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BenQ W20000 Home Theater Projector - A first look

I've been blogging and writing CEDIA related stuff for the last week, but, that doesn't mean reviewing projectors is on hold. The BenQ W20000 arrived days before CEDIA, and Mike calibrated it. I've logged about 10 hours of viewing on it since I got back, including some college football today. Go Penn State - best of the Big 10! (no hate email, please). BenQ's W20000 1080p projector, is a larger DLP projector, and one of the few with lens shift. I also watched a couple of movies (21, Dogma, and segments of a couple of the regulars I use for my analysis (Casino Royale, The 5th Element). My first comment is that - Yup, this is definitely a BenQ projector (remember, I owned their 720p PE-8720, and the PE-8700 before that one, before I bought the JVC RS1). I looks just like my old BenQ projectors physically (the slightest cosmetic changes), and it watches just like them, but better. After calibration it exhibited exactly what I remember from my own BenQ's as well as the W5000 and W10000 1080p models previously reviewed. What that boils down to is an extremely sharp image, and very good color after calibration. The BenQ W20000 isn't the best thing I've played with recently, but is a very well balanced projector. The image noise issue of the W5000 doesn't seem to be a problem with the W20000. I wasn't looking for image noise during normal viewing, and didn't notice a problem. The BenQ W20000 looks exceptionally good on HDTV, the image is just very sharp/crisp and has very good depth. In this it rivals the InFocus IN83, even though it can't match the InFocus'es brightness. On movies, it looks very good, but not exceptional. Again, the IN83 comes to mind as a competitor. I plan to put the two side by side in the next 48 hours, because I'm curious as to whether the BenQ W20000 (darkchip3) can beat out the IN83 in black levels. They have a dynamic iris, and from watching so far, I suspect the BenQ on those dark scenes will do a better job than the IN83, despite the InFocus'es Darkchip4. Other than that, the BenQ is one of the larger projectors out there, and like most DLP projectors, it is limited by its 1.2:1 zoom lens. On the plus side, however, it has vertical lens shift, and a longer throw than most other DLP projectors, making the W20000 very shelf mountable, in many rooms. Menus, remote, most things, are almost identical to previous models and they have always done a pretty good job. The remote has a nice backlite (orange) and plenty of range. It's one of the few that I can use in my large room, and get a good bounce off of my screen/front wall, to the projector behind me. That's it for now. The review will be posted mid-week. By then I will have spent more time on general viewing, (their Brilliant Color implementation is a bit "interesting" causing a rather significant shift in color temperature), but I will have also spent time with it in my testing room, looking at the finer points of its performance. My initial reaction though, is a very good projector, but one facing a lot of very serious competition. BTW, it does support an anamorphic lens. -art

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