BenQ W5000 projector – Image noise update

Greetings everyone,

I know a number of you have been waiting for this.  Finally BenQ sent another W5000 to me, to see if the image noise issue has been dealt with.  This BenQ has the 2.01 firmware, which BenQ says is the latest.  

No way for me to tell if any earlier versions were better than the early W5000 I reviewed, or as good as this one.

I am pleased to report, that this W5000, which arrived on Friday, is definitely much better than the first one.  The usual amount of image noise is still there, to be sure, but at what I would call normal levels for a typical 1080p DLP projector.  The first W5000 I reviewed wasn’t terrible in terms of image noise being enough to really ruin the experience, but it was more noticeable, by a slight amount, than any of the other 1080p projectors I’ve reviewed.

In fact, I hooked up the W5000 and a W20000 to my PS3, via a gefen switcher, and watched them both, side by side for a number of minutes, standing about 4 feet from the two, side by side, roughly 40″ diagonal images.  

I could just make out the usual image noise on both.  I can say this.  IF there is a difference in image noise between this W20000 and this updated W5000, it is very slight.  IF, I had to say which was better, I would give the W20000 the advantage, but, I’m really not sure that there is any real difference, they are so close.

Note, the 4 feet from 40″ for viewing is a typical close viewing position, the equivalent of sitting 10 feet from a 100″ screen.

I also watched some football (and a movie segment) on the W5000, on my Firehawk in my main room, filling most of the 128″ diagonal.  I sit 11.5 feet back.  Unlike the first W5000, with this unit,  image noise never jumped out and said “hey, I’m a bit of a problem”.   Oh, sure you can always see image noise on the right subject matter, when looking for it, but with this firmware, I withdraw my previous complaint about much higher than normal image noise.

This only reaffirms my enthusiasm for this projector, and my previous decision to give it our Runner-up – Best in Class Award for mid-priced 1080p projectors – $2000-$3500 price range, back in our 1080p Projector Comparison report. 

As an additional note, I also took a look at black level performance between the W5000 and the W20000.

There is definitely a difference, however, it isn’t as great as many would guess.  It’s just enough to be easily visible on the appropriate dark scenes, but hardly a huge difference.  If black level performance is the primary criteria, it would be hard to rationalize the extra cost of the W20000.  That said, it depends on how much you are willing to spend to get from “very good” to “even better”, in that regard.  On the other hand, black level improvements are exactly the kind of things enthusiasts are willing to spend the bucks on.

News and Comments

  • AB

    So is it fair to say that black level is the ONLY things separating the W5000 and W20000?

    Shadow detail and peak brightness are the same?



    Beyond black levels, the two are extremely similar. Brightness is about the same, and shadow details are close, however, the better black levels and the overall calibration settings will impact shadow detail, so let’s say they should be similar. When I viewed the two side by side, I’d have to say, very similar, at least no striking differences in these other areas. I wasn’t particularly looking for shadow detail, however, I also didn’t notice an real differences, which if there was a noteworthy difference, should have been easy to spot. -art

  • Ralf Sartorius

    Dear Sir you misted to tell us wich firmware is on the Benq W5000 to solve the problem with the noise
    Best Regards from germany
    Ralf Sartorius

  • Bruce Chassy


    Thanks for going back and updating this report. Very few reviewers go back and do this sort of thing. It does seem that the Benq W5000 is quite a good value for DLP lovers at its current market price.

    Do you think Benq has any new tricks up their sleeve soon?


    Hi Bruce,

    Not that I am aware of. They showed nothing relevant at CEDIA, so if they have something planned, it’s likely going to be six months out. Virtually every new projector that ships between Sept and March tends to be announced at CEDIA. Since they mentioned nothing, nor have I heard anything since, I would put it out of your mind for the next few months. There’s always something coming down the road. -art

  • Kevin

    Hi Art. I just purchased a w5000 based very much on your information in review. I have Firmware 1.21 with a release date of 2008/07/16 is this the same firmware you have. This unit was shipped direct from benq canada.
    Scaler 1.21
    DLP Composer 2.03
    Iris control 8051 – 1.01

    Or should i send this back and request newer firmware.

    In your reviews you said it has great out of the box settings.. Do you have some settings non ISF.
    That you recommend for an even better picture than out of the box in cinema mode?


