BenQ W6000 Home Theater Projector "First Look" Review

UPDATE: The BenQ W6000 projector review has been posted.

The BenQ W6000 is one of 3 new 1080p projector offerings from BenQ.

Front view of the $2799 BenQ W6000 DLP projector

There’s a lower cost – $999 – W1000, which should also be shipping shortly, and a very expensive LED lightsource top of the line, due out in January/February ’10 timeframe.  (Should be most interesting!!!)

But let me try to keep my focus – this blog is about the BenQ W6000 projector.

What’s the scoop?

The BenQ W6000 s a DLP home theater projector, with 1080p native resolution, and a street price that should be based on MAP pricing, of $2799. Since the BenQ is one of the first fall projectors to ship this year, it likely will hold pretty close to that price for the immediate future.

The most notable “spec” is the W6000’s brightness.  Even in the W6000’s best mode we measured over 1000 lumens!  Considering that most projectors are in the 350 – 600 lumens, and very few hit even 800 lumens, that ‘s pretty impressive.  Folks this projector’s got some muscle, even when you want best quality!   More about the W6000:

  • 50,000:1 contrast ratio – a very impressive number, “promising” most impressive black levels.  More on that later
  • Better placement flexibility  compared to the W5000 it replaces, with a 1.5:1 manual zoom lens, and lens shift
  • Nice shiny black finish (some very dark blue front center, as well)
  • Moderately quiet (particularly for a DLP projector)
  • Very sharp image – outstandingly sharp, when viewing HD sports!
  • Dynamic iris is more noticeable than on some competitors – a definite negative, but could be worse
  • W6000 Skin tones – gorgeous, I’ve always liked BenQ color, but this one pleasantly surprised me, regardless
  • Under $2800 MAP

Thoughts on the W6000 home theater projector:

Let’s start with some background:

I just got back from the CEDIA show last night.  I had the BenQ W6000 hooked up where I had left it, sitting on the usual table behind me in my main theater.  Above, on the rear shelf is my own JVC RS20.

I popped in Hunt for Red October – Blu-Ray, of course, rather late last night to watch with my daughter (who never saw it before).

I’ll  start with the negative first, get that out of the way, and get into the positive, impressive stuff.

The first thing that was evident, with all the dark scenes at the beginning (and throughout), was that the dynamic iris action is often definitely visible.  I wasn’t intending to watch for flaws, but I couldn’t help but notice.  Now, every dynamic iris is noticeable if looking for its action. The challenge is for it to “blend in” and rarely be noticed when just casually watching content.

BenQ doesn’t offer different iris settings, only on or off, so I left it on.  I let it do its thing.  OK, I can live with this dynamic iris, but it really could use improvement!   I favor projectors that have irises both  smoother, and less noticeable, when trading off for those better blacks.  The BenQ W6000’s solution is better than the function of the Image AI on the most recently reviewed Optoma, but no match for, say the Sony VPL-HW15, a pretty direct competitor, or, for that matter, the Epson Home Cinema 6500UB.

Ok, that’s the biggest downside in terms of image.  More than making up for it, however, is the overall color handling, most notably skin tones.  There’s plenty of real close ups in Red October, and most of the scenes are dark, inside the submarines and ships.   Well, so far I think the skin tones are exceptional, for an under $3000 projector.  I’m going to have to take this BenQ and take a closer look, side by side with the Sony and others.  The way Mike calibrated the Cinema mode, however, it looks to me, like I’ve got skin tones rivaling the better InFocus projectors (which I hold in great esteem in terms of skin tones).

BenQ W6000 displaying image from Space Cowboys

Let me put it this way.  We watched late last night, and I was on the east coast earlier yesterday.  I was pretty tired when I started watching.  I may even have dozed off for a few minutes.  Thing is, at one point, I completely forgot that I wasn’t watching my JVC RS20.  That’s not due to the black levels (which while good, are not a match for the JVC), but because of the skin tones.

Today, while I’m getting slaughtered in Fantasy Football, I’ve got the BenQ W6000 projector doing assorted games.  I’ve selected Standard mode, which looks rather good (a bit cool), on football.  I passed on the brightest mode which is Dynamic, as it needs to be adjusted to get rid of the over the top greens.    Still, the BenQ in standard, is significantly brighter than my JVC (hey, even in its Cinema – best – mode, is about 20% brighter than my JVC at its brightest.

