Projectors

BenQ W1200 DLP Projector

ARTICLE INDEX

The BenQ W1200 DLP Projector In Use

While I do enjoy a certain zen experience when I spend hours in a lightless room calibrating a projector, watching movies is still my favorite activity. To that end, I chose a mix of recent and not-so-recent Blu-ray titles to help put the W1200 through its paces.

I love superhero flicks so I started with Thor, released earlier this year. I really enjoyed the alien landscapes depicted in the film courtesy of some superb CGI. Even though they weren’t awash in bold colors, the textures and detail popped nicely and never fell flat. Darker scenes showed the limitations of the BenQ’s contrast. I was quickly motivated to tweak the gamma up (darker) which helped. While the image is nice and bright with excellent detail, I was wishing for deeper blacks and a more 3D look. Fast action looked awesome thanks to solid video processing and the DLP chip’s ultra-fast pixel response. Rainbows were not visible to me, though I almost never see them in any DLP display.

Moving on to Green Zone, I wanted to see how the W1200 handled heavy film grain. The nighttime scenes in this movie are shot on very grainy stock and the image often runs the ragged edge of breaking up. While this did not happen, the grain looked to me as if it were laid over top of the image rather than being a part of the picture. Perhaps it was a result of the high black level causing excessive dithering. Everything but the darkest material looked great however. The bright desert climate of Iraq shone through just as director Paul Greengrass intended.

I Am Legend goes back to 2007 but has the same stellar image as newer films. I saw lots of sharp detail in the abandoned New York City streets as well as in close-up shots of the actors’ faces. Subtle CGI effects are overlaid on the live footage and you can’t tell what’s real what’s not. Color is richly saturated and natural and the W1200 handled this beautifully with a high degree of accuracy. The higher gamma setting I chose helped deepen the dark scenes a bit but they still looked a tad gray. Panned shots retained excellent resolution with no judder or other motion artifacts.

I turned on the wayback machine when I decided to drop Tron into the player; the newly released Blu-ray of course. I remember being enthralled by this film back in 1982 with its then-groundbreaking computer effects. Of course, it looks dated now but there’s a certain feel to it that you don’t find in modern titles where physics don’t matter and the impossible is taken for granted. The W1200 had no problems showing every minute detail; both bad and good. The color palette is pretty much monochromatic but the picture still retained some depth thanks to the projector’s excellent lens and superb color reproduction. The lighter black levels didn’t really bother me too much since shadow detail was retained very well.

I finished up with another viewing of Nirvana Unplugged in New York. I used this video for a previous review and just had to watch the performance again. It’s vintage TV show for sure with lots of artifacts and soft resolution. I tried putting my Oppo BDP-93 in source direct mode to test the projector’s scaling ability. It seemed fine with no great difference in detail level observed. Color and contrast held up pretty well and I enjoyed the presentation just as much as I did on my reference Anthem LTX-500. While I always recommend a player with good video processing, the BenQ W1200 does a fine job if called upon.