1080p DLP 3D Home Theater Projector
February 13, 2012
BenQ has been turning out home theater projectors for years now, but to this point they have not released a full HD 3D projector. Enter the BenQ W7000. The W7000 brings to the table 2,000 lumens of maximum brightness, a 50,000:1 contrast ratio, a small form factor (compared to other full HD 3D projectors in its price range), vertical and horizontal lens shift (unusual for a DLP projector, even today) and a 1.5:1 zoom lens.
The W7000 has its quirks, and it's not right for everyone -- no projector is. But if you understand the advantages and limitations, the W7000 can be a great projector for a home theater, living room, or game room, and at $2499 it won't break the bank, either.
The Viewing Experience
First of all, let us note that our review sample uses BenQ's 1.00-3 firmware, which is not the version that has been floating around for a few months now. We checked with BenQ, and the firmware on our projector is the most current version available.
We set up the W7000 on a rear shelf in our darkened theater, ran the requisite wires, and started it up. After a moment of confusion, wherein we discovered that HDMI 2 was on the left and HDMI 1 was on the right, we were able to get a movie up and running.
In terms of the overall character of the image, the W7000 is very similar to the older W6000, BenQ's last high contrast 1080p projector released in 2009. The W6000 stood out for its high dynamic range and sharp, detail-rich image, and the W7000 shows every sign of continuing that tradition. The image, even at defaults, shows plenty of three-dimensionality. Once we got the image calibrated to our liking, color balance is almost perfect, while the impressive sharpness and dynamic range make the picture pop from the screen.
On the other hand, black level is also quite similar to the W6000, so it's unlikely to hold up to today's ultra-high-contrast projectors in this regard. We'll see more about this in the comparison section. The W7000 has an automatic iris, but we did notice that it makes a squeaking, whining sort of noise whenever it goes from a bright scene to a dark one or vice versa.
Just poking around the default settings, the W7000 does not have too many presets, but the ones that are there aren't bad at all. The Cinema preset at Normal color temperature came in around 6100K on our test sample, which is watchable if not ideal. There's a full color management system for gamut adjustments and a separate system for grayscale tracking, but no way to adjust gamma independent of the preset modes. The gamma presets are not bad, but none of them is a perfect 2.2, either. If you enjoy fine-tuning your projector, the W7000 does a fair job of giving you the tools to do so.