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BenQ W6000 Full HD DLP Projector Review

Phil spends the week with a super bright DLP from BenQ and gets a sun tan.

by Phil Hinton
Home AV Review

3

BenQ W6000 Full HD DLP Projector Review
SRP: £2,500.00

Introduction

Ok, so the tag line is maybe a little misleading, but there is no denying that this new DLP projector from BenQ is a light cannon! It’s certainly been a while since the company announced a new model with the W5000 having been around for at least two years, now. So the W6000 looks to add in some improvements, along with up to date features, so it can compete in the £3k and under price category. It has a tough fight on its hands, with some excellent models already available from the likes of Panasonic, Epson, Optoma and Mitsubishi. So how does the BenQ W6000 measure up?

Styling

BenQ W6000

The design of the W6000 chassis is definitely a 'love it or hate it', 'Marmite' statement. Its all plastic body is black in colour with a large silver BenQ logo on the rear top plate. The lens is positioned in a central mount on the front face plate and is silver plastic, looking rather cheap, in my opinion. This is an all manual implementation of lens focus and zoom, with a black joystick to the right hand side for lens shift adjustments. Should you lose the remote control, there are access keys to the top of the unit, which I was forced to use for the first few days of testing due to there being no remote control in the sample box. The keys on the unit are easy to use and responsive. Finally there is an air intake to the right hand side of the chassis, and to the front left is the exhaust port. Overall, the design of the W6000 is imposing and industrial which some will love and others will want to hide away in a dark projection room.

BenQ W6000

Moving to the rear of the chassis and we find a plethora of connections available. Here you will find two HDMI 1.3 slots, one component, one PC RGB connector along with legacy composite and S-video slots. For automated systems you have one 12v trigger and an RS232C control port. Also present is a mini USB connector which is used for servicing and is not for consumer use. Finally the power connector rounds up the back panel. For a mid priced projector, the connections available will be enough for the most demanding of installations, and the inclusion of a 12v trigger at this price point is welcomed.

BenQ W6000

Looking at the optical light path next, and this DLP projector has a six-segment colour wheel which also takes advantage of Texas Instruments BrilliantColour technology, along with control over the 280w UHP lamp from Philips Vidi lamp technology. The Philips technology is designed to boost the Red and Blue light spectrum to offer a brighter and more colour consistent image. Usually, with UHP lamps, the red energy is lower than that of Green and Blue wavelengths, which can mean that when calibrating, the light output is reduced as you dial down the Blue and Green elements to meet up with Red wavelengths. We will test this and measure the spectrum later in the review.

Some of the more advanced users will have picked up on the fact that the W6000 uses a 280W UHP lamp. This is quite a powerful and rare thing to find is such a budget model, the usual lamp ratings for home cinema projectors are around a maximum of 200w. The lamp life is quoted at 3,000 hours in eco mode and 2,000 hours in normal settings. The lens system used in the W6000 is not specified but close inspection reveals that it is a high enough quality of glass at this price point and it certainly produces a sharp and easy to focus image, with a throw ratio of around 1.5:1, we managed to produce a 96 inch 16:9 image easily from around 12ft back. The unit also has a dedicated picture stretch mode for use with an external anamorphic lens for a constant image height set up.

Picture processing on the W6000 is provided by a Hollywood Quality Video (HQV) processor for scaling and de-interlacing of all the common source resolutions. This is also complemented with a 10 bit colour processor which helps assist 8 bit images to produce finer gradation of colours with less noticeable banding. We will fully assess the video performance later in the review.

Menus and Set up

Moving to the menu system and you are given plenty of control over the set up of the projector and its image quality. Most surprising to see here at the price point is a (password hidden) full ISFccc menu system and TI’s CCA Colour management control. BenQ's competitors are catching up by adding in their own calibration controls for greyscale and colour management, but only BenQ and one other manufacturer, Epson, offer a full ISFccc system at this price level. However to take full advantage of these controls will require a professional calibration to access the hidden menus.

BenQ W6000

For those not taking the full ISF route the W6000 offers the usual mix of picture presets out of the box, with some looking very odd indeed. All of the provided picture presets will require the user to do a basic set up of the controls using a test disc such as Digital Video Essentials or, if needs must, the THX Optimode patterns on most certified DVDs. This should get users a slightly better out of the box image using the main front panel controls (Brightness, Contrast, Colour, Sharpness). Users not entering the ISF menus are also given full white balance controls for correction of the greyscale, provided you have a suitable meter and software. Lastly there is also a basic colour management system in the user menus, but this is flawed and no matter how often I tried to get good results, this feature appears to be nothing more than a marketing item and not a fully functioning control.

BenQ W6000

Moving to the advanced menu and you can select between 0ire or 7.5 ire video black levels, an advanced sharpness control called ‘clarity control’, a basic Gamma adjustment tool, a selection of colour temperature modes (including user), plus a number of selection to switch items such as BrilliantColor, Dynamic Black and Film mode on or off.

