This week we reviewed the BenQ W2700, a DLP projector with UHD-4K resolution and HDR compatibility that is available for €1599. The BenQ W2700 is the first model in a new line of 4K projectors from the Taiwanese manufacturer, which also includes the BenQ W5700 and the upcoming BenQ W1720, which will replace the BenQ W1700. The BenQ W2700 UHD 4K HDR projector features two HDMI inputs compatible with HDCP2.2 and with a brightness of 2000 lumens, it is primarily meant to be used in a completely dark room. It boasts a 1.3x manual optical zoom, a manual vertical lens shift, anti-judder picture video processing technology and a 2 x 5W stereo audio section.
BenQ W2700: the brand
BenQ is a renowned Taiwanese brand that produces projectors, but also LCD monitors, interactive flat-screen displays for businesses and schools, digital cameras and even office lighting.
The manufacturer has gained a solid reputation in the video projection sector by designing 1080p HD projectors that offer excellent value for money. The iconic BenQ W1070 comes to mind, along with its successors the BenQ W1080 and BenQ W1090, which were commended by the specialist press and were a huge hit with home theater enthusiasts on a budget. BenQ excels in offering affordable DLP projectors with remarkable image sharpness and consistently accurate colorimetry, thanks to precise calibration carried out at the factory.
BenQ W2700: packaging & accessories
The BenQ W2700 projector comes with a remote control and batteries, a power cable, a CD-ROM (the user manual), a quick start guide and a factory calibration report.
The precise color calibration carried out in the factory is one of the many strengths of BenQ projectors. The engineers test and adjust numerous settings with specialized equipment and software. The color temperature (D65), gamma, black, white and neutral gray levels, RGBCMY color tracking, hues, saturation, brightness and colors are precisely calibrated for each projector before it is packaged.
Consequently, the user can enjoy excellent picture quality from the outset with the BenQ W2700, without necessarily having to modify the settings. Of course, it is possible to calibrate the BenQ W2700 projector yourself using its CMS or Color Management System. You could also take it to be calibrated by a professional who will save the settings in the dedicated day and night ISF profiles.
NB: The ISF option makes it possible to perform a professional calibration at home. It allows you to adjust the video section of a projector or television extremely accurately, so that it is perfectly adapted to its surroundings. ISF certified experts configure the product in question according to the viewing conditions, with one setting for daytime and one for night-time, guaranteeing perfect image quality every hour of the day.
BenQ W2700: presentation
The BenQ W2700 projector uses a next-generation DLP/DMD chip that measures 0.47” and has a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. To display a UHD 4K image, the projector relies on the extremely high speed at which the chip’s micromirrors “flash”. In practice, each micromirror displays four pixels of the UHD 4K image (which is received through one of the projector’s two HDMI inputs) in succession.
Because each micromirror flashes thousands of times per second, our brain sees the 4K image as if all of the pixels were displayed simultaneously, thanks to retinal persistence.
The BenQ W2700 UHD 4K HDR projector features a lamp with an announced maximum brightness of 2000 lumens. It is therefore best to use the projector in the dark. The BenQ W2700 UHD 4K HDR projector’s optical system boasts a proprietary low-dispersion coating to minimize chromatic aberrations and preserve the clarity and rich colors of 4K HDR videos.
This BenQ projector supports HDR10 (High Dynamic Range) and HLG content. Because the images benefit from a wide dynamic range, the dark and light areas seem more nuanced and legible. The projector also uses a color wheel with six segments, providing richer colors and minimizing the rainbow effect that can be observed with some DLP projectors.
Suitable for projection in a living room, the BenQ W2700 UHD-4K projector features a 1.3 manual zoom ratio which gives the user a certain amount of flexibility when it comes to placement. Even though its range is somewhat limited, the lens shift is also useful when adjusting the image’s position. A very convenient automatic keystone correction tool is also included.
