Posted on March 14, 2008 By Art Feierman
Battle of two technologies. In this comparison, we have my favorite mid-priced Epson projector, the Home Cinema 8500UB, going head-to-head, with the BenQ W6000 an extremely bright, and impressive new replacement for last years’ W5000. Disclosure: I currently own the older version of the Epson 8500UB – in my 2nd theater. Not that many years back, I owned a BenQ PE8700, then the PE 8700+ (different DLP chips), then followed those both with the even better PE-8720. In case you haven’t yet figured it out, I’m a fan of both companies’ projectors.
It’s DLP against LCD. Each has its strengths and weaknesses compared to the other, but both are truly impressive for the money. Both are first class projectors for the money. The Home Cinema 8500UB projector took top honors, our Best In Class award for the $2000 – $3500 price class, while the W6000 projector picked up one of the two Runner-up awards. We’re talking serious product here, for serious enthusiats as well as the casual home theater viewer.
I really am impressed with both of these projectors. I often muse about what projector I would buy if I had to give up my much more expensive JVC. I’ll discuss that toward the end of this page. I mentioned above, the awards won by these two. I should also point out that while the BenQ W6000 is a rather impressive improvement over last year’s W5000, it won the same award as last year. Although the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB only improved slightly compared to its predecessor, the 6500UB. It was enough to hold the top spot. The key thing to note this year, is that this year it was close enough that I did give the W6000 some really serious consideration for the top award (Best In Class).
The BenQ W6000 is an extremely bright DLP projector, it has a dynamic iris to improve black levels. It also has adjustable lens shift, a real plus for a lot of people. With DLP projectors, lens shift is typically only found on more expensive models. That is something that is now changing. The zoom range of the lens, though somewhat limited, compared to many LCD and LCoS projectors is better than last years, and the combination of more zoom and lens shift, dramatically improve placement flexibility.
The W6000, like many previous BenQ projectors, definitely possesses those rich, deep, darker colors and sense of depth that DLP projectors are well regarded for.
The Epson Home Cinema 8500UB replaces the older 6500UB, and is the 3rd generation of Epson UB projectors. The Epson 8500UB is an LCD projector, and the one with the overall best black level performance (tied with it’s almost identical twin the 9500UB). The Home Cnema 8500UB offers truly dazzling placement flexibility. If you can’t make this one work in your room, you are probably going to have to give up, and staple a a flat panel TV to your wall instead.
Click to enlarge. SO close
Click to enlarge. So close. Black levels of the Epson are, simply stated, the best of any projector in the mid-priced Class. Sharpness is good, but it is still in the “average”, as opposed to “sharper still” classification we use in this report. The Epson projector, in “best” mode, is the brightest of the 3LCD projectors in this report (tied with other Epson variations), but there are projectors that are brighter.
In “brightest” mode, however, the Epson has some real competition this year, starting with the even brighter BenQ W6000! The Epson’s picture always impresses. It’s not the most natural looking, but it makes up for that with that “pop and wow” look. The purist may look elsewhere because of that, but most enthusiasts report to be, well, very enthusiastic, as numerous owners have told me just that. (Of course, purists, too, will love the Epson’s black level performance.
Time to get into the head-to-head. Let me just say, whichever of these two particularly good projectors works best for you, you should end up at least really pleased.
Immediately below, a side by side comparison, the Epson image is smaller so that the two would be about equally bright:
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