BenQ has proved rather frustrating in recent times by serving up a run of projectors that impress on many counts, but fall at one particular hurdle or another, be it price or some element of their picture quality. So all we can do as we start to tackle the brand's new W5000 is hope that this is finally the model that lifts things from ‘good' to ‘great'.
The first thing to say is that on the surface, at least, BenQ certainly seems to have got things right this time with its pricing. For despite being a DLP model with a Full HD resolution, we've found it going online for as little as £1,359.25 all in. Impressive.
It's fair to say, too, that you get a heck of a lot of projector for your money. The W5000's chassis is absolutely huge - the same chunky size, in fact, as BenQ's W20000, and that model goes for more than double the cost of the W5000.
I'm appreciative of the fact, though, that BenQ has made some effort to ‘prettify' the W5000 behemoth with the application of a glossy white and metallic silver finish. But at the same time I couldn't help but feel that this finish actually looks slightly incongruously effeminate on what's otherwise a butch hunk of raw AV power.
Turning to the W5000's connections, there's good news and bad news. On the upside, you get two HDMIs, BNC- and RCA-type component video inputs, PC inputs, a 12V trigger jack, and an RS-232 port for external system control. On the downside the HDMIs are only built to the v1.2 spec, not the latest v1.3, and so aren't compatible with Deep Colour or x.v.Colour picture sources.
Heading into the W5000's pleasingly no-nonsense but perfectly clear onscreen menus uncovers rather more flexibility than I'd have expected of a sub-£1,500 Full HD DLP projector. For instance, there's the software processing element of Texas Instrument's Brilliant Colour system, designed to ramp up colour saturations and improve tones.
It's worth adding, too, that BrilliantColour is supported by 4:4:4 colour sampling which handles each colour signal in the video input individually, and VIDI lighting technology, which increases the image's brightness by 15% for showing red and blue colours, to deliver greater vibrancy and richer saturations.
A Dynamic Black facility, meanwhile, works in conjunction with what BenQ grandly calls an ‘Advanced Continuous Electronic Iris' to deliver the best black levels possible no matter what the content of the image being received.
To be honest this feature is a little controversial, as it opens the door to the W5000's image being as susceptible as most LCD projectors are to distracting brightness variations when pictures shift between dark and light content. But if you don't like it, you can always turn it off. Especially since, with a claimed contrast ratio of 10,000:1, it's entirely possible that the W5000 won't need any help from a dynamic iris to deliver a really impressive black level response.