BenQ W6000

Should you hire an ISF professional (or you have learnt advanced calibration and have the tools at your disposal) you then have the hidden ISF menu. Choosing this menu greys out all the picture quality controls on the user menu, but offers adjustments within the ISFccc system. This allows complete set up within the menu system which can then be locked once you are happy with the results. You can save your results to either the ISF Day or Night presets. This means that your hard work, or paid for calibration cannot be interfered with by kids playing with the remote control.

BenQ W6000

The feature that surprised me the most was the CCA colour management tool. Basically you measure the colour gamut in User mode and then enter the x,y,Y co-ordinates into the measured fields from the primary and secondary colour points. (Co-ordinates are the point in 3d space where your primary and secondary colours should be for HD and Pal picture standards, this allows for incredible colour accuracy on a system that works correctly). Once you have entered your measured points, you then enter your desired co-ordinates, in our case Rec.709 for SD Pal and HD playback. The CCA system then automatically adjusts the colour points to your desired points. Sounds great and in practice it worked ok. But there is nothing you can do to fix the colour accuracy if the native colour gamut of the projector doesn’t reach the standards. More on that in a jiffy.

Measured Results Out of the Box

As is now common with our projector reviews, we look at the spectral scan of the light source to see how the lamp is set up and what wavelengths it offers for colour purity and brightness.

BenQ W6000

As you can see from the resulting scan the results are fairly good with a dip in the green wavelength being the only real issue. This will come back again when we measure the actual gamut on offer. Blue brightness and wavelength results, along with a stronger than normal Red wavelength, point to the Philips Vidi technology helping with these areas. So moving on to measuring the best picture preset (cinema) out of the box which has had just a basic set up of the front controls produces the following results.

BenQ W6000

Looking at the greyscale results first (RGB Level tracking, RGB Color Balance and the delta E boxes) we can see that the cinema preset with colour temperature warm produces the closest possible results to the standards. What we are looking at is the mixture of red, green and blue colours which if mixed equally at a given point, they make up the colour white. The greyscale is the colour white with luminance (brightness) removed in 10% steps from 100% to 0%. This should provide a table where the mixture of the colours are correct and there is no colour shift in the greyscale points.

As we can see with the results highlighted above, blue is quite high in the mix, with green and red around 5% under in the mix. This means that the greyscale has a very blue look and colour shift, which produces a bright image on screen, but one which is going to have a blue cast to it. Ideally the tracking lines should merge and delta E errors should be under 2 for a perfect greyscale performance. With these results the brightness factor has been pushed by the manufacturer over an accurate greyscale. We also check the gamma performance at this stage and can see that across the range of the greyscale it is mirroring the greyscale dominance of blue being too bright and we don’t quite have an accurate gamma curve to our desired 2.2 point.

BenQ W6000

Moving to the colour gamut and we see that the projector is not quite capable of producing the Rec.709 standard we need for accurate colours with Pal and HD material. Looking at the CIE chart you can see the solid lined triangle which represents the colour gamut of Rec.709 and where the colours should land within that. Plus we can see what the luminance (brightness) of these colours should also be. The dotted line and black dots represent the native colour gamut of the projector and as we can see it is not capable of reaching the desired points, especially on green. This also points back to our spectral scan where green energy was cut.

The results here show that Red is oversaturated and also has hue errors. Luminance for Red is also a little higher than we would want. This points to red on screen being over saturated and brighter than we want. Blue is also pushed for hue errors and although saturation appears to have fewer errors, the luminance of blue is high. Again these errors will be seen on screen. The major issue with our gamut is the green colour point which cannot match the desired co-ordinates and there is nothing we can do to fix this; as you cannot add in what is not there natively. With both these results we can see that there will be a blue cast to the image overall, with primary colours of red and blue oversaturated and the wrong hue and green lacking. So, what can we fix within the image given we have full ISFccc controls?

Calibrated Results

Using the controls available in the ISF menu we were able to fine tune the picture results and get towards a more accurate image for greyscale and colour points.

BenQ W6000

Looking at the greyscale first you can see that we have now fixed the mix of red, green and blue towards the correct amounts and that our errors (Delta E) are now under 1.2 across the board. This means that what small errors are there, we will not be able to see with the eye. Our Gamma performance is also now well balanced and hits the 2.2 points across the majority of the scale. The slight dips are caused by the brightness and contrast settings we have decided on. This means that the images on screen should now be without any colour shifting or casts and produce an image that now has some added detail in the white and black areas.

BenQ W6000

Moving to the colour gamut and we were able to correct the red oversaturation and hue errors as well as fix the luminance of the colour points to produce smaller errors that will be visible. This is more important than getting just the colour saturation and hue bang on. The colour performance is now more balanced and although there are things we just cannot fix, like a blue oversaturation and the lacking green point, on screen performance should be improved over the out of the box results. However, even though the projector has full ISFccc controls we cannot get the W6000 performance as accurate as we would like, which is a shame.

