Projectors

BenQ W7500 Single-Chip DLP Projector

ARTICLE INDEX

The Design of the BenQ W7500 Projector

The W7500 employs the DarkChip3 Digital Micro-mirror Device (DMD) as the basis for a 2000-lumen light engine. This chip was at the core of some very expensive projectors from Runco and Samsung in the past. Now that the high-end models have moved to DarkChip4, lower-priced projectors like this can take advantage.

The second component in the light engine I want to talk about is the color wheel. All single-chip DLPs must use a color wheel, made up of at least three segments of primary colors, that spins in the light path to create a color image. One side-effect of this technology is the so-called "DLP rainbow" effect seen by around one percent of people. This manifests as a color fringe around bright moving highlights like stars or sharp reflections. DLP displays attempt to mitigate this by increasing both the number of color wheel segments and the rotational speed. BenQ's solution is to use a six-segment wheel (RGBRGB) and spin it at six times the normal rate.

Since the W7500 is marketed as a home theater projector, BenQ has taken care to create an appropriate chassis. The case is all-black and fairly compact. The plastic is finished in a high gloss which may create reflections in rooms with some ambient light. While I always recommend eliminating all light in a theater, some users would rather not watch in total darkness. And with the extra light available from the W7500, this is a good projector to use in that environment.

The lens is centrally-mounted in a large surround that contains rings for focus and zoom. Ventilation is prodigious with air flowing in and out of the projector on three sides. The front exhaust vent showed a bit of light leakage but not enough to impact the image in my installation. On top are basic controls for menu navigation, input selection, picture mode, and power. Around back is a complete set of inputs for every possible source. In addition to the two HDMI 1.4a ports there is one each of composite, component, and even S-video. A VGA port handles computer signals and there are RS-232 and 12-volt trigger jacks for control. On the bottom are four independently-adjustable feet for leveling and four threaded fittings for M6 mounting bolts.

Unlike many DLP projectors, the W7500 offers generous lens shift. This is accomplished with a small joystick next to the lens. It's quite different than the typical gear-driven system I've used on other projectors. There is no mechanical play in the system at all. The only challenge is that the stick moves through a very small gate. It takes only a tiny movement to make a large adjustment. I was able to line the image quite easily once I got the hang of it. Zoom and focus are also manual and were very precise in my experience. Of course nothing beats getting right up to the screen and sharpening the image with a motorized focus but I had little trouble dialing in the W7500.

The other big feature here is 3D. Thanks to DLP's superior motion rendering, 3D can look quite good on a projector like this. And with the W7500's 300-watt bulb, brightness reduction shouldn't be an issue. The glasses sync using DLP Link rather than IR. This is a much more reliable system since the glasses don't need line-of-sight with the projector or a separate emitter. BenQ doesn't include glasses in the box but they can be purchased for around 60 bucks. And any DLP Link compatible glasses will work; you don't have to use BenQ's. The projector also offers 2D-3D conversion with adjustable depth. We'll take a look at that in the In Use section.

The remote is extremely well-designed and very powerful. I could point it just about anywhere and the projector would respond. It's fully backlit and the buttons are shaped differently making it easy to operate by feel alone. This is one of the best remotes I've ever used.

On top are discrete power buttons followed by individual input, aspect ratio, and picture mode keys. In the center is menu navigation. Further down are direct-access controls for brightness, contrast, color, and tint. At the bottom there are PIP functions, a 3D toggle, and the backlight key. Go to Page 3: Setup