Results of my demo at Nexnix today [long]


Active Member
Today me and fellow avforum member 'wolfeh' visited Nexnix in Horsham to go demo some projectors for the first time. We both have been meaning to upgrade from some pretty old crt tvs for a few months now.. (or in fact ever since we both started reading the projector forums :rolleyes: )

Being completely inexperienced in the world of projectors we weren't quite sure what to expect and so had lined up a long list of projectors to demo to give us some guidance.

We arrived at Nexnix at around 2pm and were greeted with looks of confusion - it seemed that the person we had made the booking with had not told anyone else about it and had promptly disappeared :p. However, we were soon welcomed inside and led to the demo room and a huuuge 110" screen (and i was questioning whether 100" would be big enough :rotfl: ).

The Sanyo z2 was already hooked up via component (in eco mode) so we whacked LOTR - TT on. The picture was very impressive, save for some screen door and vertical banding that was particularly apparent on the lighter areas of the picture. I think this may be down to the fact that we were quite close (probably no more than 4m for the screen) and would perhaps be less prominent further away.

I asked for the input to be switched to DVI from their htpc and the picture problems were definitely reduced from the previous image which is fortunate giving that i'm looking at going for an htpc :D!

I wanted to try Finding Nemo (or indeed Shrek/Monster's Inc) via DVI too but unfortunately all my pixar disks are r1 and their htpc wasn't multiregion :)eek:) so we had to use component in. Not that this was a great disadvantage, i was just enjoying the 1:1 pixel mapping. The picture again was excellent, very vibrant and particularly watchable. I definitely felt more engrossed in the movie here and actually was watching it rather than just trying to find faults (as I had done during LOTR).

For comparison I asked to see the z1, instantly the picture became significantly darker (despite being in high mode), less vibrant and had lots more screen door. Finding Nemo was reduced to a shadow of it's former glory and in the interest of saving some of the memories from beforehand i asked for the movie to be changed to Saving Private Ryan.

Arguably this isn't the greatest DVD for testing projectors, as it is well known that Spielberg artficially adjusted the colours to make the film appear 'more realistic'. However, i was curious to see how much screendoor was affected as Finding Nemo and SPR are pretty much at opposite ends of the picture type scale!

The result was still very dark and the film looked quite grainy, but it was still extremely watchable during the 'beach assault'. I'm not sure if this is due to the fact that we didn't see it running against the z2 or if the z1 suited the material more.

Regardless, due to it's previous disappointing performance the z1 was out for me and i was now curious to see some DLPs. We switched to the Sharp Z91 halfway through the beach scene. The image instantly improved (and so it should at twice the cost!), there was still the problem of it being quite low resolution but the colours were looking much more realistic. I didn't see a single rainbow during this chapter and to be honest i think the whole issue of rainbows has been overhyped massively, I was told that the Sharp's are quite good at not displaying rainbows though so maybe some other models may be much more noticeable.

Currently though if it was a shootout between the z2 and the z91 (since they are a similar price) then it would be the z2 no contest simply due to the higher resolution. After SPR we moved on to the Matrix, to a scene that i had read was very good for picking up rainbows (chapter 26 right after tank gets killed when trinity is on the phone to cypher) and indeed this is true. However, this was the only time that i noticed the rainbows (and we watched the film through to the end from that point). Granted however, when you did see them they were quite distracting and wolfeh started to suffer a bit from headaches.

I was keen to see the next dlp up for the improved resolution which was the Sharp z200. The picture became much much nicer (again at best part of twice the price!). Definitely superior in virtually every way to the z2. This still wasn't a projector i could use for 1:1 pixel mapping though so i wanted to see the next step up - an hd2 chip.

Having read a few comments about the BenQ 8700 on here i was curious to see that but unfortunately Nexnix had none for demo. Instead they had an old Sharp Z9000 (now being replaced by the z10000), which used to retail for £6k!!! Slightly out of our budget :)laugh: ) but a good chance to compare. Again, the image improved but certainly not by as much as the previous jump, the projector was still being driven via component though so maybe this would improve with DVI. Certainly not worth the original £3k that it would cost to upgrade to my eyes.

