BenQ W1060 Full HD 1080p DLP Projector Review

A 1080p projector for less than 700 pounds, is it possible?

Home AV Review

7

BenQ W1060 Full HD 1080p DLP Projector Review
SRP: £699.00

Introduction

We've covered a lot of budget projectors recently and it's surprising the kind of performance you can get for the £2,000-3,000 mark. But what if your budget doesn't stretch to that price point? Well there are an increasing number of very low priced projectors, usually made by the big data grade projector manufacturers such as Epson and BenQ. These companies can take full advantage of the economies of scale on offer to them and whilst some corners might be cut, they do offer big screen projection at a price that is affordable to most people. The BenQ W1060, for example, is a 1080p single-chip DLP projector that can be picked up for less than £700, offering the promise of a cinema in your lounge for less than the price of a mid-range TV. Is the BenQ W1060 too good to be true? Let's find out...

Design and Connections

BenQ's background in data grade projectors is fairly obvious when you look at the W1060, with its two-tone gloss white and dark grey finish familiar from many a classroom or boardroom. However BenQ have also tried to cater for the home cinema market with a solid plastic chassis and a design that combines both angles and curves. The result is a projector that certainly wouldn't look out of place in a living room and despite its small size it feels weighty with a well-built construction. In terms of dimensions, it measures 330 x 247 x 150mm and it weighs 3.6kgs. There is a large intake vent on the front left, with an exhaust port on the right hand side of the chassis and a built-in speaker on the left, betraying the W1060's data grade heritage. On the top of the chassis there are some basic controls in case you lose the remote control.

BenQ W1060

The lens is offset to the right and is quite small and cheap but then at this price point you really couldn't expect anything else. There are lens controls directly above the light path assembly and as is often the case with DLP projectors, these are fairly limited. There are only controls for zoom and focus, so whilst the diminutive dimensions make installation easy enough, where you position the projector is important. The W1060 also has quite a long throw ratio, so to get a big image you will need a reasonably big room. There is a foot at the front that can be used to angle the projector upwards and there are two feet at the rear that can be used angle it down slightly or level the chassis. However if you do angle the projector, don't be tempted to use keystone adjustment as the scaling will rob the image of detail.

BenQ W1060

All the connections are at the rear and it's a fairly standard selection for a modern projector - there are two HDMI inputs, a VGA connector, a component video input, an S-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 is a mini-USB port and an RS232 connector for system control, along with a three-pin power connector.

The W1060 comes with a fairly standard black plastic remote control that is quite large and heavy but comfortable to hold and easy to use. The remote includes a backlight and the buttons are sensibly laid out, allowing you to turn the W1060 on and off, select inputs, user memories, control basic picture features and adjust the volume of the built-in speaker.

Menus and Setup

The BenQ W1060 has a simple but reasonably informative menu system that is composed of six basic pages - Picture: Basic, Picture: Advanced, Display, System Setup: Basic, System Setup: Advanced and Information. The screens of interest to us are the first two - Picture: Basic and Picture: Advanced. There are seven predefined Picture Modes in the Basic menu page - Bright, Living Room, Gaming, Cinema and User 1-3. There is also what BenQ call the Reference Mode - Bright, Living Room, Gaming and Cinema - which provide a starting point that can be fine-tuned in the User Picture Modes. There are also all the standard picture controls such as Brightness, Contrast, Colour, Tint, Sharpness and Flesh Tone. In terms of aspect ratio, if the majority of your viewing content is high definition then choose Real, which is BenQ's name for their pixel mapping mode.

BenQ W1060
BenQ W1060

In the Advanced menu page, there is the Clarity Control sub-menu that includes the noise reduction and detail enhancement (sharpening) features. There is also a Gamma Selection, ranging from 1.6 to 2.8 and a Colour Temperature with a choice of Lamp Native, Warmer, Warm, Normal, Cool and Cooler. There is the option to fine tune the colour temperature using either a two-point White Balance control or the C. T. Control that allows you to move the entire colour up or down. There are features such as Brilliant Colour and White Peaking and you can also select the Video Format, the Film Mode or the Comb Filter. Finally there is a Colour Management System (CMS) with control over the Hue (tint), Saturation (colour) and Gain (luminance or brightness) of all three primary colours and all three secondary colours.

