The Optoma HD20 set a startlingly high performance bar for the sub-£1k DLP market - a fact reflected in its appearance as one of the top three projectors of the year in our recently announced TrustedReviews Awards. But the W1000 certainly gives it a run for its money.
The most significant advantage of the W1000 comes in the colour department. For once you’ve spent a bit of time with the HD Video Essentials calibration Blu-ray and the surprisingly flexible colour management features, you end up with a palette that’s noticeably more natural (especially with skin tones) and cinematic than I got with the Optoma. I also felt that the BenQ’s colour palette was a bit richer and more vibrantly saturated post calibration, especially when it comes to reds and blues.
This sense of richness is especially obvious if you engage the BrilliantColour system. Though as I’ve noted with other DLP projectors that carry the same feature, it seems hard to reconcile BrilliantColour with an accurate colour setting. I suspect that most people will prefer the dynamic effect of having it on, but I urge you to at least try deactivating it for a while, as this will give you a more 'as the director intended' colourscape.
The W1000 also suffers less than the Optoma with cheap DLP’s tendency to show fizzing noise over skin tones and green colours during camera pans.
In most other ways the W1000’s pictures are very similar to those of the Optoma. Which is no bad thing, of course, given that the HD20 spectacularly outperformed our expectations given its price.
HD images look really unexpectedly sharp, for instance, as the projector draws on its Full HD resolution to reproduce a good quality Blu-ray’s details with striking accuracy. There’s none of the softness or noise often associated with cheap projectors - especially those that only have an HD Ready resolution.
Black levels, meanwhile, are similarly respectable. Which is to say that they’re deep enough to achieve a credible black tone; effortless enough in their production to retain good levels of shadow detail; stable; but also not as free of greyness as those of most good 'step up' projectors.
The W1000 impresses with its brightness too, despite the acceptable black level response. In fact, it’s so bright and vibrant that you can actually watch the picture quite happily with a level of ambient light in the room – another thing likely to endear it to a relatively casual user.