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Discussion Starter #1
Ok I finally did it. I did a side by side comparison b/w the Benq 1070 and the Optoma hd131xe. I couldn't help myself. I'm a bit of an OCD shopper and read endlessly before making a purchase. I must have read every post b/w these 2 as they seem to be the top 2 competing projectors at their price range. I had an Optoma H31 back in the day and my most recent projector was an Optoma EP1691, so 1080p was a huge upgrade for me. So I bought the Optoma hd131xe first. I loved it. And was satisfied, however, I wanted bigger and due to my room size the Benq 1070 was always on my mind. At first I didn't want to buy the Benq and compare because I felt guilty about returning the item if all I was going to do was compare, but it became an obsession thinking about the 2 and what they would look like up against each other. Amazon then had the refurbished 1070 for $677, I couldn't help myself and I caved in and bought it. I borrowed of few of my friends cables and such so I could project 2 images from the same source. Before I get to my review there are a few points I want to emphasize:


1) Pictures were taken with my galaxy s3 and in absolutely no way (I repeat, absolutely no way) do justice to what I am seeing in person, so take the photos with a huge grain of salt. Some of the photos I took portray a decent picture of what I saw and I will make note of which ones. But most of the time no matter how hard I tried the picture looked completely different from the image I saw in person (for instance, with the Benq there was a huge glare in most the photos but in reality I couldn't see this whatsoever).

2) I compared the images on a white wall about 9-10 feet back. Again, not the ideal situation but good enough to make a comparison.

3) I am not a home theatre expert by no means and do not have a dedicated theatre, however, I do cover all my windows with blackout cloth and build my own screens with blackout cloth and feel I can make adequate comparisons. I am not prone to RBE so I can't comment on that either.

4) You have to do a side by side comparison to really appreciate the differences. Watching them one at a time it was very difficult to tell which image I preferred, but side by side comparison it was very obvious.

After several hours of comparison b/w the 2 watching several different movies, it was incredibly easy for me to make up my mind on which to keep. IMO, here is a final summary b/w the two projectors:

-Without a doubt, the 1070 gives an overall better 2D image and much better experience.

-However, the hd131 is better for 3D.



Pros of Optoma:

-Rich, deep colors.

-Built in speakers are better than benq.

-Better blacks.

-Brighter and better in 3D particularly when watching non-animated movies (ex: Gravity). For example, the movie took place in space so the dark scenes were much easier to watch with more detail than the benq. With animation the Optoma has only a slightly better edge.


Cons of Optoma:

-IMAGE NOISE- this was the dealbreaker. The reason people claim that the optoma has "colors that pop and are richer" is because the picture is oversaturated. This created a "dark on dark" of rich colors which was not only unrealistic, but it gave the characters a spray tan appearance which was unbearable at times. Now, when I tried to adjust the colors yes you could reduce the noise, but then you lose that "pop" that many liked.

-Not as bright as I thought it would be in 2D.

-Less array of colors when compared to the benq which made a big difference in the quality of image.

-Not that this was a dealbreaker, but the unit feels cheap and plastic-y, no lens cover either.


Pros of Benq:

-Beautiful, natural and realistic colors that give more detail and a larger array of colors. This was ultimately the deciding factor.

-Brighter than the Optoma in 2D mode.

-Better detail in 2D mode (ex: you could make out more detail on ones face as evident by wrinkles/blemishes/curvatures)

-Better whites

-Lens shift: granted it isn't much (~4.5 inches) but it is still nice to have and more than I anticipated.

-Better build of unit and doesn't feel cheap like the Optoma.

-Shorter image throw-this can be a pro or con for you depending on your room, but for me I like it big!


Cons of Benq:

-Less brightness in 3D and loss of detail in 3D when watching non-animated movies. However, when watching animated movies in 3D both are very good as the benq does have less detail but the colors are richer and more alive.

-Poorer blacks, however, in some scenes the blacks were better and darker, but generally when the blacks were mixed in with other colors it wasn't as good. This wasn't as big a deal as I anticipated though.


I watched the youtube video comparing the 1070 to the hd25 and thought the benq looked much worse which is why I went with the Optoma at first. I also read many comments of people saying the image was "dull" and "harsh" with the benq but IMO this couldn't be further from the truth and I think it looks more alive and "pops" out. Again, DO NOT RELY ON MY UPLOADED IMAGES TO MAKE YOUR DECISION, I probably shouldn't have even uploaded them but I feel it does represent the image noise well. Again, this is all my opinion, both are good projectors. I'm not trying to sound like a promoter for benq, I just was surprised by how much more I enjoyed it than the optoma. There are plenty I'm sure who prefer the optoma over the benq but to me it doesn't compare to the benq and I will be returning the optoma.



