BenQ W5800 4K Home Cinema Projector Review

Posted on 5th July, 2024

BenQ W5800 4K Home Cinema Projector Review

Tony O’Brien casts his eyes upon this extremely impressive new 4K HDR projector…

BenQ

W5800 4K Laser Projector

AUD $8,999 RRP

BenQ is certainly no stranger to StereoNET. Over the years, we’ve reviewed a number of its projectors, all of which represent not only excellent value for money but have superb colour accuracy. It’s a trend that continued with the release of the W4000i. This not only cemented BenQ’s status as the king of value 4K DLP projectors, but also provided a quantum leap forward in terms of performance.

Unlike last year’s W4000i, which straddled the lane between home theatre and lifestyle projector, BenQ’s new W5800 is aimed squarely at home theatre enthusiasts. It also commands a higher price tag, bringing it closer to the likes of Sony’s entry-level LCOS projector. Unlike LCOS-based machines, it’s a single-chip DLP projector, a technology known for creating film-like images. Its beating heart is a 0.47” DMD (Digital Micromirror Device) with a native resolution of 1,920x1,080. It achieves its quoted 3,480x2,160 resolution by flashing its micro-mirrors four times in rapid succession. This is the same principle that’s used in far more expensive projectors from the likes of Barco and Christie.

It has dispensed with the lamp-based light source found in the W5700 in favour of a blue laser with a quoted 2,600 ANSI lumens and a contrast ratio of 2,000,000:1 (FOFO with Dynamic Black), with a native FOFO contrast of 1,000:1. The lifespan of the laser is quoted at 20,000 hours, although it will dim with age.

The W5800 is said to produce 100% of the wider P3/DCI colour gamut commonly used in 4K UltraHD. While this was also true of its predecessor, the W5700 achieved its P3/DCI colour gamut with a colour filter, which sacrificed light output. So much so that I felt it was unusable in HDR. The W5800 however has no colour filter, which lets it produce P3/DCI images with full light output.

The new W5800 utilises BenQ’s proprietary HDR Pro Technology, which compresses overall HDR brightness to a range that matches the light output. BenQ’s Dynamic Black and Local Contrast technologies are then applied to the HDR signal. Dynamic Black delivers software-based dimming of the LED light source, which is faster in nature than a mechanical iris. Meanwhile, Local Contrast analyses the brightness of over 1,000 individual zones, optimising contrast in both shadow detail and highlight areas simultaneously. The combination of these technologies enriches the overall depth of HDR images, says BenQ.

One of the unique features of BenQ’s projectors is that they’re factory-calibrated. Performed by the company’s engineering team, the W5800’s software has been optimised for colour accuracy and precision tuning of colour temperature, gamma, white level and black levels to match both Rec. 709 (SDR Blu-ray) and DCI/P3 (HDR Ultra HD) standards. This is followed by hand-tuning of primary and secondary colours with a Delta E of 1 or below – which is below the threshold of perceivable error. The W4000i also supports HDR10, HDR10+ and HLG.

UP CLOSE

The packaging and accessories are well laid out, a testament that BenQ takes its home theatre projector business seriously. Opening the box, you’re greeted by the calibration certificate, resplendent in a black card folder with gold lettering. The projector itself is finished in matte black and wider rather than longer, giving owners of smaller spaces back a few precious inches, which can make all the difference in such installations. All connections are located on the back of the W5800, and there’s an abundance of options – including two HDMI 2.0b (HDCP 2.2) inputs, with HDMI 1 supporting Audio Return+, CEC, ARC and EARC. Additionally, there’s a LAN port, RS-232 port, two USB-A inputs, 3D Sync out, SPDIF and a USB B port for system updates.

The lens is located in the centre of the W5800 and incorporates a 14-element, 7-group lens array – a significant step up from the 10-element, 6-group lens array of the W4000i. It has a quoted throw distance of 1.52 ~ 1.50, BenQ stating it can fill a 160” screen at 2.8 metres. Manual keystone correction is available, although it shouldn’t be needed, with vertical ±50% and horizontal ±35% lens shifts being enough to satisfy most installations.

