BenQ would have us forget LCD or plasma TVs - projectors is where it's at.
While I may have jumped the gun with BenQ’s recent TV release I can rest assured that the latest projectors to be announced by that same company are definitely going to see a UK release. Three “aggressively priced” HD pieces named the W500, W9000 and W10000 are imminently up for grabs at your favourite retailer.
Starting with the cheapest, the W500 (below) offers 720p (and 1080i) playback, a 5000:1 contrast ratio and what BenQ calls Hollywood Quality Video processing – we’ll have to take BenQ’s word for that until we see one. Using 3LCD technology and some sophisticated sounding filtering to remove image ghosting, the W500 will set you back about £700, for which you could get a 42in 720p plasma, like the Samsung PS42Q97HDX that swiped one of our coveted Recommended awards. Of course if you have the wall space (and some decent blackout curtains) you’ll get a vastly bigger picture of (arguably) similar quality from a projector for the same money. Connectivity comes from a single HDMI port, two component inputs, a VGA connector, S-Video and composite.
Next up the scale, the W9000 (again, below) is a full 1080p DLP specimen sporting 10-bit colour processing, an 8500:1 contrast ratio and ISF calibration and, importantly to some, supports the 1080p 24Hz standard. At £2,499 it’s certainly not cheap, but when you consider the potential screen size is up to 300in the comparison to a plasma or LCD doesn’t really seem appropriate. Connectivity is the same as the W500, but additional functionality is offered by picture in picture support.
A slight step up from the W9000, the W10000 is pretty much the same basic package, but with a higher, 10000:1, contrast ratio, more sophisticated image processing and a £4,499 price tag. All three models sound promising, but inevitably we’ll have to wait until BenQ allow us to get our hands on one (or all) of them to give you a definitive opinion (I’ve already got one on the way – ed.).
BenQ press release