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BenQ W703D review

John Archer




  • Recommended by TR

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BenQ W703D
  • BenQ W703D
  • BenQ W703D
  • BenQ W703D
  • BenQ W703D
  • BenQ W703D
  • BenQ W703D


Our Score:



  • Incredibly cheap for what it offers
  • Seems calibrated for video rather than data images
  • Cute design


  • 3D images lack contrast
  • Colour break up at high brightness levels
  • Some motion flaws

Key Features

  • Single-chip DLP projector
  • It costs less than £500
  • Active 3D playback
  • 720p native resolution
  • 2200 ANSI Lumens brightness
  • Manufacturer: BenQ
  • Review Price: £492.00


You don’t need to look very deeply to understand why the BenQ W703D projector has really got our attention today. For despite claiming a high brightness of 2200 ANSI Lumens, a respectable 10,000:1 contrast ratio and even built-in 3D playback, this remarkable little single-chip DLP beast can be yours for under £500. Including VAT. Surely there’s got to be an almighty catch somewhere?

BenQ W703D Design

If there is, though, it has nothing to do with the BenQ W703D’s looks, which are actually rather cute. The way the top edge is much wider than the bottom leads to a quirky but appealing angular look to the front and back sides, while the top plate looks slinky in its glossy white finish.

BenQ W703D Connectivity

Connections on the BenQ W703D’s rear are also perfectly adequate for a projector with such a low price, including as they do two HDMIs, a component video input, a composite video input, a D-Sub PC port, an RS-232 control port, and even a selection of audio jacks to feed the W703D’s 10W speaker.

BenQ W703D

Clearly the sound produced by this speaker can’t match the scale of the projector’s pictures or even sound like it’s coming from anywhere near the visual action. But it’s a simple and immediate solution for people who don’t have a separate audio system for their AV sources.

BenQ W703D Specs

Although as noted at the start of this review the BenQ W703D mostly boasts specifications that exceed the expectations raised by its price, there is one major compromise: a native 720p resolution rather than a 1080p Full HD one. This is clearly a painful loss to video enthusiasts who like their 1080p HD Blu-ray sources to be rendered on a pixel for pixel basis. Though it’s worth pointing out that the 720p format actually fits rather nicely with the resolution of Sky’s 3D channel.

Needless to say we’ll be looking closely at how well the BenQ W703D ‘downscales’ full HD sources later on.

You operate the BenQ W703D via a decent remote control complete with large buttons, a reasonably logical layout, and bold red backlighting. As for the projector’s onscreen menus, meanwhile, although they’re a bit bland they get the job done reasonably efficiently.

Among the more helpful tricks available are the option to tell the projector the colour of the wall you’re projecting it onto (it then adjusts its pictures to compensate); a handy auto keystone correction system; a 2D to 3D conversion system; themed presets including living room and cinema options, plus a couple of user-definable setting memories; the option to turn DLP’s Brilliant Colour processing on or off, and even a pretty flexible colour management system. Impressive stuff for a sub-£500 projector.

BenQ W703D

Getting the BenQ W703D pictures correctly positioned on our 100-inch screen wasn’t particularly easy. Optical zoom provision is pitifully small, meaning that for the most part you have to physically move the projector towards or away from the screen to get the picture size right. Also disappointing - though utterly predictable for the BenQ W703D’s money - is the lack of any optical image shifting, be it horizontal or vertical.

Hence our appreciation of the auto keystone system mentioned earlier, as it takes the hassle out of straightening the picture’s sides. Though of course, we must stress that really no type of keystone correction is ideal, as it essentially involves distorting the incoming images.


November 21, 2012, 2:14 pm

I was going to buy this projector till I read about the 3d section. Do you get a good sense of 3d depth despite the poor contrast in 3d mode and is there no way of altering the colour and contrast settings in 3d mode?

Any help would be great.


January 18, 2013, 10:31 pm

OK, I did buy this projector and am very glad I did. The 2D is excellent as in the review with hardly any rainbows and the 3D is not too bad either. Their is a user setting for the 3D mode which I played about with and got decent colour and contrast levels. I compared it with my plasma 3D tv and found the colour was much brighter on the tv (no surprise there) but if I didnt make that comparison then the picture is very watchable and better than I thought it would be. It has the same depth levels as my plasma and being a bigger picture makes it more immersive. At this price point there will always be compromises to be made but the 3D is not that bad at all and the 2D is very good. Excellent projector.