Ultimately, when it comes to picture quality, color in best mode is rather excellent, and as noted (Red October) a pleasure to watch.  Sports are typically BenQ razor sharp, and nice and bright, probably providing the best overall color for any projector cranking out as many lumens as I was anywhere near its price.  Mike didn’t calibrate Standard for me (I might do a quick measurement using my adjustments).  I’m guessing though, that I’ve got a color temp a bit below  7500K, and about 1300+ lumens.  That’s pretty good, the Epson “UB” can muster up about 1500 lumens in an adjusted dynamic mode, but I’ve got better color here.  Putting both Epson and BenQ in their dynamic modes, both are too green and cool, but the BenQ is the brighter of the two.   So, when it comes to sports viewing, the BenQ seems to have a slight advantage in lumens if you want pretty good color, and a slight advantage, if all you want is maximum lumens, regardless of color.

But perhaps the most significant thing about the BenQ W6000 is that in a calibrated best mode (based on Cinema), it puts out more than 1000 lumens, and that makes it the brightest under $5000K projector around when comparing movie modes!

The BenQ W6000 (right) is far brighter than the Sony VPL-HW15

On the physical side, the BenQ is fairly quiet (especially for a DLP projector), it sports a 1.5:1 zoom, a lot more range than the DLP competition, and most helpful for many.  And also setting the BenQ W6000 apart from most of its DLP competition is that it has horizontal and vertical lens shift.  All in all, it matches the Sony HW15 in placement flexibility, and perhaps more to the point, it’s zoom (longer throw than the Sony’s) will allow the W6000 to be rear shelf mounted in most folks rooms, if that’s their preferred setup.

That’s all you get for now.   I’ll post the full review later this week.  I’ve taken a few images but many to go, and definitely plan a lot more viewing.  -art

I am most impressed, the BenQ W6000 is a

News and Comments

  • Jessee

    I was looking forward to your review on this projector. I dont think I could stand the Dynamic iris if that were off what would the conrast be for the w6000 and there comes a point in the value curve where every dollar over a certain spec does not have the same returns.

    Lets say the X10 which has 7500 contrast and the w6000 has 12,500 ratio would the extra 5000 be noticeable to the naked eye…I am torn between these 2 projectors I am trying to justify the 2 1/2 times the price…WOuld the picture be twice as good or marginally better..Would I see it ?

  • Tom

    Thanks for the quick review Art! Just out of curiosity, which would you think would be a better fit for my family room with some ambient light…the W6000 or the new Epson 8500? Primarily viewing sports on a 106″ screen. I am currently using the old Panasonic PT-AX100U @ 2000 lumens. I’ve been waiting for a bright 1080p for a couple of years. The Panny was challenging to enjoy during daytime viewing…plus with having to power cycle it 3 times to stay on due to the “sticky iris” issue…it’s getting old. Thanks!

    • Hmm, W6000 vs. Epson Home Cinema 8500UB.

      Well, that’s tough, especially since I really haven’t had a great look at the 8500UB. Here’s what I can tell you. The BenQ – with it’s best picture should have about double the lumens of the Epson, with it’s best. When you want max lumens, the Epson will almost certainly win, as the W6000, which has plenty of lumens (measured over 1750), is very green in that mode. The Epson suffers the same, but I can’t get the BenQ over about 1200 – 1250 lumens with a very good picture. The Epson can muster up about 1500 lumens with a comparable picture. Now for me, the problem is, the Epson at it’s “best” can’t fill my 128″ firehawk, it’s short on lumens – not a problem at all for the BenQ. Epson iris action, smoother than BenQ, and Epson has CFI. BenQ has that classic, rich DLP look, with slightly more natural look and feel, at least based on the 6500UB. hope that helps – a lot of drawing conclusions, but perhaps enough to help you decide if your decision is BenQ now, vs. Epson in 45-60 days. -art

  • Wow, this thing looks absolutely incredible. Might have to look into replacing my W5000. I eagerly await your full review!!!

  • Steve Atkinson

    Art thanks for the update on the W6K!

    This sounds very promising (other than the DI).

