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BenQ W703D review

Turn your lounge into a true home cinema with this budget-priced 3D projector

Our Verdict

There's a lot to love about the BenQ W703D. Its HD performance is remarkable for a sub-£500 projector and it's easy to setup and use - making it ideal those of us who want to turn a night in front of the TV into something a little more special.

For

  • Price
  • HD performance
  • Flexibility
  • Ease of use

Against

  • No Full HD
  • No 3D glasses as standard
  • 3D performance
  • Light leakage

Enjoying the full-on cinema experience at home isn't as expensive as it used to be - and that's due in part to products like this: the BenQ new W703D DLP projector. Capable of splashing 720p HD images up to 7.62m diagonally on your wall (or projector screen), it's perfect for big nights in - especially when you allow for the fact that you can use it to watch 3D Blu-ray movies, with a little help from some optional 3D glasses. Not bad for less than £500.

Features

The BenQ W703D is certainly great value for money: its gloss white and grey plastic design feels high quality and there are plenty of connection options around the back for all your gear, including two HDMI ports; component, S-video and composite video inputs; mini USB and RS232 ports; and a set of audio inputs and outputs.

A picture of the back panel of the BenQ W703D 720p DLP projector
The back of the BenQ W703D is festooned with inputs, outputs and ports - including two for HDMI sources

The BenQ W703D also includes a built-in 10W speaker, which just about goes loud enough that you don't need to hook up your home cinema system all the time to enjoy watching a movie - although it can distort if pushed too hard. You also get a backlit remote control - handy for controlling the projector in the dark - as part of the package as well as a carry bag, power cable, VGA cable and CD manual.

Home cinema specifics

When it comes specs, the BenQ W703D has some headline grabbing numbers too, including 2,200 ANSI lumens brightness, which should ensure the projector works well in low ambient light, a 10,000:1 contrast ratio and support for 1.07 billion colours. Dig into the BenQ W703D's menu system and you'll also find plenty of other options to tweak its performance with various presets for viewing different kinds of content - Bright, Living Room, Gaming, Cinema, etc - while also giving you the option to create your own.

There's even an option to help you cope with different coloured walls: clearly not everyone who buys this projector is going to rush out and buy a dedicated projector screen, so this option makes it easy to move the projector around the house, knowing that it can cope with light yellow, pink, green or blue walls without affecting the fidelity of the colours you see on-screen.

The most curious aspect of the W703D's spec though its 3D capability. Although some videophiles would probably prefer it if the projector deliver 1080p Full HD resolution instead, we can vouch for the fact it's there, it works (after a fashion) and that gives you a whole new range of 3D movie viewing and gaming possibilities at what's the cheap end of the home cinema projector market. The only catch is that you don't get any 3D glasses thrown in and branded ones from BenQ cost around £100 each online. Ouch.

Usability and performance

A close up picture of the top mounted controls on the BenQ W703D 720p DLP projector
The top-mounted control panel gives you easy access to the BenQ W703D's menu system. You'll also find volume controls for the built-in speaker here too

Getting the BenQ W703D up and running is certainly easy to do, thanks to a decent range of controls on the top of the projector itself; and on the remote - both of which make navigating its on-screen menu system fairly straightforward. The focus and fine focus controls are, perhaps, set a little too deep in the projector body for super-easy access, but we had no problems getting the focus set exactly right.

A picture of the BenQ W703D 720p DLP projector showing its lens focus controls
The BenQ W703D's focus controls are housed in a relatively deep recess in the projector's body, but that shouldn't be a problem unless your fingers are particularly sausage-like

HD vs 3D

The BenQ W703D certainly lives up to its billing when it comes to its HD performance. Although it doesn't do 1080p, the 720p images it does deliver are still a rich, rewarding feast for the eyes - largely thanks to the projector's 10,000:1 contrast ratio. This not only helps the BenQ W703D deliver surprisingly good black levels for a projector of its price, but also helps its 1.07 billion-colour palette be delivered more accurately.

Indeed, the only time you're really likely notice anything awry is in fast moving scenes where the action can sometimes appear to blur and / or stutter. We also caught occasional glimpses of DLP's dreaded 'rainbow effect' - a feature that's common on single-chip projectors like this one.

The only other place the BenQ W703D really falls down is with its 3D performance, which not only makes some movie scenes look too dark, but also compounds the problem of blurring in fast-action movies scenes - making upgrading to the optional 3D glasses moot. You may also be surprised by the amount of light leaking from the front and sides of the projector. It doesn't seem to affect the W703D's performance too much, but it can be a little distracting.

Verdict

There's a lot to love about the BenQ W703D. it's HD performance is remarkable for a sub-£500 projector, despite the fact that it doesn't do 1080p Full HD and it's easy to setup and use - making it ideal those of us who want to turn a night in front of the TV into something a little more special. The biggest letdown, really, is its performance with 3D content, but when you're looking at something as afffordable as this, you can't really have everything, can you?

Tech Specs

Product TypeDLP Projector
Native Resolution1280 x 720
Maximum Lens ApertureF/2.73
Standard Mode Brightness2200 lm
Graphic ModeWXGA
Wireless LANNo
Native Aspect Ratio16:9
USBYes
HDMIYes
Operating Power Consumption250 W
Video Signal StandardHDTV
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
Network (RJ-45)No
Video Signal FormatSECAM, NTSC, PAL
Input Scan Format1080p
Output Scan Format720p
3D Type3D Ready
VGA InYes
Maximum Diagonal Image Size7.62 m
ColourBlack, White
Maximum Resolution1600 x 1200
Brand NameBenQ
Contrast Ratio10,000:1
Projection MethodFront, Ceiling
Number of Lamps1
Minimum Lens ApertureF/2.52
Normal Mode Lamp Life4500 Hour
Economy Mode Lamp Life6000 Hour
Maximum Projection Distance10.25 m
Vertical Keystone Correction-40°/+40°
Number of HDMI Ports2
Height119.5 mm
Width330 mm
Depth247 mm
Colour Support16.7 Million Colours (24-bit)
Optical Zoom1.1x
Lamp Power190 W
Language SupportedBulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Thai
ManufacturerBenQ Corporation
Product ModelW703D
Product NameW703D DLP Projector
Manufacturer Part Number9H.J6677.27E
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.benq.co.uk
Package Contents
  • W703D DLP Projector
  • Carry Bag
  • Remote Control with Battery
  • Power Cord
  • User Manual CD
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Warranty Card
  • VGA (D-Sub 15pin) Cable
Limited Warranty2 Year
Throw Ratio1.54 to 1.73
Weight (Approximate)3.63 kg