1080p DLP 3D Home Theater Projector
February 13, 2012
Image quality. In both 2D and 3D, the W7000 puts a great picture on the screen. Cinema mode is bright enough for even the largest screens in 2D, so you never have to worry about the picture looking dull or washed out. The projector's dynamic range is such that the image looks more like a window into another world than a two-dimensional representation of such. Detail is always clear, and the image is tack-sharp without any edge enhancement. Color, after calibration, is well-saturated and accurate. In 3D, there's no sign at all of crosstalk, which speaks for itself. While black level is a touch anemic, there's little to complain about on the W7000 when it comes to image quality.
Sharpness and clarity. Even compared to other modern 1080p projectors, the W7000 is sharp as a tack. Minute detail in Blu-ray or other HD content is easy to see, and the razor sharpness of the image makes it pop even more.
The W7000 has two options designed to increase edge definition. One is the standard Sharpness control, while the other is called Clarity Control. Clarity Control, like Super Resolution on Epson's home theater projectors and Detail Clarity on Panasonic machines, enhances the appearance of detail while trying to avoid the appearance of artifacts related to edge enhancement. It is a testament to the W7000's inherent clarity of detail that we left Sharpness at 0 and only brought the Clarity Control to 1, both out of 15. The projector simply doesn't need very much help.
Placement flexibility. DLP projectors have typically lagged behind their LCD counterparts when it comes to zoom range and lens shift, but the W7000 makes as good an effort as any DLP home theater projector we've seen. It has a 1.5:1 manual zoom lens and manual H/V lens shift. The vertical shift has a total range of about 2.5 picture heights, so you can place the image either completely above or completely below the centerline of the lens and still have a good amount of space to work with. This is especially useful for placement in a ceiling mount or on a low table. The horizontal shift has a total range of 1.8 image widths, so you can move the projected image 40% left or right. Remember that maximum lens shift cannot be achieved in both directions simultaneously. Applying significant vertical shift will prevent you from applying much horizontal shift and vice versa.
Frame Interpolation. The W7000 has a frame interpolation system, which the W6000 lacked. What's more, the W7000's FI system works in 3D, which is still something of an unusual feature these days. Whereas FI systems can sometimes make 2D film look unrealistically smooth (the so-called "soap opera effect"), in 3D the effect is much less noticeable. Instead, video looks smoother and less jittery, but not artificial or over-processed.
Picture-in-picture. One of the cool things about putting a big screen up is being able to display two pictures at once and having both be clearly visible. The W7000 can display a picture-in-picture view from two different inputs, though there is one major limitation: the second input has to be either composite or s-video. You can't display, for example, HDMI and VGA, or VGA and component. Still, most projectors can't do picture-in-picture at all.
3D. As BenQ's first Full HD 3D projector, expectations are high for the W7000's 3D performance. The W7000 uses DLP Link rather than infrared or radio frequency for glasses synchronization. This means you don't need to wire a separate emitter, and it also means you should not have any trouble getting the remote control to respond when watching 3D -- a common problem for projectors using IR sync.
DLP Link glasses are all more or less interchangeable, though there are reports that some are better than others. BenQ's own 3D glasses cost $99 each and none are included with the projector itself. The glasses themselves have large lenses and non-folding arms and take two button-style non-rechargeable batteries. The battery compartment is accessed via a small Phillips screw.
3D picture quality is excellent. The picture is high in contrast, and that impressive sharpness seen in 2D carries through to 3D as well. Crosstalk is nowhere to be seen, even in the scenes other projectors struggle with. There is a strong impression of depth to the image. All in all, 3D on the W7000 is a very dramatic presentation and should make enthusiasts very happy.
ISF. In the W7000's menu system is an ISF option which requires a password to access. Inside this menu are the tools an ISF technician needs to bring the W7000 into perfect color balance. Most of the options within this menu are different versions of what is available in the regular user menu, including a color management system where measurements from a color meter are used to automatically adjust the projector. The same results can be accomplished without the use of this menu, so do-it-yourselfers don't lose much.