Features

The BenQ W1060 uses a single-chip DLP configuration with a 3x colour wheel and a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The W1060 has a reasonably bright bulb that is rated at 2,000 ANSI lumens, which is unsurprising given BenQ's background in data projection. BenQ also claim a 5,000:1 contrast ratio, although that seems unlikely given our previous experience with cheap DLP projectors. Thanks to BenQ's cooling technology, the W1060 claims a lamp life of 6,000 hours in Eco Mode, which is twice the norm and it is very quick to cool down when turned off. Once again these features stem from BenQ's experience in data projectors, which tend to be left on for long periods of time and get turned on and off a lot. For similar reasons, the W1060 is small and easily portable, comes with a carry case and includes a built-in speaker.

Out-of-the-Box Measurements

The BenQ W1060 has a number of preset Picture Modes, of which Cinema is the most accurate. However in the preset Picture Modes, you can't change any of the other controls so instead we chose User 1 and selected the Cinema Picture Reference. We then optimised the Brightness and Contrast controls for our viewing environment, left Colour and Tint at their defaults and set Sharpness and Flesh Tone to zero. We needed to drop the Contrast down by 8 notches in order to stop the W1060 from clipping white and the three primary colours we also needed to leave Brilliant Colour on. We chose a Gamma of 2.4, although that actually measured at 2.2 which is our target for the gamma curve.

BenQ W1060

As the graph above shows, the greyscale is actually quite good for an out-of-the-box setting, with DeltaEs (errors) that are measuring between 1 and 8. Whilst some of these errors are above the threshold of 3, they didn't really impact on the overall image and aside from a slight green tinge a stair step pattern looked reasonably good. The gamma performance was also very good, with the W1060 hitting the target of 2.2 very closely.

BenQ W1060

The colour performance wasn't as good, with the overall gamut being under-saturated, that is within the triangle that represents Rec.709. The luminance (or brightness) of the colours were also lower than they should be, so the W1060 was unusual in having an under-saturated and rather restrained colour gamut. It does make a change from the over-saturated colours found on some projectors and we assume it's a result of the colour wheel. Green is also very skewed towards yellow, giving greens a yellow tinge, which again we assume is a function of the colour wheel. Although the W1060 includes a Colour Management System (CMS), since the native colour gamut is under-saturated, you can't really fix this with the CMS because it can't add what isn't there.

Calibrated Measurements

For the calibrated measurements we used the two-point white balance control to adjust the greyscale and tried to improve the colour gamut as best we could.

BenQ W1060

Thanks to the two-point white balance control, the W1060 is capable of a reference greyscale performance. The errors are all less than 3 and most less than 1 and the colour temperature of white is hitting D65 exactly. As a result the transition from black to white is even, with no discolouration in the grey bars on a stair step pattern. Gamma is also tracking the target of 2.2 as before.

BenQ W1060

As we mentioned in the previous section, the inclusion of a CMS doesn't help with an under-saturated colour gamut. As a result there was very little we could do to improve the performance and in fact we found that the CMS was actually rather ineffectual. However aside from the yellow tinge to green, the overall colour performance in actual material wasn't too bad and in fact we preferred an under-saturated image to an over-saturated one.

Video Processing

The video processing in the W1060 was reasonably good and it correctly scaled the full 576i and 480i images without any loss of detail or unwanted ringing. Unfortunately it failed to correctly detect 2:2 (PAL - European) cadence but it had no problems with the test displaying film material with scrolling video text, which was always clearly readable without any shredding. The W1060 was also good in the tests using high definition content and with the player set to 1080i it 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 W1060 had no difficulties in showing video text overlaid on film based material and also handled 24p content without any problems.

Picture Performance

So what kind of picture does £700 buy you? Well in all honesty, a pretty good one all things considered and one that certainly belies its ultra-budget status. The use of a single-chip DLP configuration means that despite its small and cheap lens, the images produced by the W1060 appeared sharp and fine detail was actually quite good. Of course the use of a colour wheel, and a rather slow one at that, means plenty of rainbows for those that suffer from them. It also means that between the colour wheel and the extensive cooling, the W1060 is quite noisy when in operation, which will be noticed during quieter moments.

