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BenQ W1200: Paints a clear picture

gadgets Updated: Sep 08, 2011 20:50 IST
Nikhil Hemrajani

Till a year ago, full HD televisions would cost a lakh, and home theatre projectors, at least twice as much. Now, you can have 40-inch TVs for half a lakh, so it makes sense for projectors to become more affordable too.

Among the first to jump into the game is the BenQ W1200 a 1080p DLP projector that’s been engineered for movie watching. It offers a screen size in excess of 100 inches and its sub one-lakh price point is very enticing.

The first thing to catch your eye is its pristine white finish and monstrous lens. There’s a plastic lens protector attached to it, but it turns out rather bothersome, as you’ll come to realise. Each time you place the cap on the lens, the zoom settings change forcing you to readjust the exact size and placement of the image on your screen. The W1200 sports the usual controls on the top for navigating the menus and selecting the input. The rear panel has two HDMI connectors in addition to other common video inputs like component, composite and D-sub. Surprising-ly, this BenQ does audio too. However, don’t expect the sound to be anything better than mobile phone-grade. The remote control is backlit, making it easy to use in the dark, but there’s a bit of lag when you’re using it to access the menu.

Out-of-the-box video quality leaves a bit to be desired. First, colour accuracy is questionable there’s a slightly bluish colour cast to images even under ‘cinema mode’. Second, the Frame Interpolation feature will make you cringe. This feature essentially adds extra frames to make video footage appear silky smooth quite a bad idea if you’re watching a Blu-ray or DVD movie. However, once you’ve disabled the feature and colour-calibrated the W1200, you’ll be satisfied.

After even a little tweaking, the W1200 is incredibly clear and the 4,000-hour lamp life under eco mode is very handy too. Its 1,800 lumens brightness is higher than its rivals, which means you don’t need pitch darkness to watch a movie. Thanks to its contrast ratio of 5,000:1, the black levels are good.

What we like
* Good level of zoom (1.5:1)
* Great visuals once correctly calibrated

What we don’t
* Remote control lag
* Standard and cinema modes aren’t accurate

Priced at Rs 95,000, the BenQ W1200 is great value for money, and offers good quality visuals once you’ve calibrated the projector according to your screen and lighting conditions. The huge level of zoom (1.5:1) makes placement very flexible and the menus are packed with advanced settings to get the best picture out of it. If you’re on a restricted budget, this
projector does the trick well.

Rating: ****