BenQ Corporation (pronounced Ben-kyew) has been getting a lot of well-deserved attention from home theater buyers recently. Their newest projectors tend to deliver exceptional video performance for the money. In the economy budget class the two hottest BenQ units going these days are the PB6100 and PB6200, both of which are at this writing on our lists of Top Ten Projectors. (By the way, the Top Ten lists are a popularity ranking based exclusively on consumer interest in the products; we do not select the products that appear on the lists based on price/performance or product quality attributes. Thus the lists tend to be biased toward the less expensive products.)
The PB6100 and PB6200 are identical in every respect with the singular exception of their resolution. The PB6100 is native SVGA (800x600), and the PB6200 is native XGA (1024x768). Thus we requested review samples of both of them to compare them side by side.
Specifications. PB6100: 1500 ANSI lumens, 800x600 resolution. PB 6200: 1700 ANSI lumens, 1024x768 resolution. Both units: 2000:1 contrast, native 4:3 aspect ratio, single-chip DLP with 4-segment, 2x wheel rotation speed.
Compatibility. HDTV 1080i, 1035i, 720p, 575i, 480p, 480i, and computer resolutions up to SXGA (1280x1024). NTSC, PAL, SECAM.
Lens and throw distance. Both units have the same manual zoom/focus lens with a 1.2x zoom range. However due to the different DLP chips, the throw distance geometry is different. On the PB6100 a 100" diagonal 4:3 image is achieved from a distance of 14 to 17 feet. On the PB6200, the same 100" 4:3 image is managed between 11 and 13 feet. Therefore those who have space constraints should keep in mind that the PB6200 will deliver a larger image from any given throw distance.
Lamp. Both units use a 200W NSH lamp with 2000 hours of life in normal mode and 3000 hours in eco-mode. Retail price of replacement lamp is $400, which is typical. Buyers on a tight budget who select the PB6100 due to its price tag under $1000 will want to use this unit in eco-mode to get the maximum use from the lamp.
Connection panel. Located on the rear of the unit. Compared to projectors specifically designed for home theater, connectivity on these units is limited. There is one 15-pin VGA port through which all component and HDTV signals must be fed, one S-video port, and one composite video jack.
Warranty. Three years parts/labor, with "hot swap" the first year, which means if warranty service is required a new or refurbished replacement will be sent to the customer, depending on if the customer bought a new or refurbished product, and based on stock availability, within the first year of purchase.