However, on the plus side, it is very bright which means it can be used in less than ideal environments such as the average white-walled living room. Whilst in a blacked out room the image initially appeared be a bit too bright, this could be mitigated with careful setup and the result was a surprisingly effective performance with bright scenes. Due to the nature of DLP, which tends to have a reasonable dynamic range when dealing with dark and light elements in the same image, the W1060 managed to mask some rather poor blacks in these brighter scenes. However once we watched a dark scene, the poor blacks were immediately obvious and in fact blacks were actually grey.

As a result day time scenes in The Dark Knight Rises looked quite good but night time scenes suffered from washed out blacks and limited shadow detail. There was also some noise in the image when you looked at the picture up close and in dark scenes the rainbow artefacts were exacerbated. On the plus side the accurate greyscale certainly helped with the image performance, whilst the colours looked reasonable, if a little under saturated. As you would expect with a DLP projector, the motion handling was very good and with 24p content the W1060 delivered lovely judder free images. The reasonably good video processing also meant that standard definition content looked very watchable.

There's no denying the appeal of the W1060's attractive price, especially if you're on a tight budget and in fact the W1060 would work very well for someone who wanted to use a projector for watching TV or playing games. Under these circumstances, the projector's strengths such as its bright picture and long bulb life are a definite advantage. However for critical film watching, the disadvantages such as the poor blacks, the rainbow artefacts and noise of the fans and colour wheel mean there are probably better choices.

Verdict

7
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

Pros

  • Reference greyscale after calibration
  • Excellent motion handling
  • Good video processing
  • Bright images
  • Long bulb life
  • Price

Cons

  • Poor blacks
  • Limited shadow detail
  • Some noise in the image
  • Rainbow artefacts
  • Undersaturated colours
  • Lack of 2:2 cadence detection
  • Fans and colour wheel are noisy

BenQ W1060 Full HD 1080p DLP Projector Review

The BenQ W1060 has a look that's a cross between a data grade projector and a more traditional home cinema projector. As a result the design uses a two-tone combination of gloss white and dark grey with curved and angular edges and a chassis made of hardened plastic. The off-centre lens uses a fairly cheap piece of 'glass' and, as is often the case with DLP projectors, there are limited lens controls so correct position is essential. The W1060 also has a long throw and limited zoom, so if you want a big screen image, you'll need a big room. There are a standard set of connections at the rear, a simple but effective remote and a clearly laid out menu system.

The W1060 is capable of delivering a reference greyscale after calibration, which provides the image with an excellent base and the video processing is also good (except for a lack of 2:2 cadence detection), delivering very nice images from standard and high definition content. As we'd expect with a DLP projector, the motion handling is impressive with 24p content in particular being delivered without any judder or unwanted artefacts. The W1060 is capable of a bright image that means it would work well in a white-walled living room and its long life bulb means that it is well suited to watching TV and gaming. The W1060 could deliver bright and detailed images with lighter scenes and the blacks in these scenes appeared reasonable.

However, in darker scenes the limitations of the blacks became very apparent, in fact they weren't black but grey. This meant that these darker scenes were robbed of impact and shadow detail was definitely lacking. There was also some video noise in these darker scenes which could be seen when close to the screen. The use of a relatively slow colour wheel also meant that there were plenty of rainbow artefacts which were especially visible in the darker scenes and the combination of the fans and the wheel meant the W1060 was quite noisy in operation. Finally, despite the accurate greyscale, the colour gamut was under-saturated and could not be corrected with the Colour Management System (CMS).

There's no denying the appeal of the BenQ W1060's attractive price, especially if you're on a tight budget and in fact it would work very well for someone who wanted to use a projector for watching TV or playing games. Under these circumstances, the projector's strengths such as its bright picture and long bulb life are a definite advantage. However for critical film watching, its disadvantages such as the poor blacks, the rainbow artefacts and the noise of the fans and colour wheel mean there are probably better choices.

Scores

3D Picture Quality

10

Features

.
.
.
7

Ease Of Use

.
.
8

Build Quality

.
.
.
.
6

Value For Money

.
.
8

Verdict

.
.
.
7

2D Picture Quality

.
.
8

Video Processing

.
.
8

Image Uniformity

.
.
8

Greyscale Accuracy

10

Colour Accuracy

.
.
8

Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black levels

.
.
.
7
7
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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