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BenQ W7000 Home Theater Projector A "First Look" Review

I know many have been waiting so, here's some useful information on the BenQ W7000 home theater projector, to get you started.   The W7000 BenQ rushed to me is pre-production, firmware version 0.22.  With a number that low, by now there are probably a couple of newer versions, and I certainly hope so, because this W7000 has a lot of things going for it, but other aspects are just a bit unfinished. But first: Greetings and happy holidays!   That's from the whole crew here at Projector Reviews.   And with that, out of the way... Back to the business of the BenQ W7000 home theater projector.  It's a single chip DLP projector, small-medium in size.  It sports a 1.5:1 zoom lens, and both vertical and horizontal lens shift (it uses a joystick).  The BenQ W7000 is 3D capable, and comes with glasses. Not surprisingly, it seems rather sharp, since it's a single chip DLP.  By the same token it has at default a fair amount of sharpening going on, and it's Clarity filter, which at first makes you think "razor sharp" under close inspection is paying a price for that, with sometimes visibly haloed objects, etc.  I've turned Clarity most of the way down, from the defaults. I'm not sure the measurements Mike took, will hold up, by the time production firmware is in the projectors.  Overall the projector produces a good grayscale, but when Mike looked at the primaries and secondaries, there was a big dip in Cyan.  For that reason, he did go into the CMS and adjust Cyan.  We only mess with the individual colors when there's a real issue, such as here.  I would expect that cyan issue to be addressed in newer firmware.  If not, no problem, Mike corrected for it just fine. BENQ W7000 LIGHT CANNON! OK, check this out sports fans.  Not a single mode measured less than 1000 lumens, even without engaging Brilliant Color. Post calibration, in User 1, the projector - with Brilliant Color on, measured a whopping 1571 lumens!  At maximum, Mike came up with just a few lumens shy of 2000, and he wasn't pushing any adjustments to maximize that.  His improvement of Dynamic mode, in terms of color, still yielded over 1750 lumens.  Of course, that's with Brilliant Color on, and that will affect the image a bit, such as flattening the colors, so that you might see faces as having slight flat spots. (Very typical of Brilliant Color).  Mike indicates that the projector does calibrate better with Brilliant Color on, but, probably more work with the CMS should level the field if you want calibrated color without the  "artificial" boost - a bit more pop and wow, added to the image. Even as 3D brightness is always an issue, this, folks, is going to be a hot product for the big screen crowd.
Black levels are worth a comment.  I'm disappointed so far.   It's been a long time since I've had a W6000, but I'd venture to guess that the blacks on this W7000, at best, just equal the W6000, and probably are not quite as good.   It's definitely at the "entry level" end of the ultra high contrast projectors.  It's not even close to the Epson 5010, which can almost beat the W7000 even with its dynamic iris off. I'm hoping production W7000's will push the iris further to dig out some deeper blacks on those really dark scenes.  Still, making it to being an ultra high contrast means never saying your really sorry. 3D brightness was not what I expected.   First when you switch into 3D mode on this projector, I've been having intermittent problems - again, stuff that should be gone with the firmware in first shipments.  The W7000 had stopped taking commands from the remote (had to restart).  Also, the lamp at times flickered.  I think this projector got really confused at one point.  Even some of the settings went back to default.   (and then reappeared after powering the W7000 down, and restarting.  Very strange, but very engineering sample, kind of problems.  I shut it down and restarted, and all was well again. Back to 3D and brightness.   I'm hoping this will change, but the single 3D mode that exists isn't near as bright on the screen as the brightest 2D mode, and that's before you put on the glasses.  This may well change. Now, even with the 3D image starting off darker, the BenQ W7000 is still pretty bright as a 3D projector.  Putting the BenQ, and the Epson 5010 side by side in 3D, overall, the Epson has a slight advantage.  The Epson has three glasses modes of brightness, the highest (brightest)  setting definitely adds ghosting (as expected). The BenQ W7000 comes in perhaps just a tiny bit less bright than the Epson in Medium (on the glasses), and is brighter than the Epson, when the Epson glasses are in Low, for best image quality.  The BenQ (at least  on this engineering sample) does not offer glasses brightness (or related) controls. Basically, for "serious 3D viewing" I would consider the Epson to be just a tad brighter.   You should consider it a tie, for now. I've already contacted BenQ and waiting to hear back.  As I said above, a number of things will likely be corrected or improved.  I hope to have some answers for the full review. Also of note, besides a dynamic iris (Dynamic Black), the W7000 offers CFI for smooth motion.  I believe it also works in 3D, but will need to confirm. That's it for now, folks I'll add to this, tomorrow,  gotta get some sleep. -art PS.  Assuming all these "minor" issues are resolved, the W7000 will likely demand serious attention from almost everyone shopping its price range, which is right around $2500 here in the US.

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