Projector BenQ W3000 review

PROS

  • Beautifully cinematic pictures
  • Fair price for such picture quality
  • Impressive 3D, with one pair of glasses included

CONS

  • Occasional traces of rainbow effect
  • Exhibits high input lag – an issue for gamers
  • Minor brightness uniformity errors

 

KEY FEATURES

  • Full HD projector
  • Single-chip DLP optical system
  • Cinematic Color wheel technology
  • 3D playback with one pair of glasses included

 

WHAT IS THE BENQ W3000?

The 64,900 THB W3000 is the second projector I’ve seen from BenQ to use the brand’s new Cinematic Color technology, for accurately hitting the Rec. 709 video standard right out of the box. It uses better lens glass than the previous model, BenQ W2000 projector, I tested recently; adds horizontal as well as vertical optical image shifting; introduces motion interpolation processing; offers more optical zoom; and ships with a pair of 3D glasses.

 

BENQ W3000 – DESIGN AND FEATURES

The W3000 doesn’t follow the design sported by the new W2000 and W1110 BenQ projectors. Instead, its angular, top-heavy style is more akin to BenQ’s 2015 home entertainment range. It isn’t unattractive – especially with the silver fascia contrasting so tastefully with the gloss white of the projector’s other sides – but it does make you wonder if this model is actually built on an older chassis design than the W2000 and W1110.
BenQ W3000

The W3000’s rear is crowded with connections. Among the highlights are two HDMIs, a D-SUB PC port, and RS-232 control port, a component video input, a composite video input, a 12V trigger output, a stereo audio input and a 3D Sync output.

The projector features a built-in 3D transmitter, which you can take advantage of from the get-go thanks to a single pair of active-shutter glasses included in the box – provided you’re actually interested in 3D, of course!

You can also get an optional wireless HD system for the W3000, which would enable you to transmit HD video from source to the projector.

The W3000’s basic picture specifications find it rocking a Full HD single-chip DLP engine capable of hitting a peak brightness of 2000 lumens and a contrast ratio of 10,000:1. This contrast figure is slightly down on the W2000’s 15,000:1 – although as noted in the introduction, the W3000 certainly makes up for this in the form of some extras that the W2000 lacks.

Heading up the feature list is the Cinematic Color system. First seen on the W2000, this technology claims to deliver a picture that gets very close to the Rec. 709 video industry standard right out of the box.

It’s built around a series of manual calibrations of every W3000 on the production line; software optimisation of the blacks, whites and greys; plus a specially angled 6x speed RGB colour wheel, which has been coated in a new type of phosphor found to deliver the most accurate colour results.

Cinematic Color did a very credible job on the W2000, so there’s no reason to assume it won’t be at least as useful on the W3000.

BenQ W3000

Also carried over from the W2000 is BenQ’s surprisingly effective CinemaMaster audio system. Here, the combination of 10W speakers housed in resonant sound chambers with powerful audio processing delivers a powerful yet effectively dispersed soundstage than anything you’d usually hear from built-in projector audio systems.

One of the W3000’s key features over the W2000 is Motion Enhancer processing, which can interpolate extra frames of image data to reduce common projection issues such as jitter, blurring and image lag. Some will argue that this feature is at odds with the Cinematic Color tool, given that the sort of film fan most likely to embrace Rec. 709 accuracy won’t be inclined to use motion processing. Personally, though, I’m happy to keep an open mind – for now.

The W3000’s video processing also includes “enhancers” for both colour, detail/sharpness and flesh tones. Again, these are arguably at odds with the Rec. 709 idea, but I’ll refrain from making a prejudgement.

BENQ W3000 – PICTURE QUALITY

Prior to testing the W3000, I’d feared that it wouldn’t offer enough of a step up on the BenQ W2000 to justify the price bump. But, the W3000 subtly improves on the previous model in a number of picture areas, adding up to an overall step up in performance that makes it well worth the extra outlay.

For starters, the W3000 is capable of producing deeper black levels than the W2000, leaving less greyness hanging over dark scenes so that they look instantly more immersive and cinematic.

