Luckily, I was able to get my hands on the new BenQ w1070 (I don't think it is even selling yet in the states). For those not familiar, it is an entry level DLP, 1080p projector with 3D capabilities! This projector will retail for ~$1100 and a number of folks were hoping a review of this projector before the holidays, so I'm glad I was able to follow through. 🙂 Hopefully, I can help a few prospective projector owners make an informed decision. Read on!
As stated before, the BenQ w1070 is a DLP projector. Typically, this means you are going to be limited a bit on placement flexibility compared to a 3LCD type projector. The W1070 does have a small amount of physical vertical
lens shift, but you need a screw driver to make adjustments. For the horizontal adjustments, BenQ implements software keystone correction. The combination isn't the worst I've seen, and it's kinda surprising to see physical shift at all on a DLP projector, but it certainly isn't the best. I was unable to fill my screen with the w1070 in the location that I currently shelf mount my 6500UB, so placement location should not be an after thought if you are thinking about this projector. You will need to do some planning and preferably center this projector with the screen (at least horizontally).
The interface for making zoom/focus adjustments not very ergonomic. I found it annoying to try to make fine adjustments in these areas and would definitely recommend a design overhaul for next year's model.
I'm a bit torn on whether to say this projector is "portable" or not. It is certainly smaller than the monster of a projector I had in last week (Epson 5020e), but it's not ultra tiny and the zoom/focus/lens shift is designed in a way that makes me never want to touch it again after I finally get it adjusted properly. There are, however, a couple features that add some serious points to portablility appeal. First, audio in/out connections! I have criticized a lot of projectors in the past for not having these so I really like to see these included, especially on a projector with built in speakers. So, thank you BenQ!
As hinted at earlier, the BenQ w1070 does have built in speakers. Again, not a replacement for a nice audio setup, but the speakers on this projector are as loud as any I've heard on a projector. They still get a bit tinny and harsh/distorted at higher volumes, but they can
reach higher volumes.
Lastly, the remote is extremely tiny! Like, 3/4 of a normal sized snickers bar tiny. I would probably lose it, but some may prefer the size. The biggest failure of the remote to me wasn't the small size, but the fact it did not have any back lighting for the buttons. It's just a simple, inexpensive feature I'd like to see them include.
After making some necessary proximity adjustments, I was able to get the BenQ w1070 centered on my screen and powered up! You'll have to wait for the official lumen measurements from Art, but I can say confidently that I was pleased with the brightness of this projector, and for the most part, I kept it in "best mode" during my testing.
As expected for a DLP projector, the image was sharp and crisp. I used my reference cave scene from Resident Evil 5 to test overall black level and shadow detail. The BenQ w1070's performance here is about what I'd expect for a projector in this price range. This means dark grays (not inky blacks) and enough shadow detail to easily see zombies in dark caves! 🙂
(The photo above was underexposed, the dark blacks are actually dark gray)
There was a bit more light leakage from this projector than I was used to. I usually don't mention light leakage because it usually isn't a problem, but it was bad enough to hurt the overall black level performance so I thought it was worth mentioning. Again, the black levels are about what we would expect in the price range, but they could have been better if BenQ addressed some light leakage issues.
The brightness of the BenQ W1070 carried over into 3D as well. If you follow my reviews, you know I've been very on the fence about 3D for a while, especially on entry level projectors like this one. But every time I game in 3D I seem to creep closer and closer to joining the 3D bandwagon. If 3D is something you are interested in, the BenQ w1070 performs well here. I'd say the 3D performance is on par with the Epson 5020e. Yes, the black levels/shadow detail weren't as good and the colors probably weren't either, but it was bright and I enjoyed playing GT5 a lot. So take that comparison for what it is worth...
I did see rainbows, but only slightly and only on dark scenes with bright objects in the background. I think I may be getting more susceptible to seeing rainbows. I haven't had a DLP projector in a while where I have't seen them. Oh well...
Finally, that brings us to input lag. The BenQ w1070 put up some respectable numbers. (0-40ms) and averaged a solid 20ms.
Obviously, less lag is always better, but this is right where I'd like to see all manufacturers be in terms of input lag.
Overall, it's a pretty solid projector. It's not the best in terms of placement flexibility (somewhat expected as a DLP projector), and I know I've bashed the ergonomics a bit, but I do like the w1070. I would recommend it. In terms of picture quality and features, I think it is a very well rounded projector. It's a bit rough around the edges, but if you are looking for an entry level projector for movies/gaming, you want 3D, and are willing to look past the poor ergonomic design and the crappy remote, it should be on your short list. All around, I approve.
That's all for now!
Someone asked me to compare the BenQ w1070 to the Epson 5020e. When I started the review of the Epson, I mentioned something about how the Epson 5020e was in a different league. I think that about sums it up. My statement stands. The BenQ w1070 is a good projector, it just can't compete with the black level performance and overall image quality of mid level projectors.