Some say that looks can kill. Well if they could, then BenQ’s W1060 beamer would butcher the competition. It’s a slick and stylish machine, no doubt, with a chassis that whets the appetite for some spectacular cinema-honed visuals.
Then there’s the actual specification. We’re talking full-HD 1080p in terms of pixels, each and every one driven by a microscopic mirror. Yup. it’s DLP technology. Short of industrial-grade 2k projection technology, in other words, this really is as good as it gets.
a closer look at the rest of the spec sheet and it’s nearly all good news. BenQ claims native contrast of 5,000 to one, for instance. The 2,000 lumens lamp doesn’t sound too shabby, either. Okay, you don’t get fancy optics with lens shift or even focus that holds steady when you adjust the image size But the only real blot on the W1060′s copy paper is the 3x speed, six-segment colour wheel.
ViewSonic’s Pro8200, by comparison, has a 4x speed, seven-segment wheel. Then again, the excellent Optoma HD23 is a 3x, six-segment item, so maybe the specs aren’t all important. What’s more, the W1060′s sub-£700 sticker price is pretty darn impressive. Yes. it is possible to bag a 1080p DLP projector for less. But this still looks like a helluva lot of full-high- definition beamer for the money. So what’s it actually like in use?
End of the Rainbow
First up, the subjective viewing experience doesn’t show any obvious increase in the dreaded DLP rainbow effect, which is good news given the relatively modest spec and speed of the colour wheel. This is always a tricky issue to quantify, but rest assured that we’re sensitive to it and this isn’t something that would turn us off the W1060.
Unfortunately, things go south from there. First, the modest throw ratio makes for the smallest image at any given distance of this group. Not a problem if you’re using it in a large room. But the W1060 is definitely not the best choice for cooking up big pictures in small spaces.
The next problem involves black levels and contrast that don’t live up to the on-paper specifications. It’s not an issue in brighter scenes in games and movies, which have plenty of zip and nice colours, to boot. But feed the W1060 something darker and moodier and it’s less impressive.
Admittedly, we’re being a little picky here. This is a modern DLP projector with decent contrast. But the black levels just aren’t quite good enough for that fully immersive, distraction-free cinema feel. Much more of a worry is the fine detail of the image composition. It’s hard to describe, but the definition of the pixels gives a slightly interpolated feel.
Exactly what’s responsible for this isn’t 100 per cent clear Our best guess is poor signal processing. Whatever the truth, it doesn’t help BenQ’s case. In fact, combined with the mediocre contrast and black levels, the result is the closest thing you’ll find to a dud this month. In isolation, it’s still a pretty pleasing device for painting big bright pictures across your living room wall. But against the assembled competition it comes a clear last.