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Projectors under Review: BenQ W5000 - impressive

Just when I've been convincing myself that DLP projectors have lost their historic advantage over 3LCD projectors, in the home theater projector space, along comes the BenQ W5000 1080p home theater projector.

Mind you, I have barely begun the W5000 review, having only viewed it in my theater room for perhaps 5 hours, a mix of movies (including parts of Casino Royale, one of the Harry Potter's, and a fair assortment of HDTV content (including a little Blade: Trinity).

This evening, the W5000 moves to the testing room for calibration and measurements. Meantime, here are some preliminary thoughts:Sharpness: Outstanding. Not much of a surprise, as I owned the PE8720 before I bought the JVC RS1. Even back then, that huge lens on the BenQ was well regarded as producing as sharp an image as any other projector anywhere near the price.

In terms of sharpness, the W5000 is second to none, of all the 1080p projectors that I have reviewed. The Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB, and the Sony VW40, both recently reviewed, can't match the W5000's sharpness, and certainly my JVC RS1 falls short. Extremely impressive.

Out of the box performance and color handling: Not bad, not bad at all. Not perfect, but adjusting this guy is going to be a snap. The out of the box color accuracy seems very good, close to the RS1 and better than most other projectors - many of which desperately need calibration to reveal their true potential.

One comment relating to picture quality. The W5000 has Brilliant Color - which is found on a number of DLP projectors. In the case of the W5000 the choices are: Brilliant Color - off, or on. Some projectors provide a range of Brilliant Color settings, but not the W5000. With Brilliant Color engaged, the overall brightness (among other things) increases significantly. However, with Brilliant Color, the W5000 loses any claims to being "film-like." With Brilliant Color on, the BenQ W5000 projector is going to function really well, when dealing with ambient light, but skin tones (and everything) appear oversaturated (that's a simplistic assessment), and very hard. Some won't mind, especially with ambient light situations, but to achieve "best" mode, it definitely looks to require Brilliant Color to be turned off (it defaults to on).Black level performance looks to be excellent. I'll be doing some side by side comparisons including the Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB. At first glance the BenQ W5000 looks like it is at least very close to the Epson. We shall see!

Placement flexibility: The bad, as always, for DLP projectors, is limited zoom range. in this case, 1.2:1. That's a little better than the older W10000's 1.15:1, but still very limited. Like the other BenQ's it does offer lens shift, with enough range that the lens can be anywhere from even with the bottom of the screen surface, to even with the top. Not quite as much range as some 3LCD projectors, but still a very acceptable amount.

Shelf mounting the W5000 projector, is doable, within the limits of the zoom lens. Overall the limited throw range would have to be considered medium to long, so a good number of people will be able to shelf mount. The important point to note, is that for those wanting to shelf mount, the limited zoom might require you to restrict your screen size to a narrow range. For example, you might discover that for your room, based on its depth, that if shelf mounting, you can only use a screen between 84" and 100" or 96" and 115", and so on.

That's it for now. The W5000 projector review should post this coming Tuesday, Feb 25, or maybe Feb 26.

Stay tuned! -art

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