September 4, 2013, 10:29 am

Thanks for this excellent review. I wish I had the good fortune to have read it earlier but I agree with it 100%. There isnt much out there on the 703D, and having bought it recently, (July 2013), Im happy to enlighten people who are considering it.
This is one of those rare products that is cheap enough to match your budget and has pretty much everything you could ask of it except for a feature or two - namely 3D and 1080p. On the first issue, I cannot help: as a personal opinion they are a gimmick to me, and simply arent anywhere near real enough yet with the current generation of technology. Nor would I waste money on 3D blu-rays. If anything I would have preferred BenQ to have removed it and further improved 2D picture or the keystone/shift correction. On the 2nd issue of 1080p, I make a case below why its no better than the 703D below - provided u r watching DVDs or are considering a 1080p projector not much higher than this price range.

So whats my complaint of the 703D? Nothing to do with 720p or 3D or anything like that. Basically, its very inflexible and limiting when it comes to screen size (throw distance) and positioning. Something that the review alluded to.
Translated, that means you need to do 3 things when you set up this projector, and keep it in mind before you buy:
1. You must ensure the 703D is lined up centre-to-centre with your screen, otherwise you will experience distortion. (Your back wall must have its centre empty)
2. A limited zoom means you dont have much flexibility in throw distance - if you only have 10-12ft or space, dont expect to go much bigger or smaller than a 92" screen. (As a general guideline - if you want 80", keep the projector below 8.5ft, if you want 100" you will definetely need more than 12ft). For me, I have it ceiling mounted at about 10.5 ft away from the screen and I can *just* about get 92", and I was hoping for 100". This is slightly dissapointing - but everyone has different ideas of a good picture size depending on how far you sit. I am sitting at 10.2ft, for some that could be too close, for others, too far.
3. You must match the projector to a height exactly as your screen, and keep it absolutely straight, (i.e. no pitch), if you wish to avoid keystone correction. Despite the price point, the 703D does come with vertical keystone, so if you are not centred/straight, you have some flexibility but be prepared to experience some distortion if your projector's height means it has to be 'pitched'.

This is really the only crushing point for me - mounting and adjusting the projector has taken me weeks - WEEKS - to get exactly how I want it, but admittedly I am a perfectionist and was trying to squeeze every last mm out of the screen size without distortion. In the end, the problem has more to do with the variables of/in the room, than the projector itself.

Now, to support the review and anyone considering this projector: Yes I can vouch for the review! I think brightness, sharpness and contrast are excellent, (esp for the price), colour quality is acceptable, variety of inputs is exceptional, lack of noise is better than many 1080p projectors I tested, and the fact it was 720p, (rather than 1280x800) had decent contrast ratio, and low brightness meant it must have features and a lens designed for home theatre use, not a data presentation. The review proves this is the case as it is excellent for its intended purpose: films.

My intended use of this projector was primarily films, and secondary, video games.

My requirements were:
high contrast ratio (i.e. suggesting it was designed, and had features for, film use)
native resolution/aspect of a cinema standard (eg 1280x720 rather than 1280x768, and 16:9 rather than 16:10. Also suggesting it was designed for film use)
support for HDMI input from consoles and upscaling DVD player for highest quality possible
720p preferred for cost reasons
picture correction software (keystone and/or shift, as I couldnt account for all the variables when it comes to mounting, having options is re-assuring especially as it was my first projector)

While the limits of the projector alignment meant I cannot have my 703D centred (there is a split air-con in the way!), once you successfully reposition the depth/height of the projector, and once the films start, it all works very well and you wont be concerned with minute positioning! Lucid colours jump off the screen, and excellent contrast/brightness help to keep you involved.

Id also like to make a point about the so-called 'disadvantage' of 720p, If anything, I think its anything but. Its a good way to get good home theatre without putting a dent in your wallet. So before you dismiss anything 720p, think about if dismissing 1080p is the right way for you. Mostly, it saves you a lot of money, but there are 2 other compelling reasons: First, unless you are sitting upclose, or watching on a huge screen (read 120" and above), you probably will not even know the difference. Its a bit like comparing 16-bit colour depth with 32-bit colour depth on your desktop PC. While that analogy isnt technologically sound, you get the idea: yes theres a difference, but could you point out which is which at a glance? And would you pay more for something you cant even put your finger on except in extreme circumstances?

