BenQ W750 HD Ready 3D DLP Projector Review

Triple flash for less than �?�£600, where's the catch?

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BenQ W750 HD Ready 3D DLP Projector Review
SRP: £589.00

Introduction

BenQ have made quite a niche for themselves in the projector market, producing a series of budget machines that deliver surprisingly good images and a decent set of features considering their price. Now the manufacturer has launched their new W750 projector that, whilst using a 720p DLP chip, manages to incorporate some handy calibration features at a very attractive price. However, more importantly, the W750 is a 3D projector that uses 'triple flash', which refreshes each lens in the 3D glasses 72 times a second, rather than the normal 48, with 24p content. This feature takes advantage of DLP's inherent strengths and should result in a superior 3D performance with no flicker or crosstalk. The only other projector we've reviewed to date that included 'triple flash' was Sim2's £33,000 3D-S, so it's inclusion on the W750 at a price of less than £600 represents something of a breakthrough. Is it too good to be true or does the BenQ W750 represent a new level of performance and value when it comes to 3D? Let's find out...

Design and Connections

BenQ W750

It's business as usual in the looks department, with the W750 sporting the same basic design as many of BenQ's other projectors. It uses a two-tone chassis with compact size and a reasonable level of build quality. In terms of dimensions, it measures 325 x 141 x 242mm and it weighs 2.6kgs. There is a large exhaust vent on the front left, with an intake grille on the right hand side of the chassis and a built-in speaker. As is often the case with budget projectors there is also quite a lot of light spill through the exhaust vents and the W750 is fairly noisy, especially in Normal mode. There is an access panel at the top for changing the lamp and a detachable lens cap to keep out the dust.

BenQ W750

The rather small and cheap lens is offset to the right and there are manual zoom and focus rotary controls which can be accessed from the top of the chassis. The W750 has a limited amount of optical zoom and has clearly been designed for use in smaller rooms, which makes sense. There is a foot at the front that can be used to angle the projector upwards and one at the right rear that can be used to angle it down slightly or level the chassis. At the top rear of the chassis there is a basic control panel, just in case you lose the remote control, which given its size is quite likely.

BenQ W750

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, a composite video input and unusually these days a S-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. We found that the W750 could be a little slow at HDMI handshaking but it didn't have any problems locating all the attached devices.

BenQ W750

The W750 comes with BenQ's rinky-dink remote that is not only too small to easily use but suffers from an unintuitive button layout. For example, the Menu button is at the top left hand corner above the navigation buttons, whilst the button for blanking the screen is at the bottom left hand corner. So not only was the menu button hard to locate when setting the W750 up but we often found ourselves blanking the screen by accident. There is also no backlight, making the remote even harder to use in the dark. Definitely time for a rethink BenQ.

BenQ W750

BenQ's 3D glasses have had a redesign, presumably to accommodate the addition of 'triple flash', and they're all the better for it. Gone are the enormous and rather heavy 'welder's goggles', replaced by a far more elegant and lightweight design. The new glasses fit comfortably over prescription spectacles and the lenses offer a reasonably wide field of view. They are rechargeable via USB and there's a small button on the left hand side to turn them on. We had no trouble syncing them to the infrared signal from the W750 and the connection was robust with no loss of signal. The glasses will automatically turn themselves off when they don't receive an IR synch signal from the projector.

Menus and Setup

The W750's menu screens are rather small in size but at least they're simple and effective, consisting of six main pages, the first of which relates to the projector's built-in speaker. The Audio Setup menu contains controls for muting or turning down the volume of the built-in speaker and turning off the power on/off ring tone. There is also an Information screen, which shows you the source, preset mode, resolution, colour system, lamp hours, 3D format and firmware version.

BenQ W750
BenQ W750
Then we have the System Setup: Basic where you can select the language, the splash screen, the projector position, auto off, sleep timer, menu settings, input source, rename sources and turn the auto source search on. The next menu screen is System Setup: Advanced and here you can change the lamp settings, select the HDMI settings, change the baud rate, choose a test pattern to aid setup, turn on quick cooling, select the high altitude mode, set a password, turn on the key lock and reset all the settings.

