Back in November 2009, BenQ launched the great value W1000 home cinema projector. Sure, it had its issues, but nothing that couldn’t comfortably be forgiven within the context of a sub-£1,000 price. In fact, at that price level, the BenQ’s brightness, rich colours and raw picture drama really helped it stand out.
So we’re positively brimming with excitement at the arrival of the new, improved, even cheaper version of the W1000: the cunningly named W1000+.
Starting with the pricing, BenQ has somehow knocked a significant amount off the price, making the W1000+ just £750. Including VAT. Considering we scored the W1000 a 10 for value at just under a grand, this new price attached to a supposedly improved projector could take its value mark off the scale. Or in Spinal Tap terms, the W1000+’s value rating might just 'go to 11'...
Whatever upgrades BenQ might have made for the W1000+ aren’t apparent from its exterior, however. For sadly it’s still a rather plasticky, unstylish and business-like machine. The white finish of most of the bodywork should, on paper, work quite nicely with the silver used for the lens barrel and control button strip - but somehow it just doesn’t hang together.
The W1000+’s connections don’t show signs of change either. Though this isn’t such a concern, since the connections rate as very strong for such a cheap machine, thanks to its twin HDMIs, D-Sub PC port, component video port, and USB/RS-232 control ports.
The projector even carries audio inputs, for the good reason that in keeping with many cheap, 'convenient' projectors it carries built-in audio, via a 3W speaker.
This obviously is hardly the stuff of home cinema dreams. But that’s not its point. Rather the speaker is there to help people who take the projector out and about for games or footie match nights, since it relieves them of the need to always finding some external audio system if they want sound to accompany the projector’s pictures.
The original W1000 also had a built-in speaker, though, so there’s nothing different here. Instead, our search for reasons why the ‘+’ has been added to the W1000 takes us inside the W1000+’s optics. Where the single most potentially important change is the discovery of a revamped colour wheel.
This wheel has been tweaked in three different ways. First, it’s a revamped design with a new coating on it. Second, its waveform software has been fine-tuned. But probably the single most important change finds the colour wheel being increased, to give a 3x speed.
This speed boost is unlikely to be enough to completely remove the appearance of DLP’s rainbow effect (stripes of pure red, green and blue) from the W1000+’s pictures, but it should certainly reduce it versus the original W1000.