This season's home cinema buzz-phrase is 'Full HD'. Not wanting to miss out, BenQ has come up with a temptingly affordable 1920x1080 DLP projector that'll get fans of Blu-ray and HD-DVD dribbling with excitement.

The W9000's ultra-high resolution makes it the perfect partner for 1080p hi-def content, as well as improving its prowess with 'regular' 1080i HD pictures. Reeling you in further, BenQ has even thrown in support for 24fps frame rates, to help recreate that cinema experience in your front room.

At £2,500, this little box of tricks will find itself up against some pretty stiff competition from the likes of ThemeScene, but spec-wise it certainly looks up for the fight.

Built-in video calibration

The W9000 boasts a motorised, continually adjusting iris for maximum contrast (a whopping 8,500:1 ratio is claimed), along with an eight-segment colour wheel that should provide richer, more convincing colours and less rainbow effect with motion.

For those who like the personal touch, as well as its own picture adjustments the W9000 supports fine-tuning by a qualified Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) video calibrator. This means you can optimise results for your home, and feel particularly important in the process.

Unusually in this price class, the BenQ is also compatible with optional lenses from Panamorph (which cost at least £1,000 extra), allowing it to completely fill an ultra-wide 2.35:1 Cinemascope image with no loss in resolution.

There's more – much more – but space is against us, so we'll cut to the chase. The W9000 clearly embodies BenQ's determination to succeed as a top-drawer home cinema player. And it very nearly pulls it off...

Lacking dramatic tendencies

While extremely good in many ways, this projector lacks the black depth and snap of JVC's admittedly pricier DLA-HD1, and it's not as sharp or as adept with motion as Panasonic's PT-AE1000E. Even when fed with 1080p high-def from a Toshiba HD-DVD player, the picture just isn't as dramatic as we'd expect, either in one of the preset image modes or after extensive tweaking.

Are we damning the BenQ outright? Not entirely. It's quiet, fairly well equipped, easy to install and capable of decent results. It's just that in this ever-changing, brutally competitive market, 'decent' doesn't quite cut the mustard.


Stuff says... 

BenQ W9000 review

It looks awesome on paper, but the W9000's performance isn't quite so amazing in the real world