- Written by Kris Deering
- Published on 28 December 2007
Staring at test patterns and running a projector through the gambit of tests is all fine and dandy, but at the end of the day, projectors were designed for viewing real content. I know many people put a lot of weight on tests (as they should), but I find that some of the issues we see with testing don't impact the image nearly as much as one might think with typical viewing. But it's nice to know what your display can and can't do.
One of the biggest gripes I've had so far with the new line of DLP projectors is audible noise. Both the color wheel and fans generate a lot of noise. Whine is usually an annoyance during normal viewing, especially during the more quiet scenes in a movie.
Thankfully, that was not the case with the W10000. This is by far the quietest DLP projector I've used to date. During normal use it is nearly whisper quiet and just slightly louder than the best LCoS/SXRD options on the market. On top of that, the W10000 doesn't get audibly louder when you put it in high lamp mode. This may be the only projector I've used that I can say that about, but I switched to high lamp quite a few times during the course of my review and never once did fan noise increase.
BenQ also provides a "Whisper" mode in the service menu that slows down the color wheel to reduce noise even further. I didn't use this mode though, as the projector was more than quiet enough in normal use, even mounted just above me. It is details like this that truly set this projector apart from the pack.
The remote supplied was also quite easy to use and provided all of the commands I needed. It is fully backlit and has one- touch buttons for adjustment of brightness, contrast, color, and tint. You can also access your preset picture modes and the stored ISF Day and Night modes. Aspect ratio, video processing, and inputs are also selectable.
Now that I've gone over the projector as a whole, lets get down to the real deal: picture quality. As most of you already know, I am the staff HD DVD and Blu-ray movie reviewer for Secrets, so I watch A LOT of HD content. Usually a day doesn't go by where I don't watch at least one movie on HD DVD or Blu-ray. And with an HD projector of this quality, I really can't imagine not taking full advantage of the picture it has to offer with the best software around.
A great example of this was Universal's Hot Fuzz HD DVD. Simon Pegg's off kilter action film pokes fun at just about every action film before it, but delivers one of the best transfers I've seen on HD DVD to date. Fine detail was impeccable when viewed on the W10000. Fine object detail was resolved with aplomb, and depth of image was spectacular. Colors were never exaggerated, and saturation was always balanced perfectly. I've viewed a few 1080p projectors on the market that just blow colors out a bit too much. While this does add some punch to the image, it creates an unrealistic balance at times with some colors losing their natural appearance.
Another great HD DVD was Warner's release of Happy Feet. While I wasn't the biggest fan of the third act of this film, the animation is quite impressive, and the contrast and detail in the image are impeccable. I've viewed this feature on several high end projectors, and I've noticed some banding creep in on a few of them that shouldn't be there. As I mentioned before, evaluating a luma ramp identifies these problems early on and the BenQ delivered one of the smoothest ramps I've seen to date. The detail and "pop" of the animation in this feature were resolved wonderfully with the W10000, resulting in some of the best HD images I've yet seen. Some of the scenes in this presentation were so good you would swear you could just reach in and grab the objects. If you have the chance to see this HD presentation on this projector, check out the chapter when the main character visits the seals toward the end. Absolutely amazing.
Blu-ray has been putting out some of the best and most consistent video transfers, and having a high end 1080p projector to squeeze every ounce out of them makes them that much better. A great example is the recent James Bond film, Casino Royale. Not only is this probably the best Bond film in decades, it's absolutely gorgeous to look at. The photography captures amazing detail, depth, color, and contrast. You can really put a projector through its paces with material like this, and the W10000 did as well as any projector I've ever tested to date, including models nearly four times its price.
I think it's safe to say that I loved the BenQ W10000. This projector just does so much right and comes in at very good price point. A few tweaks here and there to the design and BenQ could be looking at a performance leader in this category regardless of price. Those looking for high quality 1080p performance, image accuracy, and lots of flexibility in setup and calibration should put this one on their short list. The W10000 gets my highest recommendation.