W5700 (HT5550) arrived last night, I couldn't wait to try all of its features to see how it performs, No more guessing games, no more rumors. Since I am the first time BenQ projector user, sorry I can't answer any question regard to HT2550 nor TK800's comparison.
Dedicated room, but wall not anti-reflection treated.
Screen: 135'' fixed 1.0 gain screen
Seat: 10 feet away from the screen, 8 feet before the projector
Projector placement: 5 feet high off the ground
Test pattern: AVCHD
Test software: HCFR
Test color meter: X rite i1pro2
For almost 6 hours of testing with my untrained bare eyes and my previous calibration experiences in HD/HDR projectors, I would like to share my OPEN-BOX thoughts about this new generation of the world-expected, first P3 mid-range projector. I would say that BenQ did an outstanding job hitting it's market. Due to limitations of its production cost, there would definitely be some pros and cons. But to be honestly, if one wants to compare it with the past generation glory hi-end 1080p projectors, like Sim2 Mico or CX3 that's priced 10 times higher, HT5550 is only much more affordable, it's sharpness exceeded them all. If you are to purchase a 4K HDR projector under 3000USD, HT5550 would be your best choice.
Build Quality/ Placement
At a glance, build quality is fantastic. Lite but durable. Do some minor reinforcement on ceiling should be easy for installation. Surrounding heat vents make the chest cool down more effectively. Personally, I consider this is one of greater pros. “ The cooler the chest, the longer its components would last, and also the greater operation stability”. In addition, I am not aware of any light leakage though it has large area vents. The second pros is its 1.6 Zoom lens. I sit 10 feet from my 135'' fixed gain 1.0 screen, the projector is around 8 feet behind me, and it sat on a 5feet tall shelf without blocking the sight of projection. This would be an example for those who don't want to hang it on the ceiling. Thanks to its wide range lens shifts as well. I believed HT DLP projector equips wide range lens shifts is expecting for long for most of HT enthusiasts. I really praise BenQ made this feature finally among DLP camp in this price range.
Talking about first impression of the picture quality, it is really a big difference compare to my Optoma HD25. HD25 was considered a legend among Rec 709, 0.65'' DC3 chip group during full hd pj era. The first sight difference between HT5550 is its picture clarity. Of course, I understand they are not at the same level, however, for me, this is a huge impression.
Someone doubts 4K DMD 0.47'' do not do well for the sharpness, I really can't tell from my seat comparing to my memories of watching UHD51/60/68 which are using DMD 0.66''. Even though true 4K chip in LCD camp is not competing it's sharpness. Seriously, if you really want me to talk about the difference, DMD 0.47'' creates the outline of images softer then DMD 0.66'' does. However, this result happens to if you take a magnifier close enough to the image. I doubt who will do so?
As to the contrast, I guess this is everyone wants to know the best. Does BenQ really make a huge jump on the contrast level in bulb based DLP projector? I am afraid my answer is no. I have been seen lots UHD projector in 3000USD price range, unfortunately, non of DLP projectors can challenge LCD black level in this price range. I checked BenQ to confirm HT5550/H3550 still use TI DC3 chip, as my understanding of DC3 black level, HT5550 still can't go beyond this class.
Measurements of Cinema mode (Rec. 709)
Still, something feel comfort, dynamic iris indeed helps the dark scenes go deeper. This is obviously showed in my calibration result. I got a native contrast 600:1 in Cinema (rec.709) mode, when the DI is active, it goes to 3150:1. However, result showed it slightly effect the gamma that eyes barely notice. Scooty mentioned BenQ technicians told him the iris will be tuned complete shut off and add some DI level adjustments. In my case, mine still can see the light out of the projector when it is in 0% gray scale. Hope mine can be improved as soon as BenQ have further fixing. Besides, I still can notice DI activating initially, also some sudden super bright goes to very dark scenes. But this is not really annoying or notice during the movies.
