Not so long ago we tested the BenQ W1060 projector, and found it OK but nothing special - a bit dated, to be honest. So we weren't entirely surprised when, soon after that review appeared, BenQ approached us to see if we fancied having a look at the new successor to the W1060. That new projector was the £699 W1070, and it's duly perched atop our projection stand as we speak.
Aesthetically BenQ's newcomer is hit and miss. Its footprint is impressively small, making it well suited to the relatively casual 'pop it in a cupboard when it's not being used' market most likely to be after so affordable a projector. Its combination of a glossy white top with matt silvery sides works nicely too, though the extensive amount of grilling around the sides might not be to everyone's tastes.
BenQ W1070 - Leaking light
We're also a bit alarmed by the amount of light spilling out of these grilles, especially the one to the side of the lens. This suggests that the W1070 certainly isn't delivering all of its claimed 2000 ANSI Lumens of potential brightness out through the lens.
Talking of the lens, it's a pretty uninspiring looking thing. It's very small, and doesn't look like it's using particularly high quality glass. It comes as little surprise to find that this tiny lens supports only a very paltry amount of optical zoom. This made it quite difficult to get the BenQ W1070 positioned in a helpful place in our long test room, especially as the projector has clearly been designed with relatively small rooms in mind.
BenQ W1070 - Poor zoom/focus controls
It's not just the limited amount of optical zoom that irritates either; we also didn't think much of the zoom and focus rings the projector provides. They're contained within quite a deep recess and are stiff to turn, making fine adjustments difficult to achieve.
There is one good bit of set up news, though: vertical image shifting. Admittedly this is limited in scope and only achieved via an almost painfully cheap-looking and faffy little screw hidden under a flimsy slide-back cover on the BenQ W1070's top. But being able to optically shift the image up or down at all is a boon on a £700 projector, hugely reducing the likelihood that you'll have to resort to the digital distortion nastiness of the provided keystone adjustment to get the image's edges straight.
BenQ W1070 - Digital zoom
The W1070 carries more digital distortion nonsense in the form of a digital zoom to bolster the puny optical zoom on offer. But using this greatly increases the picture's softness and noise levels, and so obviously isn't recommended.
The remote control you get with the W1070, meanwhile, scores a major faux pas by not being backlit. This makes it painfully tricky to use in the sort of darkened room you're most likely to be using the projector in - especially as the remote is unusually small and, as a result, rather crowded.
BenQ W1070 - ISF certification
The onscreen menus are a touch small too, but they're reasonably clear nonetheless, and shouldn't present anyone with any brain ache. There are a couple of unexpected surprises in there too considering how affordable the W1070 is, in particular an 'ISF' section that an engineer from the Imaging Science Foundation could use to professionally calibrate the projector to your specific room requirements. This proves that the projector has enough set up tools to earn the ISF's official backing.
Among these tools are a series of gamma presets (including the most video-friendly 2.2), a Black Level adjustment, red/green/blue offset and gain adjustments for fine tuning the colour temperature, DLP's Brilliant Colour option which boosts the image's saturation levels, and a full colour management system where you can adjust the hue, gain and saturation of the red, green, blue, cyan, yellow and magenta colour elements.