We then switched back to the z2 just to compare the image again and i was pleasantly surprised by just how good it still looked despite having just looked at these expensive dlps, admittedly the screen door was back and the colours weren't quite as nice but being on a small budget it is very understandable why people would rather save the extra 1500 quid.

Now i'm sure that any of you are still following, and havent gone to :boring: yet will notice a lack of a) panny projectors and b) the sony hs20.


a) we were looking at demoing the last ae-300 that we had been informed was available but upon arriving there wasn't one anymore but we substituted the z1 in and were told that it would give a better picture anyway, which given my above feelings on the z1 doesn't leave much hope for the pannys..

b) yes i was pretty annoyed at having journeyed so far having been promised an hs20 and to find that they also didnt have an hs20 in. Would have been very interesting to see how that performed with the extra resolution and the fact that it has sealed optics (i really don't want to be dismantling my pj every few weeks or whatever despite normally being quite a techy person).

So right now, if i had to go for anything it would probably be the z200, however, with the recent news that the BenQ 8700 is getting a new revision that will hopefully keep it at the same price level i think i will be demoing the z2, benq, z200 and hs20 another time and then deciding and if the news about the benq is true i could well be walking away with that which will be severely pushing my budget :nono: ...

Am i missing any projectors from this short list? No optomas there i know and i could also probably pick up bun's nec ht1100 for about the same price as a new z200 when he gets his next upgrade bug :laugh:. I think wolfeh will probably go for the z2 and i can't blame him, given all the other stuff that i want to buy and my current financial situation i might have to live the dream a bit longer and settle for a z2 for the time being.

Finally, a big thanks to the people at Nexnix, seemed a very friendly bunch and despite us arriving effectively unannounced they sorted everything pretty quick. They were starting to list some pretty good deals as well, unfortunately for them this was just a recon mission for me. Maybe next time i'll take a bite. Recommended. :smashin:



Standard Member
> Now i'm sure that any of you are still following, and havent gone to > yet will notice a lack of a) panny projectors and b) the sony hs20.

Nexnix obviously don't have a good relationship with panasonic, their AE-300 is £1350+vat ie twice the typical price ;)

The HS20 would have been the best of the LCD's had you been able to see it ;) Although I don't believe it has sealed optics :confused:

Oh and an animation DVD is absolutely the WORST POSSIBLE thing to demo anything with, even a 100:1 contrast ratio presentation projector can make that look good, thankfully you had SPR :)

-- Jon


Active Member
Have to agree with the choice of demo material. While its tempting to look at an animation/cartoon film, they are the worst possible media to judge a projector on.

There should be a list of films NOT to see when pj hunting, please feel free to add to it:

Finding Nemo
A Bugs Life
Toy Story
Ice Age
Brother Bear
Lion King
Final Fantasy
Monsters Inc

I would go further and say, not only shouldn't you take these films with you, if a dealer suggests you demo a pj using these types of film..........that tells you all you need to know..........




Oh did I see my name in there!? :D

a couple of things which i dont know you wish to know or not! The z9000 isnt be replaced by the 10000..... both are now old stock. The 10k is now going for bargain prices not much more than £4k.

The benq situation. Supposedly now all new machines will have the HD2+ chip within giving increase in contrast ratio primarily. However, i asked a couple of UK retailers and they know nothing about this. I presume benqUK will get shot of old stock of originals before ordering new, in fact even when they order new, there would be no guarantee that tey will get the new machines. This is made even tougher because the new machine is exactly the same model...... so you will need to identify the new HD2+ machines on the basis of serial numbers. :eek:

and as far as me upgrading, well not just yet :p. There is nothing to upgrade to im afraid :( Any machine which is an upgrade from the NEC is also needing me to earn 3 times as much money! Id got to jvc dila, but again, cost is prohibitive and changing fast.

all the best



Active Member
Originally posted by gothmog
The HS20 would have been the best of the LCD's had you been able to see it ;) Although I don't believe it has sealed optics :confused:

I'm sure I read Kramer mocking various panny/sanyo users as his sony had sealed optics and so meant very little chance of him getting dust blobs?

