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BenQ W5700 (HT5550) 4K DLP Projector Review

Accurate SDR, great 3D and superb motion make the home cinema focussed W5700 a recommendation

by Phil Hinton
SRP: £2,399.00

What is the BenQ W5700?

The BenQ W5700 is part of the CinePrime series of single-chip DLP projectors from the manufacturer which use the latest 0.47” DMD chip from Texas Instruments. This uses a quadruple flash (pixel shift) that tricks the eye into seeing an 8.3 million pixel image on the screen. The DMD is 1920 x 1080 in resolution but by using this technique it can give you a pseudo 4K image onscreen and at a significantly lower cost than a native 4K chip.

The W5700 is designed to be used in dimly lit cinema rooms and as such it is aimed more at home cinema use than other 4K DLP projectors at this price point. It comes with a host of image quality features and boasts pre-calibration from the factory, with a printed sheet telling you what the results are in the box. Having seen a few BenQ projectors now, we can say that the sheet is the same in each box and not projector-specific. However, it is great that BenQ is taking this approach and trying to educate its customers towards accurate picture quality.

The BenQ W5700 is known as the HT5550 in North American and other markets.

At around £1000 more than its smaller stablemate the W2700, can this more home-cinema focussed model provide the image quality goods? Let’s find out.

BenQ W5700 Video Review

Design, Connections and Control

The design of the W5700 is a definite step away from its more budget office style of chassis design and is a much more home cinema oriented design. It is larger than other BenQ projectors in this market sector and feels substantial for permanent use in a cinema room. There is no built-in sound system and the construction is designed to allow ceiling mounting or adjustable table mounting. The lens is centrally mounted on a large dark coloured chassis with lens shift control dials on the top plate and focus and zoom on the lens. 

BenQ W5700

The lens itself has a super-high resolution 11-element array that is structured into six groups which BenQ say will help with sharp 4K images from the W5700 across the entire screen. To either side of the central lens are the air intakes and exhaust and they have been designed, like the lens, to reduce light spill from the chassis and reject dust. The lens shift and zoom ratios used mean that the BenQ can be positioned perfectly for the best possible image without the need for keystone correction. Keystone can destroy image quality and fine line details when used, so being able to set up the W5700 correctly is welcome. 

BenQ W5700

Around the back, we have the connections within a slightly recessed area which provides some cable management when ceiling mounted. Connections wise we have a LAN and optical digital output, a 12V trigger and IR in, a USB 3.0 media playback ready port, two HDMI 2.0b inputs that are HDCP 2.2 compatible and will take 4K 60P HDR signals, a mini USB power, RS232C port along with two further USB ports, this time 2.0 and rounding up is a 3.5mm audio jack. The power socket is to the bottom centre of the backplate and to the left side we have manual menu buttons should you lose the remote control.

 

Keystone can destroy image quality and fine line details when used, so being able to set up the W5700 correctly is welcome

The remote is a small dark-coloured plastic affair with well laid out buttons and is backlit. It is intuitive to use with the normal menu and directional keys and it sits neatly in the hand with a nice weight, even though it is plastic is construction. 

Measurements

Out of the Box

As we always do within our reviews, we measured the out of the box picture presets to find those that get as close as possible to the industry standards. The idea is that a display must get close to these standards in at least one of its picture modes so end users can see content as it was mastered and intended to be seen. 

Calibration and measurement are important for the overall assessment of the display, but we don’t only focus on the calibrated performance here at AVForums. Thankfully, BenQ is also interested in offering the end-user an accurate image out of the box and factory calibrate every W5700 projector before delivery. So just how accurate is the BenQ W5700?

BenQ W5700
Out of the Box Greyscale - Cinema Mode

Looking at the Cinema mode for SDR and the W5700 is accurate to the standards. The greyscale is very good with just a slight lack of blue and a slight green rise at the brightest end of the tracking. This, however, is not seen within onscreen film and TV content with DeltaE errors all under the visible threshold of three. Our only issue with the W5700 is the gamma tracking which is too dark at the darkest end of the scale at 10 and 20% stimulus and results in black crush within certain scenes with shadow details missing. But, overall, for a consumer DLP projector the out of the box greyscale results are very impressive.

