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BenQ W1100 and W1200
1080p Home Theater Projectors

Best Home Theater Projector
Ease of Use
Intended Use:
DIY Home Theater
BenQ W1200 Projector BenQ W1200
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Street Price: n/a
Weight: 7.9 lbs
Aspect Ratio:16:9
Lens:1.5x manual
Lens Shift:No
Lamp Life:2,500 Hrs
4,000 (eco)
Lamp Cost:n/a
Warranty:1 year
Connectors:  S-Video, Composite, Component, VGA In, HDMI 1.3 (x2), USB, RS232, 12-Volt Trigger
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, 576i, 576p


Picture quality. What is most important about any cinema or entertainment projector is the quality of the image it projects, and these two BenQ projectors produce images more refined than their prices might otherwise indicate. While they have an unusually high amount of digital noise, they both have the dynamic range necessary to make Blu-ray and other HD content look engaging, with bright highlights sparking while dark shadows are nearly impenetrable. The picture has a highly three-dimensional appearance, seeming to pop off of the screen with a strong impression of depth. The reproduction of fine detail is hindered by digital noise, but is still on par with other projectors in this price range. Detail in HD material appears razor-sharp and crisp, with no discernible edge enhancement once the projector's Clarity control is adjusted downwards. This option adds an unnecessary amount of edge enhancement that does not give the projector's natural sharpness nearly enough credit.

Light output. One of the differences between the W1100 and W1200 on paper is that the former is rated at 2,000 lumens while the latter is expected to produce 1,800 lumens. In reality, both specifications are deceptive. After calibration, the W1100 measured 1098 lumens on our test sample with the lamp set to High and the lens at its widest angle setting. The Dynamic preset measured 1240, below the published specification but showing solid color performance despite its brightness. The brightest mode is actually User 1 (Dynamic), which alters lamp voltage to achieve 1459 lumens. This setting has a green tint and will decrease lamp life if used frequently, so it is best reserved for high ambient light situations where you need the brightest possible picture.

The W1200, meanwhile, measured 1325 lumens in its calibrated mode, also using high lamp and the lens' maximum wide angle setting. In other words, despite the specifications, on our test samples the W1200 was slightly brighter than the W1100 once calibrated, though both projectors are still very bright. Even in mild to moderate ambient light, either projector should have no problem filling a 120" diagonal 16:9 screen without appearing washed-out or dull. If you're feeling ambitious, a 150" screen in a room with good ambient light control is certainly realistic, although with a picture this large and dramatic, you might have a problem getting your friends to leave at the end of the movie.

For many users, over 1,000 lumens in calibrated mode is simply too much light. If you have, say, a 100" diagonal screen and good light control as many theater enthusiasts do, you will need a way to tone down the brilliant light output of these projectors. Low lamp mode reduces light output by 22% on both projectors, reducing output to 866 and 1045 lumens, respectively. Using the telephoto end of the zoom lens will also reduce light output. Our test samples showed a reduction of 18%, which is typical for a 1.5:1 lens.

Contrast. While black level is higher than average for this class of projector, both the W1100 and W1200 have great dynamic range that lends itself to a three-dimensional, life-like image. The W1200 really steals the show with its sparkling highlights and deep blacks, and the W1100 turns in a very respectable performance even if it does not measure up to its sibling. Black level, while not matching the best projectors in this class, is still quite solid. The W1200 exhibits a noticeably deeper black than the W1100, so it will be the better choice for use in dark viewing rooms where the difference will be most noticeable.

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Review Contents: Best Uses Advantages Additional Advantages Limitations and Conclusion
Comments (9) Post a Comment
ADB Posted May 4, 2011 10:42 PM PST
Does the W1200 use or rely on a Dynamic Iris?

Does it feature a DarkChip 3 like the Mitsubishi HC4000?

Does it feature vertical digital shift like the W5000 and others? (A deal-breaker if it doesn't, but hopefully it can be put into firmware update...)
DaveK Posted May 6, 2011 4:48 PM PST
So a decent sized screen (120"), with a standard 8 foot ceiling will be about 7 inches off the floor. difficult enough to make cheap DLP's work in a room. Why oh why do manufacturers go with such a large offset (same situation with the Mitsubishi 4000).?Break out the bean bag chairs!
BoogieDK Posted May 15, 2011 10:04 PM PST
Will the w1200 be too powerfull (light output) for a 72" gray (gain 0,8) screen? If yes, what would be a good match for this screen in the same pricerange as the w1200?
Johnny Posted May 23, 2011 3:30 AM PST
How does the BenQ W1200 compare to the Epson EH-TW3600 seeing that they cost more or less the same. Both machines will be used most of the time to watch blue-ray movies and sport.
Christopher Penniall Posted May 25, 2011 2:31 AM PST
Have read all the comments above and would like to point out that BenQ's Marketing and certaily next to non ar far superior and the product's are sold at an extremely competive price like for like and so what you pay out for is of a very high standard, in saying that the Quality of the product is far more advenced , I believe than most if not all the other manufactures. I have purchesd and used with excellent results equipment that is far superior than anything, always exceptional in the specification, giving a product that may appear like the others of similar price but in fact far superior.
TTT Posted Jun 8, 2011 5:20 PM PST

I was wondering if you could comment on the capabilities of the PiP feature, such as whether or not 2 HDMI sources can be displayed (cable TV and a PS3 for example), and what customisation is available to you?

Leon Posted Dec 19, 2011 3:25 AM PST
Hi, I was wondering if anyone has tried either of these projectors with Xbox games? If so, I would like to hear your thoughts. Thanks Leon
xzotik Posted Feb 6, 2012 7:52 PM PST
I ordered the W1200 and installed it on 01/03/12 the fit was perfect, and it out performed my Optoma H31. The Bluray quality is amazing however Direct TV w/component is grainy. My HD receiver is set on 720p, but perhaps I need an HDMI. I've owned my H3 for 6yrs and after 3mos of research $899 got me a new W1200.
Chris Posted Mar 19, 2012 9:34 AM PST
I bought the BenQ W1100 projector and shipped it to my son in Seoul Korea. It worked fine for 2 days then froze up and shut down. The lamp and fan works but no picture. I am thinking it may need to be re-flashed. Where can I find the download for the re-flash?

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