Product Review - BENQ W1700 4K HDR Projector (Part One)

By Michael Lim, Filmmaker and Curator

BENQ W1700 4K HDR Projector (Image Credit: BENQ)

(For Part Two of the article:

I must admit I was at first a bit apprehensive when it came to reviewing the BENQ W1700 4K HDR projector. The reason being I was a dedicated fan of my previous projector which was a Sony Full HD 3D home theatre projector which I’ve had for many years. I found that my apprehension soon faded away once I got to unbox (see unboxing video below which I made) and fire up the BENQ W1700. I’ve always been a dedicated fan of home electronics, and at one stage, even advised my parents on what type of video recorder to buy when I was only 12 years old. Therefore, when it comes to technology, I try my best to balance usage, price point, and of course, a good deal which is what everyone wants.

While there are higher end models available of 4K projectors by various manufacturers around, some even using laser technology to replace lamps, the BENQ for me stood out in terms of being the best value and affordable 4K HDR projector around. I’ve always been future proofing as much I can afford.

In my small AV room at home which doubles up as a library, I have a Denon AV receiver with Dolby Atmos/DTS X configured with an 11.2 setup and a UHD player in the form of an Xbox One S. So, the BENQ came as a natural fit for me to give the projector a full workout with the UHD content that I have. I wasn’t disappointed. Colours and resolution were remarkable when it came to brightly lit subjects in the UHD of Planet Earth 2 and Blue Planet 2. For Blue Planet 2, the underwater scenes felt like being in a huge aquarium. Images of the fishes were crystal clear and smooth and there were no visible compressed gradients for the underwater scenes.  I also watched Deadpool 2 recently and the black levels were nice and balanced during the hellish scenes of the future where Cable came from.

Know more about W1700 at BenQ Official Webpage:
Check the price of W1700 at BenQ Brand Store:

The projector was simple and easy to setup and it took me less then 10 minutes to get everything configured. Its form shape is small and easy to place. It was an easy plug-and-play. I used a 130” 16:9 screen and the projector was able to handle those dimensions very well. When using the Xbox for 4K output, avoid manually overriding the Auto Settings output to HDMI on the Xbox as it will not detect the 4K projector or TV. I made that mistake and it took me a while to figure out why I was not sending out a 4K resolution image to the BENQ.

Image Credit: BENQ

As you may have read from other reviews of the BENQ W1700, the DLP chip that the BENQ uses is not a native 4K chip. However, it uses the new Texas Instruments 1080p 0.47” DMD chip which creates a 8.3 million pixel image on screen by flashing the mirrors extremely fast for four times to create the image. It is hardly noticeable which makes the images sharp and clear.

There are two HDMI input sources as well as a VGA input for PC. The HDMI-1 input is for HDCP 2.0 and 2.2 which is the only input which will accept the 3840x2160 HDR signal and HDMI-2 input is for HDCP 1.4a. There are 3.5mm audio in and out jacks, and RS232C port and two types of USB, one for power and the other for service use.

I connected my mid-2015 15-inch Macbook Pro which has a 4K output without HDR and found that only the HDMI one source input could only work with it for a 30HZ output. I guess for future note, it would be better to have one more source input for 4K sources as well. I played back some 4K GoPro footage which I shot and found that the skin tones needed adjustment as the flesh tones were reddish and unnatural. After some adjustment this was rectified and the footage looked much better.

Zoom and focus have a manual ring as per most entry level projectors. The HDR feature also has both Auto and Manual settings so you can choose which one you prefer.

Image Credit: BENQ

Overall, I was pleased with the BENQ W1700 and found it the best value and affordable 4K HDR projector on the market for both quality and specifications. BENQ has done an outstanding job in presenting 4K HDR to the marketplace.

If you’re looking for a 4K HDR projector at an affordable price point, it is hard to beat this. Of course there are higher end and more expensive models available from BENQ and other manufacturers but at this price point, it simply is the best deal around.

This is Part 1 of my review. Part 2 of this article will focus on the differences between full HD performance as compared to 4K HDR.

Image Credit: BENQ


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