BenQ W1070 vs Optoma HD25 Review
As I've mentioned in the past, these two projectors have been at the top of my list and I wanted to try both to get a good idea about the strengths and weakness of each. I find most online reviews to be pretty lacking and I thought I'd write my own "real world, real user" review. First and foremost, let me just say that there was no clear winner between the two. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, which I will attempt to explain as well as I can below.
First of all, let's compare lenses and the geometric shape of the test pattern. Keep in mind that in case of the Optoma I didn't try and get it perfectly aligned to the edges (couldn't get it back far enough to fill the entire screen), but it had some pretty obvious distortion issues compared to the BenQ.
BenQ W1070 is mostly aligned - there's an edge which goes slightly off-screen (or if I angle it a bit more then I can get both edges in the picture and the center of the image "sags" just a bit. It looks much worse with the test pattern than it does with real content.
Optoma HD25 showed much more curvature at the top. Ignore the vertical keystone problems, that was fixed with a single click after I snapped the picture. Only look at the horizontal lines and notice how the bottom one is perfectly aligned while the top line exhibits a much more extreme "smile."
I also found that the lens shift on the BenQ is useful, however it's needed much more than on the Optoma as the projector sits much closer to the screen. The closer a PJ is to the screen, the more we have to increase the angle if we want to drop the image. A useful feature, but nothing which really made the BenQ stand out in this case.
EDIT: Update, I found the lens shift to actually be pretty useful when perma-mounting the projector just to dial it in perfectly. It's harder to do this with my mount. I also mounted the entire system using only 1 step of keystone correction.
EDIT2: I swapped the W1070 for another hoping it would fix a few firmware bugs and found the geometry on the new one to be even worse than the HD25... so I guess it must vary model by model. The good news is that I just have the edges hit the black around the screen and it's it's not visible.
Next, I set it up so that both projectors are running at the same time, being fed the same signal via an HDMI splitter to get a true side-by-side and not go from memory:
And here is what that looks like after I aligned the test patterns... The one on the left is the Optoma HD25, while the one on the right is the BenQ W1070:
Now, I know many professional reviews spend a whole lot of time on picture quality, so let me start with that. Below is a random sample image during the testing. It's not representative and I wouldn't draw any conclusions by looking at what you see between the left and right side. This picture tends to favor the BenQ on the right, but I assure you, it's just this picture.
After watching a lot of content ranging from TV broadcasts, Disney type cartoons (bright with a lot of pop) and movies/shows with dark scenes our conclusion is that we could not tell the difference in brightness nor could we pick a clear winner for picture quality, black levels and shadow details.
We all scored the projectors absolutely even in this regard. Both projectors were set to "Cinema" mode and Eco light mode only as that's the only way I watch these projectors. Both projectors were also in factory default settings without any picture adjustments. I don't care about other modes, but if those are of interest to you, sorry, I don't have an opinion.
The only opinion I do have, and this was a matter of contention between us, was that the "white" light was brighter (whiter) on the Optoma HD25, but the color brightness was exactly even (see shot above with both of the test patterns side-by-side). I would imagine with a little calibration the Optoma could be fixed in this regard. I personally found that the BenQ looked a little bit more natural when it came to brighter/whiter scenes, but again, this was extremely mild and my mind could have just been influenced by what I saw with the test patterns.
EDIT: Added video
: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYN0ESD-dBk&feature=youtu.beFan Noise
Both the Optoma HD25 and the BenQ W1070 get relatively quiet in Cinema & Eco mode. You can hear them, but once you get into watching a movie, for the most part, the sound goes away and you don't hear it. My friend & wife had no issues with either projector, however, being that I'm extremely sensitive to this, we spent a lot of time comparing the two. I would say the noise is almost identical, right at the exhaust port(s), between the two; with the HD25 edging out the BenQ by a couple dB, however the real difference was in the design of the exhaust locations on both projectors. The W1070 has large air vents on the sides, which means it's much more noticeable from all seating locations whereas the HD25 blows it in the forward direction... meaning it's much quieter if you're sitting behind or even to the side of the projector. I found the HD25 slightly more palatable while watching movies and today I only noticed the projector once or twice during a ~2 hour movie with a lot of quiet scenes, whereas with the BenQ I would notice much more often.
