BenQ W1100 and W1200
1080p Home Theater Projectors
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.
|Review Contents:||Best Uses||Advantages||Additional Advantages||Limitations and Conclusion|