Connection-wise, the BenQ W2700 UHD-4K projector has two 2.0a (HDCP2.2) HDMI inputs that support UHD-4K HDR video signals up to 60Hz. It also features a USB multimedia input (USB 3.0) and a USB port (5V-2.5A) meant to power a wireless HDMI receiver or Chromecast Ultra device, for example.
The BenQ W2700 projector’s connections include two HDCP2.2 compatible HDMI inputs.
The W2700 also boasts an SPDIF optical output, allowing you to bypass its integrated stereo speakers. Therefore, it is possible to connect the projector to a soundbar, a mini home theater system or a classic home theater system to benefit from more immersive sound. A trigger port is also included to simultaneously activate an electric projection screen, for example.
Brightness: 2000 lumens (ANSI)
Contrast ratio: 30 000:1 (FOFO)
Throw ratio: 1.13 – 1.47 (100” @ 2.5m)
Zoom: 1.3x (manual)
Automatic vertical keystone correction (+/-30°)
Comprehensive CMS with ISF calibration modes (day and night)
BenQ W2700: configuration
For our review, we decided to pair the BenQ W2700 projector with the Pioneer UDP-LX500 UHD 4K Blu-ray player using an Audioquest Cinnamon HDMI cable. We were able to project a 240cm base image on our Lumene Coliseum UHD 4K/8K Platinum projection screen. This screen is a motorized model that features an extremely smooth stretched canvas, designed specifically for Ultra High Definition video projection.
We used a UHD 4K Blu-ray disc of Mad Max: Fury Road and several 1080p movies stored on a flashdrive to assess the quality of video display in 4K UHD and 1080p HD resolution, as well as the integrated media player’s features.
Adjusting the image geometry
The BenQ W2700 projector was placed approximately 3.30 meters away from the canvas and the lens was placed at the same height as the bottom of the screen. To accurately adjust the image, we used the alignment grid accessible via the projector’s Setup menu. Named “Test Pattern”, it displays a white grid which precisely delineates the edges of the projected image.
It should be noted that at less than three meters from the screen, it is impossible to focus the image, as we are outside the limits of the lens focus setting.
By adjusting the height of the projector, the lens shift and zoom control knob, we were quickly able to match the lower edge and width of the test pattern with the outline of the projection area.
We then activated the “Auto Keystone” function which almost instantly modified the picture’s upper corners so that the edges were perfectly vertical. This feature is very efficient: we moved the projector several times to interfere with the image and every time we put it back to its original position, the geometry was re-adjusted in a matter of seconds. Magic!
The BenQ W2700 projector seemed to offer highly accurate colorimetry right out of the box, especially in Cinema mode, perfectly calibrated for projection in the dark.
However, we wanted to control the settings of the image projected by the BenQ W2700 and adjust them if necessary. To do this, we simply had to insert the Inakustik calibration Blu-ray into the Pioneer UDP-LX500 player and follow the instructions on the screen.
After configuration, here are the settings that seemed the best suited to our projection conditions (very light room, in the dark but without any anti-glare treatment, for the moment…).
- Picture mode: Cinema
- Brightness: 52
- Contrast: 35
- Color: 50
- Hue: 50
- Sharpness: 0
- Color temperature: normal
- Gamma: 2.2
- Dynamic iris: off
- Brilliant Color: off
- Color enhancement: 0
- Skin tones: 0
- Pixel Enhancer 4K: 3 (for UHD 4K content) to 6 or 7 (for HD 1080p content)
- Motion Enhancer 4K: off
- Automatic keystone: on
- H/W ratio: auto
Although we didn’t want to activate the “Motion Enhancer 4K” motion compensation feature in order to preserve the movie’s “cinematic look”, we were able to test the effectiveness of this option in the Inakustik calibration Blu-ray’s dedicated menu. This feature is well-suited for broadcasting sporting events such as tennis and football matches, as well as auto racing.
BenQ W2700: our impressions
Even before we adjusted the settings, the BenQ W2700 projector provided excellent picture quality, so long as the “Cinema” mode was applied. We were able to verify this during the first few minutes of playing the Mad Max: Fury Road 4K Blu-ray disc. The colors were natural and nicely saturated despite the glare in our room, which is akin to that of an average living room with the shutters closed or the blinds drawn.