A radical departure from BenQ’s previous projectors, the W5800 is fitted out with a motorised lens. And as welcome as it was when dialling in position and focus, the W5800 fails to provide lens memory. It’s a missed opportunity that forces owners of scoped screens to either manually adjust aspect ratios or, more likely, look to other solutions.

Its curved top gives a distinct manta-like profile, which coupled with its patterned lens ring, means it will look right at home in a serious home theatre room. BenQ’s attention to detail continues with the remote control. Gone are the spongy buttons that plagued previous models. The W5800’s large buttons provide a reassuring click. It’s finished in two-tone charcoal, with a small chrome border separating the two finishes, equally as attractive as the projector it accompanies.

The W5800’s box also contains user manuals, a power cord, and an HDMI cable. Setup is a breeze; the onscreen display guides you through everything from the projector’s placement to picture alignment and focus. The user menus have also undergone a transformation. Although it still features the distinctive purple BenQ menu, the fonts are easy to read and descriptions easier to follow, and the W5800’s various functions more clearly labelled than in previous generations.

For this review, the W5800 was connected to the HDMI to the video output of a Denon AVC-X3800 receiver. Sources consisted of an Apple TV and a Panasonic UB-820 4K Blu-ray player. Images were projected onto a 90” neutral gain screen. Read on if you would like to learn more about how the BenQ measured and calibrated. Otherwise, feel free to jump straight to the picture observations.

MEASUREMENTS AND CALIBRATION

The W5800 has five selectable SDR picture modes: Cinema, Filmmaker mode, User, Bright and Bright Cinema, and two selectable HDR picture modes: Filmmaker HDR and HDR10. In addition to basic calibration controls, the Advanced menu expands on this with 2- and 11-point grayscale controls and a CMS or Colour Management System.

Both Bright Cinema and User Picture modes produced 124 nits without any adjustment, while the Film Maker and Cinema modes produced 136 nits. Where I have found BenQ projectors’ colour-accurate in the past – rooms and screen withstanding – the W5800 had a significant blue push in the greyscale in both Cinema and Film Maker modes. Ultimately, I settled on Cinema Mode for SDR calibration. Combining the 2-point and 11-point controls allows the W5800 to achieve exceptionally accurate grayscale and gamma tracking, with a maximum dE of 0.34 at 100%. Colour accuracy was likewise superb, with a maximum dE of 1.6.

As accurate as the colour and grayscale tracking was, getting it there wasn’t without its share of challenges. Engaging the Colour Management System effectively reset the colour gamut to what I can only assume is its native colour gamut. Furthermore, should you use custom brightness, Dynamic Black is disabled. Although it’s likely to be a moot point with larger screens, those with smaller 90-110” screens may want to reduce overall brightness in SDR without sacrificing black-level performance.

Switching to HDR, the W5800 met its promised DCI/P3 coverage without any drop in overall light output. However, as with SDR, neither mode produced accurate colour reproduction, although overall errors were lower in HDR than they were in SDR. After calibration, the BenQ again produced reference grade results. After calibration, the W5800 produced 156 nits, with Dynamic Black engaged and Local Contrast set to high. As good as these numbers were, they couldn’t quite match my own reference, Sony VPL-XW5000ES, which produced 168 nits on the same screen with Dynamic Laser at full.

The W5800 was calibrated to industry standards for SDR and HDR with a Klein Instruments K10A colourimeter, profiled against a High-Res (2nm) JETI 1501 spectroradiometer. Test patterns for SDR and HDR were generated by a Murideo 6G, with 10% window patterns used for calibration and measuring light output. The W5800 was calibrated using Calman Ultimate (2023) Calibration Software. The Spears & Munsil HDR Benchmark (2023) was also used for evaluation and calibration.

PERFORMANCE

The W5800 is a superbly colour-accurate machine with solid black levels and excellent brightness, producing detail-laden, razor-sharp images. Where it really excels, though, is in its HDR performance. Duly impressed with the performance of the W4000i with the Blu-ray of The Wolverine, I started my evaluation of the W5800 with the same. From the get-go, it delighted with its bright, punchy colour palette. The parchment colour of the disc’s menu is accurately rendered, while reds pop beautifully against the neutral background.

