BenQ W2700i 4K Projector Review
Tony O’Brien looks at an attractive new entry-level DLP projector…
W2700i 4K Projector
US $1,799 RRP
BenQ won us over in 2019 with its keenly-priced W2700 4K projector (non i version). Sporting a white chassis and attractive grey metal faceplate, it served equally well as a lifestyle projector as it did a home theatre one. Eighteen months and one global pandemic later, the BenQ folks are back with the W2700i – complete with an Android interface. Touted as a 4K projector, it achieves this resolution via some involved digital wizardry.
In my experience, 4K DLP projectors can’t match the level of detail of native 4K designs but still have the edge over their 1080p counterparts. Each unit is factory calibrated and claimed to produce 100% of the Rec. 709 and 95% of the DCI/P3 4K colour gamut. Somewhat surprising given the price point is the inclusion of a dynamic iris, which in addition to improving black levels, is key for the W2700i’s HDR10 Pro Technology.
Finished in matt white but with a grey brushed metal faceplate, this is a striking looking projector for the money, and its modest dimensions make it a candidate for impromptu entertaining, such as an outdoor movie night.
Colour scheme withstanding, it serves equally well as an entry-level 4K home theatre projector. The W2700i offers a reasonable range of connections, including two HDCP 2.2 HDMI inputs, USB 2.0 and 3.0 (media reader), USB mini (service only), TOSLINK and a 3.5mm audio out.
Its lens consists of a high precision 10-element, 8-group all-glass lens array behind a hood to counter light leakage. Lens controls are manual and include focus, zoom and vertical lens shift.
In addition to the unit, the box includes a quick start guide, calibration certificate, power cable, two remotes and an Android TV dongle – the latter being installed inside the chassis. The main remote serves to navigate the Android interface and power, while the secondary remote provides access to the picture controls.
Once the image is on the screen and focused, setup is a doddle. You just connect the W2700i to your home network and sign in to the corresponding apps for your streaming services. Here you’ll find the usual suspects, Netflix being a notable omission. The manufacturer explained that it is working through licensing with Netflix and hopes that this will be rectified soon.
For my review, I table-mounted the W2700i, which projected images onto a Severtson 100” Cinegray 16.9 screen, with the unit’s dual 5W speakers used for sound. I found that its Android interface to be smooth and lag-free. The BenQ’s images were bright and sharp, with good out-of-the-box colour reproduction. Black levels suffer somewhat, but images are nonetheless enjoyable and free of major artefacts. The projector’s internal speakers do a decent enough job of reproducing dialogue and effects.
Where other smart projectors have left quite a bit to be desired in terms of smart functionality, the W2700i is, to all intents and purposes, as smooth and lag-free as I’d expect from a good smart TV. Assuming you don’t mind a bit of spaghetti, connecting a Blu-ray player or laptop serves as a means to circumvent the lack of Netflix in the short-term.
Images are bright and sharp, making the W2700i one of the better projectors for dealing with (some) ambient light. In its User picture mode and without calibration, the W2700i provides good colour reproduction, although it could have benefited from calibration for screen and room. It couldn’t match my own Sony VPL-VW270ES or Vivitek’s HK2200 in terms of black levels, meaning that images couldn’t muster the same sense of pop or contrast. Nonetheless, it was very watchable, a clear step-up on 1080p counterparts. The internal speakers are no match for hi-fi speakers or a soundbar but do a decent enough job of assuming you don’t ask too much of them.
A lot has changed in the entry-level 4K projector space since we reviewed the BenQ W2700 in 2019. Nonetheless, it remains an excellent entry-level projector, more so once you include its Android interface. Of course, we’ve only scratched the surface of the W2700i’s capabilities, so if you would like to learn more about its picture quality and calibration, then refer to our comprehensive review of the original W2700, which – Android interface aside – is the same machine.
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.
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