I've currently got the w7000 and hd8600 hooked up side by side. And let me preface this by saying my test is not perfect, I've got no measurement devices so this is all subjective, and I'm not a display device authority by any stretch. I've watched both units at the same time with the same feed (PS3 - game demo, WOW blu-ray, Transformers Blu-ray), HDTV (Bell 9242 PVR)) on the same screen (elune vision reference white 1.0 gain), and both units individually by placing an object in front of the lenses and switching back and forth. Both units are not professionally calibrated (only did a quick WOW calibration on them).
Some quick subjective observations that I think are pretty much in line with what others have previously said:
-The hd8600 image has way more pop. 2D images appear 3D. Colors look spectacular. The W7000 ends up looking somewhat washed out, particularly on darker scenes.
-Blacks are far darker (with and without the iris) on the HD8600.
-Iris operation on the hd8600 is silent (my benq has a ridiculously noisy iris although I understand not all of them do)
-Iris operation on both units is detectable, with the HD8600 being somewhat more conspicuous (this could be since the iris on my benq w7000 is anything but discrete in terms of its sound)
-Overall audible noise from the hd8600 is less
-Both units are equally sharp
-The W7000 has more placement flexibility
-I cannot tell any difference between the input lag on these units. Any gamer interested in buying the HD8600 would probably love to have a concrete lag number (I know I did), but I'm not equipped to give it. I can say that the HD8600 does not seem to take anything away from the gaming experience as it seems very responsive, and the motion is fantastic.
-RBE, more noticeable on the W7000.
I took some pictures to show the difference in black levels, but in my excitement in setting everything up, I misplaced the camera (wife is not impressed). Once I find it, I will post the pictures.
There is no doubt that the w7000 is a fantastic projector, and given the fact that it is comparable in cost to the HD8600 (slightly more expensive as I got an HD8600 refurb) but has 3D, better lens shift, more placement flexibility (without having to purchase expensive lenses), and is slightly brighter, it's going to be the better pj for a lot of people. For me though, without having an interest in 3D and just wanting the best blacks I can get while still enjoying the pop, motion, and sharpness offered by DLP, the HD8600 seems to be the better fit at this moment. Time will tell!
Edited by jimmy12 - 9/10/12 at 6:02pm