At the same distance the benq has a much larger image. Again, the camera doesn't do the picture quality justice as the glare that is seen on the bottom image is not present in person.



Just note the image noise in the face on top with the optoma. Again, this picture does no justice to the real image but the noise is well pronounced here to compare. All the glare you see in the picture especially around the white shirt is not there in reality.



JUST PAY ATTENTION TO THE FACES, in reality it looks much different as there is not a huge glare from the benq. The optoma on top, the benq on bottom.



3D mode without glasses: Optoma on top, benq bottom. Again, this looks much different with glasses but the stars are much more noticeable and detail is much better with the optoma on top.



3D mode with glasses: optoma on top, benq bottom. Benq has richer colors.



3D mode with glasses: Optoma on top with better detail (particularly with the coat)



These were taken on my screen separately hence the better picture quality, but the benq on left and optoma on the right. The optoma has significant image noise with a spray tan appearance in this scene.



These were again taken on my screen separately hence the better quality of picture, the benq on the left and optoma on the right. Note the subtle spray tan appearance on the right.
 

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Thanks for the comparison, love a good head-to-head. I bought the benq w1070. Couldn't even consider the optoma as here in Japan it costs twice as much
 

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Thanks for taking the time to voice your opinions, unwaw.


I've seen the YouTube video (W1070 vs HD25) you're referring to - the big problem with that video (other than standard user-submitted video issues such as calibration - or lack thereof!) is that a few months after Optoma released the HD25 in that video (which I actually seriously considered purchasing at the time), they discontinued it.


Optoma then replaced the HD25 with the HD25e; which, along with the HD131Xe, now both substitute the original HD25's color wheel (which was an RGBRGB, just like the BenQ's) with RGBCYW wheels instead . For the life of me, I can't figure out why they did so: whilst the original HD25 was true competition to the W1070 (and produced a similar image), neither the HD25e nor HD131Xe stand a chance in terms of color reproduction as a result. Optoma may have done so to cut costs (that 'W' in the color wheel is a white segment which boosts brightness and therefore allows them to both claim higher brightness along with using a lower-power and cheaper lamp; at the cost of color accuracy). But the resulting effects are what you're reporting above.


If you read professional comparative reviews between the W1070 and HD131Xe, most reviewers come to the same conclusion you do - don't bother with user-uploaded YouTube videos


And since the HD25 did (rightfully) receive tons of praise as competitor, many potential buyers just assume the newer HD25e is the same.


It's a pity: As you've seen, Optoma's decision to use Vesa/RF for 3D (in addition to DLP-Link used by BenQ) would've made it a serious alternative to the W1070 for viewers who are serious about 3D (DLP-Link causes that 'red-wash' effect you see; and whilst glasses filter it out, there's still a negative impact on contrast).


This was one of the reasons I considered the old HD25 a year ago.


Back then, I ended up deciding on the BenQ over the original HD25 purely because I wanted lens shift. Today, anyone serious about a low-noise, color-accurate image at this price point doesn't really have a choice: the W1070 is the only proper option; joined perhaps by Epson's 2030.


Once again, thanks for the side-by-side!
 
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Solid write up. I'm sure a number of Optoma owners out there will be bummed and argue the conclusion.


I got the W1070 during release month over a year ago for $800 about the second after the first review was written as a holdover projector until I finish my basement in a few years. I've been very happy with it though and just maintain how pleasantly surprised in the way it handles my 161" screen in lousy conditions.


This projector is one I continually recommend to others and will continue to do so moving forward. I had said in reviews comparing Optoma to BenQ that it was the color of the BenQ, most likely through the use of the RGB/RGB color wheel which sets it apart with better out of the box color, and better overall image quality. The Optoma goes darker, but the BenQ provides the better overall picture.


Good stuff!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys. It'll definitely carry me over for the next several years until an affordable 1080p LED with decent brightness comes out. I plan on building 130-140" screen soon for the benq. Can't wait!
 

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Thanks for doing this! I don't know why more people haven't responded?? It was a very well written review and I created an account just to say thanks as I was torn between these two as well for the longest time and your post made up my mind! Also, what do you think of the new LED projectors coming out like the Optoma hd91 and LG PF85U? Both look promising but still price is too high. 
 

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One thing you didn't mention was any setting changes or calibration done to the units. This could make quite a difference in the pros/cons for each unit compared head-to-head.
 
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