Great review, what are the models that are a few hundred more that you would recommend?
BenQ W7000+ home theatre projector
BenQ’s updated home theatre projector has good 3D and great 2D
If you don’t want a big-screen TV in your living room, or if you’ve got a dedicated home cinema room, then buying a home theatre projector is a smart way to use your money. Home theatre projectors can run into the tens of thousands of dollars, though, and competition in the cheaper end of the market is fierce.
- Excellent 2D and 3D image quality
- Wide lens shift, keystone, adjustment for setup
- Uncomfortable 3D glasses
- Black level slightly high in preset modes
BenQ’s lightly-updated W7000+ home theatre projector has generally good image quality credentials, especially considering its comparatively accessible price tag. The 3D glasses bundled are not at all comfortable, though, and you can get better picture quality from slightly more expensive projectors.
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BenQ’s W7000+ is a minor update to the W7000 home theatre projector, with identical specifications and an identical design. BenQ has reportedly made improvements in the projector’s dynamic iris control, for better black levels during dark movie scenes and better white levels during bright movie scenes.
BenQ W7000+: Design and setup
This segment is reproduced from our original BenQ W7000 review. Functionally, the W7000+ is identical to the original model. Its main selling points are a reasonably wide horizontal and vertical lens shift and 1.5x lens zoom — both manually controlled, as is focusing.
The big, black, glossy BenQ W7000 is designed for a dedicated home theatre — while you can run it sitting on a bench or home theatre rack, we’d recommend ceiling mounting it to keep it secure and correctly positioned. The centre-mounted lens has manual focus and zoom rings, and a horizontal and vertical shift mechanism lets you position the projected picture accurately. We used the W7000’s lens at a moderate zoom level. It doesn’t lose much brightness at its widest setting, which can project a maximum image size of 300 inches — more than large enough for even an over-sized home theatre room. Focusing the image accurately was easy; the W7000’s focus ring is very smooth and offers plenty of fine adjustment.
A similar circular control dial to the one we saw on the BenQ Joybee GP2 controls all the functions on the BenQ W7000. For anyone ceiling-mounting the projector, BenQ’s remote control handles every function with ease. It’s back-lit, and has dedicated buttons for changing picture modes, aspect ratios, inputs and activating the 3D mode: you’ll only need to trawl through the menu rarely. With the remote control in hand we only needed to enter the menu on our initial setup; the dedicated buttons took care of everything we needed afterwards. If you do need to enter the menus though, you’re in luck: the layout is simple thanks to the use of tabs, and there’s only ever one menu level. It’s not possible to get lost in a labyrinth of sub-menus and the location of menu options is easy to remember.
BenQ W7000+: Picture quality and performance
Like the original W7000, the W7000+ has excellent sharpness and contrast once the settings are slightly altered; the company’s tradition of excessively sharp presets continue here. The gamma presets aren’t spot on, but they’re pretty close, and our only complaint is that after our best efforts adjusting it the W7000+’s overall black level is slightly higher than other high-end home theatre projectors we’ve seen.
The BenQ W7000+ is claimed to have an improved dynamic iris setting from the original BenQ W7000, boosting the speed and accuracy of its adjustment during fast-changing dark and bright video. We tested this with the night-time scenes from Batman Begins, the opening of The Dark Knight, and a range of snowboarding clips from The Art Of Flight. In all three scenarios the W7000+’s dynamic iris worked very well to optimise its brightness output to suit each scene.
The dynamic iris isn’t perfect, though, and there is a visible transition, albeit an extremely fast one, when moving from an especially bright to an especially dark scene (or vice versa). This is only going to be visible rarely, and doesn’t constitute a serious issue, but it’s an issue that doesn’t exist on more expensive projectors with dynamic brightness modes (of various types).
What struck us most about the BenQ W7000+ was that its 3D glasses were, for our heads at least, annoying and uncomfortable. Where other 3D home theatre projector manufacturers like Panasonic, and TV manufacturers, have made light, sturdy, stylish 3D glasses, the specs bundled with the W7000+ are bulky, look silly, and aren’t particularly comfortable to wear for more than a few minutes. On the plus side, they work well and don’t suffer from any visible flickering problems.
BenQ W7000+: Conclusion
The BenQ W7000+ upgrade comes with a significant price cut over the original model, dropping it comfortably into the sub-$3000 price bracket. With this price cut it’s more affordable and more tempting, but other projectors have dropped their prices similarly in the last twelve months, or have added more features and more picture quality refinements while maintaining prices.
For the price that BenQ is asking, the W7000+ is a good value and good quality home theatre projector. For a few hundred dollars more you can get a better quality projector, although for most users the differences will be minor at best.
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