Mar 26, 2013 Nick Rego
When I was a kid, we had a 14-inch color TV that we’d all crowd around to watch programs on. In this day and age, there are probably some tablets that have bigger screens than that. Not to mention, the traditional TV has morphed into something sleeker, thinner, and more attractive than the bulky boxes we used to know. But for some home enthusiasts having the thinnest or clearest TV isn’t the answer; they want to take things to the next level. And so, said enthusiasts invest in a projector for their homes, in the hopes that they’ll never have to go to the cinema ever again. But while having a projector at home certainly elevates your viewing enjoyment, there are some models on the market that aren’t quite up to the task, while other excel at what they were designed to do. Today, I’ll be taking a look at BenQ’s W1070 projector, which aims to provide full-HD image projection at a surprisingly affordable price.
The W1070 certainly won’t be winning any beauty contests – its white and grey boxy appearance almost seems like it would belong in a boardroom than in your living room. However since you’ll spend little time actually staring at the projector itself, this design choice can be forgiven.
On the top you’ll find various buttons for navigating around menus as well as adjusting keystone etc. on the fly. There’s a deep recession near the lens where you adjust the zoom and focus, although I have to say that this was really difficult to do at times given how deep BenQ have put the adjustment rings. There’s also a tiny screw that you can adjust for vertical lens shift, but you’ll need a screwdriver and a very steady hand to get this adjusted properly. You can also slightly adjust the projector’s tilt with the adjustable foot in the front, and one of the corner rests can also be adjusted to ensure that the image projected is aligned properly.
On the positive side, the W1070 does have a good number of connectivity options available at the back of the unit. There are two HDMI ports, VGA, Component, RCA, and 3.5mm jacks for PC audio. There’s also an on-board 10W speaker and a bundled remote control, although I have to say that the remote felt rather cheap compared to the overall look and feel of the W1070.
The W1070 is a DLP projector with a supposedly 2,000-lumen brightness level. It also supports 3D, which is usually quite an expensive add-on feature for any projector. According to BenQ’s website, the W1070 can project an image between 40” to 235” in size, though you’re going to need a really large room if you want to achieve such massive projections.
BenQ also proudly states that the W1070 is eco-friendly, and has a number of certifications and features which supposedly cut down on power consumption and improve lamp life. While this may remain true, the eco-saving mode does compromise on the image quality slightly, so feel free to toggle this on or off depending on what you’re watching.
Setting up the W1070 was quite easy – I chose to first connect it to my laptop via HDMI, and then connect it to my PlayStation 3 for 3D tests. When connected to my laptop, the W1070 gave me a much clearer and brighter desktop image, and playing a few games or watching movies was certainly an enjoyable upgrade from my laptop’s diminutive screen. I do have to point out that enabling the ‘Brilliant Color’ mode on the projector did improve the clarity and color of some images, so I recommend keeping this option turned on. Blacks were well reproduced, and for the most part if you’re in a darkened room you’ll use the W1070 quite comfortably.
I then connected my PS3 to the W1070 for some gaming tests, to see if this projector could live up to the demands of most console gamers. Most non-3D games ran flawlessly, with only minor tweaks required within the game’s gamma settings to flush out certain darker levels. For example, certain scenes in the original Dead Space game were harder to make out before I made the adjustments, but afterwards things were much clearer, and running from monsters was just so much easier.
Movies were also great on the W1070, with its 16:9 ratio coping well with playing back most content with ease. You can see from some of the photos below what the image quality was like for playback across different movies (image quality unfortunately suffered due to the camera I was using):
The W1070 fully supports 3D, so if you’ve connected a PlayStation 3 or compatible Blu-ray player, then you’ll be good to go. Of course in order to actually see anything in 3D, you’ll need compatible 3D-glasses, and BenQ has its own that you will need to purchase separately for around AED 400. It’s a bit of a buzz-kill, as it would have been smart for BenQ to include at least one pair of glasses with this unit. The other downside is that the glasses themselves aren’t very comfortable. They’re slightly boxy to wear and press down slightly on your nose, so I don’t think you’ll be able to wear these for prolonged periods. The glasses are easy to use – just press the small button to switch them on, or hold down the button to turn them off.
My first 3D test was to watch a Deep Sea 3D IMAX Blu-ray, which has plenty of vivid scenes of the ocean floor and fluctuate between dark caverns with little light to beautiful panoramas of the ocean depths. The results were simply stunning, which every single fish and piece of coral bursting to life on screen. The 3D was very good, and I didn’t have to make any adjustments on the projector to enjoy the film. You do have the option of using either Frame Packing or Top/Bottom modes if you wish, but leaving the projector on ‘Auto’ mode makes things less complicated for everyone.
For gaming in 3D, I played both Wipeout HD and Super Stardust HD, two games which have plenty of animations and fast-moving graphics. The 3D effect in both was superb, with Wipeout HD really giving me a bit of a speed headache with its frenzied animations. Likewise, meteors and explosions in Super Stardust HD almost seemed to tear through the wall I was projecting on, the effect was that good.
Overall, the W1070 operated with just a slight humming noise, but after a while this became a bit louder and harder to ignore. If you’ve turned up the volume on whatever you’re watching, you’ll be able to drown this out quite easily, but otherwise this sound does tend to get noticeable. Kicking in the Eco mode did bring the noise level down a bit, but as mentioned before it compromises the image quality slightly.
One thing that did concern me was the amount of light that seemed to be leaking out of this projector. In a darkened room you can clearly see light spilling out of the sides and front of the projector, so clearly not all 2,000-lumens are heading out of the projector’s lens.
For what you’re paying for, the BenQ W1070 is a satisfactory 3D projector suitable for most homes. While there are surely more superior models on the market that can give you a slightly better image quality, it would be doubtful to find one that matches this price. Though unfortunately you end up spending a bit extra to nab a few pairs of 3D glasses, the W1070 is still a very capable projector that deserves your attention if you’re looking to bring the world of 3D cinema to the comfort of your living room.
A former IT & Marketing Manager turned full time Editor, Nick enjoys playing videogames during work hours and tinkering with the latest gadgets.
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