    Hopefully your comments will spur BenQ to work on a firmware update for the DI. You have great influence with Epson, let’s hope you have just as much with BenQ.

    Years ago I was quite happy with my 8700+, so it is nice to see BenQ getting back into the game as I look for possible replacements for my 7210.

  • Dries Vervoort

    I’m SO looking forward to the full review of this machine!

    I had made up my mind to strictly go for DLP/LCoS, so I was about to pull the trigger on either a Sony VPL-HW10, BenQ w5000 or Optoma HD82. Then this W6k came along and got me quite excited.
    I’ll be upgrading from an Optoma HD72i so either choice would make me more than happy.

    I’m also curious how the W6k compars to the VPL-HW15. Any preview scope on this?

    • Now that – W6000 vs HW15 is a really good question. Sorry, you’ll have to wait for the review on that one. In fact, the two will be running side by side tomorrow, for comparisons of several things. (It’s not easy to do, there’s no real way to get the two projectors very close in brightness, which makes my life more difficult.

      As a teaser – W6000 – definitely the sharper image, and brighter, HW15 smooth dynamic iris, still not sure about which one’s better at black levels… Most likely this will be a case of two roughly comparable projectors, but fairly different in certain ways, in other words, likely some will swear by one, some by the other. -art

  • Sly


    the W6000 sounds like my next Benny.

    Apropos sound…

    You wrote the noise is fairly for a DLP, others told me the projector is pretty loud. So…who is right?

    • Actually, my latest thoughts is that it is a bit better than some DLP’s, but still moderately noisy. They are claiming 32/29 db (full and eco power), and they are probably rather accurate, I doubt it is any noisier than that. It’s quieter, for example, than the Optoma HD20, which makes a healthy amount of noise.

      Certainly it’s not one of the quietest projectors out there, or even remotely close to be a quiet projector, but the noise really hasn’t popped up on my radar when watching. For those really noise adverse, it’s probably not a good choice (few DLP’s are). -art

  • marc robin

    Hi art , i am buy w5000 2.01 firmware at 3 weeks ago . iam put w20000 side by side my friend and me not find a differance he pay 4000$ and me 2000$ .i think the w5000 now ,are the best deal on the market but it important to have new firmware 2.01 tell me w6000 it is very better than w5000 or w20000 because all people must to know w5000 and w20000 its very similar now .thank Art you very help me for make my choice .

    • Hi, Well, the W20000 should have a slight edge in terms of black levels over the W5000, but they are definitely very similar. The W6000 isn’t much different in performance from the W5000. It’s got higher contrast, although that seems to be mostly from more range in the dynamic iris, an with that, the iris action seems to occasionally be more visible. The other advantage of the W6000 is more range in the zoom lens, so it does have a bit more placement flexibility. Ultimately not a big difference. Let’s say – it’s evolutionary, not revolutionary. Closeout pricing on W5000s should be very attractive, if you don’t need the extra placement flexibility. -a

  • Matthew

    Art, I have looked over your early review on the new Benq W6000 and I must comment as to why you continue to post photos that are supposed to be the Benq but are from other projectors? Why do this. I know this matter was raised before by email but really, your entire reviews are suspect and of no value if this continues. Why post photos you know are not for that projector?
    Put it simply; you care what you do – and it is very worthwhile – but how can your reviews be taken serious passing of material you know is false? Sorry mate but in my business, or any other, it would collapse if I was confronted by a customer or competitor and being accused of using false material. It is not necessary Matthew

    • Greetings Matthew,

      I understand, your frustration. Forgive the long email, I’ll try to explain the whole thing of why things are, as they are, and why they aren’t the way some, including me, would like.

      Since I use a recent review as a template for the “next” review, it does tend to lead to some mistakes. This is why every review posts at first with a warning that it has just been posted, and has not been fully edited yet, and that pictures and content will be added, etc.. In the case of the W6000 review, I also managed to miss uploading an entire block of photos, before publishing, leaving “blanks on the home page and image quality page..

      Actually I’d love to have the site redesigned with all the images, and even the individual sections within the reviews all fully, and relationally databased. (YOu could call up all “starship” images from all 1080p projectors selling between $2000 and $3500, for comparison). Alas, I’ve priced out a full database driven site design. Let’s just say it’s a 6 figure job, and would also eat into enough time to cause me to have to cut back my frequency of new reviews by at least 25% for the better part of a year.