Oh and an animation DVD is absolutely the WORST POSSIBLE thing to demo anything with, even a 100:1 contrast ratio presentation projector can make that look good, thankfully you had SPR :)

Can i ask why that is? I don't think the z1 did a good job at all with the animation so i'm a bit confused by that whereas the z1 did better to my eyes with spr :confused:

edit: because i'm a retard and can't use quote marks properly first time round :/

edit 2: still can't get it right and ive gtg out :(


Active Member
This is how to identify the serial nr from avsforum

Originally posted by Steve13
According to BenQ all PE8700 digital projectors with serial numbers 99J5877B2140300017H and above contain the HD2+ DMD™ Chip Set.

To answer David's question: There is a year/week code in BenQ serial numbers. The above code is

99J5877B21 = Part Number
4 = 2004
03 = Week 03
00017 = 17th unit for week 03 (a bit confusing regarding the HD2+ swap, why not on a week boundary?)
H = Manufacturing plant code. AFIK 8700 are only made in plant "H".

The unit number resets to 000001 each new week.

Also here is the BenQ press release, if BenQUK doesn't get the new machines, then it is strange, as BenQ is now regarded very high in the industry and consumer market for service and relationship.

Maybe potential buyers want to contact BenQ UK themselves?



Originally posted by rOAdeh
I'm sure I read Kramer mocking various panny/sanyo users as his sony had sealed optics and so meant very little chance of him getting dust blobs?

Me? Mocking? Never :D

I did refer to the HS10 & HS20 "design" & said how they were very unlikely to suffer from dust ingress (on the panels/optics). Time indeed has shown this to be true by the few if any complaints from Sony owners.

They don't however have sealed optics.

Wouldn't mind a peek at a HD2+ BenQ :eek:


Active Member
Thanks for clearing that up Wasabi,

sooo now the next question:

Does anyone know any dealers (preferably as close to either southampton or birmingham as possible) that stock the hs20, z2, benq 8700 and an 'a decent similarly priced dlp' (whatever that may be!)

why does this projector lark have to be so expensive eh?


I don't think the z1 did a good job at all with the animation
Well all i can say is nexnix can't have had the Z1 setup very well cos my Z1 is stunning with all animation, And i'm sure all the other Z1 owners on here will agree with me, for the money the Z1 is a cracking pj.


Standard Member
Originally posted by rOAdeh
Can i ask why that is? I don't think the z1 did a good job at all with the animation so i'm a bit confused by that whereas the z1 did better to my eyes with spr :confused:

This is because, as you noticed, the fact that the Z2 simply being brighter made the animation look better, simply animation benefits from a bright over saturated image. What you want to be interested in is the calibrated image quality, which will invariably be less bright but with a far greater contrast and detail, which is not at all apparent with animation.

The paper specs say that the Z2 and Z1 should be similar brightness (800 vs 700 lumens), as we all know the PJ manufacturers *cough* exaggerate *cough these specs and the true calibrated value is somewhere around half of this. Now in your comparison, you say that the Z2 is much brighter than the Z1 even though both are on high lamp power..

Well overall brightness is a function of more than just the lamp power, especially of not in this case is the fact that the Z2 has iris control which basically gives you an adjustment which allows you to balance a brightness boost against a loss of contrast, ie a Z2 with a wide open iris will be very bright, but have a poor contrast ratio. When it's in your living room (as opposed to a demo room) you will likely close the iris for best picture quality and it will still be plenty bright enough to look good with animation. The Z1 doesn't have an adjustable ris and given it's comparitve lesser brightness we can assume that it's fixed iris is essentially closed when compared to the Z2 variable iris.

So in summary (wibble wubble wibble) a Z2 with a wide open iris will look much better than a Z1 with animation because animation tends to not benefit from a higher contrast ration, unlike 95% of the other material you are likely to watch.