The enhanced black-level response also means, critically, that you can see far more detail in dark areas. In fact, for me the W3000 is in a class of its own in this price bracket of the market. In terms of contrast and shadow detail handling, it reveals subtleties and a sense of depth during dark scenes that other, similarly affordable projectors just can’t deliver.

 

It’s great, too, to see the projector’s rendition of black colours looking so neutral, with no infusion of the blue or green undertones that affect lesser projectors.

The W3000’s deft shadow detailing also means that dark scenes look far more “equal” of bright scenes than is usually the case with affordable projectors, making for a more consistent viewing experience with films that regularly shift between dark and light scenes.

Dark scenes also seem slightly less infiltrated by the gentle green speckling noise associated with single-chip DLP projector systems. Nor is there any sign of the fizzing noise over moving skin tones that was once a common flaw with single-chip DLP projectors.

Actually, the W3000’s pictures in general are startlingly free of almost all types of noise – I’ll come to the exception to this later.

Even natural grain in films such as 300 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows prove no challenge to the W3000’s optics and processing. It’s even possible to run the motion processing on its low level without grain starting to look forced and unnatural.

BenQ W3000

I’m not implying here that the W3000’s pictures are in any way soft. On the contrary, they do a brilliant job of bringing out every pixel of detail, texture and definition from a good-quality HD source. The point is that they do so naturally, without looking processed and without revealing any hint of the DLP chipset’s pixel structure.

And now to what movie fans will actually consider the W3000’s crowning glory: its excellent colour handling. Using the Cinema picture preset with minimum manual adjustment, colours look gorgeously natural in terms of both the natural feel to their tones and the outstanding subtlety with which even the finest blends are handled. This means there’s pretty much zero striping or blocking, even over tricky skin tones.

The tonal balance is immaculately judged too, with no hue standing out unnaturally above the rest. As a result, you always take in the image as a whole rather than having your eye drawn to specific areas of exaggerated colour.

Actually, the precision of the W3000’s colour handling is also the reason behind its images looking so detailed and full of depth.

BenQ W3000

Movement in the frame is handled well even if you don’t use the W3000’s motion processing system. And finally, it’s important to stress that despite the impressive black-level response and focus on accurate colours, pictures still look bright and punchy.

I have only a couple of issues with the W3000’s pictures. First are some brightness uniformity errors – but nothing that shows up often with regular video, rather than uniformity test signals. Second are the occasional traces of DLP rainbow noise: stripes of red, green and blue flitting over really bright highlights of the picture.

The rainbowing isn’t something that you witness routinely; it’s visible only over small, extremely bright image highlights when they appear against dark backdrops. Also, it’s reasonably subdued. However, if you’re one of those people who’s particularly sensitive to seeing it, it’s definitely something of which you should take note.

BENQ W3000 – SOUND QUALITY

There was a time when reviewing the sound quality of a projector – assuming it had speakers built in at all – was a pointless task; the majority sounded uniformly poor. Recently, though, this has started to change.

The W3000 plays its part in this shift by delivering a soundstage that offers more clarity, detail and distortion-free volume than you’d ever expect a projector to manage.

Inevitably, it isn’t perfect. Bass sounds pretty boxy, and the soundstage doesn’t project as far from the projector’s body as I’d like. If the projector is sat some distance from your screen, then you’ll likely be rather distracted by the dislocation between the image and the source of the sound. These sorts of issues are pretty much par for the course with integrated projector audio solutions, though.

A less typical issue noted with the W3000, though, is a tendency for its audio to appear slightly out of sync with lip movements in its images. I suspect this is related to the input lag issues (discussed below). If this is the case, the only way to get round it until BenQ finds a permanent fix is to run the audio through an AV receiver that lets you add delay to the audio stream.

SHOULD I BUY A BENQ W3000?

If you’re a movie fan then you’ll struggle to find better picture quality in a projector that costs less than 64,900 THB

However, if you’re likely to be gaming on your projector as well as watching movies then the W3000’s problems with input lag mean you’d be better opting for BenQ’s W2000. Unless, of course, BenQ comes up with a solution to the issue, which is a possibility.

You  can Buy Projector BenQ W3000 or Other BenQ Projector at https://projectorpro.in.th