Imaging Devices

Projectors Test - 300in Picture! Full HD! 3D And All For Under A Grand! (Part 1) : BENQ W1070

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We’re looking to see which of these projectors can provide a dream of an audio-visual experience without asking a nightmare price

Bringing the cinema experience into your home: that’s the ultimate AV dream. There’s nothing like watching your favorite film on a large projector screen, or having the latest blockbuster projected onto your wall. The starring role in your home cinema system goes to projectors, but they’re mighty expensive... Or are they?

We’ve put together a tantalizing test: four projectors from four well-respected brands – BenQ, Epson, InFocus and Optoma and they all clock in under the $1,500 mark.

Seems unbelievable? We’ll let you see for yourself: turn the page to find out which projector will give you the best big-screen thrills on a budget.

BENQ W1070

Price: $1,140

Rating: 3/5

If you’re looking for a quality projector on a budget, BenQ is usually a sure bet. Its $1,500 W1200 grabbed itself a 2012 Award, and the even-more-budget $1,050 W1060 was a decent four-star option.

That unit’s successor is the W1070. This 3D, Full HD, DLP projector continues the budget theme with a price tag of around $1,140. The compact white chassis now sports a new square-edged design compared with the curves from before.

Its short throw means the BenQ is well-suited to occasional use with a temporary screen

Its short throw means the BenQ is well-suited to occasional use with a temporary screen

With its short throw ratio of 1.15 – 1.5 the W1070 is ideal for small rooms, or occasional use. Occasional or not, it’s always worth taking care in setting up a projector. Adjusting the image to get it perfectly square took us a few minutes: the front height adjustment isn’t particularly refined, while there’s just one adjustment screw on the back but it does allow finer adjustments to the angle of the screen. Once set up, manual adjustment of focus and zoom is simple.

Delve into the menus and there’s scope to make fine picture adjustments. We recommend using a THX Optimizer disc to set up your picture correctly. One BenQ quirk is that Color and Tint settings aren’t accessible in the W1070 if you’re using an HDMI source curious when it has two HDMI inputs on board.

A small remote control handset is supplied with the W1070, with easy access to brightness and contrast settings. There’s no backlight on the remote, so you do have to fumble a bit when using it in a dark room.

The projector also has built-in 10W speakers: nice if you’re using it for gaming, presentations or casual viewing.

Bright, clear and sharp images

Play the Blu-ray of 2009’s Star Trek – a test favorite and the scenes inside the USS Enterprise look clear, bright, and full of sharp detail. It’s an exciting picture with a robust color palette, and punchy whites that can look a bit overdone and glaring at times. Toning down the contrast levels fixes this up neatly.

At first glance, then, it’s an impressive picture. Switch to darker scenes, though, and while deep blacks look satisfying, they’re not terribly detailed or refined. Shadow definition lacks subtlety; in some scenes, details are swallowed up so much that you’re left with patches of black that look more like silhouettes. Spin the DVD of The Lord of the Rings: The Towers, and it’s clear the W1070 is much happier with brighter, outdoor images than dark, murky scenes.

BenQ W1070: Latest from a manufacturer known for its prowess with budget projectors

BenQ W1070: Latest from a manufacturer known for its prowess with budget projectors

Also, compared with the other projectors here, the W1070 suffers noticeably with motion issues, juddering in particular across fast-moving scenes and sweeping pans.

Nor is the 3D performance ideal: the active 3D glasses (sold separately for $118.5 – other DLP-compatible brands can be used) are cumbersome and heavy, and the image isn’t as clear or comfortable in 3D mode as we’d like. Compared with previous efforts, this BenQ doesn’t quite hit the mark. It delivers an enthusiastic and glossy picture, but the W1070 is outperformed in this test.

Rating: 3/5

For: Clear, bright images; compact; good contrast, with deep blacks and punchy whites

Against: Takes time to set up; lacks subtlety with darker scenes; 3D glasses extra

Verdict: The sharp picture impresses, but lack of subtlety, and motion issues hamper the BenQ

BenQ W1070 specs

·         Resolution: 1920 x 1080

·         Type: DLP

·         3D: Yes – active

·         Rated fan noise: 33dB

·         Throw ratio: 1.15-1.5

·         Max image size: 235in

·         Rated brightness: 2000 lumens

·         HMDI in: 2

·         PC in: 1

·         Audio in: 2

·         Dimensions (H x W x D): 11 x 31 x 24cm

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