- Written by Kris Deering
- Published on 28 December 2007
BenQ has been one of the more elusive projector manufacturers for the home theater market. They are huge in the world of professional projectors for business use, but have only dabbled a bit in home theater. So, if you've been lucky enough to experience what they bring to the home theater projector world, you know they pack state of the art features into very attractively priced projectors.
For this review, I received the W10000, which is a full 1920x1080 Digital Light Processing (DLP) home theater projector. The W10000 has a lot of features that I've found lacking in most of the 1080p designs I've used so far and comes in at a price point that is almost too good to be true.
- Imaging Device: Texas Instruments Dark Chip 3 1920x1080 DMD
- Brightness: 1200 ANSI Lumens
- Contrast Ratio: 10,000:1
- Faroudja/O-Plus Video Processing
- Lens Shift: Vertical
- Inputs: (1) HDMI, (1) Component, (1) S-Video, (1) Composite, (1) RGB+HV
- Accepts 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p60, 1080p24
- MSRP (USA): $5,995
The W10000 is very similar in form and function to BenQ's previous 720p flagship DLP design, the PE-8720. The chassis is on the larger side and is white in color. This is probably one of my biggest complaints with the projector as I'm not a fan of white chassis on home theater projectors, but if this is one of the bigger complaints BenQ must be doing a pretty good job elsewhere.
The chassis exhausts heat through the front and puts out a decent amount of warm air. The cooling system is very effective though, and this is one of the quietest projectors I've ever had the pleasure of using. Another huge plus is the lack of noise in high lamp mode. I used this mode a few times during my review, and I never heard an increase in noise output from the fan. Normally high lamp mode sends most projectors into jet engine noise levels (well maybe not that bad, but enough to be too distracting in quiet movie passages). Surprisingly BenQ even added a quieter mode available through its service menu, but I never saw a reason to use it. This mode slows the color wheel down a bit in case the whine is getting to you, but I never noticed it.
Like most of the projectors out there, the W10000 has a collection of interface tools right on top, including buttons for the menu, power, and navigational keys. I never used these keys, as I had the projector ceiling mounted during the review.
The back panel is pretty customary and includes a single HDMI input, a component video input, an RGB+HV input complete with BNC connections, an S-Video input, and a composite input. You'll also find an RS-232 connection for remote systems.
The W10000 offers full remote control of nearly all of its features. You can adjust zoom, focus, and vertical lens shift all from the remote control. I haven't played with too many 1080p DLP designs that offer this feature.
I must say the ability to focus the projector while standing right up at the screen is a huge plus. I don't have to rely on someone else standing up there to tell me when it's dialed in, and I'm not the biggest fan of trying to eyeball it from the projector 15 feet away. I've heard criticisms about powered focus designs and not being able to focus in as tight as a manual lens design, but that certainly wasn't the case here. The 10000's powered focus allowed me to focus in tight enough to clearly resolve each pixel and the dimple in the center of the digital mirror device (DMD). While that doesn't sound like much, I've been around enough projectors that can't even come close to that.
The zoom and lens shift worked nicely. While I would always like to see horizontal lens shift as well, BenQ has included a nice range of movement with its lens shift abilities.
There is a downside though. Because of the cat's eye-like iris the projector employs, I saw some vignetting at times. I had to shift the image down a bit since I mounted the projector above the screen, and this caused the image to have some slight darkening in the lower left corner. Since the iris has nearly 30 positions, I was able to open it up just enough to eliminate the issue, but this in turn sacrifices a bit of contrast. Some people may never have this problem, but it is something to think about if you need to use a lot of lens shift.
The projector has a bit of a limited throw (zoom) and is on the longer focal length side. I know some may have issues getting this projector to work with their setups, but I usually find this the case with most of the designs out there. I had no problem filling up my reference Stewart Filmscreen 120" Studiotek 130, but I have a pretty long room (23 feet).
The W10000 offers some features that most of the 1080p DLP projectors are lacking. This oner has an ISF mode, allowing calibrators to dial in more than just the cursory adjustments, making this one of the most calibration friendly designs I've seen yet. It also works with constant height setups. BenQ has included modes to use with an anamorphic lens and is even certified for Panamorph lens applications.