BenQ W5700
Out of the Box Rec.709 Colour Gamut

Moving to the Rec.709 HD colour gamut and once again for a consumer DLP projector, which is traditionally weak when it comes to covering the Rec.709 colour gamut, the W5700 is not perfect, but it does manage to cover the colour gamut. There are errors visible on the chart with a green hue push and red oversaturation being the most obvious issues. However, we have to remember this is a bulb based projector and the results are very reasonable indeed. We didn’t notice any obvious colour errors when watching SDR films and TV shows and only slight green issues were visible to trained eyes. At the price point and market position of the BenQ W5700, we were impressed with the out of the box performance.

Related: What is Wide Colour Gamut?

Calibrated Results

The BenQ W5700 has ISFccc certification and picture modes available that can be accessed by a professional calibrator and locked once set up properly. However, given the controls we have access to, we did find that making inputs resulted in larger than desired changes, which made perfect set up difficult to impossible in some modes.

BenQ W5700
Calibrated Greyscale

Looking at the greyscale we were able to balance some points to improve the tracking and DeltaE errors (which were already very good out of the box), but we were unable to do anything with the gamma curve which continues to remove shadow detail and crush blacks with content. We did test with the DI switched on and off and there was no difference in results. Once again, for a consumer DLP the greyscale results are impressive with just the gamma slightly spoiling accuracy by crushing blacks in favour of an image with more pop.

BenQ W5700
Calibrated Rec.709 Colour Gamut

Moving to the Rec.709 colour gamut we were able to use the CMS to introduce some improvements without adding in any artefacts or posterisation. From 75% saturation and below we managed to hit most of the targets, improving the overall image accuracy for colour. While the 100% points are not perfect, they are less important than correct saturation at the lower luminance points where the vast majority of images are created, we rarely see 100% colour in any content.

 

... we were unable to do anything with the gamma curve which continues to remove shadow detail and crush blacks

Using the provided calibration controls it is possible to get very good accuracy for SDR images from the BenQ W5700, but we would like to see finer adjustments being possible from the controls.

HDR Results

I think it is important to manage expectations when it comes to budget projectors and HDR images. At this level of the market, it is difficult to get enough brightness to add the same type of dynamic range impact you get with LCD and OLED TV screens. Those are direct-view devices that are capable of high brightness images that can recreate the HDR intended look. A projected image is a reflective image and is always dimmer and less dynamic that TVs, which makes effective HDR images very difficult to replicate. Even expensive laser-based projector models struggle to really show HDR with bright and specular highlights. 

The BenQ W5700 is not a very bright projector and as such, it needs to be used within a dedicated cinema room with no ambient light to get the very best out of the image. Taking measurements we positioned the W5700 our usual projection distance of 13ft from our screen surface, which is a Screen Excellence Enlightor 4K. We also measured at no zoom and full zoom lengths at this distance. Peak brightness in the HDR10 picture mode was measured at 49 nits with no zoom applied and 38 nits on full zoom, which are low for HDR images. The contrast ratio figures with the dynamic iris in use were 1355:1 with no zoom and 861:1 on full zoom with 1132:1 and 687:1 respectively with the DI switched off and the wide colour gamut filter was not used.

BenQ W5700
PQ EOTF Results - HDR10 mode

As you can imagine with the above results the PQ EOTF was compromised with the lack of brightness on offer and the tracking was a gentle roll-off to retain details. Obviously, we can’t measure the dynamic tone mapping used by the BenQ for such content, but actual onscreen film content didn’t look nearly as bad as these measurements suggest, more on that in the picture section.

