Highly Recommended Award
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For a long time running, the BenQ W1070 has been one of the best home theater projectors that cost less than a thousand bucks. Since its release in November 2012, it has consistently ranked among the best inexpensive 1080p projectors available for home video and has fared exceptionally well in competitive shootouts. But since the W1070 came out, there have been a few important advances in home theater projectors that have taken some of the shine off the apple.
The new BenQ HT1075 is the successor to the popular W1070, and it doesn't make any wild departures from the W1070's formula. It is still a low-cost projector that delivers a great home theater image. It adds MHL support, making it easier to use the HT1075 with mobile devices, and a more user-friendly menu system that is particularly helpful for first-time projector owners. But despite the new features, the similar image quality and overall performance means that current owners of the W1070 may not see the need to upgrade just yet.
The HT1075 produces a bright, sparkling picture right out of the box, so don't worry too much if you don't have a perfectly light-controlled home theater to put it in. You can use the HT1075 in your living room and it will still look very good. BenQ actually advertises the HT1075 variously as a home theater projector, a home entertainment projector, or a living room projector, so it's clear that crossover use was intended from the get-go.
That said, the projector does benefit from a good viewing environment. The HT1075 has a six-segment RGBRGB color wheel that's ideal for film and video use. Cinema mode has excellent colo, straight from the factory, so the HT1075 makes a great first projector for someone interested in home theater. And it's bright, too, so you can use it on a very large screen and still get a compelling picture.
The W1070 was an outstanding projector because it combined a great image and a bargain price. Like the W1070, the HT1075 produces a bright, clear image with great color, even at the factory Cinema settings. If you don't feel like getting into the nitty-gritty of calibration and color metering, you have our permission to run the projector as-is without feeling guilty about it.
You've heard the phrase "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Given the W1070's popularity almost two years after its release, we can safely say that it ain't broke. It's not surprising, then, how similar the HT1075 is to its predecessor.
The actual performance and image quality of the HT1075 is nearly identical to that of the W1070. If you want to read more about performance and shared features, you should click over to our BenQ W1070 review. The HT1075 adds the following new features:
MHL. MHL stands for "Mobile High-Definition Link" and it helps connect the HT1075 to standalone and mobile devices like smartphones or streaming media players (such as the Roku Streaming Stick). The HT1075's second HDMI port is MHL-enabled, allowing you to watch HD videos from your phone or watch Netflix without a separate device. Though of limited usefulness in a home theater, MHL is especially handy when you're using the HT1075 as a portable entertainment projector. You can watch content from streaming services using only the Roku Stick and the projector itself. Since MHL supplies power to the attached device, the only thing you have to plug in is the projector itself.
Simplified menu. BenQ's new simplified menu is full of big, bright buttons with plenty of descriptive text labels. The simplified menu is a good option for folks who don't enjoy learning what all the controls do, or just don't want to devote time and brain capacity to learning the ins and outs of their projector. There's even a first-time setup guide for the complete neophyte. If this isn't your first rodeo, you can enable the Advanced menu to provide access to the full list of adjustments and settings.
Optional Wireless HD kit. With an optional kit, the HT1075 can shed its cables and receive full HD 1080p signals via wireless connection. The details and pricing of this kit have yet to be announced, so we did not get a chance to test this functionality with the HT1075.
Higher lumen specification. The HT1075's 2200 lumen specification is 10% above the W1070's 2000 lumens, but our testing revealed very little difference between the two. In our review of the W1070, based on an early production sample, Cinema mode measured 1220 lumens. However, we have had the chance to see other samples of the W1070 since then, and those projectors measured closer to 1700 lumens. The HT1075 measures 1782 lumens in Cinema mode with the lamp at full power and BrilliantColor turned on, giving it a slight advantage in brightness, but not one you'd notice without a light meter. Light output can be reduced to 1192 lumens by switching the lamp to Economic, and you can lower output by another 19% by turning off BrilliantColor.
Input lag. In our testing, the HT1075 measured 49.7 milliseconds of input lag, equivalent to about three frames of a 60 fps input signal. That is slightly more lag than we measured on the W1070 (24 ms), but the accuracy of our lag tests has also increased since 2012 so it is possible that the "increase" isn't one at all. In any case, three frames is on the high side for fast-twitch gaming where timing is crucial, but most games don't fall under that heading. For those games where timing is less critical, the HT1075 is a fine choice.
Lens shift. The HT1075 has lens shift, which is unusual for a projector in its price range. The small amount of vertical shift range gives you the ability to fine-tune the placement of the image on your wall, thereby making it easier to mount the projector. However, this paragraph appears in the Limitations section because the adjustment knob for the shift mechanism is both tiny and in a confined space, so adjustments can be a pain. You also need a coin or a screwdriver to make adjustments. This is something you'll probably only need to do once, but most other projectors don't require tools to make lens shift adjustments.
The new BenQ HT1075 is a solid update to the venerable W1070. It manages to keep all of the good features of the older model while adding a few new touches to make the refresh worthwhile. Actual image performance hasn't changed much, if at all, but the W1070 was already one of the best home theater projectors in its price range.
This year, we expect to see fierce competition in the entry-level home video bracket, so you can expect to see the HT1075 come up in shootouts often. Several of those competing models are already in our testing lab, so stay tuned for more shootouts and comparative evaluations.
Some folks may look at the HT1075 and decry it as a rehash, a re-release, or more of the same. Those people are missing the point. The HT1075 takes a winning projector and adds new features without breaking any of the parts that make it great. So while current W1070 owners don't need to upgrade just yet, current shoppers should add the HT1075 to their short list.
For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our BenQ HT1075 projector page.