The BenQ W1700 aims to bridge the gap between affordable projection and high quality 4K resolution.
It comes in at around £500 less than its rivals in this bracket of quality at a very reasonable £1,439 inc VAT. However, BenQ’s latest home cinema projector still displays 8.3 million distinct pixels on screen, delivering images that far surpass those of its HD predecessors.
This performance is made possible through ‘pseudo’ 4K UHD pixel shifting technology. Unlike native 4K, 4K UHD uses a lower resolution display panel to project the same pixels twice, slightly shifted, creating a crisper image than HD alternative without commanding the £5,000 starting price of its native 4K cinema-standard counterparts.
It’s certainly a bold statement from BenQ, and we think it could mark a turning point in terms of 4K affordability. Here’s what some of the market’s top tech reviewers think about the latest BenQ model.
TechRadar describes the BenQ W1700 as a “no-brainer” for home cinema projector buyers, offering the attractive combination of affordability and competitive 4K performance. It argues, in fact, that the device is threatening to encourage the budget-conscious buyer away from cheaper big-screen televisions and towards the now-affordable private home cinema experience.
The TechRadar review also champions the W1700’s sturdy design and use of a single chip to create 4K resolution via pixel shifting, which they conclude is never visible on screen contrary to the arguments of many 4K purists. On the other hand, the review notes the main drawbacks of the BenQ as the lack of HDMI ports and the faint light border produced by unused pixels, which is noticeable if you’re projecting directly onto walls. A 4K projector screen should sort that problem out for you if you’re concerned.
- 4K resolution indistinguishable from native 4K
- Excellent value for money
- Sturdy design
- Lacking in HDMI ports
- Faint light border surrounds projected image
Star rating: 4/5
While Trusted Reviews took a harsher perspective on the projector’s HDR picture quality, which is criticised on its colour production, it offers similar levels of praise for the W1700’s detailed 4K playback and accessible price point. Describing the BenQ offering as “genuinely talented”, it commends its small size, sturdy feel, and clean images lacking in blur, judder and other common imperfections.
The review concludes that it’s undeniable that native 4K still delivers a sharper projection that its pseudo 4K cousins. However, it advises that this all-rounder delivers smoother results with 4K HDR sources than many of its more expensive rivals, making it one to consider if you’re looking for an HD upgrade or an affordable entry point into the 4K home cinema market.
- Crisp 4K images
- Surprisingly impressive HDR delivery
- Great value entry point model
- Not as sharp as native 4K
- Some colour issues with HDR content
Star rating: 4/5
The Projectorpoint view
For purists with a larger budget in search of native 4K, it’s unlikely BenQ’s pixel shift alternative will suffice. However, as is stressed in the model’s reviews, it is hard to beat such a strong 4K resolution at such a reasonable price.
And so we hit upon the major selling point of this device. While there are an increasing number of pseudo 4K projectors fighting to answer calls for an affordable native 4K alternative, the high standards of 4K purists have left many out in the cold.
The BenQ W1700, however, makes the choice between affordability and image quality a much simpler one. As a strong all-rounder, it delivers many advanced features including impressive HDR performance, compact design and impressive clarity without compromise.
In our opinion, the difference in quality between native and 4K UHD ‘pixel shifting’ resolutions is negligible when you take into account the disparity in price. So unless you’re planning a home cinema to rival your local multiplex, the minor concession might be worth your consideration.
If it sounds like the BenQ W1700 is the perfect choice for you, head over to our product page to buy one today. You can also call us on 0808 278 1450 to find out more or arrange a visit to Projectorpoint HQ to experience the image quality with your own eyes.
Alternatively, stay tuned for more news and reviews from our blog or take a look at the rest of our home cinema projector range to discover what else the market has to offer.