It is evident that calibrating each BenQ projector before it goes on sale isn’t just a marketing strategy. Those who aren’t thrilled by the prospect of a long and tedious setup will be delighted to know that this projector provides a beautiful picture that is natural and perfectly contrasted right out of the box.
Blu-ray UHD 4K HDR
With a 2.4 meter base image and the viewers seated at around 3.3 to 4m from the screen, the movie was spectacular. The definition of the picture was superb. It is clear that the DLP 4K technology, which is based on an HD matrix with pixel interpolation, is expertly developed.
Tom Hardy’s face was extremely detailed in close-up shots: his marked skin was expertly rendered, and we could even distinguish each hair in his beard! The textures, the reflections of the metallic elements in the truck’s cockpit, the materials used for the costumes and accessories: everything was portrayed in a realistic and convincing way.
During the car chases, which were filmed outdoors in Namibia, the clouds of dust kicked up by the vehicles were perfectly rendered and free of any visual artefacts. It was a pleasure to behold!
The benefits of HDR were also visible, especially during highly contrasted scenes and backlighting. Inside the truck, we enjoyed a plethora of detail in the well-lit areas of the cockpit, but also in those that were in the dark…
HD 1080p via USB
Just how good is the BenQ W2700’s integrated USB media reader? To find out, we inserted a microSD card onto which we’d saved several HD 1080p movies, some more compressed than others.
It should be noted that the USB reader couldn’t play the DTS audio tracks from some of the movies. It’s a pity, but not an insurmountable problem. We can’t imagine that many people will end up using the projector’s integrated media reader and speakers…
For the picture, however, we were blown away. Even without turning the Pixel Enhancer 4K function up very far. The wedding scenes in Kill Bill: Volume 1, filmed in black and white, were a feast for the eyes. The close-ups on Uma Thurman and David Carradine displayed a breathtaking level of detail and contrast.
The color scenes were particularly realistic with hues that were both vivid and highly accurate. Naturally, the definition wasn’t quite up to par with a UHD 4K Blu-ray disc, and the same goes for the level of detail in comparison with HDR content. That said, the experience was still very pleasant and the viewers were easily absorbed by the story.
The BenQ W2700 projector features two drivers powered by a 2 x 5 watt amplifier. Clearly, that’s not enough to make you jump when you’re watching a horror movie. That said, we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the restitution. The Cinema mode setting allows you to hear dialogue clearly, even when there’s gunfire in the background…
It is therefore possible to make do with the sound provided by the projector from time to time, when taking the projector to watch a movie at a friend’s house or on vacation, for example. However, it is important to turn the volume up high enough so that the sound of the projector’s cooling system doesn’t take over.
Like all projector manufacturers, BenQ has a tendency to embellish the facts. The manufacturer announces a sound level between 28 and 30dB, with the dynamic iris deactivated. Even just by listening to the projector, we seriously doubted that this was accurate.
We wanted to verify this claim using a measuring app downloaded onto our Android smartphone. Even though it isn’t as accurate as a real sound level meter, it allowed us to get an idea of the true sound level.
At a meter away, in front of the projector, we measured an average sound level of 41dB with the lamp in eco mode, 44dB in Smart Eco mode and 46dB in normal mode… Activating the dynamic iris raises the sound level by 1dB.
BenQ still has some work to do when it comes to the working noise level of their projectors. The noise produced by the ventilation can be easily masked during action scenes, but it is distracting during quieter parts. Consequently, it is preferable to make sure that there is plenty of distance between the BenQ W2700 projector and the viewers.
The dynamic iris feature is very useful for modifying the brightness level in real time, according to the scene. It adds more light to the scenes that need it, without affecting the density of blacks in darker scenes. However, we noticed a slight video compression phenomenon when switching from a light scene to a darker one and vice versa. It isn’t a huge problem, but we still preferred to leave it off.
