Hands On: Benq W7000 3D DLP Home Theater Projector
In the trending world of 4K TVs, affordable 1080p projection like Benq's W7000 still quenches true big-screen thirst.
Benq W7000 DLP projector
August 21, 2013 by Arlen Schweiger

The advanced settings include adjustments for color temperature, color temperature fine tuning, gamma selection, brilliant color, color management and dynamic black. For detail, the advanced picture settings feature a “clarity control” section that includes the ability to tweak noise reduction and detail enhancement. I experimented a bit with these two settings, but for the most part I thought the image needed little of either—noise reduction I tended to keep off and I had the detail enhancement on low, as there seemed to be a fine line between how the image appeared naturally and then adding more reduction and enhancement to then render it more artificial looking. Textures like the stone surfaces and clothing of the warriors during night scenes of the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Blu-ray benefited from a slight bump in enhancement, but you have to be careful not to go overboard and wash out detail. Overall, black-level detail was very nice, from the textures and shadow imagery during night scenes in Crouching Tiger to the amount of lines, creases and reflection in things like Darth Vader’s outfit in the Star Wars trilogy on DVD, and glimmers and scuffing of microphone stands and instruments onstage in several concert Blu-rays.

The visually stunning Art of Flight Blu-ray was a showcase for the crisp detail and colors that jumped off the screen. The contrast of the white mountains against the backdrop of the blue sky, along with the snow texture and jaggedy rocks and glaciers really brought out the strong dimensionality of the 2D images rendered by the W7000. No less stunning was the color palette to the lushly restored Blu-ray version of Disney’s 50-plus-year-old Sleeping Beauty (whose ultra-wide 2.55:1 aspect ratio left black bars even on the Kestrel screen) in which the animated dresses, trees, birds and such looked particularly vibrant. They held up pretty well against modern day Pixar goodies like Up and Wall-E, both of which dazzled through the W7000. You almost don’t want to go back to real-life material after seeing such vivid animation. For films such as Wall-E I did not use an anamorphic lens (opting for the zoom method) for filling the 2.35:1 Kestrel screen, but the projector does include an anamorphic setting if you want to pair it with a Panamorph or other lens to achieve the super-wide results.

I checked out the projector’s “full HD 3D” (which Benq says was certified by TUV Rheinland) and found it quite enjoyable and enveloping. Through the DLP Link active glasses (no special emitter necessary), the images during Despicable Me and Tangled suffered from slight brightness loss but no discernible crosstalk or “ghosting” that I could see. Depth of the 3D was pleasing, but there is no scalability to it as I’ve seen in other projectors. Fast-action 3D scenes like Maximus chasing around Flynn were pretty smooth compared with other 3D projection I’ve viewed, and high amounts of detail are maintained when switching over to the 3D format.

Related: The Blu-ray That Made Me Love 3D

If you’ve got a couple grand to spend, you’ll be more than happy building a theater room around this projector, plus you can take it upstairs and use it in a bonus room or living room for more daily use—just know that you’ll probably be needing to replace the lamp much sooner that way unless you keep the W7000 in eco mode. I love that companies such as Benq and Epson continue to make projectors attractive options to flat-panel TVs, and the increasing quality of their offerings are making past compromises much less worrisome.

Specs
DLP projection
1080p resolution
2,000 ANSI lumens
50,000:1 contrast ratio
1.62-2.43 throw ratio
I/Os HDMI 1.4 x2; component; composite; VGA computer; S-video
lens shift +/-125 degrees vertical, +/-40 degrees horizontal
$1,999
www.benq.us

Pros
Excellent color rendering, image depth
Solid 3D capability
Plentiful picture fine-tune adjustments

Cons
Sensitive manual focus/zoom
PIP can’t be used with 2nd HDMI port
Annoying delay when switching sources

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Arlen Schweiger - Contributor, Electronic House Magazine
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com and Electronic House magazine.

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