BenQ W750
BenQ W750

The Display menu screen allows you to select the appropriate aspect ratio (Real is the best choice for high definition content), keystone adjustments (avoid), the screen position (only available with a PC signal), overscan (again avoid using), PC & component YPbPr tuning, digital zoom, film mode (leave on), 3D comb filter and the 3D submenu. In the latter you can select the 3D mode, Auto is best, and 3D sync invert.

BenQ W750
BenQ W750

The Picture menu screen contains all the important controls relating to picture quality, including the preset mode (Cinema, Dynamic, Standard, User1/2/3, 3D), brightness, contrast, colour, tint, sharpness, colour temperature and lamp power.

BenQ W750
BenQ W750

From the Picture menu screen, you can also access the Advanced submenu where you'll find the clarity control (which is a noise reduction feature), the colour temperature fine tuning (a two-point white balance control), you can select the gamma curve, turn the BrilliantColor feature on or off and access the colour management system (CMS).

Basic Setup

The W750 has a choice of presets, of which Cinema offers the best out-of-the-box performance. This setting defaults to a Gamma of 2.2, which is our preferred target but also defaults to the Normal colour temperature rather than the more accurate Warm. We chose the Real Aspect Ratio setting, optimised Brightness and Contrast for our environment and found that the middle setting for the Sharpness appeared best. We also set the Clarity Control to zero and made sure that BrilliantColor feature was off because this just over-saturates the colours.

BenQ W750
BenQ W750

As you can see from the RGB Balance chart above left, the greyscale was actually very good, with only minor DeltaE errors. There was slightly too much blue but overall this was an impressive out-of-the-box performance from a projector at this price point. Aside from a slight bump at 10 IRE, the gamma curve was tracking quite closely to our 2.2 target and the inclusion of a two-point white balance control should allow us to correct the greyscale. In terms of the colour gamut, this was again an impressive performance with all the colours close to their targets for Rec.709 and any errors were at the visible threshold. Since the W750 has a colour management system so we should be able to fine tune the performance further.

Calibrated Setup

Given the general level of accuracy in the Cinema mode, we left the majority of settings as they were and just adjusted the greyscale using the white balance and the colour gamut using the CMS.

BenQ W750

As it turned out, calibrating the greyscale was quite easy, all we needed to do was just up the green gain control a few notches and drop the blue slightly, after which the results were basically perfect. As you can see in the RGB Balance chart above, all three primary colours are measuring in equal amounts at our target of 100. As a result the errors are all below one, there was no discolouration in the greyscale and white was hitting the industry standard of D65. The gamma curve was also measuring at our target of 2.2, apart from a slight bump at 10 IRE and a slight dip at 90 IRE. Overall this is an excellent greyscale and gamma performance from a projector at this price point.

BenQ W750

The inclusion of a colour management system allowed us to improve the colour accuracy and we were able to get the luminance measurements spot on for all the colours, which is a good start as that is the element of colour to which our eyes are most sensitive. We also managed to get all the hue errors below the tolerance level of three and the same for the colour measurements of cyan and yellow. There was still a slight under-saturation in green and red and an over-saturation in blue that we were unable to fully correct, which in turn affected magenta. However the overall errors were all at or below the threshold at which our eyes can distinguish them and this is an excellent colour performance from a budget projector.

BenQ W750

We use the saturation sweeps to look for issues that might not present themselves at 100% but could be apparent at less saturated levels such as 25, 50 or 75%. Overall the W750 performed very well, with blue, cyan, magenta and yellow all tracking close to their targets. Unsurprisingly given that it was under-saturated at 100%, green was also under-saturated at 75 and 50%, as was red. However, there were no hideous errors lurking at the lower saturation points and again this is a great performance from a projector in this price bracket.

