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Home Theater Projector Shootout
Eight 1080p Projectors under $1500

BenQ W1200

Whereas the BenQ W1100 is built for multi-purpose use, the W1200 at $1,499 is designed more for classic home theater. Contrast in particular is excellent, as is video optimized color and light output. Some glitches in the menu system and a lackluster default color calibration are the main downsides.



Pro:

  • Best calibrated color
  • Contrast
  • Light output
  • Frame interpolation

Con:

  • Menu glitches
  • Default color

The BenQ W1200 is among the best projectors in terms of sheer image quality for home theater in this shootout, rivaling the Mitsubishi HC4000 and Epson Home Cinema 8350 in contrast performance. Once calibrated, color is slightly more accurate than either of those projectors, making it the best in the shootout. With 1325 lumens of video optimized light output, it is far brighter than the cinema modes of either the HC4000 or the Epson 8350. (However, the Epson 8350 has a Dynamic mode that puts out 1500 lumens without compromising color too much.) The W1200 is also the only projector in the shootout to offer frame interpolation, which gives video sources like live performance music concerts and broadcast sports an extra shot of smoothness and judder reduction.

The limitations of the BenQ W1200 are the poor default calibration that it shares with the BenQ W1100 and the prevalence of menu glitches. Frame interpolation turns itself on every time the projector is started up, regardless of your saved preferences. Detail clarity and sharpness in standard definition create an over-sharpened, grainy look which can be removed by adjusting Detail clarity in either direction, then setting it back to where it was. On occasion, the Advanced menu is "grayed out" when it should not be so. These should be relatively simple fixes, but could put people off of purchasing the W1200 until they are resolved. Our sample used BenQ's 1.02 firmware. They are currently shipping units with version 1.03, but we have not been able to determine if the bugs have been fixed in the latest update.

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BenQ W1100
Next Page
Epson Home Cinema 8350
Review Contents: Introduction Acer H7531D BenQ W1100 BenQ W1200
  Epson Home Cinema 8350 Mitsubishi HC4000 Optoma HD20 Viewsonic Pro8200
  Vivitek H1081
Comments (14) Post a Comment
Desmond Posted Jun 11, 2011 12:44 AM PST
I was more interested how the W1100 compete with the HD20 for watching movies cuz the W1100 has a rebate going on and it sells for $999 right now
Sam Posted Jun 11, 2011 1:07 AM PST
Nice comparison review. I was wondering how these projectors compare to the Sanyo Z700/800 1080p machine? have things really moved on that much in terms of black levels etc in this entry level segment? or would the Sanyo still put up a decent fight?
Brian Posted Jun 13, 2011 6:48 AM PST
My thoughts confirmed.

The Mitsubishi HC4000 will be the replacement for my HC1500 in my dedicated, light controlled theater. I think there would have to be a remarkable step up in performance to a better projector, for me to spend more than the Mitsu's $1100-$1200 street price. Which I don't think will be the case.

Thanks for the shootout guys. You are an invaluable resource.
Frank Posted Jun 13, 2011 9:34 AM PST
Thanks a lot for this shootout. I was looking foward to it. Just two questions that were not answered.

Is the fan noise noticeable on any of those models? I want to replace an ageing InFocus that is as loud as a lawnmower and since my room is a litle small, I can't really hide the sound made by the projector.

Same thing with the heat output. I had to install AC to counter the heat from the projector and the computer, something I won't be able to do in the new room.

Thanks
patrick lilienthal Posted Jun 13, 2011 7:16 PM PST
I used to have a Panasonic AE2000 a few years back and love it, I'm now wondering how these current sub $1500 projectors compare? P.S. I'm currently looking at the Panny Ae4000 and Epson 8700UB but don't really know how significant this $2000 group is vs. sub $1500 group?
Jim Posted Jun 14, 2011 7:58 PM PST
How about that HD20, spotting those boys several years, a few bills, and still hanging on?
Chris Posted Jun 15, 2011 8:20 AM PST
Wonder what the failure rate is on the BenQ and Optoma models compared to the Mits and Epson? Not much value if the projector looks great today, but is in the shop tomorrow...
Dave Posted Jun 15, 2011 11:14 AM PST
Some have complained about the Epson with purple crush developing and one reviewer noted a blue crush in dark scene corners. So I am wary. Have not heard any problems about Mits. Shocker is original review here of Mits put up against $2000 Epson and wins in picture quality. Epson has better features and wins in dark scenes due to UB and free bulb til mid 2012 but still effectively $500 more. Course Mits is bare bones.
LUV Projector Central Posted Jun 17, 2011 12:31 PM PST
I wonder how far apart the HC4000 and AE4000 are on black level. I'm looking to upgrade from my AE900 (5,200 hours, 3 lamp changes, 6 cleanings and replaced the auto-iris once) and going DLP would be fine if the black level is better than the 900, otherwise it’s going to be the AE at $800.00 higher expense. Does anyone have experience with the HC against the AE4000 or the Epson 8700UB auto-irises on rolling credits against a black screen for instance?
David Gibbs Posted Jun 18, 2011 8:16 PM PST
Interested in the comments that are largely questions. Are these answered anywhere or are they rhetorical with no expectation of replies?
serwei Posted Jun 19, 2011 8:24 PM PST
Any rough gauge where infocus will place here? I understand they are priced out :p but so far my limited experience with a few infocus DLPs vs benq w10000 or canon's xeed or casio's is that infocus requires the least tweaking...
Ajay Posted Dec 7, 2011 3:04 AM PST
Which one is better BenQ W1100 or Optoma HD20 for a home theatre use?

What is the best deal going on at the moment in Australia ?
Matt Posted Feb 21, 2012 9:35 PM PST
Thanks for the review, I currently have a Elite Tension Electric 135"Diag. 16:9 Screen.

My question is that what projector would be best?

I am debating on Mitsubishi HC4000 vs Benq W1100.

Thanks in Adv.
Dee Posted Jun 17, 2012 8:32 AM PST
After reading the shortcut info. I think I am leaning towards Epsom power lite 8360. However can not find where the throw ratio is. I need 20 feet th screen. Anyone know if this will work My second choice is Mitsubishi hc4000 but it appears it is darker. I like the ability to watch in bit of ambient light. Ben q don't like the issue with the features. Please suggestions

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