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BenQ W600 review

Kat Orphanides
5 Feb 2010
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BenQ W600
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
499
inc VAT

This inexpensive 720p projector has great picture quality for its price and is a perfect first step into the world of home cinema.

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Specifications

1,280x720 resolution, 2,600 ANSI lumens, 121x332x340mm, 5.2kg

BenQ's W600 is one of the cheapest home cinema projectors around, but it still has composite, component, S-video and two HDMI inputs. It doesn't have a lens cap, but its lens is deeply recessed to protect it from dust and scratches.

It has a 720p resolution, so you won't get the full benefit of 1080p High Definition video sources, but we were pleasantly surprised by its intensity, partially due to the bright 2,600 ANSI lumens bulb, and image quality. The projector will accept a 1080p24 image, downscaling it to fit. Although it's a DLP projector, it was barely affected by the notorious rainbow effect, even when we projected a high contrast test grid. We saw occasional rainbows on fast-moving black and white footage, but far less frequently than expected.

Contrast was excellent, another traditional DLP trait, with rich black tones and sparkling whites. The projected image is intensely bright, thanks to a 2,600 lumen lamp. At most preset image modes, colours are well balanced and pleasingly vivid, if not entirely natural looking. The Cinema mode provides an adequate balance of warmth and accurate colour.

We were also able to configure a pleasingly natural colour mode of our own by disabling the Brilliant Colour setting and raising the projector's brightness and contrast. The projector's Dynamic and sRGB modes are better suited to viewing with the lights on, but look rather cold and blue-tinted in the dark. The W600 is somewhat prone to motion blur on fast-moving text and images. Running costs are also reasonable, with a £121 bulb lasting for 2,500 hours (5p an hour) at full brightness, and 4,000 hours (3p per hour) in Economy mode.

Although W600 is astonishingly good for a £500 projector, it suffers from a number of minor irritations. The internal speaker came on every time we started the projector, even if we'd previously disabled it, but a mute button on the remote control makes this easy to deal with.

The remote control only worked when we pointed it directly at the projector, which is counter-intuitive if the projector is behind you. Both the remote control layout and menu navigation system felt a little cluttered, but the different settings are grouped together in a reasonably logical fashion on the menus.

The Display menu allows you to optimise the projector's performance for the environment you're using it in, such as keystone correction, where a poorly aligned projector results in an image that is wider at the top or bottom, or adjusting its colour balance to compensate for a coloured projection surface, such as a blackboard or coloured wall. However, there are only presets for light yellow, light green, blue and black surfaces.

The Picture settings menu lets you choose between the projector's pre-set display modes and modify them to create your own settings. While it's easy to change settings like contrast and colour temperature, controls for altering the intensity of red, green or blue tones are buried in the slightly confusing 3D Colour Management sub-menu.

Although it has a 720p resolution and its controls aren't as easy as those of some other projectors, the W600 is an excellent buy. Fan noise is audible but limited to a muted low-pitched hum. It has the rich colours we're used to seeing from DLP projectors, but suffers surprisingly little from the irritating rainbow effect that bothers us on many DLP projectors. BenQ's W600 provides good image quality at a bargain price.

Details

Price£499
Detailswww.benq.co.uk
Rating****
AwardBudget Buy

Specifications

Projector technologyDLP
Lamp brightness2,600 ANSI lumens
Lamp life2,500
Lamp life in economy mode4,000
Contrast ratio3,000:1

Picture

Native resolution1,280x720
Max compressed resolution1,920x1,080
Aspect ratio16:9
Other aspect ratios4:3, input source native
Max diagonal at 7ft60in
Throw ratio1.51:1 to 1.76:1
Optical zoom1.2x
Projection distance1m to 10.1m
Mirror imageyes
Invert imageyes
Lens shift horizontalN/A
Lens shift verticalN/A
HD Readyyes
Special view modesDynamic, Standard, sRGB, Cinema, user

Inputs/Outputs

VGA inputyes
DVI inputYes
Sound inputs3.5mm, phono
Composite inputyes
S-video inputyes
HDMI inputyes
PAL supportyes
SECAM supportyes
NTSC supportyes
Audio output3.5mm, phono
Video outputVGA
Others inputs/outputssecond HDMI input, USB service port, RS232, 10/100 Ethernet

Other

Noise (in normal use)35dB(A)
Size121x332x340mm
Weight5.2kg
Internal speakersyes (2W mono)
Extrasremote, carry case, cables (power, DVI, VGA to component)
Remote special featuresnone
Power consumption standby1W
Power consumption on261W

Lamp

Lamp cost (inc VAT)£121
Lamp supplierwww.projectorpoint.co.uk
Lamp cost per hour of use£0.05
Lamp cost per hour of use (economy)£0.03

Buying Information

Price£499
Supplierhttp://www.projectorpoint.co.uk
Detailswww.benq.co.uk

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