BenQ W1070 DLP Front Projector Reviewed

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BenQ W1070 DLP Front Projector Reviewed

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BenQ-W1080-projector-review-angled-left-small.jpgBenQ has long been a staple in the affordable business/educational and home theater projector marketplace. For years, the company has carved out a niche for itself alongside other industry stalwarts like Epson and Optoma as a value-oriented brand, bringing consumers front-projection products based on only what they need, as opposed to what they think they want. This in turn has meant that many of BenQ's products, historically, haven't featured the latest "buzz tech," but they haven't commanded a king's ransom, either. BenQ's latest projector, the W1070, continues that trend; however, as I would soon find out, it has a number of features not typically found on a so-called entry-level projector.

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The W1070 retails for just under a grand at $999 and is sold via BenQ's vast network of dealers, including online retailers such as VisualApex. The W1070 is a small projector, measuring nearly 13 inches wide by four inches tall and almost 10 inches deep. It isn't very heavy, weighing but six pounds, no doubt a result of its all-plastic construction. Still, despite its modest price tag and small footprint, the W1070 is a good-looking piece of kit, featuring a duotone color scheme consisting of a predominantly pearl-white color offset with light grey accents. It's a good look, and it suits the W1070 well.

BenQ-W1080-projector-review-lens.jpgThe W1070's lens is off-center to the right (when looking at the projector) with the left front side of the projector being largely dominated by vents. Up top and behind the lens are the W1070's manual lens controls, including zoom, focus and vertical shift (the latter is hidden behind a plastic sliding door and adjustable via a flathead screwdriver, not included). Near the back of the W1070's top plate, you'll find a bevy of manual controls, all of which are backlit for easy access in a darkened environment. Around back and recessed slightly into the projector's chassis are the W1070's input options; they include two HDMI inputs, a 12-volt trigger, component video, USB (type Mini B, service only), PC (15-pin), RS-232, S-video, composite video, a pair of analog audio inputs, and a pair of analog audio outputs. Yes, the W1070 has a built-in 10-watt loudspeaker. Throw in the W1070's standard AC power receptacle, and you've got its back panel all sewn up in a nutshell.

Behind the scenes, the W1070 utilizes Texas Instruments' latest DarkChip3 DLP technology, which is good for a native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 or 1080p HD. Its native aspect ratio is 16:9, although it can support others like 4:3 and 2.35:1. Brightness is stated to be at 2,000 ANSI lumens, with contrast being reported at 10,000:1. The W1070 is also 3D-enabled, supporting many different types of 3D viewing, be it via a Blu-ray disc or gaming machine, the last courtesy of its Nvidia 3DTV connectivity. It should be noted that, while the W1070 is 3D-capable, the required active 3D glasses are not included with purchase and cost $79 per pair.

Finally, there's the W1070's remote, which is clearly aimed at the business user rather than your typical home theater enthusiast. It's small (pocket-sized, really) and somewhat clunky, obviously designed to be operated in a fair amount of ambient light, since its layout isn't wholly intuitive. Still, it provides the end user with the necessary control needed not only to operate the W1070, but also to dial it in effectively.

BenQ-W1080-projector-review-connections.jpgThe Hookup
Rather than tear down my reference SIM2 M.150 LED DLP projector and install the W1070 in its place, I opted for a temporary, table-mounted setup. In the middle of my room, I placed the W1070 atop a simple folding table, covered in black velvet to keep the table's white surface from contaminating any measurements due to its reflectivity. Atop the table, the W1070 sat approximately nine feet back from my screen, with the lens zoomed all the way out, which was good for a screen size of around 100 to 110 inches. Focusing the lens was easy, thanks to the W1070's textured focus ring. Vertical lens shift was a little trickier, as there isn't a lot of it. Moreover, if you're not careful with your flathead screwdriver, it could be possible to over-torque the small screw-like apparatus and break the projector. Out of the box and atop a table, the W1070 has a fair amount of upward skew, meaning the projected image naturally points upward by several degrees without incurring any negative keystoning effects. This is a good thing, as it might eliminate one's need to adjust the vertical shift at all.

I went ahead and connected the W1070 to my DVDO Duo in order to take some initial measurements, using my C6 light meter and CalMan calibration software. Out of the box, the W1070 ships in its Standard image mode, which I could tell straight away was far too bright and too blue. I went ahead and popped the W1070 into its Cinema preset, as such picture modes tend to be more accurate pre-calibration. In the Cinema mode and in my room, projecting upon Elite Screen's AcousticPro 4K material from a distance of around nine feet, I measured a staggering 21 foot-lamberts. Cinema is dimmer than the W1070's Standard picture mode, which measured a whopping 32 foot-lamberts. That's a staggering amount of light output, although admittedly after calibration, one should expect less, as clearly both were too bright for absolute picture accuracy elsewhere, which I found out when taking a full set of measurements in the Cinema picture profile.

Out of the box and in Cinema mode, the W1070's grayscale favored blue big time, with an average Delta E (error) of 4.052. A Delta Error of three or below for grayscale is considered acceptable, so the W1070 is outside acceptable limits, although not as wildly so as other projectors I've tested in the past. Gamma averaged 1.93 out of the box, which isn't typical or correct (2.2 is the target). Colorimetry was further off target, with an average Delta E of 5.5. Red and green exhibited the greatest errors, with Delta Es of nearly +10. Ouch. All of the colors, regardless of their hue, were under-saturated before calibration. Surprisingly for a sub-$1,000 projector, the W1070 possesses the requisite controls, both grayscale and CMS, to potentially rein things in quite nicely. I know of several far more expensive projectors that cannot claim this, so kudos to BenQ.

With measurements taken, it was time to watch some HD content. I connected the W1070 to my reference rig, which meant running a Monoprice HDMI cable from my Integra DHC 80.2 preamp to the tiny projector. From there, it was fed a steady diet of HD content served via my Dune-HD Max and my custom-built NAS box.

Read about the performance of the BenQ W1070 projector on Page 2.

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