PART 1: OUT OF THE BOX AND INTO 4K
Reviewed by Michael Lim, Filmmaker & Curator
(Part 2 of the article is available here)
Joining the range of the latest BenQ projectors is a recent model released a few months back to much fanfare – the BenQ W2700. The BenQ W2700 is the next level up from the previous model W1700 which I reviewed last year. It is more of an upgrade with new improvements that make the W2700 stands out even more, enabling BenQ to be the No. 1 4K projector brand in 2019 in Asia-Pacific with the biggest market share (according to BenQ).
Out of the box, we can already experience a refreshed look with a brand new design which is sure to please. I like the new rectangular capsule design which looks modern and sleek to fit any home and its polished front panel finishing as well. The new back panel places all the inputs and outputs strategically all in one row conveniently.
One particular new little feature which is minor but important is that there are now 2 HDMI 2.0 ports to support two inputs for 4K. Previously, the W1700 could only handle one 4K and one full HD input separately. With this new model, both HDMI inputs now support 4K which is a nice touch. Another port of interest is the USB 3.0 port, which is also a media player, making it convenient to play 4K content directly to the projector.
One new feature on the W2700 is the ability to raise a cover over the lower portion of the lens (see below), which will reduce reflections from a table surface or, if ceiling mounted, from reflective ceilings to ensure the best possible image quality. Weight-wise it is almost the same as the W1700 at 4.2kg.
More importantly, from the moment I hit the start button, that’s when things get exciting. The power-up speed has been improved from the W1700 as the lamp powers up. The menu design is more or less the same as that of the W1700, which makes it an easy upgrade to operate. One hopes in future versions that BenQ may improve on its menus to include perhaps apps to include streaming content but that’s only in my wish list.
As usual to view 4K HDR content, you need the appropriate 4K HDR-supported equipment. In my viewing room, I am using the Oppo 203 as my 4K Ultra-HD source player. In my previous review, I used an Xbox One S. It was a simple swap around between the W1700 and W2700 in the setup. In fact, the BenQ is the No.1 short-throw 4K home projector in the market according to BenQ. It is an easy swap for those who have a 1080p projector*.
This means that users of those models can do an immediate swap around with minimum fuss or without even changing ceiling mounts – this is excellent news for upgraders. There’s also a vertical shift and 1.3 zoom for the lens with auto keystone to help as well.
I was quite surprised as to whether I would be able to detect any significant picture differences between the BenQ W1700 and W2700. In comparison, the W2700 has slightly less lumens of 2000 compared to the W1700 which has 2200, but more significantly it was the added contrast ratio of 30,000: 1 that gives the pictures a greater punch along with the CinematicColour with 95% DCI-P3. I will get to more tech specifications in Part 2 of this article.
The degree of black reproduction has definitely improved and colours appear more vivid in range than the W1700, which is saying a lot since that for me was already a benchmark for an entry level 4K projector.
I used the UHD of Mission Impossible: Fallout as a reference video for my viewing. The projector handled the subtle nuances of the black areas in the halo jump sequences quite nicely, and bright day action scenes such as the motorcycle chase in Paris looked stunning. The colour reproduction came close to what I recollected when I first viewed the movie at the cinemas as well. The HDR 10 was very effective. The UHD also has a well-mixed Dolby Atmos track to accompany the visuals as well which is decoded by my slightly older Denon receiver in 11.2.
Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk was another reference UHD which I used. The beach scenes were very detailed and I could almost see and feel the grains of sand on the beach. Flesh tones were quite even throughout.
One drawback of the projector was that I found the fan noise a little noisy although it is within acceptable range. I didn’t use the internal speakers during the initial testing but there are two 5W speakers placed at the back which sounded better than the W1700.
The BenQ W2700 is definitely a well thought of advancement over the W1700. The design of the projector, picture quality and colour reproduction have been improved . Overall, BenQ has done once again an excellent job of looking after improving its projector and I can look forward to seeing what they plan to do in the future as well.
It is slightly more expensive than the W1700 but well worth the price if it is in your budget range. Currently it is retailing at SGD$2,699 in Singapore. However, if that’s still above your price point, the BenQ 1700 is still available at a lower price.
I will be reviewing some of the other features of the projector including the 3D function as well as writing in more detail about the CinematicColour 95% DCI-P3 and what it means in Part 2 of this article.