The BenQ W1000+ is a full-HD home-cinema projector using DLP technology, for under £1000
Big-screen televisions may be grabbing the headlines, but for a truly spectacular cinematic experience, you’ll still have to pay a very large amount of money in order to match the kind of image size possible with a projector.
The original BenQ W1000 garnered high praise for providing a clear and colourful image on a budget, and BenQ has now brought out its successor, the BenQ W1000+.
Costing about £820, this could prove a very affordable entrance ticket to the joys of the home cinema.
Admittedly, the BenQ W1000+ is unlikely to be rated as a style icon. It has a heavy look to it, and while it’s easy to move at 3.4kg, you won’t want to carry it for long distances.
The oversized casing lacks panache, and the slightly off-white livery has a leathery finish that makes it look more like the back seat of a car than a pulsatingly modern home-cinema projector.
Luckily, the ports and connectors are more up to date, with the BenQ W1000+running through a wide selection, ranging from USB and component video to a pair of HDMI ports.
The latter remain much the best way of connecting to a Blu-ray or DVD player, and the inclusion of two HDMI is a smart move by BenQ – you can hook up both a games console and a player, for instance, without constantly having to switch them around.
The BenQ W1000+ has a very straightforward menu system, and a decent variety of options are provided, from flesh tone and sharpness to colour space conversion, and even a high altitude mode. This increases the fan speed to maintain cooling effect in thinner atmospheres.
Keystone adjustment is included, although there aren’t any more advanced means of altering the image.
The BenQ W1000+ comes with some very nice specifications for the money. The manufacturer gives a 3500:1 contrast ratio, which would indicate that the W1000+ is quite capable – in a projector targeted at the home-cinema market, the ability to differentiate between different shades at the darker end of the spectrum is absolutely crucial.
The brightness rating of 2000 ANSI lumens will be adequate for most needs. Indeed, the figure is sufficiently generous that the projector can be happily operated in eco-mode while retaining plenty of brightness.
The picture is obviously best of all in a darkened room, but we had few problems getting a watchable image even with a certain amount of daylight streaming into the room.
The BenQ W1000+ isn’t whisper quiet in operation, but neither is it particularly loud. Our own measurements tallied well with the stated noise levels of 28dB (in normal mode – 26dB in eco).
You will certainly hear it when it’s on in normal mode, but it won’t be too obtrusive. You will want to be careful when positioning the W1000+ though. The air that’s pushed out of the left side (facing towards the front of the projector) is extremely hot. Ideally, you’ll want to be sitting in front of the BenQ rather than to the side.
We started off by plugging a Blu-ray player into the HDMI port and loading up some films. The W1000+ has built-in speakers that automatically burst into life without the need for connecting separately to the audio ports. For long-term enjoyment you’ll definitely want to hook up separate speakers, but for those intending to travel with the W1000+, it’ll be comforting to know that it’s so easy to get audio working.
The BenQ W1000+’s native resolution sits at 1920x1080, and the image was visually pleasing. Pictures aren’t crystal-clear, and there is a small amount of shimmering. Colours are fairly realistic though, and dark scenes in The Dark Knight and Inception were rendered well.
You can set up a number of different colour modes, so you can choose individual palettes to suit different types of content, and then flick to each mode with the press of a button.
The BenQ W1000+’s images lack the definition of a good big-screen television, but for the money, and given that it was possible to get an picture in excess of 80in in a moderately sized room, the effect is surprisingly cinematic.
We would recommend you allow at least 3m from projector to wall. The BenQ W1000+ specifications suggest a 56.8in picture at a distance of 2m, although we found closer to 3m was needed for a decent sized projection.
There was some evidence of the dreaded rainbow effect (a peculiar visual effect common to TI’s digital light processing (DLP) technology, whereby small snatches of colour jump out of parts of the screen from time to time).
The DLP technology in the BenQ runs at triple-speed, but even this isn’t enough to cut it out altogether. We didn’t find the rainbow effect too invasive, but those who are particularly prone to it may want to trial the BenQ W1000+ before buying.
Although you’ll mostly be buying the BenQ for its home-cinema capabilities, it can work tolerably with a PC. We found that the image quality wasn’t totally smooth or sharp, but high-definition support is provided, and the BenQ W1000+ will make easy work of presentations or slideshows.
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