    Hi Kevin,

    You should be able to find all our settings in the General Performance page of the W5000 review. The firmware on the unit they shipped in recently with the reduced image noise levels, was 2.01 (I believe. I mentioned in the blog). The original projector I reviewed definitely had older firmware – by at least 2 revisions than the one you have. I have no idea, how 1.21 handled image noise.

    That said, if you can get the latest firmware, without significant cost, I’d say: Go for it! -art

  • Joseph

    Hi Art. After i had the benq pe7700 for the last 3 years i decided it is time to upgrade to a full HD projector. I was thinking of the w5000 and my room is 16ft long. Do you think that i will have problems to fit my 110″ diagonal screen or i have to reduce the screen size? Recently i tried the optoma HD80 and from that distance it did not fit my current screen by a mere 2 inches from each side and the benq w5000 is supposed to have the same zoom lens of the optoma. On benq’s site the projector calculator is indicating that i should fit the screen without any problems but even on the optoma site i was supposed to fit the screen and it did not.

    Last but not least, recently there seems to be a hype with the LCD projectors as being back in buisness. I had projectors for the past 9 years or so when the only two systems available were CRT and LCD. All my previous projectors were LCD (in fact i still own the sharp XV-ZW60) and i swithched to DLP because of the problems i had with LCD projectors. To name a few of the problems, i had dust blobs on sceen, which you had to open up the projector to eliminate them, dead pixels in almost every projector i had (and i had quite a few) and even colour degradation over time. Now my question is are these problems solved or they are still present in every LCD projector currently being sold? I find recently everyone is praising again the LCD projector when in my opinion it is a dead technology with many flaws in it. And what about convergence? I have seen in your test photos that the colour on a black screen shows on one side red and on the other side blue. With DLP these problems are not there so how come that the test reports are saying that LCD’s are better than DLP’s?

    Looking forward for your comment.


    I wasn’t aware they used the same lens, but even that doesn’t mean exactly the same throw distances. From my W5000 review:
    “For a 100″ diagonal 16:9 screen, the W5000 can be as close (measured from the lens) as 13.4 feet, and as far back as 16.1 feet (give or take a fraction).”

    Since you have a 110″ screen, assuming BenQ is accurate, the closest you can have the lens of the projector is 14.75 (approximate) feet back. If your room is exactly 16 feet deep, and BenQ’s numbers are accurate, you won’t be able to use it. The projector is roughly (without looking it up) 18 inches deep, and I’m figuring your screen surface is 1 to 4 inches from the front wall. Looks like you would miss by at least 6 inches.

    As to the LCD vs DLP, both technologies have issues. Of course for some, the DLP problem is rainbows. LCD projectors still can end up with dust blobs, but it’s not an issue for the vast majority (clean filters when recommended or at least occasionally).

    Dead pixel issues are a much more difficult problem to deal with, but the good news is that these days, they are rather rare. About 2/3 of the projectors I review are brand new units, the other 1/3 are pre-selected units from the manufacturers. That said, I’ve probably reviewed 25 LCD projectors in the last 2 years, that were really random new units. Of those I’ve seen only one with a dead pixel, and none with a pixel stuck on. Problem is, most LCD manufacturers won’t correct for a single pixel problem, unless, maybe a “stuck on” pixel that is red. One of the reasons I like Epson’s replacement program, is that they overnight out a different unit.

    Convergence is another issue, and there is always some mis-convergence with any 3 panel projector, be it 3LCD, LCoS, or 3 chip DLP, and as you certainly know, a chronic problem with CRT projectors.

    However, forum folks complaining, notwithstanding, mis-convergence is not normally visible even in some of the worst mis-alignments, at normal seating distances, so it’s more an issue of a slight softening of the image. If the image you refer to is the DTS logo image, since it is highly cropped, if you can’t see the mis-convergence standing say 4-5 feet from a 17 inch computer screen, you are not going to see it when watching (those are “guess” distances). The cropped large image width is about 20% of the full image width (maybe less). The most likely place to notice convergence issues, is on credits – white on black. I’m not worried about that, I care if it can be spotted in regular viewing, and the answer should be no, it’s not.

