After my Panasonic AT6000E had passed its time, another image generator had to be installed in the living room. After some research it became a Benq W5700.
Unlike the previous Panasonic beamer, the W5700 is a DLP device: digital light processing was developed by Texas Instruments (TI) and is based on micro mirrors and a color wheel. Under certain circumstances, this can cause a "rainbow effect" to be seen. Depending on how annoying you feel it can be a showstopper.
Benq is promoting the W5700 with 4K UHD - the native resolution of the DLP chip is Full-HD with 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, which is quadrupled using actuator glass, called "XPR" technology by Texas Instruments. As a special feature, the DCI color space is covered 100 percent, even if brightness is lost. In order to use the full resolution as well as the complete color space, an appropriate HDMI cable is required. Because of the distance between beamer and AV receiver (in my setup a Marantz NR1710) the cable comes out of the specification with 7.5m - whether it works smoothly with 4k (UHD) at 60 Fps and HDR10 is not guaranteed for sure.
Benq equips the W5700 beamer with all relevant connections:
- 2x HDMI 2.0b with HDCP 2.2 (for 4K/60Fps)
- USB-A with power supply and USB 3.0 media reader
- USB Mini-B for firmware upgrades
- RJ45 LAN (10/100 Mbit/s)
- 3.5mm DC 12V Trigger
Wireless connections are not supported ex works, here you need extra adapters to use e.g. Google Chromecast. However, such a function is rarely used with a home cinema beamer.
Unlike many other DLP beamers, the Benq W5700 is quite flexible in its placement. Both a vertical (± 60%) and a horizontal (± 23%) lens shift provide enough leeway for most scenarios, although it is of course an advantage if the device is placed in the middle of the screen. Unfortunately, neither the lens shift nor the zoom or focus is motorized, so that you have to show sensitivity by hand to find the right settings.
The Zoom factor is 1.6x, so that an 100″ diagonal can be reached from a distance of 3 meters. The maximum diagonal is 200 inches, above that the sharpness decreases according to Benq. The brightness and contrast also suffer with large diagonals.
The following pictures were taken with a HTPC (or FireTV Stick 4k) as player - it is also important that the appropriate resolution & refresh rate is delivered.
What is important for beamers (or generally screens, televisions and other image-generating devices): colour fidelity. After all, you want the material to be reproduced the way the creator intended. The W5700 covers 100% DCI-P3 and Rec.709 - thus delivers very natural colors and does not distort the output. One disadvantage of using the extended colour space is that some brightness is lost, so the home cinema room recommends that you do without it, even if you lose some colour fidelity.
It's also important that the HDMI cable provides the required bandwidth, otherwise the picture may be interrupted or remain half black. If the bandwidth is clearly too low, it can also lead to colour distortion (this also happened in my setup with a receiver that could provide 4K but not the required bandwidth via HDMI).
In most cases, a projector is based on a strong light source and therefore requires active ventilation - the Benq W5700 has a sound level of 32 dB(A) in standard mode and 26 dB(A) in eco mode. In addition, there's the noise of the color wheel rotation and the movement of the pixel shift - the latter can be turned off in a silent mode, but the resolution is then limited to 1080p (1,920×1,080 pixels).
At least in eco mode, the noise is quiet enough not to disturb the movie enjoyment in most scenes. Those who want to use the standard mode of the lamp should have a Hushbox for the Benq W5700 think. With such a box, which encloses the complete beamer and prevents direct sound paths, the volume can be lowered considerably - the advantage: you can operate the lamp at full power and get a correspondingly brighter image.
What I miss most on the Panasonic AT6000 is the "smoothness": technically, there were only the fans for the lamp. In addition, there were gimmicks like the motor-driven zoom, with which you could easily readjust the picture.
The Benq W5700 on the other hand delivers clearly better colors and more sharpness - especially with text or the Windows desktop of the HTPC you notice it extremely, movies benefit from it as well. For the somewhat annoying noises I plan to build a hushbox for the W5700 - in order to be able to use the full light output of the lamp in every situation.
Which was also helpful. Home cinema room edition bought. This meant that the device came home with useful presets so that I didn't have to spend several evenings with the settings.
All in all, the Benq W5700 is a suitable device for my home cinema, which will hopefully give me many years of movie enjoyment.