Is the addition of wireless HD support enough to justify an upgrade?
What is the BenQ W1070+?Haven't we already reviewed this projector? Sort of, although we previously reviewed the W1070 and whilst this latest iteration does look very similar, it also adds some new features. The most important of which is that the models with a '+' suffix are compatible with BenQ's new wireless Full HD kit. Unfortunately this is sold separately and we weren't provided with a review sample, so we can't comment on the effectiveness of this kit, which costs around £200.
The new projector is also a bit brighter at 2,200 lumens, includes MHL support, has a slightly updated menu and an improved remote control. Otherwise its business as usual with the W1070+ being a single-chip 1080p DLP projector, that retails for around £670 (February 2015). It also supports 3D, although since we weren't provided with any glasses we couldn't test this feature either; however we did test the 3D on the W1070 and we would expect the performance to be identical.
Design & BuildThe W1070+ uses exactly the same chassis as the previous model, with a small and rather cheap lens offset to the right, The lens includes manual zoom and focus controls, along with a manual lens shift that is behind a sliding flap. The chassis is made of hardened white plastic and there is a silver brushed metal effect around the lens assembly. It measures 312 x 104 x 244mm and weighs 2.75kgs. There are vents at the sides, a speaker at the rear and a set of basic controls on the top. Overall the W1070+ is nicely designed and well built considering the price point.
The design is attractive, the build quality surprisingly good and the remote control an improvement.
Connections & ControlAt the rear are the connections and here you'll find two HDMI inputs (one of which supports MHL), a VGA connector, a component video input and a composite video input. Since there is a built-in speaker you also get 3.5mm audio in and out jacks, along with a L/R stereo input. Finally there are two USB ports (one for charging any 3D glasses and one for any service requirements), a 12V trigger and an RS232 connector for system control.
In general connecting the W1070+ was simple enough but HDMI handshaking could be a little slow and on our review sample HDMI didn't work at all. The remote control has been replaced by a much improved version that is actually quite well designed, comfortable to hold and easy to use. There were all the key buttons sensibly laid out and the remote even has a back light, which is useful and good to see at this price point.
W1070+ Features & SpecsWhen you consider the price of the W1070+, it's got a surprising number of features. From the perspective of the AV enthusiast, the inclusion of calibration controls is a welcome sight - as long as they work. There are also manual lens controls for zoom, focus and shift, which made setting up the projector very simple. We wouldn't recommend using it but, if it's important to you, there's a built-in speaker. The improved remote control is good to see, whilst the menu system remains simple and easy to navigate. There are two HDMI inputs, one of which supports MHL, although the handshaking was slow and on our sample HDMI1 couldn't detect a signal.
The BenQ supports 3D, if that's something you're interested in, but you will need to buy the active shutter glasses separately. The big selling point of the W1070+ is that it is compatible with BenQ's wireless Full HD kit. This comprises of a receiver that you attach to the projector itself, connecting one of the HDMI inputs and the USB port. You then have a transmitter that you position with your equipment and this has three HDMI inputs, allowing you to connect a total of four devices to the projector - one via HDMI2 and three via the transmitter. Although the big advantage is that you don't need to run an HDMI cable to the W1070+.
The image accuracy was mediocre and the calibration controls proved to be ineffective in places.
Picture SettingsThe W1070+ comes with a number of picture modes but Cinema proved to be the most accurate. We found that at its default brightness setting the blacks were crushed, so you'll need to move it up a tick and ease contrast off a couple to stop any clipping. The bulb is very bright so the Eco setting should suffice and helps improve the black level performance. We chose a gamma of 2.4 and left the majority of the other controls in the default settings. You can find our recommended best settings here.
Pre-CalibrationThe out-of-the-box performance was mediocre, with a reasonable level of greyscale accuracy in the drake parts of the image but a definite push towards yellow in the brighter parts of the picture. There was an excess of green and a deficit of blue from around 50 IRE and up, hence the yellowish tinge. The gamma was also average, tracking around 2.3 but clipping out at 90 IRE. The colour accuracy was in a similar vein with some large errors in green, as well as errors in the hue of cyan and magenta due to the greyscale inaccuracies. However, considering the price we've certainly seen worse and the picture looked quite good the actual viewing material.
Post-CalibrationTo our surprise the two-point what balance control didn't work properly, which was not the case on the older W1070. The offset controls for the darker part of the image (30 IRE) worked well but the gain controls for the brighter part (80 IRE) didn't work at all, so we couldn't get rid of the yellow caste in the brighter parts of the image. However we were able to improve the gamma, which now tracked our target of 2.4 quite closely.
The included CMS meant we could also improve the colour performance, with accurate luminance measurements for all the colours. The hue and saturation measurements were also improved although we were unable to remove the errors in the saturation and hue of green, an issue we have had with other cheap BenQ projectors. However, the overall performance after calibration was generally quite good, especially with normal viewing material.
BenQ W1070+ Video Review
BenQ W1070+ Picture QualitySince the W1070+ is a DLP projector it inherits all the usual strengths and weaknesses of that particular technology. So the use of a single chip means there are no alignment issues and, despite the use of a cheap plastic lens, the image is surprisingly sharp and consistent. DLP projectors are also great when it comes to motion handling and their fast response times make them effective with 3D (no crosstalk) and ideal for gaming (reduced input lag).
