Summary

Our Score

6/10

Review Price free/subscription

Other bits and bobs include 3D colour management, 200W and 250W lamp output options depending on whether you want to emphasise contrast or brightness, Faroudja's DCDi system for reducing the jagged look often seen around the edges of contoured objects; and even a few picture in picture options.

Wrapping the W9000 backgrounder up with a few specifications of note, we find the full HD resolution being joined by a high claimed contrast ratio of 8500:1, fair brightness of 1200ANSI Lumens, and an 8-segment colour wheel that uses a ‘special' coating to project more natural red and blue tones - without spoiling greens. With so many things apparently going for it, then, the W9000's pictures have to count as a real disappointment.

The single greatest problem is that images don't seem very bright at all, a flaw that sees them lacking punch and dynamism and leaves them pretty much completely unwatchable if there's even a trace of ambient light in your viewing room. The general dullness of the picture extends to its colours too, which look rather flat and lifeless. And before you ask, yes, this remains the case even if you use the 250W light output option rather than the 200W one.

The dullness issue is ironically exaggerated, too, by something that's supposed to improve the picture quality: the Faroudja DCDi system. For oddly this seems to cause over-stressing of contoured edges, so that they stand out from the muted images around them like the proverbial sore thumb - at least when viewing standard definition sources.

The general lack of brightness around with the W9000 might be slightly easier to accept if it seemed to help the projector deliver really outstanding black levels. But while dark scenes certainly don't suffer badly with the tell-tale greying over that embarrasses projectors with contrast problems, nor does the colour black look as profoundly deep and rich as we might have hoped. Especially as there are no dramatic brightness counterpoints which might throw what black response there is into starker relief.

Given how good the W10000's pictures were, mind you, it's inevitable that the W9000's pictures aren't an unmitigated disaster. HD images, for instance, benefit from some good sharpness and detail resolution, all delivered without a hint of grain or dot crawl noise. There's no colour ‘smudging' or edge moiré either provided you use the projector's pixel-for-pixel 1080p playback mode either, and objects glide across the screen largely free of any stutter or, even better, DLP's tendency to blur or generate fizzing noise over horizontal motion.

The 8-segment colour wheel, meanwhile, helps to keep DLP's ‘rainbow effect' (where you can see pure stripes of red, green and blue flicker around in your peripheral vision) to an absolute minimum, and the density of the projector's full HD pixel array ensures that colour blends appear smooth and natural, without any striping problems.

Verdict

Although we managed to finish our main test with a high or two, the over-riding fact about the W9000 is that you only spot its good points if you really make the effort to look beyond its bad ones. And while this is something a reviewer should do, it's hard to see why a normal punter should do the same - especially when the machine asking them to forgive its bad points has just cost them the best part of two grand.

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