Brightness, Black Levels and Dynamic Range

If there is one area where DLP projectors tend to struggle it's black levels and as a budget model the W750 was certainly no exception. We measured the black level at 0.2 cd/m2 and when actually viewed blacks appeared as a dark grey. We also noticed some slight unevenness to the image when looking at a 0 IRE screen, which is not uncommon at this price point. BenQ claim a contrast ratio of 13,000:1 for the W750 but once calibrated, it actually measured closer to 1,500:1. However on the plus side, once the brightness control was set correctly, the shadow detail and intra-frame performance were actually quite good. Unsurprisingly for a budget projector with a data grade history, the W750 was very bright and in its calibrated state we were easily getting 1,500 lumens. That was using the Eco lamp mode, so the W750 has plenty of brightness, even for a room with white walls or ceiling, which is the kind of environment it's most likely to be used in. The BenQ could get even brighter in Normal lamp mode, which whilst increasing the fan noise does at least mean it has sufficient brightness to combat the dimming nature of active shutter glasses and give 3D images plenty of impact.

Video Processing

Since the W750 is a 720p projector, the video processing is even more important than normal because no matter what you're watching, the projector is almost always either scaling it up (for standard definition content) or scaling down (for high definition content). Thankfully, the video processing in the W750 was actually very good and we found it correctly scaled the full 576i and 480i test images without any loss of detail or unwanted ringing. It also had no problems detecting both 2:2 (PAL - European) cadence and 2:3 (NTSC - US) cadence. The W750 also performed well when it came to high definition material, scaling the higher resolution content down to match the projector's 1280 x 720 panel. With the player set to 1080i, the W750 deinterlaced and displayed both the video and film resolution tests well and displayed a good overall performance with the minimum of processing artefacts. The W750 also had no difficulties showing video text overlaid on high definition film based material and it handled 24p content without any problems. The one test where the W750 did fall down was in terms of clipping peak information in both white and the three primary colours, although it is unlikely most people would notice with normal content.

Video Review

2D - Picture Performance

There has been an enormous amount of debate about the difference between the perceived resolution of 720p and 1080p projectors, with many companies claiming that on a reasonably sized screen at a sensible viewing distance, most people won't be able to tell the difference. There is some truth to this, although on our larger screen the difference in resolution was immediately apparent, especially as we got closer to the image. However, if you set up the W750 correctly the images it produces are certainly detailed enough to please anyone who plans to use it on a 6 to 7 foot screen. What's more the image accuracy out-of-the-box is excellent, so even after a basic setup the W750 can deliver pictures that punch well above their market position. It might be difficult to justify a professional calibration at this price point but it's good to see that BenQ has included a two point white balance and a colour management system, allowing those who are able, to get an almost reference performance from the budget projector. The W750 is a single chip DLP projector which means it uses a colour wheel so, if you suffer from 'rainbows', you should definitely demo before buying.

BenQ W750

The colour and greyscale accuracy go a long way towards delivering a great image and whilst the blacks were disappointing, the inherent brightness of the W750 means it can deliver a punchy picture, making it ideal for use in a regular living room. As is always the case with DLP projectors, the motion handling was excellent, with smooth pans and no smearing or loss of detail. The video processing was also very good, which is excellent news because the BenQ will be scaling all the content you send it, either up for standard definition or down for high-def. Both standard and high definition images appeared clean and free from any obvious scaling artefacts and whilst not pin-sharp they certainly looked far better than a sub-£600 projector had any right to be delivering. We watched the recent remake of the Evil Dead and the W750 did a great job of rendering all the unpleasant gore, not to mention the copious amounts of blood. For a change of pace we tried Steven Soderberg's new thriller Side Effects and the W750 did a great job of delivering the deliberately cool colour palette and carefully staged camera moves.