Related: What is tone mapping

BenQ W5700
DCI-P3 within BT.2020

Wide Colour Gamut coverage to DCI-P3 is promoted in the brochures for the W5700 as 100% but this is not the case, by some margin. Normally with such PR content, you get the 100% primary colour saturation point on a 2D graph that doesn’t show you how the image is actually displayed at the more natural 75% and below points within an image. You can see the actual measured results in our graph of the saturation points against where they should be within the P3 colour gamut and it doesn’t look pretty. Curiously, the results don’t change very much when you add in the WGC filter for the saturation points, but brightness takes a big hit. Our measurements for the 100% saturation points for BT.2020 are 58% XY and 60% UV with P3 measuring in at 90% XY and 90% UV.

BenQ W5700
BT.2020 coverage
BenQ W5700
P3 Coverage

With all of those measurements, you could rightly think that the W5700 is a disaster for HDR, but as we often state there is more to an HDR image than the peak brightness. With the BenQ the actual on-screen results are not perfect, but for the price point they are also not as bad as the results suggest and something we will cover in the performance section of the review.

Performance

We used the BenQ W5700 in our light controlled bat cave cinema room and watched a number of sources from highly compressed streaming to superb quality 4K Blu-ray discs. We tested the BenQ over a period of 6 weeks and with 60 hours on the bulb.

 

In dark surroundings like our cinema room, the BenQ is capable of producing some nicely dynamic images

While it was easy to set the W5700 up initially, it is best suited to use with a 16:9 ratio screen with black velvet edges. This should give you the best set-up-once-and-forget experience as the BenQ doesn’t have motorised lens functions. We have a 2:39:1 ratio screen on our testing room and to swap between 16:9 and 2:40:1 ratio material required a manual set up each time. Plus, the BenQ doesn’t have any masking so unless you have a black light-absorbing wall behind your screen as we do, you will see light spill above and below the scope screen as black levels are not inky black. 

Sharpness is good from the lens but we did find uniformity was hit and miss on this review sample. When focussing the centre of the screen we did notice that far edges were slightly blurry and not as crisp as the central area. This was mainly on the right side of the screen with this example. It didn’t detract from our viewing experience for the majority of our time with the W5700, but when using the menu in that position we noted soft-looking letters. 

BenQ W5700

The positioning of the BenQ W5700 will also be important due to the noise levels of the projector, which in normal lamp mode is 34db and at a pitch that can be heard a distance from the unit. We have no choice due to our testing room but to sit close to the projectors we test, but if you have scope to ceiling mount and a good distance from the seating you shouldn’t have any issue. We only really found it distracting during quiet passages in some movies.

 

Sharpness is good from the lens but we did find uniformity was hit and miss on this review sample

In dark surroundings like our cinema room, the BenQ is capable of producing some nicely dynamic images on our screen. It should be noted that we are assessing this as a £2500 single-chip DLP projector and not against our reference JVC DLA-X7900 which was three times the price when new. The W5700 has some of the drawbacks of most single-chip DLP projectors, which are black levels that are more dark grey than inky black, but the use of a Dynamic Iris (DI) does improve the performance. It is possible to see the DI in action and also hear it moving during use, but these are perhaps issues you might be prepared to live with given the performance benefits gained. We did find it a little distracting at times.

With SDR content the BenQ works at its best, with a nice sharp and detailed image that has very nice looking colours and skin tones, along with decent image dynamics and black levels. Shadow details and low-end blacks are crushed and it looks like this is a deliberate move by BenQ to produce an image with a pop to proceedings. Motion is also excellent and another strong point of DLP machines, which results in very good 24fps playback. There is a frame interpolation system on board that could be used with sports and fast-moving video content, but we found the soap opera effect (SOE) and smoothing too distracting for film content and left it switched off. But overall, as an SDR projector, the BenQ is one of the best we have seen for a while, giving its smaller brother the W2700 a run for its money.

 

… it was a pleasure to actually watch some decent 3D content for a change on a screen size that makes it immersive

Moving to HDR and we found the same issues we had encountered with the W2700. Basically there is no extra brightness available for HDR specular highlights or dynamic range, so the image looks similar to the SDR image and if you use the Wide Colour Gamut filter you lose even more brightness and don’t necessarily get the better or wider accurate colour performance. We ended up watching HDR content with the WCG filter switched off so colours were at Rec.709 and image brightness was improved. Just like the W2700 and other projectors at this price point, they are not HDR image capable, but they are compatible so you can feed them content, but the image quality is the same as SDR with no real wide colour accuracy at all. 