Second, unless you are using the projector with a high definition source, you are only really serving to 'future proof' yourself by going for 1080p. What that means is, if you are watching DVDs on a standard TV and then expect to see a huge jump in quality on a 720p/1080p projector you are in for a dissapointing shock. The output can only be as good as the source - and DVD is not high-definition. Far more important, is to purchase a usually-more-expensive DVD/blu-ray player that has an excellent upscaler, and pair it with a HDMI cable to the 703D. Putting the same upscaler to a 1080p projector at a similar price and you would be VERY hard pressed to see a difference.
There are other variables, but all else equal, the difference is minimal, much less improved.
So, unless you are watching high-definition cable/terrestrial TV, or a blu-ray disc, or playing an Xbox 360, or PS3, you are not going to get much benefit from 1080p.

This does bring up a different and perhaps more relevant question though: If you are looking at the 703D in the first place, it probably means you are not looking to spend much more than it costs, and any 1080p projector at a price level close to a 720p means its almost certainly entry-level. An entry-level 1080p only has the edge in resolution over a high-level 720p. What you gain in resolution, you lose in contrast ratio, picture quality, lens quality, shift/keystone. All of those things affect 'picture' quality. r.

Ultimately, we all have different ideas of what constitutes good quality, but look on the internet to compare 5000:1 and 10000:1 contrast ratio and like me, you may be swayed that a higher contrast ratio is superior to any advatange 1080p has over 720p in resolution. Earlier, I said how the 703D's picture really draws you in, thats got a lot more to do with contrast than resolution - at least to me. Most 1080p projectors at a similar price to the BenQ have much shallower contrast ratios. I also illustrated how difficult it was to set up the projector, a 1080p with no correction would h ave made things tremendously difficult as I used keystone heavily on the first few days of setup.

Overall, a great review, of a great home theatre projector. When you consider a data projector is just slightly cheaper than the 703D, but with less inputs, high brightness, and a resolution not designed for home theatre, the 703D is the no-brainer. Good luck!


September 4, 2013, 10:55 am

Post Scriptum - although many of us have a large DVD collection, I used the money saved on the 703D rather than a 1080p to buy a 5.1 surround system with blu-ray to take advantage of the large screen and 5.1 setup for best picture quality. While my plan is to mainly use DVD, and spend on blu-rays for only my most favoured shows/films, blu rays also look great on the 703D. Yet I feel my point about 720p still holds - unless you are going for a huge size or sitting upclose, the difference between 720p and 1080p is negligible whether this is blu ray or not. The 703D is an excellent buy for home theatre use, unless you are used to high quality 1080p projectors costing twice or thrice as much or absolutely require 3D.


September 12, 2013, 8:35 pm

bought this beamer and the blacks are more like grey. Also there is a flicker on the screen. I'm using vga at the moment 1280 720 88 hz. tried all other resolutions and refresh rates but still keeps a flicker. Will try hdmi later but I'm not so happy as this review does not even mentions these two very obvious issues.

Mauro Pavesi

November 17, 2013, 3:48 pm

I would like to connect this projector directly to a cable TV receiver. The TV receiver signal comes out from a RCA cable (yellow for video, red and white for video) and on the back panel of this projector I can see a yellow video plug, but it is unusually far from the white and red audio plugs. Why? And are all these plugs on the projector "in" plugs? Again I do not understand why they didn't write it for example "Video IN".

Geoff Richards

November 17, 2013, 3:55 pm

As a projector, it's job is to take a video from a source and display it. Hence, all video connectors are "Video IN".

Be aware that RCA (the yellow video cable) does NOT support HD video. I would guess your TV Receiver is not HD or it would have HDMI rather than Component Out. So just be aware that the image quality might not be that good.

Mauro Pavesi

November 17, 2013, 4:51 pm

Thanks a lot!
I am in Kenya so there is no HD tv receiver, I believe. Not yet. But I will check. The thing is that the signal itself is not HD.
Don't you think it is odd that the audio input it so far from the yellow video input?

Geoff Richards

November 18, 2013, 1:37 pm

I haven't used this particular projector but I found the user manual PDF online. It seems those red / white RCA are in fact inputs, as you say.

Here's a couple more top tips:

1) You don't have to use the audio plus. Indeed, I expect the speaker inside the projector to be rubbish so if you're outputting video from your TV box to the projector, you can connect the audio to some speakers or even an iPod dock etc (anything with the right input)

2) RCA cables are as basic as they come. The colour coding is just to help the user. It sounds a little like you have all three as a bundle. You can usually separate the ends a little to reach, or maybe even strip them completely separately. Or just use a second cable (even if it's the wrong colour)

Good luck!

Mauro Pavesi

November 18, 2013, 3:14 pm

Thank you Geoff.
The problem is my cable TV receiver here in Kenya, I will have to buy a better one with an HDMI connection.


February 22, 2014, 10:01 am

How do i connect my sound bar direct to my projector

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