BenQ PE5120 Video Projector
December 9, 2004,
From a competitive point of view the PE5120 goes head to head with the Infocus Screenplay 4805. Both are native 16:9 format with the 854x480 resolution DLP chip. At this writing the official estimated street price of the 4805 is $1,299, whereas the price of the PE5120 is $1,249. However we expect that actual street prices on the PE5120 will be lower than those on the 4805, and the gap between them should be wider than the official street prices estimates would indicate.
Each of these units has advantages the other does not. The 4805 has a six-segment (red/green/blue/red/green/blue) color wheel with a rotation speed of 4x. Meanwhile the PE5120 has a five-segment wheel with rotation speed of 2x. The higher rotation speed on the 4805 will cut down on rainbow artifacts for people who are sensitive to them. On the other hand the five segment wheel on the PE5120 has a clear segment that allows for more potential lumen output, especially in gaming mode, allowing more successful viewing with some light on in the room. In Cinema mode the PE5120 is a bit brighter than the 4805, but not so much that it would be a major factor in deciding between the two.
The 4805 has an advantage in black level, contrast, and color saturation. However the difference in overall picture quality between these two projectors is not dramatic. The PE5120 will deliver a very competitive image assuming the street price differential that we anticipate (at least $200) materializes.
There are a variety of image tweaking and calibration controls on the 4805 that do not exist on the PE5120. If you are a budding videophile these controls will appeal to you. However, if you want no muss, no fuss entertainment and don't want to play around with gammas, gains, offsets, and calibrating your own color temperatures, the PE5120 should suit you just fine. The 5120 has all the basic picture adjustments that most people would want, including brightness, contrast, color saturation, tint, and sharpness. The 5120 also has three preprogrammed color temperature settings--low, medium, and high--that you can select based on the type of material you are watching.
The 4805 has a slightly longer average throw distance. Given a 100" diagonal screen the 4805 will sit about two feet further back from the screen than the 5120. This might be an important practical consideration for those setting up in smaller viewing rooms.
In economy mode the PE5120's lamp life is 3000 hours, whereas it is 4000 hours on the 4805. Whether this makes any real difference to you depends upon how much viewing time you intend to put on your projector on a monthly basis.
The 4805 has a louder fan. We would not operate the 4805 in the higher of the two fan modes for home theater viewing as the noise is too distracting. Meanwhile, fan noise is not a problem on the PE5120. Fan noise even in normal lamp mode is not bad at all, and it is very low in economy mode. Furthermore, the PE5120 fan turns off when it is powered down to stand-by mode, while the 4805 continues to run a fan in stand-by mode to keep the power supply cool. The only way to shut it off completely is to turn off AC power to the unit.
As far as warranties a concerned, the PE5120 comes with a 3-year warranty, while the 4805 is standard with 2-year warranty.
The bottom line is that both of these projectors are great values for the money. The InFocus 4805 is the more fully-featured of the two, while the PE52120 is designed as an easy-to-use entertainment projector without all the tweaks. Though the 4805 has more features onboard and a bit of an edge in picture quality, its higher fan noise, somewhat longer throw distance, lower lumen output, and (probably) higher price will tip many buyers in favor of the PE5120.