BenQ W1050 1080P DLP Projector Review
Is 1080p old fashioned?
What is the BenQ W1050?The W1050 is the latest in a long line of budget priced high performance home entertainment DLP projectors from BenQ. The aim of a product like this is to appeal to a wide audience of potential users who are looking for big screen movies, games and sports from a bright and colourful projector that is portable and affordable. This product is not aimed at dedicated movie watching in a bat cave environment where image quality is the number one consideration. No this projector is aimed at occasional use for big screen gaming, sports and movies, where the screen is a white wall and the projector is stowed away afterwards in a cupboard. That’s not to say that the W1050 doesn’t deserve a permanent installation within a room or a dedicated roll down screen, just that it has to fit all these possibilities and do so for under £700.
With all that in mind we will test every facet of the W1050 and see if the images it produces are worth the outlay versus convenience and portability. While some AVForums readers will want to look elsewhere for critical big screen movie watching quality, others will probably like the idea of the occasional big screen gaming or sports session on a budget, so let’s see what the BenQ W1050 is like.
Design, Connections and ControlPortability and toughness are the name of the game with the design of the W1050 and as such it is no surprise that it has a passing resemblance to an office-based unit. The plastic lens is positioned to the far right of the front plate (looking from the front) with a plastic drop down foot to the bottom edge in the centre and the BenQ logo to the left. The hard plastic body measures in at 332.4 x 99 x 214.3 mm (W x H x D) and weighs in at 2.56Kg and the air intake and exhaust vents are on each side of the body. To the bottom of the rear plate are two plastic screws to adjust alignment of the projector to the screen and you want to do this when table mounted to avoid using the keystone correction, which affects image quality and adds artefacts. Around the back we have the connections.
Here we get two HDMI 1.4 inputs along with a PC/VGA slot and composite for video signals on the W1050’s rear plate as well as audio in and out and an RS232C control port. There is also a mini usb port but this does not accept video files. Finally we have the power socket.
Controlling the BenQ W1050 is a newly designed remote control that has the same white finish as the projector. Sadly the remote feels tacky and cheap with really small and fidgety buttons and a cluttered layout that is not intuitive or easy to follow. Given the small buttons and their proximity to all the others on the small remote it is easy to hit the wrong keys or not be able to find the right selection due to the size and hard to read lettering. Plus this new remote loses the excellent backlighting of the original BenQ remotes we have become used to over the years. Sometimes the saying is true, if it is not broken, don’t fix it.
With the race to 4K HDR, is 1080P still relevant?
Features & SpecsThe W1050 is a single chip DLP projector that is aimed at the budget market for portable viewing of big screen sports, gaming and 3D movies. It has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and has two HDMI 1.4 video inputs for use with HD sources. It’s claimed that the W1050 can cover 96% of the industry standard Rec.709 colour gamut for HD sources and does so using a 6x speed RGBRGB colour wheel. It is also claimed that it has a contrast ratio of 15,000:1 and that it has an improved black level response compared to similar projectors.
There are also three dedicated picture modes on the W1050, which BenQ claims are for use with three distinct home entertainment needs, Vivid TV, Cinema and Sports. There is also a User mode available for making calibrated adjustments. The W1050 is a short throw projector meaning that you should be able to get a 100” image from just 2.8m from the screen or wall surface. In a world that seemingly no longer wants 3D playback the BenQ bucks the recent trend, and although you will need to buy the 3D glasses separately, you can enjoy the big screen experience with the excellent motion characteristics of DLP. Brightness is key to good 3D and that shouldn’t be a problem here.
Out-of-the-Box SettingsAs always we set about finding the best out of the box settings on the BenQ W1050 and measured these with our trusty Klein K10-A colour meter, Murideo Fresco Six-G generator and CalMAN Ultimate software to see how accurate they are to the industry standard for HD video.
We used the USER picture mode and set brightness and contrast to the room conditions and screen. We then set the colour temperature at warm and gamma to 2.4, which gave us the results below.
One thing that is noticeable straight out of the box with the BenQ is the green tint to images in all picture modes, especially 3D. Looking at the tracking of the greyscale (top left) in the USER mode (which is the same as Cinema) we can see that green energy is too high from around 30ire and up. Gamma tracks low at the darkest point and starts to get close to our 2.4 target as it rises, which is slightly poor. Moving to the colour gamut and we can see that the primary points are oversaturated and there is a slight pull towards green, which has the red tracking looking good for a DLP projector, however that might change when corrected. So the out of the box results could be better and the green tint is disappointing. But we have built-in calibration controls so lets see what we can do.
