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BenQ W4000i review: High-end home 4K home cinema for less

Our Rating :
£2,999.00 from
Price when reviewed : 2,999
inc VAT

Despite some quibbles, this is an exceptional 4K home cinema projector that delivers high-end picture quality at a mid-range price

Pros

  • Bright, crisp and very detailed pictures
  • Superb colour reproduction
  • High-quality bundled streaming stick

Cons

  • Using Wide Colour settings impacts brightness
  • No dedicated gaming modes

With all the excitement around high-end portable projectors and ultra-short-throw TV replacements, it’s easy to forget that the reason most people buy a projector is to replicate the cinema experience in the comfort of their home. If that’s why you want a projector – and you have a £3,000 budget to work with – then the BenQ W4000i is aimed at you.

This is a projector that’s clearly and unashamedly designed with home cinema use in mind, with a 4K resolution, a 3,200 ANSI lumens LED light source, new BenQ HDR Pro tech and claims of 100% coverage of the DCI-P3 colour gamut. It even has a manual horizontal and vertical 2D lens shift to give you some flexibility in your position without any digital trickery that might impact image quality.

Trust me. You only need to look at the settings to realise that this is a serious projector for serious home cinema buffs.

BenQ W4000i review: What do you get for the money?

The BenQ W4000i is a 4K projector with a 3,200 ANSI lumens brightness output, 30-bit colour support and a 1.15:1 to 1.5:1 throw ratio, courtesy of a 1.3x optical zoom. Like many lower-cost 4K projectors, its DLP chip doesn’t actually have a native 4K resolution, but pixel-shifting techniques provide a simulation so accurate that it’s practically impossible to tell the difference.

Unusually, the light source uses four LEDs rather than a conventional lamp or lasers, but the output remains outstandingly bright. What’s more, the light source should last for 20,000 hours in the projector’s Normal setting, or between 20,000 and 30,000 hours if you use the Eco or Smart Eco settings.

HDR, HDR10+ and HLG formats are all supported, as is Filmmaker Mode to make sure you get what the director, cinematographer and editor intended when you’re watching a prestige TV show or movie.

BenQ W4000i rear

On the rear of the projector, you’ll find two HDMI 2.0 ports with HDCP 2.2 compliance, an Ethernet port and two USB-A ports for service, media playback and power for external streamers. There’s also an RS232 input and a DC 12V trigger for use in more sophisticated and automated home cinema setups.

BenQ also includes its QS02 Android TV streaming stick, fitted internally through a third, concealed HDMI 2.0 port, plus two remote controls. If you find yourself using the W4000i without a dedicated sound system, it also incorporates a 5W speaker plus 3.5mm and S/PDIF outputs.

BenQ W4000i review: What does it do well?

With its manual controls and wealth of settings, the W4000i can be a bit intimidating, but in practice it’s surprisingly easy to set it up and get a decent picture, using the zoom to maximise your screen space and the focus control to get the image sharp.

The digital keystone adjustments do a great job of fixing any geometry issues, and the short-ish throw and zoom give you scope to get a proper small cinema-sized screen even when you don’t have a huge room. You’ll need to place the projector just over 2.5 metres away to project a 100in image at the maximum zoom level.

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If you want to go deep into the settings menus, the W4000i should keep you busy for some time. Not only do you have the usual standard, HDR and Filmmaker modes, but custom modes and colour controls that go way beyond the norm, with 11 levels of white balance control and 11 levels of colour temperature tuning. You can turn on, turn off or tune the different colour, contrast, noise and motion optimisations, and get the picture exactly as you’d want it. Or you can just stick to Filmmaker mode in the knowledge you’re getting what the makers had in mind.

This wouldn’t matter if the W4000i couldn’t deliver on that vision, but it does. 4K images look impressively crisp and detailed, but never stray into the artificially sharpened territory you see with some pixel-shifted 4K projectors. Colours are richer with more depth than on most cheaper 4K models, and in the Filmmaker and Cinema modes they have that kind of cinematic tone and texture that you get in, well, a decent cinema.

BenQ W4000i top with remotes

I’ve spent a good few hours watching material ranging from The Bear and A Haunting in Venice on Disney+ to Dead Ringers, Reacher and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse on Amazon Prime Video, and the performance was consistently superb. Feed this projector good material from a 4K Blu-ray player and it will make the most of that as well, especially if you want to see tone and subtlety in your image rather than just punchy colours and searing HDR highlights. Don’t get me wrong: the W4000i can handle HDR material with bright highlights and nicely graduated darker tones, but the presentation looks natural, not forced.

As for the claims of 100% DCI-P3 coverage, the W4000i gets awfully close. In tests, I measured it as capable of reproducing 97.3% of the DCI-P3 colour space, and I’m pretty sure the missing few per cent comes down more to my screen and my settings than any defect with BenQ’s projector. There is a catch, which I’ll get to in a minute, but if you want best-in-class colour accuracy and coverage, the W4000i should be on your shortlist.

Finally, I ought to mention that the QS02 streaming stick is a real asset. It’s running a fork of Android TV rather than the more modern and feature-packed Google TV, but you still get a clean and familiar interface, apps for nearly all the major UK streaming services – including Netflix – and voice control through the remote with universal search. With HDR10+, HLG and built-in Chromecast support, it’s a good partner to the W4000i.

BenQ W4000i review: What could it do better?

I can’t imagine anyone buying the W4000i without having a separate surround sound system, but the output from the 5W speaker is a little boxy, and dialogue loses clarity at both the lowest volume levels and the highest. Meanwhile, gamers may be disappointed by the lack of a dedicated gaming mode, although there is a Fast response setting and support for 1080p sources to run at a refresh rate of 120Hz.

BenQ W4000i facing left

The biggest issue with the W4000i is that to cover all the DCI-P3 colour gamut, you need to engage the Wide Colour filter through the Wide Colour setting. Sadly, this has the impact of cutting brightness levels noticeably, resulting in a slight loss of contrast and robbing brighter colours and HDR highlights of some of their vibrancy.

The projector goes bright enough that this won’t be a deal breaker, but it’s a shame you can’t make the most of that wider colour gamut and have the brightest, richest image at the same time. Instead, you have to prioritise one or the other.

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BenQ W4000i review: Should you buy one?

If you’re in the market for a projector with the very best image quality and you have the funds, then yes, absolutely you should buy this projector. The W4000i delivers image quality to rival projectors costing nearly twice as much.

It’s perhaps not the most versatile all-rounder, but as a dedicated home-cinema projector, it excels.

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