Having been reasonably impressed - though not blown away by - BenQ’s new mid-price projector, the W6000, I really wasn’t sure what to expect from the W1000. After all, at just £998 it’s far, far cheaper than the W6000, and as such has presumably undergone some pretty major performance and feature stripping.
First impressions don’t do much to counter my fears. For to me the W1000’s design is trying too hard to disguise its essential mundanity, with its textured white cover offset by an unusual squared-off lens housing and dark grey colour introduced for the sides and the top-mounted manual control panel ending up looking rather clumsy.
The unit is, at least, not particularly big, making it pretty easy to carry to other people’s houses or put in a cupboard when it’s not in use - both often key features with the relatively casual user likely to be most interested in a projector like the W1000.
The W1000 gets onto stronger ground with its connections, which are headed up by a pretty impressive - for a sub-£1k DLP projector - two HDMIs, but well supported by a component video input, S-Video input, composite video input, D-Sub PC port, RS-232 control port, USB input, PC audio input/output, stereo audio input, and wired IR port.
Actually, some of these connections need a little more attention. The USB, for instance, is there as a control option only; you can’t use it to play digital photos or movies from USB storage devices. And the audio inputs aren’t just there as some sort of pass through system. For actually the W1000 has a built-in audio system. If a single 3W speaker can ever actually be called an audio system, that is!
Obviously, any sound system in a projector is going to be seriously flawed, thanks to both the doubtless poor quality of its sound, and the fact that its sound is displaced, potentially by some distance, from the picture it’s projecting.
But I can still imagine scenarios - indeed, I’ve been there myself - where you’ve taken a projector around to a friend’s for a group movie or video game night and simply can’t find an easy way to get sound to accompany the pictures if there’s no amplification built into the projector itself.
For such a fearsomely cheap projector, the W1000 boasts some startlingly big specification numbers. These kick off with a Full HD resolution, following the lead of Optoma’s even cheaper (£899) HD20 Full HD DLP projector reviewed a few weeks ago.
But also extremely high is a claimed brightness of 2,000 ANSI Lumens, while the claimed contrast ratio of 3,000:1 is also more than promising for such an affordable DLP projector.
Some LCD projectors boast contrast ratios much higher than this, of course. But they 'cheat’ - for want of a better word! - by obtaining their measurements using dynamic irises, which reduce light output during dark scenes and increase it again during bright scenes.