Out of box measurements
Picture mode: Cinema (Rec.709)
DI on: 3150:1
Measurements of D.Cinema mode (WCG/HDR)
During the test, WCG/HDR mode was my favorite part which I enjoyed the most and also consider the best value of HT5550. For some experiences of calibrating HDR projectors, HT5550 has an excellent tone mapping performance on HDR. It controls outstanding brightness output and the color accuracy. WCG made HDR tone mapping send metadata to the right gamut coordinate, pictures instantly shows popup on it's colorful senses, you won't hesitate a second to distinguish the Rec. 709 & P3 color gamut. How I judge for its HDR performance was experience quite numbers of HDR PJ, which sometimes shows too dark, over saturation or uneven light output, sometimes it made image wash out, even LCD camp still suffer these technical bottleneck. The other way which I am not able to test on HT5550 is to measure HDR Gamma to match S curve. HDR tone mapping is really a hard task of designing a good HDR PJ's at present. Once the corresponding of metadata do not decode to match the color gamut position, the image lose control. I took some pictures of it's excellence HDR images, Skin tones, color scales/details, dark senses details, it just looks astonishing.
Shot by HTC E9+
Out of box measurement
Picture in D. Cinema mode (WCG auto engaged)
DI on contrast 1700:1
Rec 709 view
Ref. DCI-P3 view
I can not test HDR brightness further due to my test pattern is AVCHD which does not include HDR signal so that auto-lock HDR HT5550 couldn't perform this task. However, tracing my calibration result of JVC X990, measurement showed WCG of brightness is at 34.5 nits, then went to 52.3nits when HDR activated. According to WCG HT5550 test result, brightness measured similar to the result of JVC X990, I would like to deduce HT5550 HDR brightness would be around 50 nits similar to JVC X990. The other inference is that according to my Rec. 709 measurements of HT5550, it never perform beyond its own maximum brightness ability.
I believe some might question its lack of HDR brightness. This is also what I consider its weakness part. To get the best image quality for HDR, brightness has to be at least 70nits base on DV standard. Fellows can see my testing result of Rec. 709 at brightness 53 nits, 34 nits brightness when WCG filter on is considered reasonable to me. In this significant brightness drop seems to be the destiny of consumer PJ no matter on DLP or LCD camp. Scotty told the drop might just 10-20% according to his sight, now we have exact no. of 34% brightness loses. However, thanks to HDR, we might have brighter image to 50nits so Scotty might be on the right track. So I am guessing HT5550 or other HDR consumer PJs are still struggle the brightness issue in this generation.
Native color gamut w/o WCG filiter
One thing that I can't be sure is Scotty was told the native color gamut reach to 95% P3 without WCG filter on. Due to BenQ lock Rec.709 gamut in Cinema mode, and WCG Lock in D. Cinema mode , there's no other way to test native color gamut w/o WCG filter. It's a lost for me, but for common users, it is benefit to avoid mis-corresponding mode adjustment.
Calibration for my own environment
Despite 4 default picture modes: Bright/ Vivid TV/ Cinema (Rec.709)/ D. Cinema mode, BenQ offer 1set user setting. It can be loaded any default mode and adjust to your own preference. I used D. Cinema mode as base to calibrate it to satisfy my 135'' fixed 1.0 gain screen and suit my personal environment condition. I would like to share my post calibration as below.
Jim's post cal base on WCG/ D.Cinema mode in Economic
Contrast: 2213:1 :1 ( DI off)
Jim's post cal base on WCG/D. Cinema mode in Normal
Contrast: 585: 1 (DI off)
Brightness: 50.5 nits
Ref. Rec. 709
I would say BenQ made their promises of color accuracy and DCI-P3 gamut on HT5550. Although my final calibration result differ to the result of out of box measurements, but for those who have calibration knowledge would understand these differences may happen in many conditions. After examining every detail of HT5550, I would like to announce my final judgement, BenQ did excellent/ perfect calibration for my HT5550. And I believe those who are waiting for this outstanding PJ will be equally treated as mine. You will get a prefect/ exclusive/ well calibrated HT5550. The attached paper is not just for a paper of bells & whistles, it is a guarantee of performance satisfaction, an honest B&Q promise, and an evidence of hard efforts for every BenQ engineer.
4/7 UPDATED Sharpness pattern/ Add. Native Ref. P3 Color Gamut/ Add Jims post Cal in Light mode: Normal