbelievable D65 brightness - over 1500 lumens with Brilliant Color on, and should you calibrate it with BC off, it should still be very close to 1400 lumens! That's over double the Epson's and approaching three times the Panasonic's calibrated brightness.
So, if big screens and accurate color are your thing, the W7000 is the hands down champion for 2D viewing in this $2000 to $3500 price tier. I had to give the W7000 one of the top awards. I zoomed the lens to fill my 124 inch 2.35:1 screen, put on X-Men First Class (the prequel), and the BenQ "rocked" the theater with the by far, the brightest Best color of the field. We're talking big time "pop and wow", when you combine DLP "look and feel" with massive lumens, and great color. Black levels might not match the Epson, but the W7000 seems to be a tie with the Panasonic, which is to say, still really good at blacks.
With almost 2000 lumens at the Brightest, it rivals the Epson projectors, and beats the Panasonic, though all are brighter than just about everything else that's not really inexpensive with limited quality (cross-over projectors), or super expensive (3 chip DLP projectors).
In 3D, this DLP is pretty darn clean in terms of crosstalk (what you see is probably mostly the 3D transfer, not the projector), besting the LCD projectors. It's just that DLP projectors don't seem to end up as bright as 3LCD projectors. Oh if you set the glasses feature to low on the Epson, the BenQ gets close, but I find that Epson medium setting to be just fine.
Fan noise is a bit high, but with all the lumens, and a not huge drop when you go to "economic" (as BenQ calls it), mode of about 25%. That also improves the lamp life. Better lamp life is good, since the BenQ, with its emphasis on brightness, has shorter than average lamp life.
All considered, here we have a very bright DLP projector, killer for family rooms, even better in a theater on a really large screen, and very good brightness in 3D (though not exceptionally bright in 3D).