BenQ W2700: compared to…
BenQ W1090: the Taiwanese manufacturer’s best-seller and undisputed champion in its price range, the BenQ W1090 isn’t in the same category and is restricted to HD 1080p resolution. That said, when associated with a quality Blu-ray player, it provides a surprising amount of detail and very accurate colorimetry. However, contrast is anemic and because it doesn’t support HDR content, the dark areas remain subpar to those provided by the BenQ W2700, which is able to extract a plethora of detail from high dynamic range content.
The W2700 takes the lead when it comes to contrast. It’s a tie for color calibration, which is excellent for both projectors right out of the box.
Optoma HD35UST: currently sold for just over €1200, the Optoma projector is a DLP ultra-short throw model meant to be placed at the foot of the projection screen. With HD 1080p resolution, it can’t rival the BenQ W2700 in terms of dynamic range as it isn’t HDR compatible. However, it does have the advantage of providing an image that remains very legible in the dark, something that the BenQ W2700 is not capable of. Furthermore, because it is placed in front of the viewers, the noise it generates isn’t as audible, as it can be easily masked by the soundtrack restituted by its integrated 16W audio system or by the home theater system it is paired with. The BenQ is the winner thanks to its definition and sharpness, but also its colorimetry which, natively, is more expertly calibrated than the Optoma’s.
Xiaomi Mi Laser Projector: another HD 1080p ultra-short throw projector meant to replace the TV in your living room. This model has the particularity of being “connected”, including Android TV, and integrating a Chromecast module for wireless audio and video streaming. Consequently, it is more versatile than the BenQ projector, offering numerous media playback solutions without the need for an external source. But the Xiaomi provides a very vivid and showy image (perhaps too much so) which can sometimes seem artificial. The image provided by the BenQ is much more realistic and natural, which is the most important factor after all. It would be very easy and not very expensive to connect a Chromecast Ultra to the projector to enrich its features and enjoy Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in 4K HDR.
BenQ W2700: conclusion
Overall, testing this video projector left us with a very good impression. The BenQ W2700 is capable of projecting a large picture without losing any brightness thanks to its relatively short throw. The factory settings, in particular the expertly calibrated Cinema mode, let you to enjoy your movies in optimal conditions as soon as you unbox the projector. The colors are vivid but remain natural. The contrast is very pleasant.
Its HDR compatibility is an added bonus, allowing you to enjoy movies shot in high dynamic range. The result isn’t as breathtaking as it would be with an OLED TV, whose deep blacks make it possible to achieve greater contrast. The benefits are significant, however, as we observed when watching Mad Max: Fury Road. We enjoyed more detail and nuance, be it during the very dark scenes at the beginning of the film, or during the bright scenes in the desert.
The definition with UHD 4K sources is excellent, with very satisfying levels of detail and sharpness. The DLP matrix and its 4K emulation process are clearly very efficient, and the quality of the lens is almost certainly a contributing factor. With an HD 1080p source, the BenQ W2700 generates a soft and pleasant image. Even after watching 4K content, we weren’t frustrated by switching to a movie with an inferior native resolution.
The only fly in the ointment: when starting a movie with the Pioneer player, the BenQ W7200 sometimes displayed an image that was split down the middle and had a different level of brightness on each side (with both a Blu-ray and a USB flashdrive as a source). The image went back to normal when we manually deactivated then reactivated the player’s HDR mode. This is probably a flaw concerning HDMI signal detection that the manufacturer could fix with a software update.
Ed. An update for the BenQ W2700’s firmware has been available on the manufacturer’s website since June 6 (on this page). It fixes the problem of the image that is vertically split in half.
What we liked:
- The straightforward and quick settings (zoom, lens shift, auto keystone)
- The expertly calibrated Cinema mode
- The sharpness of the picture
- The backlit remote control with its many buttons for direct access to the main settings
What we would have liked:
- For the ventilation to have been quieter
- Better support for audio tracks via USB