    Sharpness depends on the projectors rather than the technology. The Mitsubishi projectors are, for example extremely sharp, as sharp or sharper than any of the DLP’s I’ve reviewed. The Epson, and a touch more so, the Panasonic, are softer. The Sanyo’s are also comparable to the sharper DLPs.

    Certainly DLP for years had the advantage, thanks to far superior native contrast – translating into ah huge advantage in black level performance, but most of that advantage is history. And, today’s 3LCD projectors are all loaded with dynamic irises, whereas there are few projectors with good dynamic irises in the DLP space, as they were slow to realize that LCD has caught up. I’ve praised, for example, the Infocus IN83 (darkchip4), overall, especially for color, but their abilities on dark scene black levels are no match for the better LCD projectors. I chastised them for not also having a dynamic iris, which may well have put it on par with the best LCD projectors for black levels. Case in point epson home cinema 1080 UB (and the replacement, no doubt), also the Panasonic PT-AE3000 and the Mits HC7000, all have better black levels than any of the recent DLP’s I’ve reviewed (dark scenes) Even the typical LCD, now has the advantage over the typical DLP in black level performance on dark scenes. On mixed (lots of dark, and bright) scenes where a dynamic iris is not very effective, the DLP’s might slightly beat out the LCD projectors, but on those scenes, the eye is inherently drawn to, and adjusts for, the brightness, making black level performance a bit less critical.

    There is also a different “feel” to DLP vs LCD vs. LCoS images. Many still prefer DLP, all else being equal, but with all the trade-offs, it usually doesn’t come down to that.

    if epson comes through nicely on the 6500 UB, look out. The new 6500 UB is supposed to have slightly better black levels than the 1080 UB. Further, they have indicated that it will also be slightly sharper, which if so, moves it from “average” for a 1080p projector, to “sharper”. We all favor sharper, but all the 1080p projectors look sharp, except when comparing side by side, where you can make out differences but, for the most part, another minor difference, perhaps a tie-breaker, but not a key decision factor.

    Bottom line – lots of factors, no clear cut “one technology is better than the other”. Still, JVC LCoS still has better black levels than anything I’ve seen with or without a dynamic iris (they don’t use one).

    As to a dead technology, here’s an analogy. Automobile mileage efficiency. For decades there was little improvement in MPG, for similar cars. That changed in the 80’s when cars switched to electronic ignitions, computer controls and the elimination of carburetors.

    What a difference that has made. My old hi-performance ’65 mustang (2300 lbs., 271 horsepower), got maybe 10 mpg on the open road. My current Infiniti G35, has a few more horsepower, and weighs about 3500 lbs, but gets me 23 on the highway.

    Old and new cars – both gasoline powered big differences. Old and new LCD projectors, same idea, LCD’s are still LCD’s though greatly improved, DLP’s the same.

    But it’s the final image that counts, not the parts that get you there. -art

  • marc robin

    HI Art , i have benq w5000 whit 2.01 firmware , after 1 week hdmi plug stop work , benq send me a new one but whit 1.21 firmware i need return to update , all is free , the 2.01 is verry better than 1.21 . 2.01 = lower noise and better colors and more, i dont like 1.21 when im looking movie i tell hummm , image background is bad .

  • the best price in the net benq w 6000 new please lock

    Sorry, Christian, the comments are not for discussing dealer prices. I deleted the link. It’s a pretty standard policy that most forums also have. (It keeps us out of trouble with the advertisers, and even we reviewers have to eat. -art

  • Bernie Troitsky

    Any word on when you’ll be receiving an Infocus SP8602? My understanding is that they will receive in Oregon in mid December. Given the choice, for approximately the same $, am I better off with a BenQ W20000 or the new SP8602? I have a 106″ high contrast screen (1.1 gain) in a light controlled room. Principle use is high def. TV with occasional blue ray movies.

    • Hi Bernie,

      Yes, I think. Spoke with the product manager at Infocus earlier this week. He’s going to try to have one to me by end of the first week or early the second week of December. In other words about 2 weeks. My fingers are crossed. I was initially rather impressed, but the engineering sample didn’t even have all the controls to do even a basic calibration so we had to abandon our review attempt. -art PS. To your question vs. BenQ W20000 – I’ll have to work more with the 8602 before I conjecture. -a

  • Where do you download some blue ray movie trailers in HD ?-~`

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