This might sound like a bad thing for the BenQ W5700 but just like the W2700 it actually manages to produce excellent SDR images for the price point with excellent motion and decent colour accuracy, with HDR content also looking decent thanks to the tone mapping used, but you don’t get specular highlights or dynamics that pop off the screen. Instead, the performance is watchable and of good enough quality for this segment of the market. We found it to be a pleasant enough image to watch with both HDR and SDR content and the motion was superb along with good Rec.709 colour and natural-looking skin tones. Upscaling performance was also reasonable if a little on the soft side, so you may prefer your source doing the hard work as it may be better than the BenQ.

 

... overall, as an SDR projector, the BenQ is one of the best we have seen for a while

Finally, the W5700 is 3D capable and we managed to find some glasses that worked to give it a run-through with Alita: Battle Angel on 3D Blu-ray and was surprised at how clean and colourful the image looked. It’s not the most accurate image in terms of colours, but given the restrictions of 3D from a projector, we still found it to have natural and believable colour and skin tones, with decent blacks and superb motion. There was no visible cross-talk present and it was a pleasure to actually watch some decent 3D content for a change on a screen size that makes it immersive. 

Verdict

The Good

  • Excellent Rec.709 accuracy
  • Excellent SDR greyscale performance out of the box
  • Superb motion
  • Very good 3D playback
  • Frame Interpolation and DI available for use
  • Nice design and build quality
  • Dedicated home cinema DLP machine

The Bad

  • Blacks still dark grey
  • Not an HDR projector
  • Lacks brightness especially with WCG filter in use
  • Noisy in use

BenQ W5700 4K DLP Projector Review

The BenQ W5700 is a very good single-chip DLP projector that is designed for home cinema duties. It provides an accurate SDR image which is an excellent achievement for a DLP machine since they usually struggle to produce accurate colours at this price point. It is pre-calibrated at the factory and BenQ should be congratulated for taking image accuracy seriously at this end of the market. 

HDR is a mixed bag on the BenQ W5700 in much the same way as we found with the previously reviewed W2700. Any projector at this level of the market is going to struggle with HDR content and even the more expensive units on the market cannot provide enough dynamic range and colour to produce convincing HDR images. As mentioned earlier in the review the BenQ does its best with the content but it cannot produce the 100% of DCI-P3 as claimed and we found that using the projector without the wide colour filter was a much better experience. The W5700 is also capable of 3D playback with its superb motion providing a very compelling 3D experience. Gaming is also possible but the input lag is a little high at 55ms using our Leo Bodnar tester. 

Watching SDR and HDR content in the best settings on the BenQ is a very good experience with some of the best SDR accuracy we have seen from a single-chip DLP projector. It is not the brightest unit out there and it is designed for dim rooms and home cinema use, so is not suited to ambient light or normal living rooms with white ceilings and walls. And that is the main difference between the W5700 and W2700 in general, as in most other respects they are very close to each other in performance. Which one you decide on will no doubt come down to the environment and use and there are also competing models from Epson out there which offer slightly different performance parameters and technology at similar prices. 

Overall, the BenQ W5700, while flawed like most other projectors in this sector with HDR content, does provide a decent account of itself with mixed film use in dim environments. We feel it’s worthy of a demo if you are looking for a projector at this price point for home cinema use and it comes recommended. 

Recommended

Scores

Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black levels

.
.
8

Colour Accuracy

.
.
8

Greyscale Accuracy

.
.
8

Image Uniformity

.
.
.
7

Video Processing

.
.
.
7

2D Picture Quality

.
.
8

3D Picture Quality

.
9

Picture Quality Out-of-the-Box

.
.
8

Picture Quality Calibrated

.
.
8

Features

.
.
8

Ease Of Use

.
9

Build Quality

.
.
8

Value For Money

.
.
8

Verdict

.
.
8
8
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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