Yet more good news for such an affordable projector comes with the discovery that it uses 10-bit colour processing, resulting, we would expect, in smoother colour blends and more natural tones than you would get with an 8-bit model.
While we’re talking numbers, it’s hard not to feel at least a bit impressed by the W1200’s combination of an 1,800 ANSI Lumens brightness and a claimed full on/full off contrast ratio of 5,000:1. Figures like these have the potential to deliver some real image punch.
Heading into the onscreen menus keeps the pleasant surprises coming, as we’re presented with a long and comprehensive list of picture adjustments, along with three memory banks where you can store your own post-calibration image settings. Among the calibration highlights are a full primary and secondary colour management system; a gamma adjustment; Normal and eco lamp output modes; a flesh tone adjustment; and multiple levels of intensity for the frame interpolation system.
So extensive are the W1200’s calibration tools, in fact, that the projector impressively comes with the endorsement of the independent Imaging Science Foundation (ISF), who you can pay to come round and calibrate the projector to perfectly suit your viewing environment.
With so much flexibility inside the projector, we were surprised and disappointed to find the W1200 lacking a pretty basic set-up tool: optical vertical image shifting. Most people will thus be forced to use the projector’s keystone correction to get the sides of their pictures looking completely parallel – a real issue for purists given that all keystone correction does, essentially, is digitally manipulate the image’s proportions and thereby destroy the ‘pixel by pixel’ purity many home cinema fans demand from a full HD projector. Having said all that, the W1200 has an auto keystone system that works rather well, with damaging effects from the image manipulation proving hard to detect on any sensibly sized screen.
Nevertheless, we went out of our way to ensure for this test that we managed to get the image in the right place on our screen without needing to use keystone correction. And once we’d got this sorted, the first word from our lips was ‘wow’. Swiftly followed by ‘holy crap’.
For if there’s one thing the W1200’s pictures know how to do, it’s make an entrance. Immediately, even with the lamp output set to eco, pictures don’t just pop off our reference ScreenResearch screen, they erupt off it, driven by a scintillating combination of high brightness and intensely saturated colours.
It’s the vibrancy of the colours in particular that really makes the W1200 stand out from the similarly priced crowd. Colour-rich animated sequences look almost three-dimensional colours are so intense, but even straightforward video/film sequences look way more dynamic than usual. Occasionally it has to be said that a particular hue – usually a rich red or yellow – can appear too dominant. But the pluses of the W1200’s aggressive colours comfortably outweigh the negatives, making it appear that BenQ’s ‘special’ colour wheel coating is more than just a marketing stunt.
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