We’re looking to see which of these
projectors can provide a dream of an audio-visual experience without asking a
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.
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.
short throw means the BenQ is well-suited to occasional use with a temporary
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
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.
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.
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
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