1080p DLP 3D Home Theater Projector
February 13, 2012
Black level. The W7000 includes an automatic iris, which is called Dynamic Black in the menu system. Dynamic Black is engaged by default, and black levels are quite good, especially for a $2500 DLP projector. However, the projector still cannot match the deep, dark, black-hole performance of some of this year's best black level performers, namely the Epson Home Cinema 5010. On the other hand, the W7000 costs less than the 5010.
No 2D to 3D conversion. While 2D to 3D conversion is rarely as impressive or immersive as actual 3D content, the fact remains that nearly every other Full HD 3D projector on the market has such a system, while the W7000 does not. 3D enthusiasts can work around this by using a Blu-ray player that supports conversion, but it is a shame that the projector can't do it too.
Lamp life. These days, a lamp life of 2,000 hours in Normal lamp mode and 2,500 hours in Eco mode is not as impressive as it once was. Other projectors in the same price range offer 4,000 to 5,000 hour lamp lives and less expensive replacement lamps -- the BenQ replacements are $349 each.
4x-speed color wheel. The W7000 has a 4x-speed, six-segment color wheel with RGBRGB segments. For most people, the rainbow effect disappears on projectors using 4x speed wheels, but some highly sensitive individuals still report seeing the artifact. While this will not affect the vast majority of users, those individuals might want to look into a projector with a faster wheel speed (like the 6x-speed Optoma HD33) or an LCD or LCoS projector, neither of which use color wheels.
Locked ISF presets. According to the manual, the ISF menu contains a color management system that adjusts the projector based on numbers taken from a user's color meter. Using this system will engage the "ISF Day" and "ISF Night" image presets in addition to the standard Dynamic, Standard, and Cinema. However, this menu is locked for end-users, requiring a password that BenQ does not distribute. The only way to get at this menu is to hire a professional calibrator and have him or her take a whack at your projector. If anything, this is standard practice; few projectors if any allow the user to access ISF controls. But considering that the W7000 costs only $2500, we wonder how many potential buyers are considering professional calibration in the first place.
Lens shift. "But wait!" you're saying. "Lens shift is a good thing!" And you're right, it is. But the W7000's lens shift uses a small joystick-like adjustment lever, the movement of which is not especially smooth, and the twist locking mechanism does not always hold the lens as still as we would like. Sometimes, the lens will shift slightly after locking it down, which defeats the purpose of locking it at all. And while it is good that the W7000 has lens shift, the range is not as extensive as some other projectors in its price range. If you need to place your projector significantly off-center from the screen, be sure to measure out your installation before purchasing.
Loud iris. The W7000's Dynamic Black auto-iris does a good job pulling black level down, but it is also noisy. When going from a dark scene to a bright scene or vice versa, there is a brief high-pitched squeal. Granted, our projector was situated only a few feet from the audience, which made the noise more noticeable, but in a quiet room the sound can get annoying. The solution here is to turn your speakers up. You could also disable Dynamic Black, but that would have a deleterious effect on black levels.
Uncomfortable glasses. BenQ's DLP Link glasses are large, heavy, and have non-folding arms. While the large lenses make it easier to immerse yourself in the movie and less likely that you'll see the glasses frames, they are also less comfortable to wear than some other DLP Link glasses. Luckily, you can use just about any DLP Link glasses with any DLP Link projector, so feel free to use the glasses you like best.