I was able to sit down last week and test BenQ's flagship projector, the W7000. At ~$2500, it is a direct competitor to the Epson 5010. I'm glad I was able to look at these two projectors soon enough after one another to make a proper comparison. The W7000 projector throws a super bright and extremely sharp image and also includes features like 3D and frame interpolation. Input lag has been a topic of concern with many of the newer projector models, read on to find out how this projector measures up in the game room!
If you didn't already know, I do have a dedicated room for my setup. This room also happens to be fairly small ~(11'x12'). My couch is flat against the opposite wall of my 100" screen and if you are facing the couch, my projector is rack mounted directly to the left, ~6ft off the ground. The Epson 5010 was able to match my 6500UB's placement flexibility and did a top notch job filling my offset screen. Many other projectors have a tougher time with this and require a bit more tweaking to accomplish this goal, if they are able to manage it at all.
If the Epson 5010 has "great" placement flexibility, I would rate the BenQ W7000 at "very good". It does include both vertical and horizontal lens shift, but both the range and the zoom are not quite as expansive as the Epson 5010's. From the same position that the Epson sat, the BenQ W7000 was a few inches short of reaching the far left side of my screen, and I was unable to make the image large enough to fill it completely. I think another foot back would have done the trick.
I was really impressed by image quality of the Epson 5010, and I can say with confidence that I consider the W7000 to be a strong competitor. They are both great projectors, but there are some major differences between the two.
The BenQ W7000 is noticeably sharper than the Epson 5010. It is the sharpest projector I have reviewed so far and one of the sharpest projectors I have ever seen. It made digital images really pop, which is great for games. The extra sharpness, however, can add a grainy look to movies. This is not something I necessarily consider to be bad, but it is definitely a matter of preference. The graininess can be tamed a bit by adjusting sharpness settings.
The W7000 is impressively bright in it's "best" mode. Fully calibrated, the W7000 was easily twice as bright as the Epson 5010. There is a tradeoff here though, the Epson 5010 makes up for its dimmer image with deeper, darker blacks. I'm a sucker for inky blacks, so my general image quality preference goes to the Epson. However, the W7000 had plenty of shadow detail and a super bright image that boosted it's 'wow' factor.
For some reason, I enjoyed 3D gaming more on the W7000 than I did on the Epson 5010. I would need them side by side to tell which was brighter in 3D mode, but I can tell you I thought the W7000 seemed to have a more accurate, cleaner 3D picture. The Epson did well, but for 3D gaming I give the edge to the W7000.
The W7000's CFI system also seemed to do a good job. There were very minimal artifacts and I see it as something usable for slower paced games where input lag is not an issue.
The BenQ is a single-chip DLP projector, and in the past I have noticed rainbows in other single-chip DLP projectors like the GT750. I was not able to see them at all with the W7000. I believe this to be a result of its faster color wheel.
Lastly, input lag! This time, I'm happy to report that the BenQ W7000 measures a respectable ~35ms. For video games at 60Hz refresh rate, this means you are about 2 frames behind. I personally experienced no problems playing on this projector. I feel the W7000 throws an image that is fast enough to enjoy gaming, but I could see how it may not be fast enough for those folks who drink, eat and breathe first person shooters. Ideally, I'd like to see these numbers more in the < 20ms range, but given the measurements we've seen in the past couple reviews, I will gladly accept 35ms and do so with a smile! 🙂
I was unable to test how input lag changed with CFI enabled or in 3D mode because the projector would not let me enable these features while connected to my laptop for some reason. As you can imagine, the numbers should only increase when you enable image processing features. 35ms is the best it gets.
All in all, I am quite impressed with the W7000. It's not perfect, but it's damn good. Of all the projectors I have reviewed so far, I'd say this has the best overall image quality of the ones that I can recommend for a gaming. I kinda see the W7000 as a heavily tweaked GT750. It doesn't boast zero input lag, but for folks looking for a higher end projector that also works for gaming, I highly recommend the W7000. Way to go BenQ!