In all of our opinions, the HD25 is slightly better in this regard and although both weren't "LCD-quiet," the Optoma also had a more "pleasing" humm compared to the BenQ, where it disappeared more into the background noise. This is despite the fact that the Optoma was sitting an extra ~2ft closer to us to project the same sized image.
In addition, if it's' of any relevance, the exhaust air coming out of the HD25 is noticeably
cooler than that coming from the BenQ. The BenQ tends to run hotter and maybe this is the reason for the extra air volume needed to cool it off.
EDIT: Quick update as it's much quieter in the house now with everyone asleep, The BenQ could be easily heard over the central air exhaust, however the HD25 is almost silent to me right now as it's drowned out by the A/C. For someone sensitive about noise, I could definitely live with the HD25... the W1070 not so much. It's no comparison to the Epson 3020, for example, which is complete silent in Eco mode. My wife commented that the HD25 has a more pleasing noise, where it sounds more like moving air (like that coming out of our A/C duct in the ceiling), whereas the BenQ had that plus some faint fan noise.
EDIT2: Added video
. After reviewing it, I can much more clearly hear the difference in fan noise
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NLV-6JYWeA&feature=youtu.beHDMI signal switching
First of all, the BenQ has the dreaded "gap" between the enclosure plastic and the HDMI connector meaning that you really have to jam the connector into the PJ to get it to connect. However, once this is done once it's not a problem.
The HD25 has a mode where you can "lock" it to an input, meaning it's not scanning all input ports for a signal. The BenQ has an option to disable scanning as well, but it took longer to lock onto the HDMI signal (typically 1-2 seconds longer) and more annoyingly, in my setup, when I'd switch between content with my receiver or just pause/rewind some content in Windows Media Center, it would once in a while lose the signal and show a black screen with a "Searching for signal" message. The HD25 worked much more like a TV and once it had a signal never showed that message no matter what I threw at it. Keep in mind, both projectors were getting the same exact 1080p60 signal via the HDMI splitter. This is definitely a nuisance with the BenQ and the HD25 definitely won in this regard.
EDIT: Upgraded firmware on the W1070 from 1.05 -> 1.06 and HDMI switching is now much quicker and there are no issues with losing signal anymore!Menus/setup
The menus on the BenQ are clean and extremely well laid out. No complaints at all. The HD25 on the other hand is clunky and not well organized. In addition, it was really annoying in that I didn't know when a certain menu item was highlighted... too many gradients which all blended with the selection cursor. This isn't something that I would expect to visit often and thus it's not a big deal, but BenQ is definitely the winner here.Power consumption
BenQ W1070 Eco/Cinema: ~220w
Optoma HD25 Eco/Cinema: ~240wOther thoughts
The BenQ W1070 has a 12v trigger port which the Optoma HD25 lacks. This may not be useful for most of those who don't have the projector in a dedicated theater room, however since my projection screen rolls up and down automatically when the projector is turned on, this is a much desired feature for me, and really something which I feel the HD25 should have included (it costs Optoma nothing to include it).
The BenQ has a slightly more pleasing enclosure and looks much better mounted up on the ceiling in a living room, for those who care.
The lens caps on both projectors are a bit "meh" but the one on the BenQ is more annoying as putting the cap on always distorts the lens focus each and every time. The lens moves in/out when adjusting focus, unlike on the HD25 where the lens is fixed (only something internally moves). Think of this like a DSLR lens, which extends out when you use zoom, versus one that's fixed. Pressing on the end of the lens means the focus ring spins back. This is the case with the BenQ.
There was a YouTube video comparing the HD25 to the W1070, which clearly showed the HD25 as having a better picture. After seeing the two side-by-side in cinema mode, I have to say that the video posted is an extremely inaccurate comparison of the two projectors. I don't know what the settings were in each and which firmware they were running, but I do know that we didn't see anything like that video shows - not even close!
EDIT: I think if the Optoma HD25 had a trigger port and didn't exhibit the weird geometry issues it would be a keeper for me.
That's all for now, if I think of more I'll edit this post in the future. I also made a video review however I haven't had a chance to do much with that and will post it at a later date. What it shows, for the most part, is how the picture quality is so identical in both.
I hope this helps some of you who are interested in some of the specific features I talked about. If you have any questions please let me know. I really think that you can't really go wrong with either projector, but both of them have some problems which make them not ideal candidates for me. I plan on testing something else in the future.Edited by ///3oris - 7/13/13 at 12:34am