      On that subject. I know a lot of folks study the photos. And again, I warn – there is so much loss by the time you are seeing them, that the images are not good indications of a whole lot. Certainly color accuracy is not well represented. (the difference between your monitor and the one on my MacBook, is probably enough different that the same image, in terms of skin tones, appears so much different, that there’s more difference between it on our two computers, than there is between that same image taken from different projectors, but seen on the same monitor. So, as always, take them with a “grain” no, a “pound of salt”.

      I realize my reviews are somewhat casual – more like blogging, (especially the conversational writing style), than a formal review in, say Home Theater Magazine. That said, I have different priorities.

      So, when I posted the W6000 review, I started with, I think the Sony VPL-HW15 review. At some point, I go through and replace all the “same” images, with the new ones, and rewrite the picture order – such as “on the left is the W6000, in the center, the XYZ, and the Panny on the right, second row has….”

      In doing so, I don’t always take all the same pictures (though I try to do all the ones that I do a lot of comparisons, ie: Bond Train, Bond roof, Bond plane, 5th Element starship, etc.).

      Sometimes I miss some. That means going back for another photo shoot, so I leave the older grouping temporarily the same.

      But the main thing is, Lori does the primary proofing. This typically happens 2-4 days after initial publication. One of her jobs is to spot missing, or “mislabeled” orders of images. Lori usually catches the vast majority of such things, and it’s not uncommon to get a few emails from readers (some within an hour or two of first posting), pointing out those things that are wrong. Keep in mind Lori also has a regular job, besides helping me.

      So, why do I allow things to work this way? Easy. From my readers, in general, I’ve learned one thing. You guys are always in a hurry. Most readers who respond want and expect to see reviews of new home theater projectors before the product even ships. Everyone seems to want to be able to read about every possible projector in their sights before making a decision. I could go to a much more formal process of reviewing, writing, and posting, but doing so, would slow down the overall review process by a minimum of two weeks. If I go that route, it has to be completely finished. That means no info on menus added the following week, and that the competitive section must be completely done (which means excluding maybe one or two competing projectors that are in house, until their reviews are completed…

      In other words, I chose trying to get the most useful info up there on the site, as quickly as possible. it’s not the most professional way to do it, but it does seem to be what most of our readers prefer.

      It would be truly wonderful to review like a print publication – spend 2-3 months with a unit. Often publish a review just weeks before the model is discontinued, have a full professional staff to do layout, proofing, etc. But, this is a true “family shop” with the exception of some webwork done under contract, I handle everything on the site, except for my wife, doing the proofing, maintaining the product database, and invoicing for the advertising. My daughter does some very basic webwork, and resizes, crops, and renames all the images I take and select.

      Living off of ad revenues, isn’t bad, it’s a business model that supports us.

      I consider the quality of my content, to be more important than the quality of the proofing, if given a choice. I”m sure if all my 100K to 150K readers each month would send me a $1 a year, I could afford some professional proofing and a professional to do layout, and check all the details, so I could focus on the reviews themselves.

      That said, no one’s figured out a decent way to make a living online as a publisher, by charging the end user (with the possible exception of the Wall Street Journal, and some other biz publications.) If you try, then, it seems one guy grabs a bunch of what you charged for, and posts it all over the web so that others don’t have to pay for it. The forums are an excellent example of why that model doesn’t work. I and others, will, in certain circumstances, be quoted, our points debated, etc.

      For example, my site’s “definitive work” each year, is the 1080p Projector Comparison Report. The combined pages will generate close to 300,000 (incredibly long) page views in 2009 (published back at the beginning of March). Our analytics indicate that over 40,000 people will visit at least 3 or more pages from the review.

      Hey if I could get all 40,000 or even half that many, to pay $10 for the report, I could afford all kinds of things that would make for a more professional site. My guess though, is that at $10, I’d be lucky to get 500 or 1000 people to “cough it up”. and it’s too scary to test that. As I said, everything is demanded asap. I could “sell” the report for the first 4 weeks then publish it for free, but I think that would be a big disservices to my readers. The info is very timely for those ready to buy. And btw, while I answer thousands of emails and blog comments each year (for free, of course), I only do phone callers if they want to pay on a consulting basis. It’s almost amazing, that I can get 30+ emails a day, but not one person in 6 months is willing to pay $150 for 30 minutes of my time on the phone…

      Oh well, you get the idea. Don’t know when you last looked, btw, but the W6000 review should be in pretty good shape. Haven’t received any tips of specific wrong images in the last 24+ hours.


