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Pros: BenQ's W1070 projector delivers amazing picture quality for the price; costing around the same as a mid-range 55-60" TV, you get a sharp, quality picture of 100" or better. Supporting HDMI 1.4 and boasting a 1080p image processor, you get full HD quality and 3D support with 144hz DLP link glasses.
For my installation, I used a ceiling mount and throw at a wall with a "screen" painted on using Killz primer. The room is not 100% light sealed, so daytime use has to compete with low-moderate levels of ambient light; hardly an ideal setup, but the W1070 delivers a bright image with respectable black levels and the some of the most accurate colors I've seen out of any sub $1500 display, television or otherwise.
Paired with a Rosewill mount, the projector was successfully mounted 13' from the wall and manages to throw a 132" screen that looks better than either the Sony LCD TV or the Hannspree LED/LCD we own. To hit the screen it has to be directed under a ceiling fan; thanks to the vertical lens shift, I was able to compensate and get a 100% level image, and the menu offers a healthy selection of options to adjust for imperfections in your projection surface.
In testing, we have connected 2 PCs and a PS3 to the projector via HDMI, and one PC via VGA; The PCs both had to be adjusted in the video driver to disable overscan compensation with the HDMI connection, but no other issues were encountered. The Playstation immediately detected that it was connected to a 3D capable display and it was a simple matter to get the two working together. Blu-ray content was able to be played back at 24hz with no issue, though the benefit was minor if at all notable.
The W1070 has a built in 10W speaker, it's respectable for a projector but realistically you're going to want a soundbar or external speakers of some sort. In a pinch it'll do, but there's not much volume to be had, so spring for a set of powered speakers to connect to the audio out jack if this is to be anything more than a novelty.
The W1070 offers several preset modes for picture settings, all of which can be adjusted to your liking and saved. I personally use the different settings for different times of day to adjust for ambient light levels, it works quite well and doesn't require me to take the lamp out of eco/smart-eco mode. Smart-eco seems to save lamp life while giving a perceived boost in contrast by adjusting the brightness according to the scene; it works well enough, but on occasion it creates a distracting flickering effect. I recommend you ceiling mount the projector, but it functions well when placed on a desk or coffee table. The lens shift is accompanied by an adjustment for the front legs and a manual zoom/focal length adjustment to give you an impressive flexibility in placement.
For my personal use, this is a computer monitor. It runs 8+ hours a day doing everything from playing games, movies and TV shows from my collection to basic desktop tasks. It handles everything
Cons: Now the bad stuff. First things first, the remote. It looks and feels cheap, like it comes with a knockoff $15 DVD player. It's functional, but hardly aesthetically pleasing. I personally don't mind, but it's worth noting.
Black levels are respectable and brightness is adequate for rooms that aren't light sealed, but shadow detail is somewhat lacking and no amount of tweaking will fix it in the presence of ambient light; either you're OK with that, or you black out the room. Properly calibrated, you can get respectable shadow detail under good conditions.
As mentioned in the pros, smart-eco mode sometimes results in a flickering image; it's infrequent, but very distracting when it happens. Not a huge drawback, but worth reiterating.
The menu options for color and tint are greyed out, but it's not really a loss because you have much finer color controls available. It's possible to make the picture look much more accurate (or much, much worse) with those settings, but it's worth mentioning because anyone used to a more casual calibration may find their absence somewhat alarming. Also, more options is rarely a bad thing when it comes to calibration.
There is an adjustment for the front legs but the rear is fixed height, so don't make plans to put the projector on an uneven surface. I don't know who would do this but I suppose if you were to place it outdoors and the ground were uneven, you might curse the lack of 4 separate leg adjustments, but that particular contingency aside, I don't see a lot of people having issues with it.
The zoom is only up to 1.3x, I don't consider it a con, but you should use the projection calculator on Projection Cental to find if your room is adequately sized for the screen size you want.
The lens shift is vertical only, and somewhat limited in it's function, but most projectors in this price range don't offer any lens shift at all; simply having that much more fine tuning you can do honestly gives you a much greater range of placement options without the need for keystone adjustments.
Overall, no major cons. The W1070 is a solid addition to most any home theater situation.
Other Thoughts: While the brightness is adequate, folks with lots of windows or open entryways may want to consider a model with a brighter lamp; similarly, anyone with a short room may want to consider the W1080, BenQ's short-throw version of this projector.
While not for everyone, I'd be hard pressed to recommend anyone buy a 65"+ TV when this baby exists. The image quality is similar, if not superior to many competitively priced HDTVs, and placement options are fairly flexible when compared to a large format display. Additionally, moving it from one location to another is far simpler thanks to the compact size of the projector.
Projectors have improved significantly over the last 5 years, but the one area they still have issues is the lamp; you WILL have to replace the lamp. According to experts at AVS forum you need to replace bulbs every 1000-1500 hours; I can't speak on that yet. My first bulb is approaching 500 hours and I've experienced absolutely no notable loss in brightness or color accuracy running in Eco or Smart-Eco mode at all times. What the future holds, I can't say, but if I manage 2000 hours per bulb over the next 5 years, the cost per inch of the projector is still a few dollars cheaper than that of an HDTV. Overall cost may be high, but it's spread over a fair amount of time and if you calculate by how much you get vs overall cost, a projector honestly makes good sense.
Get the projector and a mount before you purchase a screen. Pre-placement of the projector allows you to make fine adjustments and get the most out of your area before you commit yourself to a certain screen size. You wouldn't want to buy a 100" screen only to find that you could've gotten a 120" screen in there, or that your projector placement requires a smaller screen.
