Priced at £1000, the BenQ W1400 is a hugely capable performer – the DLP projector handles Full HD and 3D video, and has a wide selection of connections.
Most importantly, the picture it delivers is fantastic, especially when you consider the price.
We play Captain America: The Winter Soldier Blu-ray and the BenQ W1400 delivers a punchy and exciting picture.
It’s an entertaining performer, one that just about stays on the right side of a bold, vibrant colour palette. Sunlit scenes are bright without looking overly warm, blues and reds are richly hued and greens trees are perhaps a little too intense.
But the picture never strays into overblown territory. It’s appealing, balanced, with enough natural touches (skin tones look fairly realistic) to keep us glued to the action on screen.
There’s a good helping of detail on offer – enough to pick out the stray blonde strands in Black Widow’s red hair – and to show the subtle shadings of Cap’s more sober grey-and-blue uniform.
Black levels are pleasingly deep and punchy, and don’t swallow up detail in darker scenes, either.
The detail definition and clearness of the picture takes the expected hit when it comes to playing DVDs, with Kill Bill Vol. 2 looking a little fuzzy around the edges and less dynamically subtle.
It’s perfectly watchable, though – the W1400’s upscaling talents are a step ahead of more budget offerings (such as its cheaper sibling, the W1070+ at £650).
Motion handling isn’t 100 per cent, but few projectors outside of high-end models tend to be truly convincing in this respect.
Overall though, there aren’t any glaring issues to take away from our enjoyment, especially at this price – 3D performance is decent, too, with a lovely sense of depth to Hugo.
The picture could be a touch brighter, but it retains its exuberant performance. A pair of active shutter glasses are included in the box; they’re comfortable and don’t tire your eyes.
Build and design
The W1400 is a fairly compact projector, and light enough to be moved around. It’s sturdily built, too. There are controls for the menu, volume and keystone correction placed on top of the unit.
Manual zoom and focus come as standard, and we like the addition of a vertical-lens shift. The W1400 is quick to set up: with a simple menu and a backlit remote that’s easy to use.
We’d recommend using a THX Optimizer disc if you want to get the best picture from the BenQ; we found we needed to tone down the colour just a touch, and to turn off ‘Brilliant Colour’ for a less overstated palette.
You also get built-in speakers with the W1400. The sound has decent weight, it’s not entirely wispy or bright, and dialogue is easy to follow.
But we’d urge you to invest in a budget 5.1 speaker package if you want to fully enjoy films on a big screen.
Head to the back of the projector, and you’ll see that the W1400 offers a good spread of connections, starting with two HDMI inputs.
Analogue sources are well catered for, too, with component, composite, S-Video and PC inputs. There’s also a pair of RCA phono plugs, and single 3.5mm input and output jacks.
The BenQ W1400 is an enjoyable proposition for anyone wanting to get into the home cinema market, but not quite willing to pay premium price.
If you go up the price scale, you’ll get greater subtlety, a brighter picture and more confident motion handling. But, for £1000, the BenQ W1400 is a sure bet.