3D - Picture Performance

A great performance with 2D material is one thing but, given the inclusion of 'triple flash', it's with 3D that the W750 really has an opportunity to shine. It didn't disappoint, delivering one of the best 3D experiences we've had - at any price. It's quite incredible that a projector this cheap can produce 3D images this good but that just goes to show how effective DLP is when it comes to adding the third dimension. All of DLP's innate advantages come into play, with excellent motion handing and a complete lack of crosstalk. The addition of 'triple flash' means that flicker is also eliminated, making for a much more comfortable active shutter experience. Once you include the W750's brightness and surprising level of colour accuracy, you start to get an idea of how good the 3D performance and even the video processing is up to the task. This is the one area where the W750's 3D performance could have fallen down but it avoids adding any noticeable scaling artefacts and thus there is nothing to distract from your 3D experience.

BenQ W750

We have recently been using Oz the Great and Powerful and Jack the Giant Slayer for 3D testing and both looked fantastic on the W750. The tornado sequence in Oz was especially impressive, with the lack of crosstalk and the brightness of the image making the use of negative parallax highly effective. We enjoyed the 3D on the W750 so much that we popped our copy of Life of Pi into the player because this film is easily one of the most creative when it comes to exploiting the added dimensionality. The results were very impressive and at times we felt like there was a tiger in front of us or found ourselves ducking to avoid flying fish. Given the general decline in popularity of 3D it's hard to recommended a projector just on that basis but there's no doubt if you're looking for a good 3D projector at a ridiculously low price, W750 should definitely be on your list.

Verdict

8
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

Pros

  • Excellent default greyscale and colour
  • Reference calibrated greyscale and colour
  • Motion handling is good in both 2D and 3D
  • 3D performance is superb
  • Excellent video processing
  • Very competitive price

Cons

  • Black levels are mediocre
  • Dynamic range is limited by black levels
  • Colour wheel can result in 'rainbows'
  • Some light spill and fan noise
  • Remote control needs a redesign

BenQ W750 HD Ready 3D DLP Projector Review

The BenQ W750 may well be a budget projector but it manages to deliver a far from budget performance. The chassis might be small and light, betraying BenQ's data grade heritage, but it's well built and the size makes installation easier. There is some fan noise and light spill but, on the upside, the W750 is very bright making it ideal for the average living room. The rear connections are fairly standard, with two HDMI inputs, and only the rinky-dink remote lets the side down. The glasses have had a redesign to accommodate the introduction of 'triple flash' and are now, smaller, lighter and more comfortable to wear. The setup is very straightforward thanks to some simple manual lens controls and a clear and concise menu system.

The out-of-the-box greyscale and colour gamut were extremely accurate, which is encouraging in a projector at this price point. BenQ has even included some decent calibration controls, meaning the W750 can be tweaked to a near reference level of colour accuracy. The projector uses a 720p chip but with a sensibly sized screen and an average viewing distance, the images have plenty of detail. The video processing is also excellent, which means that despite having to scale all content, the W750 doesn't introduce noticeable artefacts. The motion handling was excellent, as we would expect from a DLP projector, and whilst the blacks were poor, the brightness and good intra-frame performance did compensate to a degree.

We found that with 2D content, the W750 could produce a picture that really punched above its weight, with accurate colours, decent shadow detail and well rendered images. Of course, the W750 is a single chip DLP projector and thus uses a colour wheel, so those that are susceptible to 'rainbows' should demo first. With 3D content the W750 really came into its own, delivering a fantastic performance that was hard to fault. The absence of distracting scaling artefacts, crosstalk and flicker, along with the brightness and accuracy of the image, resulted in a highly enjoyable and genuinely immersive 3D experience. If you're looking for a cheap projector the BenQ W750 should definitely be on your list and if you're looking for a second projector for 3D, it should be near the top.

Recommended

Scores

3D Picture Quality

.
.
8

Features

.
.
.
7

Ease Of Use

.
.
.
7

Build Quality

.
.
.
7

Value For Money

.
.
8

Verdict

.
.
8
8
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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