The W1070 is a solid piece of equipment that has earned itself a permanent place in my home theater and has earned me the envy of friends and family alike. Unless you're a very particular videophile, you'd be hard pressed to come up with reasons to dislike the W1070, and (in my opinion) you won't find a better projector for under $1800, at least as of this writing. Good stuff BenQ, good stuff.
This review is from: Sony STR-DH520 7.1 Channel 3D AV Receiver
Pros: The Sony STRDH520B has a lot going for it, HDMI pass-thru, 4 HDMI inputs, DTS Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD pass-thru, ample power for small-medium sized rooms and plenty of level/placement adjustments giving you a ton of flexibility for placement, sound fields, you can even push audio from one input with video from another via the output.
The 2 extra channels can be placed as rear surround or front height, I went with the height speakers. The difference with either isn't hugely notable, but height speakers do give you a vertical element for non-directional sounds (rainstorms, wind, ambient sound effects) which does enrich the experience. Hardly necessary, but if you have the speakers there's not much reason to not connect them. If you go with rear surround there are a few sources actually mixed for 7.1 (Toy Story 3 comes to mind), the receiver handles them well-ish (I noticed that the rear and surround channels have some crossover in sound effects that didn't feel like it should be there).
You get lots of sound field options, anything from stereo with height to full 5.1 with height, and you can adjust the relative distance and volume of each speaker. Even in an oddly shaped room there's bound to be a setup you find to your liking and you can adjust for speakers that simply overpower the others you have.
The HDMI pass-thru works well, with the receiver in stand-by it pushes audio/video straight through to my display, haven't had a single issue with it since I turned it on.
The driver itself is quite impressive, at just over half volume in this 12x14' room, it's uncomfortably loud with all 7 channels connected. This is a good thing, the sound doesn't get distorted, just loud, meaning in a significantly larger room you could still have ample volume to get rich, room filling sound and in a smaller room you could easily use smaller satellite speakers with a good sub and still get that same effect.
Surround sound, when available, is amazing. Even old TV shows include some basic matrixed stereo that the receiver can separate into 5 channel audio. I haven't tried using DVD surround sources but Blu-ray's uncompressed surround streams sound fantastic and definitely pull you into the source more. For gaming, there's no substitute for true surround in anything first person or stealth oriented, you hear footsteps, gunfire, explosions, and voices moving around you and you can readily identify when someone is trying to sneak up on you and shoot you in the back, or the direction in which your teammates have engaged the enemy. Good stuff, and coming from an older Sony receiver supporting only Pro Logic for surround, there's a BIG difference.
Cons: On the negative side, there is no automatic adjustment on the US model, meaning you must calibrate by ear. This could be a dealbreaker for some of you, personally I found the lack thereof easy enough to deal with thanks to the test tone that can be played on each speaker. It's not as precise as letting it auto-calibrate, but it should do for most people.
There's little EQ adjustment to be done, more or less just increasing/decreasing a single bass setting and a single treble setting. That could be a killer for some, but I personally find it to be a minor setback on an otherwise solid AVR. I use it connected to a computer anyway, worst case I modify the EQ settings before anything hits the amp.
Not a true con but the 2 extra channels aren't particularly useful in most situations, they just add a level of ambiance that most would find superfluous. I happened to have the spares but you won't miss them if they aren't there in 9 out 10 situations, so don't make the purchase based on the idea that 7.1 is innately better than 5.1, it isn't.
Other Thoughts: Something to consider - surround sound requires space; I recommend anyone and everyone get some sort of AVR setup but not everyone has the room for surround or the ears to benefit (certain folks simply aren't capable of detecting directional sound), so take into account your space, budget, and needs. If you have the room, the budget (or a willingness to expand over time) and you think you would enjoy surround, by all means this is a fine AVR to choose, but also consider if a stereo setup or soundbar would better suit your room and budgetary needs. Remember folks, pretty much anything is better than the speakers in your TV.
Also, while I currently don't have one, I recommend a sub for any system, soundbars, surround or just an old stereo AVR benefit greatly from having one, movie and game studios alike are putting a lot of use to that low frequency channel, and having one removes the need for large, full-range speakers in the system overall. If you can budget one in, you might be a candidate for surround even in a smaller room as a result.
In terms of AVRs there aren't exactly a plethora of them available in this price range (sub $200) that can come close in terms of features or quality, so you're making a solid choice if you pick one up.
Don't let the "refurbished" scare you; I've been buying refurb products from newegg for years and I've never had a problem with them, especially when it comes to devices where moving parts aren't an issue.
Final thought, certain folks are complaining about not being able to control other devices using the AVR... probably true, I didn't bother to care or try, as I purchased this to be a surround AVR, not a universal remote, and it does a fine job at it. Don't discount it because you might have to pick up a second remote every once in a while.
Pros: I purchased this to connect my PC to my A/V receiver via HDMI, the HDMI port on my 7850 is slightly too inset for my cables to fully connect. This worked out as a nice solution, I get audio and video through one cable, same as HDMI. No bandwidth issues, video looks great, sound gets passed through with full quality and rich surround. 120hz modes (3d) work within the limitations of HDMI, as is expected.
Cons: As often appears in newegg comments, it wasn't free. It's somewhat easy to dislodge the HDMI cable from the adapter end, careful if you have cats or small children with access to it. Not really a con though, just means your cable won't snap when someone trips.
Other Thoughts: A solid choice for anyone needing to use the extra displayport slots on their video card for multi-monitor use, if you have a display you want to connect and it has HDMI but no displayport, you could do worse than one of these adapters. It's solidly constructed and serves it's function well.READ FULL REVIEW
Display Name: Clinton S.
Date Joined: 08/31/05
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