  • logan ross

    Have you received any clarification from BenQ on the following?:
    1) iris noise
    2) image noise
    3) whether it upconverts 24p to 48 and 60 to 120

    Thank you.

    • Hi Logan,

      Nothing back yet as to whether there will be any changes to the iris action. I don’t see image noise per se, to be a problem. It converts 24 to 48, but I don’t believe it’s taking 60 to 120. I asked, got an answer, and may have posted it in the review, but will double check, as I sometimes get my projectors a bit confused when I’m in crunch mode…

  • Raf Paredis

    Hello Art,

    Is it possible that you give comments or add the optoma HD82(00) to the competitors? It seems in Europe the optoma HD82(00) and benq W6000 are in the same price range and it seems that both models have problems (not perfect) with their dynamic iris implementation.

  • Raf Paredis

    Hello Art,

    I think I’ve found the answer to my own question. I’ve looked back to the HD82 review and saw that it was compared to the W5000, with the W5000 was the better choice. I guess this also means the W6000 comes out on top.

  • Armin

    Hello Art,

    thanks for your comments, but I have a last question:

    I think I can stay with my W5000 for another year, but you wrote something about the less visible RBE on the W6000. How could this be? I thought both machines got the same colorwheel (CMYKRGB), and therefore the same amount of RBE (more when using RGB only, less with BC on (using all colorsegments and doubling the speed)

    …and…how do you see the quality differ of fast moving objects on the screen (W5000/W6000/RS10)

    Best regards and many thanks for your wonderful site! (..and apologize for my humbling english)


    • Armin, I can’t really answer your question. Per the folks at TI, improvements to brilliant color and other processing (probably some timing aspects to the color wheel as well), a number of the newer projectors do seem to have less visible rainbow effect. I have noticed I rarely spotted rainbows on the W6000, something that I did not note on the W5000 review. While it is possible that the W5000 was the same in terms of rainbows, that would go against my memory (it was a while back) and my conversations with TI. -art

  • Shammi

    Hi Art:
    Great review. Will this projector fit the bill for my 153″ diagonal, 2.35, 1.3 gain screen (Stewart Tek130), white, in a light-controlled room with an anamorphic lens and a throw distance of 24′ with a desired screen brightness of 16 foot-lamberts? Thanks

  • Geoff Murrin

    Hi Art,

    Love your site. Very helpful, informative, and well done.

    Thinking about getting this projector, but worried about the noise of the DI(sitting under projector), so am considering leaving it off. I have built a new home theater/den in my basement, with dark colored walls/carpet, and I have an Elite HC Gray 106″ screen(I know, cart before horse!).

    As my theater has only 7′ ceilings, I need lens shift, and prefer DLP, so this W6000 fits the bill. If I leave the Iris off, do you think the image will suffer too much? How would it compare to say an entry level DLP like the optoma HD20 as far as contrast and black level be(with the iris off and a grey screen/light controlled room.)



    • Geoff, with the iris off, black levels will probably perform more like the Mitsubishi HC3800. I’d stick with the BenQ. If the iris noise does bother you, you can always build a sort of padded shelf below the projector… to block the sound. With those shelf mounting projectors, I’ve suggested oversized shelves for the same reason. perhaps a couple square feet of black foam, mounted just a couple inches below the projector? I realize 7 foot ceilings are a challenge. good luck! -a

  • Ahmed

    I bought the w6000. I am not too picky about the picture so it even looked good to me right out of the box. I bought it because I have a 12×20 room and I really wanted a projector that I can sit all the way the back where I don’t see it. It worked out great but that noise is pretty loud. Especially the DI. It sounds like an old hard drive in action. I can ignore the fan noise but I have to do something about the DI. Either turn it off or put an inch or two of OC 703 (a sound absorber) under it and see how it works. If it doesn’t work or looked bad, I will probably just turn it off. As I said I am not picky!

