BenQ PB6200 DLP Projector
Almost universally, our panel agreed that BenQ's PB6200 was extremely close in performance to our second-place contender. Price ultimately pushed this projector into third place: It's $300 more expensive than the runner-up. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The PB6200 had the highest resolution of the three projectors in the Face Off. Its 1,024-by-768 DMD chip would qualify as HD, were we not watching a 16:9 portion of the 4:3 panel. This resulted in a 1,024-by-575 resolution, still almost 100 horizontal pixels and 170 vertical pixels more than the next closest competitor. The panelists continually commented on how detailed the image was. They all felt that it looked noticeably sharper with the HD demo than the others, and most felt that the extra resolution carried over to DVD, as well. However, Amy and Scott thought that the colors looked a little off with both sources.
Light output was also in the BenQ's favor. It was capable of over 14 foot-lamberts on our 87-inch-wide, 1.0-gain Da-Lite Da-Mat screen. Our second-place contender could do a bit better in some of its modes but wasn't anywhere near the D6500 color temperature.
Unfortunately, like most bright displays, the PB6200's black level isn't great. It has about 40 percent brighter blacks than the runner-up and 90 percent brighter blacks than our winner. The overall light output was only 50 percent greater than the nearest competitor, which caused Adrienne to remark that the PB6200's picture looked "flat and washed out." A slightly larger, negative-gain screen would be a good choice with this projector.
The PB6200's high black level and native 4:3 orientation resulted in noticeable light spill on our 16:9 screen. This attribute annoyed Scott and Glenn the most; it was a deal breaker for them. Keep in mind that, for two different reasons, neither of the other projectors had this problem. Masking above and below the screen (or over the screen if you have a 4:3 screen) would alleviate this somewhat, but the light spill also projected onto several places on the front wall (i.e., not the screen), which proved to be somewhat more distracting.
In the Gladiator clip, which features a flyover of Rome with lots of rooftops, the PB6200 exhibited some artifacting, both stairstepping and jagged edges. It was far better than the runner-up but not as good as the winner, which had almost no artifacts. When I aired the same scene in the progressive format from the same Onkyo DV-SP800 DVD player, the artifacting went away. This shows that the PB6200 does a decent job scaling the image but not a good job deinterlacing it. Several projectors that I've tested around this price range exhibit similar behavior. A couple of the reviewers also thought that the PB6200 exhibited more video noise than the others.
From an aesthetic point of view, the BenQ garnered high praise for its diminutive size. I liked its color scheme and rolled-off edges. The dual fans on the back are fairly quiet in the economy mode. The credit-card-sized remote is begging to be lost; also, although you need to navigate the menus in two dimensions (vertically and horizontally), the remote only has left, right, and down buttons. The up button is actually an exit button, which got quite annoying during setup. Kudos to BenQ for using a standard-issue, three-prong power cord, but shame on them for not including some kind of breakout cable to convert the D-sub 15 output (the only connector better than S-video on this projector) to component video.
Surprisingly, the extra resolution didn't win over our panelists. The PB6200's black level isn't great, but you can deal with this somewhat through careful setup and installation. With these considerations, the BenQ is a decent projector that lost out on a second-place finish mostly due to its price. It's worth noting that BenQ is offering a mail-in rebate for $200 on the PB6200 that runs until the end of September, which makes this an even closer race.
• High light output
• Tiny, tiny case