Video Processing

The HQV processor included with the W6000 is an excellent all-round performer which didn’t cause us any major problems during testing. For standard definition material the scaling and de-interlacing was good with no obvious jaggies or artefacts. Cadence detection was also of good quality with 2:2 and 3:2 locking on within a second in all cases. With HD material 24fps material was handled correctly with frame doubling applied. Judder was almost a non issue and there was no false contouring or edge sharpness being added unnecessarily. The 10 bit processing of colour was also very good with no obvious signs of banding or added artefacts. So overall the video processing performed very well in all our usual tests and passed the most important hurdles without adding in any artefacts or other issues. The W6000 doesn’t have any frame interpolation technology onboard.

Picture Quality

The first thing to mention with a single chip DLP projector is the common ‘Rainbow’ effect which some users will see and others don't. This is caused by the DLP chip and the effects of the colour wheel working in such a way that you will occasionally see multi coloured flashes of light around objects such as a white box against a black background, or fast moving objects on screen. I am quite susceptible to seeing this effect and on the W6000 I did see it now and again. This didn’t ruin my viewing experience or cause me to feel ill as the occurrences were not too common. Our advice would always be to check if you see these issues during a demo.

BenQ W6000

The other point that is the most striking with the W6000 is the brightness of the image, even when calibrated. This projector would certainly suit users who wanted to go for large screen sizes over 110” or to use the projector in a less than perfect light controlled room (with appropriate screen selection for the environment). While this brightness on offer is a positive in most respects, the resulting black level is not as ideal. Whilst the image is bright and when calibrated it can have a good amount of depth in bright scenes, the actual black level and shadow detail available is not comparable with the class leaders in this price range. Using the dynamic iris doesn’t really improve matters either as it is not the fastest we have seen, and it robs the image of a consistent luminance level. In mixed content scenes where we have blacks against brighter objects the W6000 lacks the kind of image depth across the range that we are used to seeing with units like the PT-AE4000. However, the competition would also struggle to match the W6000 for its brightness and depth with daylight scenes or animation content. So, we get a mixed performance from the projector in both out of the box and calibrated settings.

BenQ W6000

Out of the box, care must be taken in image set up as the presets on offer are not the best we have seen, with a strong blue cast to images and colours that can look too oversaturated. Indeed one surprise I found was the amount of image noise visible in most presets using out of the box settings. This is somewhat curtailed when correctly calibrated to the standards but even then, colour performance is best described as abstract! Gradation and banding are not issues thanks to the projector's 10 bit processing, but no matter how hard I tried, colour accuracy was just a tad over the top, especially with some skin tones. Overall, the W6000 offered just too many negatives within its on screen images to satisfy those looking for image accuracy and strong black levels.

Verdict

7
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

Pros

  • Excellent brightness levels for large screens
  • ISFccc control added as standardEasy to use remote control and features
  • Excellent greyscale when calibrated correctly
  • Vivid colours and image brightness for those looking at a gaming projector
  • Good quality scaling and de-interlacing
  • Good quality 10 bit colour processing eliminates banding

Cons

  • Colour inaccuracies on screen and inaccurate skin tones out of the box
  • Black levels are lacking against the competition
  • Lack of dynamic range in the lower reaches, with a lack of shadow detail
  • Noisy fan and iris
  • Not the most cinematic or accurate of images even after calibration

BenQ W6000 Full HD DLP Projector Review

It’s clear that the W6000 offers the type of image and performance for a larger than normal screen size and an image where colours don’t quite have the nuances and delicate hue changes of the very best in this price range. In the more extreme cases skin tones and general colour fidelity can look odd and out of tone from what we expect in an accurate image. Black level performance is bettered by the competition out there at this price point and ultimate image depth during scenes like Chapter 48 of Kong on Blu-ray where shadow details are important; just lack that cinematic look due to its raised black and lack of dynamic range. The better projectors in this class manage to offer more dynamic range and depth where needed. However, this sucker is also super bright and if you want something for watching sports on a huge screen or use it in a less than ideal room, the W6000 has its strongest merits here. Those not looking for absolute colour and greyscale accuracy or wanting a super large screen gaming experience will be impressed with the brightness and punch on offer.

The W6000 is also not the quietest projector out there either with a running noise floor that is at least 10db louder than most projectors we have tested recently. Plus the colour wheel and iris are also not quiet in their operation with an occasional metallic grinding noise heard now and again.

Overall, I think that film and TV fans looking for the best cinematic and accurate images available can look elsewhere, such as the Panasonic or Epson ranges at this price point. I didn't feel it was necessary to add any comparison to our reference HD950 as the price difference alone makes that a moot point. So, it’s a very mixed bag in the end for the BenQ. That’s not to say that this projector doesn’t have any merits in image quality and of course brightness. Rather it struggles to offer an image that has the type of subtle colour tones and black depth that the very best in it's class manage to produce.

Scores

3D Picture Quality

.
.
.
7

Features

.
.
.
7

Ease Of Use

.
.
.
7

Build Quality

.
.
.
7

Value For Money

.
.
.
.
.
5

Verdict

.
.
.
7
7
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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