BenQ W1700: True 4K on a budget

January 21, 2018

4K HDR on a projector? Check out the BenQ W1700!

Home projectors have started to become popular over the last couple of years. Such projectors also have started becoming more affordable. But as 4K content is now becoming more accessible, projectors have also upgraded to 4K with HDR support – but it comes at a price. BenQ’s W1700 is the company’s latest 4K HDR projector and costs relatively cheaper than the competition. Let’s check it out.

Let’s round off the features of the BenQ W1700 for a bit. Aside from the native 4K support that translates to about 8.3 million pixels, this projector also has support for HDR that dramatically improves the colors being projected. One way to analyze this is darker blacks and brighter whites.

Other features include 1.2x zoom along with auto keystone correction so you don’t to manually adjust the image every time you use it. The BenQ W1700 also boasts the company’s own CinematicColor technology along with RGBRGB color wheel and 96 percent coverage of Rec.709 color gamut. Too technical? It simply means that it can faithfully recreate the same color accuracy that the directors wanted you to see.

On the outside, the BenQ W1700 has the same dimensions as any other projector. I was surprised by how small and lightweight it was (it weighs about 4.2 kilograms) and this meant that I can easily carry it anywhere.

The cooling fans are located at the front and at the side while the front houses the main lens that comes with a cover. It also includes a remote control that lights up when pressed, which comes in handy when using it in a dark surrounding.

At the back, you will find all of the connectivity ports. You have two HDMI ports that support 4K HDR along with D-sub ports along with USB (Type A and mini B) plus audio input and output. Since we’re primarily using the BenQ W1700 for 4K content, the HDMI connection is the main connectivity port we will be using.

Setting up the BenQ W1700 was hassle-free, and since the keystone correction is automatic I immediately got a perfect image right when I started the device. In addition to the remote control, the package also includes CD user guide along with setup instructions.

For testing 4K content I am using the Xbox One X as the primary 4K Blu-ray player. Its predecessor the Xbox One S didn’t really wow videophiles on how it played 4K discs, but the Xbox One X is a much better improvement. For now, this is my favorite 4K Blu-ray player until I can save enough money to buy the Oppo UDP-203.

Note that the BenQ W1700 doesn’t include an HDMI cable so you would have to source one for yourself. Also, remember that the HDMI cable you are using should be version 2.0a or higher since it is the only way can transmit the huge bandwidth required for 4K HDR playback.

Menu navigation was fairly easy – and I’d suggest you reset all settings before using the projector. Normal image settings are fine, but you can always calibrate the projector to get the best image quality possible.

I will also be using Netflix and Amazon to see how it handles 4K streaming but since quality isn’t as great as what you’ll see on 4K Blu-ray discs, I’ll base my final score based on what I see on physical media.

Time for a movie marathon

I have about 30 4K Blu-rays to test through but to I will be highlighting the best ones that stood out from the lot. I shall also be using references for the highest scores for video quality one these 4K discs as per the reviews found on www.Blu-ray.com.

Dunkirk was mostly shot with IMAX cameras and the resulting image showcases the superb quality of the cameras. You can literally see every grain of sand on the beach, along with the detail on faraway shots that is still distinguishable thanks to HDR.

In John Wick: Chapter 2, a majority of action scenes happens in the night and this is where the projector’s HDR processing shine. Take a look at the scene below, there are two varying colors which don’t overpower each other. Despite the saturation of the lights, the detail is still present.

Let’s look at Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which director James Gunn endorsed as personally supervising the HDR master on 4K Blu-ray. Colors were brilliant, especially in this opening scene. Despite the overflow of colors and elements, detail is still present – just look at the scars on Gamora’s face.

In War for the Planet of the Apes, the movie’s climax is set in winter and HDR helped showcase the scenes that mostly take place in the snow. It made the dull white color stand out without taking the spotlight from the subjects, which also exhibit superfine detail.

The Ghostbusters remake was mostly shot against a green screen, but the effects and the detail was spot on and colors showcased varying levels of saturation without losing any quality.

The last three movies I’ve watched (Logan, Deadpool and Wonder Woman) all benefit from the higher resolution of 4K and the brilliance of HDR processing. On Logan’s face, detail is present even if his face was digitally mastered to look old. With Deadpool’s costume, you see each pattern on his red suit. Lastly, with Wonder Woman, you can practically see her pores and skin tone is spot on even if the scene takes place with dark lighting.

The BenQ W1700 retails for 5999 AED/$1,634. It may be on the expensive side, but seeing as that this projector handles 4K HDR without any flaws and is relatively cheaper than the competition this projector hits all the right marks.

If you’re looking for a decent 4K HDR projector to add to your home theater setup, you can’t go wrong with the BenQ W1700.

We Love:

  • Excellent image quality especially on 4K HDR
  • Cheaper price compared to the competition
  • Lightweight and easy to use and configure

We Hate:

  • None so far!

Final Rating: 4.5/5

by Victor
Tech Enthusiast and Movie Buff.