Summaries of the 1080p Projector Reviews

Evan Powell, April 17, 2007

The following is a summary of the reviews we have conducted since last fall on 1080p projectors under $7,000, including several updates. Each summary includes the highlights and limitations of each model, and relevant comparative notes.

A Key Observation: All of the 1080p models we have seen are extremely good projectors. Whichever model you decide to get, you are going to love it. The following summaries discuss differences between the projectors, but this needs to be kept in perspective. Often the differences in picture quality are subtle, and they need to be seen side by side in order to detect them at all. That means that any one of the 1080p models shown in a theater by itself, with no standard of comparison, is going to look very impressive to just about any consumer.

So ... do yourself a big favor and don't get too bogged down in the details. Be practical. Pick a model that (a) fits your budget and (b) can be installed easily in the room you've got. Then fire it up, and sit back and enjoy the best home theater performance you've ever seen.

BenQ W10000 (DLP)

Advantages:

  • Superb contrast and black level
  • Very sharp HD image.
  • One of the brightest models in this group in video optimized mode.
  • Vertical lens shift with two picture heights' range that is best suited to rear shelf mounts
  • Dead-silent fan for quiet, cool operation
  • Picture-in-picture, an unusual feature in this group.
  • Three-year factory warranty, matches the best in the group.

Issues:
The BenQ W10000 has a short 1.15:1 zoom range, which limits installation options. The projector needs to be placed between 1.8x and 2.1x the screen width. If all seating is at a distance of less than 2.1x the screen width, it can be placed on a rear shelf or bookcase behind the seats. Otherwise, a ceiling mount is required. The vertical lens shift range of 2x picture height is good for rear shelf mounting, but restrictive for ceiling mounting. A drop tube may be required in order to position the image where you want it on the wall.

The lens is powered zoom/focus, but the zoom range is too limited to resize various aspect ratio sources to fit 4:3 or 2.35 screens.

Adjustments to overscan and gamma can only be made from the service menu. So you may want to call an ISF-certified technician to calibrate the projector.

At current street prices, the overall price/performance proposition is weak relative to the competition.

Summary:
The BenQ W10000 is a great performer, with a stunning high contrast image and great detail. Placement flexibility is limited, and professional calibration is suggested. Shop carefully for best prices.


Review Contents: Intro and BenQ W10000 Epson Home and Pro Models JVC and Mitsubishi Optoma and Panasonic
  Sony