When I was looking for my projector my two biggest needs were under $1500 (closer to $1000 would be better) and a relatively short throw based on mounting options in my room. The final two...
Excellent placement flexibilty due to large throw range and lens shift, great overall picture, price
Can be loud when switching viewing modes, no 3D (which some DLPs offer at this price), no motorized lens shift (not available at this price)
When I was looking for my projector my two biggest needs were under $1500 (closer to $1000 would be better) and a relatively short throw based on mounting options in my room. The final two candidates I had in mind were the Epson 8350 and the BenQ W1070. I ultimately choose the Epson due to the extra lens shift in case I needed it and from all that I read It seemed like it would have the overall better picture quality in 2d. The 3d of the BenQ was very enticing but I just didn't feel it would get the use right now to be worth it. With that said I am extremely happy with my purchase and I think the Epson is a great entry point for people looking for a lower cost first front projector.
Features—As previously stated the best feature to me is the throw range and lens shift. This provided us with the ability to shelf mount as we were getting the room finalized and then ceiling mount in a place that would fit without having to move anything around in the room or move wires or anything of that sort. The ability to have good picture quality and high light output in the Living Room mode allows us to watch movies with the kids, and have people over for sporting events with the lights on without totally killing what we are watching.
Setup—Getting the projector mounted and set up was pretty easy. The menus seems intuitive enough to me and using the zoom and lens shift to get the image correct on the screen is also pretty easy. As mentioned in the cons motorized lens shift would be nice but is not available at this price point that I am aware of. The only other thing I would want people to know is that with the lens shift both planes move together so moving the image left or right will also move it slightly up or down and vice versa.
Performance— I am by no means an video expert like some on the site are and am not nearly the critical viewer that some here are but to me the picture put out by this projector is excellent. I have my projector paired with a 100" fixed mount screen from Visual Apex and they are a great combo. When I first set it up I just used settings found at projectorcentral.com to get me started and make sure everything was working an that it was watchable and those settings worked pretty well in my room. I then used Digital Video Essentials HD disc to get it dialed in a little bit better and am very pleased with the results. To me the colors are wonderful and I have had no issue with any sort of artifacts or anomalies pop up that are not source related (cable compression for example).
As stated above brightness is excellent on this projector. I use the cinema setting when watching with the light off in the basement and with the 100" screen from about 10 ft away it gives great light. When we want the lights on because people are over or kids are in the basement then I switch it to living room setting which works wonderfully in that setting. The living room mode obviously hurts the colors and black levels some what but for watching with the kids or sports it doesn't have a big enough impact to really hurt the viewing experience. The only real performance negative I would have is the black levels, contrast, shadow detail could be better but I think that is just part of the price point. Higher levels of performance in those areas can be had but at the current time you have to spend more to get that and that is not something we were willing to do at this point.
To close I would just like to say that anyone that is looking to get into a front projection set up from under 1500 with a screen I would highly recommend this projector.