Wednesday, November 25, 2009
BenQ W500 Projector Information and Review
I recently purchased a BenQ W500 Home Theater Projector and decided to do a little write-up about it. The following is some general information regarding the projector as well as my own thoughts regarding the W500 projector.
The BenQ W500 projector is Home Theater projector operating at a native 1280x720 resolution, which is typically referred to as WXGA for computer resolutions or 720P for Home Theater purposes. The W500 is set to a native 16:9 aspect ratio, although 5 aspect ratios are user selectable. The W500 is rated as outputting 1100 ANSI Lumens of light at its maximum setting, although this is adjustable through the numerous settings in the user options. This projector has a 5000:1 contrast ratio, which measures the difference between the strongest whites and deepest blacks the projector can display. The lamp in the projector is rated at 140W and is estimated to last 2000 hours on default settings and 3000 hours in Economy Mode, which dials down the intensity to lengthen the life of the lamp bulb.
The technology behind the display is called 3LCD, which uses three LCD panels to show the image instead of the traditional LCD, which only features one. Some of the advantages touted by front and rear projector manufacturers are that 3LCD technology results in brighter pictures than LCD technology, even during high ambient lighting conditions, which may or may not be a factor depending on your home theater setup. 3LCD is also said to reproduce more natural colors than LCD technology.
The W500 supports a variety of resolutions and inputs. This projector can accept standard SD and HD input resolutions, all of which are processed through the Silicon Optix HQV processor in the projector. This processor is considered one of the best, especially at this projector's price point.
The W500's inputs include:
1 D-sub input (for use as a computer display)
1 HDMI input with HDCP support (required for playback of some High Definition content)
1 composite video input
1 S-video input
2 Component Video inputs
The W500 has a throw ratio of 100" at 10.8' at the default zoom setting, meaning the image size projected on a screen would be 100 inches at 10.8 feet. The manual zoom can be used to adjust the screen size in collaboration with proper projector placement. The W500 features a lens shift knob to horizontally and vertically adjust the lens, which allows users adjust the image placement in all directions.
BenQ's site even features a Projection Calculator to assist users with proper projector placement.
The W500 weighs 8.6lbs and its dimensions are 13.7" wide by 4.7" tall by 10.9" deep. The W500 features universal mounting holes on the bottom for use with a ceiling or wall mount. The W500 also includes an air filter and BenQ also included a timer to remind users to clean the air filter periodically.
First and foremost, I was slightly hesitant to get the W500 mainly because I have never previously owned a projector, nor did I know what to expect from it, especially compared to HDTV's. I didn't want to set up the projector and end up feeling underwhelmed due to a lack of brightness or clarity in the picture. However, all my initial fears were dispelled as soon as I turned it on.
Literally my entire wall became my TV and I threw in the Dark Knight to test it out. The picture was extremely crisp and smooth with no stuttering or bad picture quality at any point in the movie. Some of the bright scenes in that movie actually made me squint which showed how well the projector was able to contrast. The projector fan itself was really quite and at no point during the movie did I notice it.
Probably my favorite thing about this projector is the gigantic screen when I'm playing games. Normally when you play with other people on a split screen you both sacrifice your in-game view for the sake of being able to play with your buddies. With this projector that thought doesn't even come across my mind. The screen is big enough that we each have our own side of the wall to play on which provides a great experience.
I currently have the W500 set up approximately 15 feet from the wall I project on with my couch approximately 10 feet from the wall. The screen itself is about 96 inches across. The only downside to the projector that I've encountered so far is the picture is hard to see if there is ambient light in the room say from a light fixture or a window. This probably wouldn't be as big of an issue but I have the projector set on Economy Mode so the bulb isn't as bright. All in all I would recommend this projector to somebody that has never owned one before, but I'm sure any projector enthusiast would find many flaws in this model that aren't as apparent to me.