The W1070’s lamp adjustment section is more interesting than most too. For as well as the predicted Eco (low light output) and Normal modes, there’s a Smart Eco setting which is essentially a dynamic contrast system that continually adjusts the light output to suit the requirements of the image being shown.
As well as reducing power consumption to 163W on average versus the 290W used in Normal mode, it does a handy job of helping the projector achieve a better balance of black level depth and shadow detailing than you get with either of the other lamp modes.
BenQ W1070 – Impressive stability
It does this, moreover, without causing the sort of nasty distracting brightness ‘jumps’ you sometimes see with dynamic lamp systems – especially those on relatively cheap projectors. In other words, the Smart Eco mode is a very welcome addition to the spec sheet.
In fact, until we discovered this Smart Eco mode we felt a touch underwhelmed by the W1070’s pictures. Dark scenes looked more greyed over than we felt comfortable with even at the W1070’s price level, and shadow detailing was only OK.
Switching to the Smart Eco mode, though, immediately and radically improved both these picture elements, with blacks looking far more convincing, and shadow detail suddenly reaching a level that ranks as pretty exceptional for the W1070’s price level.
BenQ W1070 – Turning down the noise
After another quick adjustment we also managed to greatly improve another one of our initial issues with the BenQ W1070’s pictures: their rather high noise levels. Past experience suggested this could be an artefact of the projector’s Brilliant Colour option, and lo and behold, as soon as we turned the feature off noise levels dropped considerably, leaving images less affected by fizzing and colour sparkles.
Yes, turning off Brilliant Colour means the image’s colour saturations take a slight hit too, but actually for us this results in colours looking more natural and even-handed.
With our initial black level and noise issues largely resolved, we were suddenly able to appreciate just how much better the W1070’s pictures are than they’ve any right to be for under £700.
BenQ W1070 – Motion handling
Motion is handled surprisingly well, with seemingly no unnatural judder, minimal blurring, and we’re relieved to say, only the rarest and subtlest trace of DLP’s old fizzing noise issue as skin tones move across the image.
Contrast also looks good for most of the time. Extremely dark shots still reveal a degree of general clouding (with a fractionally green undertone using the Smart Eco mode), but this clouding is far lower than you would normally get at the sub-£700 level – not least because most projectors that cheap have been built first and foremost for the very different colour and brightness needs of the data projection market rather than the home theatre market.
BenQ W1070 – Impressive contrast
We were also impressed by the way the projector was able to combine dark and light objects within a single frame. A great example of this can be seen in the courtyard showdown towards the end of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Pt 2, where Voldemort brings Harry’s ‘dead’ body to Hogwarts. The darkness of the clothes combines startlingly well with the paleness of the faces of Harry’s school chums and the misty mountainous backdrop, delivering a picture that wouldn’t look out of place on a projector costing twice as much as the W1070.
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This scene and much darker ones like the start of chapter 12 reveal in an instant just how much better the BenQ W1070 is than its W1060 in terms of both the depth of black level and amount of shadow detail it delivers.
BenQ W1070 – Video-friendly colour
The W1070’s enhanced contrast also improves its colour response, helping it produce colours that are surprisingly punchy but also accurate, regardless of whether you’re watching a film with tricky, often low-lit skin tones like Harry Potter or Prometheus, or a dynamic cartoon like The Lorax.
It’s no surprise to find this projector boasting colour tuning that’s been matched with the HD video REC709 colour gamut. There’s also unexpectedly little banding over colour blends, or colour blotching over skin tones.