BenQ W1700 4K Home Projector review: Conventional but compelling
- Great 4K experience
- Surprisingly good speaker
- HDR isn't quite as dazzling as it is on a TV
- No built-in 4K Blu-ray player
If you’ve been looking for a moderately-priced projector that’s well-equipped to deliver both quality 4K and HDR home cinema experiences, the W1700 makes a very compelling case for itself.
When we reviewed BenQ’s ultra-portable GS1 last year, we lamented the poor balance the brand had struck when it came to price-tag and the actual quality of the viewing experience itself. Thankfully, no such claim can be lobbied at the brand this time around.
With the W1700, it feels like they’ve found more steady footing and hit a stronger mark.
Cutting to the chase - If you’ve been looking for a moderately-priced projector that’s well-equipped to deliver both quality 4K and HDR home cinema experiences, the W1700 makes a very compelling case that it might just be the one you’re looking for.
Projection System: DLP
Native Resolution: 4K UHD (3840 x 2160)
Brightness (ANSI Lumens): 2200 ANSI Lumens
Contrast Ratio: 10000:1
Throw Ratio: 1.47 - 1.76 (100" @ 3.25 m)
Projection Size: 60" ~ 200" / 300"
Zoom Ratio: 1.2X
Weight: 4.2 kg / 9.2 lbs
Dimensions: 353mm x 135mm x 272mm
Ports: HDMI-1 (HDMI 2.0 & HDCP 2.2), HDMI-2 (HDMI 1.4a & HDCP 1.4), Computer In-1 (D-sub 15pin, Female), USB Type A (1.5A power), USB Type mini B (Service), Audio In (mini jack), Audio Out (mini jack), RS232 In (D-sub 9pin, male), DC 12V Trigger (3.5mm Jack), IR Receiver (Front+Top).
In terms of the design, the exterior of the W1700 is best summarized as the same old song and dance. BenQ haven’t exactly tried to reinvent what a projector should look like here. It’s a white box with a lens on the fronts and a veritable menagerie of ports competing for attention up the back. There are fan grills on the side of the W1700, while a control panel adorns the top. If you’ve ever seen a modern projector before, you know the drill, and you know what to expect from the W1700.
It’s conventional - but it works.
The W1700 also comes bundled with a remote that allows you to control playback (if run through the USB ports on the unit). However, if you’ve got the W1700 cabled up to something like an Xbox One X or other 4K Blu-Ray player, you’ll still have to rely on the relevant remote or other control. If anything, the lack of a built-in 4K Blu-ray drive hurts the W1700 the most. For a home projector pitched as having it all, it sticks out as a curious omission.
Still, realistically, this isn’t even close to being some sort of outright deal breaker. At worst, it’s more of an inconvenience, and the kind of minor quibble where your mileage is going to vary depending on your own home theater setup.
To BenQ’s credit, the setup on the W1700 is super straightforward. You plug it in, power it up and it’ll run you through a handful of screens to determine the basic output settings on the thing. Once you’re through this process, you can either jump right into watching something or tinker further with the projector’s range of special features to find the desired output.
The list of features that BenQ have used to boost and/or customize the experience you get out of the W1700 is a long one, but one well worth of elaboration.
There’s the Auto HDR Color Rendition which offers boosts brightness and contrast range at the same time, allowing for cinematic image optimization in a single, easy step. Then there’s the Color Enhancer, which modulates complex color algorithms to render richly-saturated colors, finer gradients and bring out more-subtle pigments. Finally, there’s the Pixel Enhancer, a motion-adaptive edge enhancement feature that detects changes in color between an object and its background to produce sharper edges and more accurate surface textures.
If this sounds like an overwhelming amount of technical jargon, bells and whistles - don’t worry. In reality, a lot of these features are as easy to activate as pushing a button on a remote. True to its framing as a high-quality home projector anyone can use and enjoy, BenQ have made it really easy to get the most out of the W1700.
Better yet, in terms of how content being run through the W1700 actually looks, there’s a lot to like here.
Speaking to my own personal experiences, it’s definitely came in as more than just a a contender. It’s not quite cinema-level, nor can it quite hold a candle to some of the high-end ultra-premium OLED and QLED TVs out there - but that’s not to say it isn’t good.
In fact, as far as 4K goes, the W1700 delivered near-picture perfect output in our time with it. Burning through a few episodes of HBO’s Westworld, we came away delighted with the crisp level of detail on offer here. You could really pick out the finer details within scenes and - even as someone who has spent a fair amount of time indulging in 4K content in recent months - the granularity to the images felt like something worth savoring.
The built-in speaker doesn’t sound half-bad either. Boasting BenQ’s CinemaMaster Audio+ enhancement tech, the speakers in the W1700 actively combine EQ algorithms to produce better clarity and utilises exotic materials such as magnesium and rubidium alloys to produce purer vocals and minimize distortion.
Unfortunately, the same can’t quite be said for the HDR side of things. The color depth on the W1700 is good - but it doesn’t reach up and deliver that that vivid and exceptional level of richness that usually makes HDR so memorable. It’s definitely present but, all things considered, the overall effect just isn’t quite as dazzling as it usually is (or might be on a comparably-priced Hisense or Panasonic TV).
The Bottom Line
Still, if you’re looking for a home projector that ticks all the right boxes when it comes to 4K and HDR and comes in at a price-point that’s not too taxing - the W1700 is an easy candidate worth consideration.
It’s a little conventional - but it works all the same.
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