1080p DLP 3D Home Theater Projector
February 13, 2012
BenQ W7000 vs Epson Home Cinema 5010
The BenQ W7000 and the Epson Home Cinema 5010, both full HD 3D projectors, are within $200 of one another when it comes to real retail price. There are some obvious differences between the two; one is LCD while the other is DLP, for starters. However, the really important distinctions between these two projectors are more subtle.
2D image quality. In HD, the W7000 is visibly sharper and more detailed than the 5010, even with all sharpness settings at 0. There is likewise a slight, but visible, difference in dynamic range and three-dimensionality, with the W7000 edging out the 5010. On the other hand, the 5010 has much better black level, with shadows appearing significantly deeper. The 5010's picture has more of a smooth, film-like quality, while the W7000 can appear slightly artificial in comparison. There's really no other way to describe the difference -- the 5010's picture looks a little more natural. However, this last difference is a highly subjective one, and while we prefer that naturalness, others will prefer the tack-sharpness and impressive three-dimensionality of the W7000.
3D image quality. The Epson 5010 and BenQ W7000 are two of the brightest 3D projectors around, but the experience of watching them is completely different. The W7000 uses DLP Link, while the 5010 has an Infrared emitter. Both have their benefits. The 5010's glasses seem to lose sync less often than the W7000's glasses do. The W7000 has a cleaner picture with less crosstalk; in fact, the W7000 has one of the cleanest 3D pictures we've seen lately. One final note: the W7000 allows the use of both its frame interpolation and auto iris systems while watching 3D, while the 5010 does not. If you plan to watch a lot of 3D, the W7000 is probably the way to go.
Features. On the features front, both projectors have good placement flexibility, though the 5010 wins out in the end. While both projectors have long zoom lenses, the W7000's 1.5:1 lens cannot match the flexibility of the 2.0:1 lens on the 5010. When it comes to lens shift range, the Epson projector once again comes out on top. The 5010's lens shift is also easier to use, as it has two knobs for adjustment compared to the W7000's joystick system. It is easier to precisely place the image where you want using the 5010's adjustments.
Both projectors, coincidentally, offer picture-in-picture, which is somewhat of a rare feature (on the 5010 the feature is called Split Screen, but the concept is the same). However, the W7000's PIP system can only display composite or s-video and one other source, while the 5010's system can make use of other inputs. For example, the Home Cinema 5010 can display VGA and HDMI simultaneously, while the W7000 cannot.
While both the W7000 and the 5010 have frame interpolation systems, there are significant differences in their performance. The W7000's FI system is more aggressive overall, so the Low setting appears more similar to the High setting on the 5010. This comes with commensurate increases in the appearance of the digital video effect and the "bubble" artifacts sometimes seen in frame interpolation. The 5010's Low setting is ideal for film, as it smooths the appearance of judder without making the picture look unduly artificial. Both systems look wonderful when watching video, though, and the W7000 has the added benefit of allowing FI use when watching 3D, a feature that the 5010 lacks.
Light output. On the quantitative side, the 5010 is brighter in its brightest mode than the W7000 at over 2500 lumens to the W7000's 1936, but neither is a slouch when it comes to ambient light. The 5010 can power a slightly larger screen or reject a bit more ambient light, but the difference is not dramatic. Meanwhile, in Cinema mode, the W7000's 909 lumens and the 5010's 827 lumens are functionally the same, as differences that small cannot be seen except when using a meter. In 3D, the W7000 splits the difference between the 5010's 3D Dynamic and 3D Cinema modes when it comes to brightness. Both projectors rank among the top projectors for 3D brightness, regardless of price.
Gaming. At less than $3000, both projectors are attractive propositions for the gaming crowd. However, neither has especially fast performance when it comes to input lag. The W7000's three frame delay is good, but by no means great, while the Epson Home Cinema 5010's laconic 5.5 frame delay makes it all but unusable for many gamers. Neither projector has a "Game" mode, so that's as good as it gets.