This is not say that the Z2 is not better than the Z1, it is, it's 18 months newer technology (a million years compared to the evolution of crabs), just don't get over excited by the difference :)

In many ways it's such a damned minefield when buying a projector it's best just to make an obvious purchase, which is a Z2 or an AE500 or a HS20 if you have the cash, and you won't go wrong, in a couple of years you'll understand all the jargons, limitations and payoffs with front projection and be able to make a very informed purchase (HD2+ for <£1000 probably :D ) for your 2nd projector. I don't envy you at all having to dive in effectively blind the first time :)

We get a much better bargain than those buying plasma's anyway :D :D

-- Jon


Active Member
I have demo'd the Z1 and AE300 and I bought an AE300. I wouldn't scrub it from your list on Nexnix's say so.

On the contrary, the AE300 has significantly less screendoor than the Z1 (though this leads to a "softer" image that some don't like, apparently) and <kissofdeath>I've not noticed any VB yet</kissofdeath>.

At current prices, a complete bargain. Oh, and much longer bulb life than the Z1 (low power mode).


Active Member
New info regarding the revised Benq 8700 from avsforum.

FYI, the 8700's with HD2+ chip are supposed to have a sticker on the box which clearly identifies them as units with the newer chip. The box should also include a letter from BenQ that saying the enclosed unit has the newer chipset.

However, with the serial nr rules, there should be still unofficial upgraded 8700 in between.



Standard Member
The AE300 PJ from Panasonic is the best value for money budget PJ in my opinion.

In fact... I don't think the Panny 500 or Z2 are worth the extra purely on picture quality......

Just from what I've seen, owned and demoed.

It's a great PJ for the price and doesn't have the flaws in pq that the Z2 and 500 have.

If you just want to watch DVD's (not through a PC) and Sky... then I would advise you to demo this unit.

If I wanted a second PJ for a smaller room (i.e. bedroom) that's what I would be buying.



HS20 is the best LCD display. But should someone bring out a projector like the HS20 with all it's niggling issues ironed out and throw in the lens shift now that would be a dream.

The HS20 does have more pixels to show off than the AE500 and Z2 but you really won't notice it at all. And pixel mapping wise you're better off going for 1:1 pixel mapping at 60Hz with 1280x720 res cos with this one, you get black bars surrounding your image. Native 720p panels will show off HD material fantastically well.

On the flip side if you want extremely accurate colours out of the box, a brighter image, better blacks, iris control, quality build, power zoom and focus, HDMI, and a medium throw lense then this is your projector :)


Active Member
oof you're just throwing more things into the mix.. especially since i havent seen the hs20 :/

in all honesty though i just can't stop thinking about how good even the z200 was... i'm actually looking specifically at the benq 8700 now as it seems to have everything i want and more (admittedly though its quite big and heavy!) and if the hd2 version does come into the uk at a sub 3k price then i think i may well be swayed.. or i can wait a few months and hope that a couple might come onto the 2nd hand market :E

right now my head is telling me to go for a z2 but my heart is set on the benq.. i can only see a demo of the benq confirming that - gah! ...think i'll have to ban myself from coming on here if i do go for the benq, you guys just keep making me want more and i just cant afford it :/


Active Member
Keeping on adding information regarding PE8700 from avsforum.


You can read the serial number on the outside of the box without even opening it or cutting the tape. ANYONE who is expecting an HD2+ unit should check this serial number to confirm that their unit has a manufacture date of the 4th week of 2004 or later BEFORE they open the box. This will make any potential exchange/swap even easier for BenQ and yourself.

"According to BenQ all PE8700 digital projectors with serial numbers 99J5877B2140300017H and above contain the HD2+ DMD Chip Set."

03 is the week,

17 is the unit manufactured for that week.

But to be 100% sure, ask the retailer only to send a unit that is 04 or later.

The stickers on the box is unconfirmed, it seems there are none at the moment, to identify HD2+.


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