The myriad skin tones of the guests at Yoshida’s funeral are a great test to point out any colour deficiencies in a projector. And so it did with the W5800—initially, at least, with Logan’s ruddy complexion and Yukio’s rosy face overly saturated. Further testing revealed that oversaturated colours were a by-product of setting the W5800’s Contrast Enhancer to high. Opting for low, I achieved a good balance between colour accuracy and image depth.

Having done so, skin tones demonstrated a wonderful sense of realism, while the reds, blues, and oranges of the guests’ kimonos and robes pop, as did Yukio’s red-dyed hair. It’s not just the more vibrant colours the W5800 excels with, though. For instance, the yellow light of the afternoon sun is extremely convincing, as is the muddy water of the pool or the grey tiles of the temple’s roof.

As impressive as the W5800’s performance with SDR material was, I was keen to put it through its HDR paces, starting with the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray of No Time to Die. And as it turns out, the W5800 is a supremely capable HDR projector. The HDR source material is displayed confidently, appearing both bright and punchy without any sense of black crush. Likewise, the muzzle flashes from Madeleine’s guns are pleasingly bright without any obvious clipping. Not only is the W5800 a significant improvement over the W4000i in terms of HDR performance, but it’s also arguably better than my own Sony VPL-XW5000ES in this regard.

With the W5800 now producing the wider P3/DCI colour gamut of the 4K Ultra HD format, the projector once again delivers superbly colour-accurate performance. James’s skin tones, which can appear overly saturated or downright sunburnt, are perfectly rendered. The foliage dotting the countryside is wonderfully lush, demonstrating a range of colours simply not possible in many other projectors at this price point, including my own.

Moving to the excellent HDR transfer of Ghost Busters: Afterlife on 4K Ultra HD gave me the opportunity to test the W5800’s black levels. Dark scenes, like those found in the opening scenes, will look washed out in projectors with poor black levels and devoid of much of the pop and depth. I had no such objections from the W5800. No, you’re not going to find JVC or even Sony-like black levels with the W5800, but you will discover some of the best black levels you’ll find from a DLP Projector without spending a whole lot more. What’s more, the W5800 turned in a very credible HDR experience with the dark source material.

Moving to the HDR transfer of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the W5800 creates the wonderful film-like images that DLP projectors are renowned for. Its single-chip DLP technology and upgraded lens array produce razor-sharp images laden with fine detail. As good as it is in this regard, it can’t quite match my own Sony in terms of detail or finesse with streamed material.

During my time with the W5800, I didn’t witness any Rainbow Effect, although I’m not prone to the phenomenon, so I’d encourage you to do your own testing. And if it’s been some time since you’ve considered a DLP projector due to RBE, I’d likewise encourage you to take another look. They have come a long way, and you may just be pleasantly surprised.

THE VERDICT

In the new W5800, BenQ has produced its finest DLP projector to date. I applauded the W4000i for being a stellar leap forward in performance, and the W5800 represents yet another jump up over the W4000i. It outshines the latter in almost every conceivable way, including a wider colour gamut, improved brightness, HDR tone mapping, black levels and sharpness.

As good as it is, though, it’s still not perfect. The out-of-the-box colour performance isn’t as accurate as quoted, and BenQ has missed an opportunity in terms of lens memories. The other thing against it is the price, which is inching closer to LCOS projectors and better black levels. However, if this doesn’t bother you, the W5800 makes a convincing case for being your next HDR projector. This is the finest DLP projector around right now, at or anywhere near its price.

For more information visit BenQ

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    Tony O'Brien's avatar

    Tony O'Brien

    As the owner of Adelaide based ‘Clarity Audio & Video Calibration’, Tony is a certified ISF Calibrator. Tony is an accomplished Audio-Visual reviewer specialising in theatre and visual products.

    Posted in:Home Theatre Visual Applause Awards 2024 Visual Projectors
    Tags: benq 



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