Setting the W1100 up immediately reveals a lack of any optical image shifting. But this is wholly predictable where the sub-£1000 projector market is concerned, leaving problems with trapezoid images having to be solved via a provided digital keystone adjustment that manipulates the image digitally to correct distortions. Either that or you make sure it’s correctly lined up with your wall!
Focus and zoom are handled with passable precision via two wheels around the lens accessible via a hole on the projector’s top side, and we were quite impressed to find the projector delivering a 1.5x level of optical zoom. This compares very handily and helpfully with the 1.2x zoom of the similarly priced InFocus SP8600 – a rival we’ll be coming back to in more detail later on.
Other physical set up aids include a simple drop-down leg under the front edge to aid angling the projector up onto your screen from a desktop position, while calibration tools within the decently organised and presented onscreen menus are surprisingly wide-reaching.
The highlights from our movie fan point of view are a series of gamma presets that include the 2.2 setting almost always preferable for watching films; and very fine hue, saturation and gain tweaks for the red, green, blue, cyan, magenta and yellow colour components. Tools like this used to be saved for more expensive projectors than the W1100, but they’re apparently becoming standard on budget models now too. Certainly the InFocus SP8600 offered a similar level of image customisation.
There are also a few picture tools you need to treat with kid gloves or leave well alone – especially the noise reduction and detail enhancement tools tucked within a ‘clarity control’ menu. But the fact that a projector as cheap as the W1100 in any way rewards time spent calibrating it is achievement enough for its money.
After getting quite excited by its specs, though, we have to confess to feeling just a touch disappointed with the W1100’s performance, finding it quite a bit less satisfying than that of both its W1200 sibling and, more troublingly, the similarly priced InFocus SP8600.
There are four reasons for the initial sense of disappointment. First, the W1100’s black level response is clearly less profound than that of the other two models, leaving dark areas of the picture looking greyer and less detailed. Second, the W1100’s pictures look noisier than those of the other two projectors. To be fair, the InFocus looks slightly noisier with certain colours, particularly oranges and reds. But across the picture as a whole, the W1100 is more prone to DLP’s potential fizzing noise.