    • Yep, definitely not the quietest. We all tend to vary in terms of what we consider acceptable noise levels. And, as you know the room acoustics can make a problem worse. See if the mount is resonating with the iris. If so, perhaps some spacers with sound absorbing material. Best of luck! -a

  • Billy


    Unless Art or someone else can correct me if I’m wrong…

    153″ 2.35:1 screen is roughly 5ftx12ft(=60sq ft). Divide the lumens (which in Art’s review was about 1100( by the screen area and you get 1100/60=18.3ftl. then take the ftl’s and times it by the screen gain to get your total. 18.3*1.3=23.8.

    So yes you will get your desired ftl. But once the bulb reaches half brightness you’ll be down to about 12ftl’s. Almost what you want but from what I’ve read, about what most commercial cinemas are running. You could always run the bulb in eco mode and then switch to full later to maintain about the same ftl throughtout the lamp’s life.

    Lastly, based on the calculator at Projectorcentral, your throw of 24′ will work and it’s where Art say’s he takes his lumens readings so 1100 is about what you’ll get (if you use his settings and not the default).

    Hope this helps,

  • dimitris

    hello to all!
    i have a w6000 and i have construct a plexi box( i had from my old canon lv x6)with soundtraps,It is a little bigger from w6000 with a hall in front(for lens) and side halls(for air)and i dont hear anything!I believe w6000 is the best machine at his price.My question:what blue ray player is better to work with w6000?

    • Well, if you don’t contemplate going 3D in the next year or two, I don’t really have an answer for you. You may wish to find some forums and reviews discussing blu-ray players… Not really our thing… (though Mike did review the Oppo Blu-ray, recently).

      The PS3 is widely used, I use in both of my theaters/testing areas, and I also shelled out $400 for a new panasonic blu-ray player a few months back, for working with 3D movies on Blu-ray (1.4 hdmi required for 3D Blu-ray standard). I haven’t really compared it to the PS3 though for normal performance…

      The PS3 advantage has been superb upgradability (wireless internet though your home router), and the fact that it is by far the most widely used player for Blu-ray, that you can figure that just about every new blu-ray disc to hit the market has been thoroughly tested for compatibility with the PS3 (including all those special features, BD-Live, BD 2.0, etc…

      That’s all I’ve got for ya! Anyone else?

  • Sami

    Hi Art,

    Is the BenQ W6000 3D ready? If not, can you please advice the best 3D ready projector in the market within?


    • Hi Sami, it’s early for 3D, the lowest cost solution for 3D are those 720p or WXGA projectors, and then a device that will convert Blu-ray 3D/hdmi 1.4 to a 720p signal in 3D that those projectors can accept. That way, movies, and HDTV… The first 1080p lower cost projector that’s 3D, that we get in will probably be the Sharp XV-Z17000, and that one’s probably not cheap either far less than say the Sony and JVCs… We’ll be cranking out the reviews as the manufacturers make the 3D projectors available to us.. -art

  • Will Hartigan

    Hi there. I was wondering how you would consider the w6000 black levels against some of the black levels kings like the jvc and epson models. I looked through alot of reviews and know the w6000 trails behind. The one picture that helps me the most, seems to be cropped on the w6000! The 5th element star ship. The black bars are cropped off so I can’t comparison the blackness of the star field to the pitch black of the bars! I really like what I’ve heard about is projector but I’m weary of loosing immersion and being critical if the blacks look subpar. Especially in dark movies.

    Are there any other dlp machines that better the w6000 blacks, with respectable 700ish lumen best modes? The sharp z15000 looked great if it’s lumens weren’t so bismal.

    • Hi Will, sorry for the delay, I’ve been slammed, and traveling. The w6000, like the new w7000 has very good blacks, but not quite up to the Epson 5010 or old 8700ub, but generally a touch better than the Panasonic pt-ae7000. The higher end JVC’s, by comparison are well better than the Epson. The lower priced JVC model, rs45 / X30 though, is only slightly better at blacks than the 5010…

      I love great blacks. My own pj is the old JVC DLA-RS20. I consider the benqs to be ultra high contrast, which doesn’t mean that it’s the best, but as I have written many times 1) what’s acceptable is up to each person, 2) by the time you achieve this level of blacks, other factors can easily out weigh further improved blacks. You will have to make the call.