BenQ Australia W500
An entry-level 720p projector with some high-end quirks
- Good brightness, decent black levels
- Loud fan noise, only one digital input
BenQ’s W500 is an entry-level 720p home theatre projector with great brightness levels and high quality imagery. Colour accuracy isn’t perfect, and a short zoom limits options for placement. But with such a reasonable price, the W500 is a compelling option for the home cinema enthusiast.
Price$ 2,999.00 (AUD)
The budget brother of BenQ's W5000 and W20000, the W500 has great specs for its price. It's not as colour-perfect as its brethren and not as easy to set up, but it's still a great option to be the backbone of a budget home cinema.
Resolution is a respectable 1280x720pixels, commonly referred to as 720p. This is standard for entry-level home theatre projectors, although there are a few class-breakers that offer 1080p support for low prices. The W500 is a 3LCD model, using a different technology to the DLP colour-wheel technology found in the rest of BenQ's home entertainment range. 3LCD has the advantage of more compact packaging, which is especially important for budget projectors, with consumers less willing to purchase heavy or bulky models.
The projector itself is built to the same high standard as the W5000 and W20000, and sports a similar gloss white casing. The lens is offset to the right-hand side and recessed into the projector's body. It offers a 1.2x zoom rating, which is a little low for our liking and limits options for placement. Thankfully, there is a decent amount of horizontal and vertical lens shift along with electronic keystone compensation to ensure optimal picture position and shape.
The control panel is on the top of the projector's body, but it is located on the rear left-hand side. This might be a problem if you've got the projector mounted on a shelf. However, like BenQ's other models, a fully featured remote is included, so after the initial setup you shouldn't need to touch the projector again.
A decent amount of connections reside on the rear of the unit, hidden under a slight lip to stop any dust collecting. Two component sets and single VGA and HDMI ports cover analog and digital high-definition resolutions, while lower resolutions are handled by composite and S-Video.
Like other 3LCD projectors, the W500 has a filter that needs to be regularly cleaned or replaced; it can be found on the base of the unit, along with the lamp door. A replacement lamp will cost around $500 on the street, which is comparable to other budget units.
Picture quality is quite good. It's not as film-like as the W20000, but it's incredibly bright with good black levels and no noticeable image noise.
Colour balance is surprisingly good. Out of the box, it was only very slightly biased towards reds, and even this was only visible during dark scenes. With this corrected and a very slight tweak to grey levels made, the projector had a very balanced and clean colour palette. These tweaks were easily made thanks to a comprehensive and easy-to-navigate menu system that features incremental adjustments for all major (and minor) colour and image settings.
Brightness is solid at 1100 ANSI lumens, and the unit's contrast ratio is 5000:1 when the dynamic iris setting is used. These figures are more than acceptable for displaying content in a darkened room, but you might have trouble in less-than-perfect conditions.
Black levels from the projector are equally impressive, giving high contrast scenes a very lively feel. Shadow detail is perhaps not as high as it could have been — during our viewing of a Blu-ray version of Batman Begins through a Samsung BD-P1000, we noticed that a lot of detail was missing in darker scenes.
Image noise was non-existent, a surprise considering the W500's budget price. Impressively, this has been achieved without compromising on sharpness; when correctly focused, pictures are crisp and clear without being too sharp or blurred.
The projector is slightly loud, however. Audible noise levels are 31dB in full brightness mode, which is quite high for its class. If you're sitting behind the projector you won't notice the majority of this noise, but if you're off to the side or in front then your surround sound experience might be somewhat spoiled.
The W500 is a projector with very high quality image for a budget model. Once it's properly configured, the W500's colours are balanced and sharpness and black levels are spot-on. The only real downside is fan noise. Our only other gripe would be the lack of a second HDMI input.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Acer Swift 7
Huawei Mate 9
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Lexar® Portable SSD
Google Daydream VR headset
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
HP Pavilion x360 13”
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Surface Pro 4
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Sony’s new liquid-cooled 4K home video projector delivers 5000 lumens of brightness, costs $60,000
- BenQ targets Epson with revamped home entertainment projectors
- LG's new Laser Display gives you 100in of full HD glory
- Vivid Sydney 2012 gets some love from will.i.am
- InFocus releases cheap short-throw projector
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- TPInstructional Designer | DETQLD
- CCSenior Technical SpecialistNSW
- CCUser Experience Designer - Part time - Short contractACT
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Sales & Marketing Modules)QLD
- CCWicked Front-End DeveloperVIC
- CCProject Manager - Adelaide basedNSW
- CCCloud Security Solutions Architect - Finance - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- CCBPM Technical AnalystVIC
- FTLinux Systems EngineerQLD
- CCContract - System Access Administrator - major Telco in MelbourneVIC
- CCService Designer (CX)NSW
- FTPMO Specialist - PermanentACT
- FTOnline Solutions AnalystNSW
- FTSenior C++ EngineerACT
- CCNetwork Specialist - IPAM TelcoVIC
- FTDynamics AX Functional ConsultantVIC
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Sales & Marketing Modules)VIC
- CCSQL Database Administrator (DBA)NSW
- TPFront End DeveloperNSW
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Supply Chain Modules)QLD
- FTProject / Implementation Coordinator (Junior-Mid Level) Sunshine Coast LocationQLD
- CCSenior Life 400 DeveloperNSW
- TPe-Learning Developer (Captivate 8)VIC
- FT.Net DeveloperVIC
- FTSystem AdministratorNSW