Calibrated SettingsThe BenQ W1050 comes with a suite of useful calibration controls that would put some expensive TVs and projectors to shame. There are no downsides due to using these and there are no introduced artefacts as the processing is powerful enough to make the changes. So how did we get on?
MORE: Should I get my projector professionally calibrated?
Looking at the greyscale tracking (top left) we can see that after flattening the two point controls and upping the gamma setting slightly, we had an excellent greyscale track and gamma performing closer to the 2.4 dark room target. DeltaE errors were also now all below the visible threshold of 3 and more importantly the green tint was completely gone from HD images. We were very happy with the results here but it is a shame that no owners will get this projector calibrated due to the cost and as such will be at the mercy of the out of the box results.
By changing the greyscale bias towards green we have moved the colour points within the colour gamut (top right) somewhat, mainly red is now over saturated at the lower points. We used the full 3D Colour Management System in the BenQ to correct hue and saturation errors and get the image tracking as close to Rec.709 for saturation and luminance (not shown) as possible. This is a very good result for such a budget machine and shows what can be achieved these days with the correct processing and controls available.
PerformanceGoing against our usual run of tests and results in this section we decided to start with a dying breed, 3D. The BenQ produces some excellent 3D images that are mostly free from crosstalk and have a nice depth. There is still a green cast to the image as the projector uses the native lamp mode to get the most light possible out of the bulb, but this actually works with the tint in the glasses to negate the overly green look, and colours and skin tones can look surprisingly natural and accurate. Motion is also a DLP strong point and that is certainly the case here with 3D images that are free from induced judder and image sharpness is also superb. It’s a shame that manufacturers are dropping 3D from TVs and projectors as the performance from this BenQ reminds you that the experience when done right can be excellent. For the money the 3D performance alone makes the BenQ a bit of a bargain and a good choice as a temporary all round big screen display.
Moving on to gaming and the same is also true with a lag time of 33ms making the BenQ a great choice for big screen gaming. Plus if you normally suffer from the rainbow effect from DLP projectors with fast moving images, the RGBRGB x6 speed colour wheel does suppress this effect somewhat, but we would recommend you get a demo just in case it is an issue.
Images are sharp and motion is good providing a nice experience with whatever source you use with the BenQ and even HD TV and Blu-ray looks superb. Used in the type of environment this projector is aimed at – white walls and ceiling with light spill on the screen – the BenQ is bright and colourful enough to not look overly washed out. Only the black levels and lack of any shadow detail disappoint slightly, but in such surroundings we doubt anyone will be complaining too much. As an all rounder this is a great little projector with bags of uses and very few downsides if used as intended. However this is not a home cinema projector for critical movie viewing and using it in a dedicated room with a good quality screen will show up the limitations of its image quality very quickly. But that’s not what it is designed for and the manufacturer doesn’t make any fancy claims that it does either. So as an all rounder we are happy with the level of performance given the value for money you get for such a portable unit.
- Good value for money
- Decent image quality when calibrated
- Very good 3D images
- Effective calibration controls and video processing
- Weak black levels and shadow detail
- Not that accurate out of the box
- Overly green image bias out of the box and with 3D content
- Noisy even in eco mode
BenQ W1050 1080P DLP Projector ReviewAs we state above this is not a home cinema projector for critical viewing in a dedicated room. So if that is what you are looking for you need to look elsewhere. What the BenQ sets out to do is be an all round home entertainment machine that will be portable and used for the occasional big screen event, be that gaming, sports or 3D movies. Used in its intended environment of white walls and ceilings, it is bright and colourful enough to provide many hours of big screen fun. Blacks are poor and shadow details are non-existent but that is irrelevant in such a room with an already raised black floor. Plus this is a noisy projector with fan noise at close to 31db in the eco mode, but it also has a frequency that is annoying. So make sure the soundtrack to whatever you are watching is also loud to mask it out if the projector is close to the seating position.
What the W1050 offers is superb 3D movie playback with good colour accuracy and excellent motion. It also offers that big screen music or sporting event projected against a white wall during a party. Or some snappy big screen gaming with your mates with decent lag input and sharp colourful images.
With all that taken into account and tested as it is marketed the BenQ W1050 does everything it boasts it can do, and is certainly value for money in doing so. If you’re looking for that home entertainment all rounder with decent image quality and portability we can safely recommend you check out the W1050.
MORE: Projector Reviews
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black levels7
2D Picture Quality8
3D Picture Quality8
Picture Quality Out-of-the-Box6
Picture Quality Calibrated8
Ease Of Use8
Value For Money8
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