One of the major downsides of the technology relates to the mediocre blacks, which often results in dark grey rather than genuinely black images and also a lack of shadow detail. The other problem may or may not be an issue depending on the individual but some people see flashes of colour, sometimes called rainbows, caused by the colour wheel. Still the W1070+ is quite bright, making it good for less than ideal environments; although the fan noise can get quite loud if the bulb is set too bright.
Video ProcessingThe W1070+ performed very well in these tests, deinterlacing and scaling content effectively; and it also performed well in the cadence tests, correctly detected the 3:2 (NTSC - USA/Japan) format as well as the 2:2 (PAL - European) format. The projector also had no problems displaying mixed film material with scrolling video text and was able to reproduce the text without any shredding or blurring.
The W1070+ performed well in the tests using high definition content and with the player set to 1080i, the projector correctly deinterlaced and displayed both the video and film resolution tests and showed good scaling and filtering performance as well as good resolution enhancement. With 1080i material the projector had no difficulties in showing video text overlaid on film based material and also handled 24p content without any problems.
Motion HandlingAs mentioned, motion handling is a strength of DLP and as a result the W1070+ delivered a great performance with smooth and judder free movement and no smearing, blurring or loss of detail on pans. As you might expect, 24p content in particular had both great detail and lovely smooth motion. However, thanks to the excellent video processing, standard definition content also upscaled nicely and overall the W1070+ was quite impressive in this area.
Black Levels & Contrast RatioThis tends to be a major weakness of cheap DLP projectors and the W1070+ was no exception. The black levels were mediocre, which meant that dark scenes sometimes suffered and blacks looked more like dark grey. However, the same wasn't true of shadow detail, the parts of the image that are just above black, and here the W1070+ delivered all that we expected to see in the darker parts of our test material. Whilst not perfect, we've certainly seen worse and overall the BenQ was one of the better of the cheaper models in this area.
2D PerformanceIn general the W1070+ was able to produce some decent images and whilst the greyscale could have been better, the overall colour performance was actually quite good and at least it wasn't over-saturated. Whilst the black levels could have been better, the W1070+ certainly appeared brighter than its predecessor. The image uniformity was also quite good, so assuming you don't suffer from rainbows, the BenQ can deliver a pretty good performance for a projector that costs less than £700.
The excellent video processing meant that the BenQ handled standard definition material quite well and high definition broadcasts looked great - handy for the big match. When watching recent Blu-ray purchases like Gone Girl and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, we were pleased to see clean and detailed images that were free of unwanted noise, banding or other artefacts. Instead the projector did a great job of reproducing the high definition images that, at times, belied how cheap the W1070+ actually is.
Gaming PerformanceThis is an area where the W1070+ might be used quite a lot and its bright bulb and easy setup make it ideal for a big screen gaming session. The excellent motion handling really lends itself to gaming, allowing you to take in the backgrounds in racing games and spot more detail as you move your head around in first-person shooters. The use of a big screen certainly makes gaming more immersive and the detailed image and decent colours also add to the gaming experience; whilst with many games the mediocre blacks aren't as issue. Certainly we found the BenQ to be quite responsive with gaming, resulting in an enjoyable overall experience.
The W1070+ could deliver a decent picture for the price, with good detail and motion handling.
- Good level of detail
- Great motion handling
- Plenty of features
- Decent build quality
- Attractive price
- Black levels are mediocre
- Possible rainbow artefacts
- Default accuracy could be better
- Calibration controls ineffective
- HDMI can be flakey
BenQ W1070+ Projector Review
Should I buy one?The W1070+ is another reasonably priced single-chip 1080p DLP projector from the BenQ; with their standard design and decent level of build quality. The features are surprisingly good for a projector at this price point with calibration controls, manual lens controls, an improved remote, a built-in speaker, 3D capability and compatibility with BenQ's wireless HD kit. Unfortunately we weren't provided with either the wireless Full HD kit or any 3D glasses, making it impossible for us to test them but if you want to add either of these features, they can be bought separately with the kit costing £200.
Whilst we couldn't test the 3D, we know from testing the W1070 that the 3D performance was very good, with a bright image and no crosstalk. We would expect exactly the same performance from the W1070+ because the two are essentially the same, aside from a slightly brighter bulb on the newer version. They also both have calibration controls but unfortunately the white balance control didn't work correctly on the W1070+, meaning we couldn't get as accurate a picture on the new model. Otherwise the performance was the same, making the BenQ capable of a decent big screen image at a price that won't break the bank.
What are the alternatives?There are a number of projectors available in this price point but the obvious alternative is the previous version of the W1070. You can pick up the W1070 for around £550 and the performance is very good for the price. In addition the specifications are almost identical, whilst the calibration controls on the cheaper model, meaning it was capable of a slightly more accurate picture. So unless you really need the wireless Full HD kit, we'd recommend buying the older model and for that reason the BenQ W1070+ DLP projector just misses out on a badge.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black levels7
2D Picture Quality7
Picture Quality Out-of-the-Box6
Picture Quality Calibrated6
Ease Of Use8
Value For Money8
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