1080p DLP 3D Home Theater Projector
February 13, 2012
Light output. Dynamic mode, which is the projector's brightest preset, measured 1939 lumens on our test sample. This is very close to the W7000's 2,000 lumen specified maximum output. The Dynamic setting has a greenish tint and tends to exaggerate colors and contrast, so it is best reserved for bright settings where the extra light output is required to combat ambient light.
Standard mode, the next preset, measured 1019 lumens with the lamp at full power. The huge difference between Dynamic and Standard can be attributed to the former's use of the Lamp Native color temperature preset, which cranks light output at the expense of color accuracy. Both Dynamic and Standard enable BrilliantColor by default, which boosts highlights. Disabling BrilliantColor in either of these image modes results in a more balanced picture and a 22% reduction in light output.
Cinema is the last preset available in 2D and our preferred mode for film and video. Cinema mode measures 909 lumens with the lamp at full power and the lens at its widest angle setting. What's more, the W7000 manages 88% brightness uniformity while cranking out this kind of light. The result is a bright, shining image that is evenly illuminated from edge to edge. This is enough light to power a 140" diagonal, 1.0-gain 16:9 screen, if you're going for the SMPTE-standard 16 foot-Lamberts.
On smaller screens, 909 lumens is far too much light. In this case, engaging Eco lamp mode reduces light output by 19%, which brings Cinema mode to 740 lumens. This is still a little bright for a 100" diagonal screen (25 fL at 1.0 gain) but will help if there is any ambient light in the room. Aside from using the long end of the 1.5:1 zoom lens, which will reduce light output by 9%, there's no convenient way to reduce light output further without purchasing a separate neutral density (ND) filter and placing it in front of the projector's lens.
On the upside, all of this light makes the W7000 plenty bright for 3D display. The projector has a dedicated 3D mode that is automatically engaged when displaying 3D content, and while adjusting this mode can be tricky (not everyone has access to 3D calibration materials), it will retain color temperature adjustments made in 2D.
Our measurements indicate that 3D mode puts out 1100 lumens on our test sample, and BenQ's 3D glasses transmit 28% of the total light they receive. If you have a 1.0-gain screen, that works out to 11 fL on a 100" diagonal screen. For 3D, that's not bad at all. Bump your screen gain to 1.3 and you have 14 fL at the same diagonal.
Color. The factory default settings on the W7000 show some improvement over BenQ's previous home theater projectors. The W6000 clearly, obviously needed a calibration before use. The W1200 was the same way. Both times, we asked BenQ to work on their factory presets, and it seems like they've listened. The W7000 comes out of the box in usable form, and calibration only makes it better.
Post-calibration RGB levels on the BenQ W7000
Cinema mode, our preferred mode for watching films and video, defaults to around 6100K on our test sample. Shadows are slightly redder, around 6000K, while highlights are a bit cooler at 6200K. Some quick adjustments gave the projector a smooth, consistent, even grayscale, never deviating from 6500K by more than about 50 degrees. The settings we used, while tailored to our projector, may provide a useful starting point for your own:
While this does not give the W7000 perfect grayscale performance (you'll note small divergences at 20%, 50%, and 100% illumination), it is difficult to get any closer due to the coarseness of the adjustments. A one-point change in any control makes a significant, visible difference on the screen, so be careful in your fine-tuning to avoid getting lost. On the upside, there is a reset button in case you make a mistake.
Input lag. Certain video games (those wherein exact timing is crucial) require the projector to process and display an image as quickly as possible. The time it takes a signal to reach the screen is called input lag. Our measurements indicate that the W7000 creates a delay of approximately three frames on a 60Hz signal, or around 50 milliseconds. That puts the W7000 squarely in the middle of the road -- not fast, but not slow either. Serious gamers, those for whom gaming is the primary reason for buying a projector, will want something faster. Casual gamers who nonetheless value performance will have to judge for themselves what level of input lag is acceptable.