BenQ Australia PE7700
- Great build, plenty of inputs, great remote, good image quality, quiet
- No lens shift
The BenQ PE7700 is a high-quality yet affordable home theatre projector.
Price$ 3,499.00 (AUD)
BenQ (pronounced Ben-queue, in case you were afraid to ask) is making a concerted effort to become a hip, cool technology vendor, much like that benchmark for hip and cool technology vendors, Sony. While many of its products tend to fall more in the IT sector than the home entertainment arena, BenQ has a pretty decent DLP home theatre projector that deserves our attention.
The PE7700 is built around Texas Instruments' latest HD2+ DMD chip, with a native high-definition resolution of 1,280 x 720 (that's a widescreen aspect ratio for your DVD viewing pleasure). A 250W lamp combines with a manual zoom lens to provide 1,100 ANSI lumens of brightness and an image size of 100 inches when the projector is placed just three metres from the screen. Fiddle with the zoom settings and placement of the projector and you'll create an image ranging anywhere from 37 to 300 inches (measured diagonally).
Contrast-increasing technology from Texas Instruments pushes the unit to a factory-measured contrast ratio of 2,500:1, which makes for an enjoyably rich viewing experience. Having decent contrast, as the 7700 does, means your movies will have a greater sense of depth to them. It's called 'dynamic range' and it is all important when it comes to home theatre projectors, since blacks will be blacker and whites will be whiter. Without wanting to sound like an ad for washing powder, this means everything you watch will be more representative of the filmmakers' intentions in terms of colour and detail onscreen.
As much as BenQ (and indeed every DLP projector manufacturer) will hate me for saying this, the rainbow effect common to all DLP projectors is sadly alive and well in the 7700. If you have no idea what I'm on about then it's best you forget I said anything and skip down a few lines - if you can't see or haven't noticed the rainbow effect, then be thankful and don't look too hard; once you see it it's an annoyance that can be unbearable for some.
The physical construction of the 7700 is as good as any projector we've seen. Its glossy white finish is as solid as they come and looks rather dashing in the flesh. The lens barrel is buried deep down in the chassis, so a big hole has been carved that you reach down into to focus or zoom the lens. There's no lens shift functionality but the presence of two screw-type adjustable feet at the front goes some way towards making up for this.
At the rear are component and HDMI sockets for highest quality (and - one day - high-def) video signals and interestingly a second set of component sockets of the BNC variety. BNC connectors provide a better contact between component cables and the projector but are usually reserved for high-end equipment, so seeing them here is a welcome sign of quality.
Also worth mention is a remarkably solid remote control, featuring perhaps the best and most useful array of oft-used buttons of any home theatre projector remote we've examined. Chuck in a full quota of component, S-video and VGA leads and the BenQ PE7700 makes for a high-quality yet affordable home theatre projector.
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