BenQ HT1070 DLP Projector Review Page 2

Making adjustments in Cinema mode, I left the Economic Lamp Power mode active and used the projector’s Color Temperature Fine Tuning and Color Management settings to make tweaks for grayscale and color point accuracy, respectively. Adjustments complete, the projector delivered around 25 foot-lamberts of brightness—plenty enough for dark- or dim-room viewing. Sports mode yielded a measured 50 ft-L brightness, an appropriate level for watching sports in well-lit environments, though fan noise in that mode was about 5 decibels higher—and audible from my seating position behind the projector. The BenQ’s 1,706:1 contrast ratio in Cinema mode, meanwhile, turned out to be not only respectable for a budget projector, but notably better than what I’d measured with other low-priced projectors I’d tested last year from Optoma (December 2016 issue), InFocus (, and ViewSonic (September 2016 issue).

417benqpj.rem.jpgSince BenQ sent along a WDP01 wireless kit with the HT1070, I made a point of also setting that up to see how it would perform. Placing the transmitter next to my source component stack, I connected my test pattern generator and Oppo BDP-105D Blu-ray player to its HDMI inputs. I then connected the receiver unit to the projector’s USB port and ran its HDMI output to one of the BenQ’s HDMI inputs. Bingo: The projector immediately locked onto the wireless signal. More important, it displayed it with no resolution loss or input lag, which are two things you don’t want to see when using a wireless video kit.

2D Performance
Ryan Gosling might be getting a lot of attention these days for La La Land, but I found his other movie from 2016, The Nice Guys, to be more fun. In a scene where Holland (Gosling) and Jackson (Russell Crowe) discuss doing PI business together, the setting is a child’s birthday party at a bowling alley. There’s a wide range of colors here, from the lurid balloons and the ketchup and mustard dispensers to the muted browns, tans, and turquoises of the 1970s-era clothing. The HT1070 rendered them all with excellent balance. Skintones, too, were displayed accurately, allowing for differences between Jackson’s reddish complexion and Holland’s paler tone to come through easily.

The BenQ’s performance with darker scenes turned out to be surprisingly good for a $699 projector. While its ability to display deep blacks was limited (compared with the performance of more expensive models that provide an auto iris feature), shadows still looked reasonably deep and showed impressive detail. For example, in a different party scene from The Nice Guys, where the drunken Holland falls off a balcony, the shadowy background in the ravine where he lands had a solid dark-gray tone that bordered on black. And when he lights up a cigarette—inadvertently revealing the corpse of the party’s host nearby—details in the trees and in the deceased porn producer’s velvet tux were clearly revealed.

Enabling the projector’s BrilliantColor setting didn’t turn out to be necessary for getting good image quality with the HT1070, but it did help make images pop by increasing the brightness of highlights and colors. Given the choice of leaving it on or off, I left it on. In a scene from Inception where Dom (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Mal (Marion Cotillard) stand outside of a villa at night, looking out to sea, BrilliantColor made the details in his dark suit and her black dress come across more clearly, and it also enhanced the intensity of the lamps lining the villa’s deck. I did notice a few instances of DLP rainbow effect in this scene, though rainbows weren’t an issue for most of my viewing with the HT1070, and if you’re not sensitive to this common artifact you may not see any at all.

3D Performance
As with other budget projectors I’ve tested recently, the HT1070’s handling of 3D was impressive. The projector’s mostly average light output meant that brightness in 3D mode wasn’t on the same level as some of those other models’ performance, but I still found little to complain about when watching 3D movies. A full set of picture adjustments is available in 3D mode, and the projector has an Auto mode to select the correct 3D format (Frame Packing, Top-Bottom, etc.), as well as a Sync Invert feature.

When I watched two trusted 3D reference discs, Hugo and The Walk, the BenQ displayed almost no crosstalk artifacts. Depth effects in both movies were also very good. In the scene where Hugo (Asa Butterfield) descends a staircase inside the train station’s enormous clock, the rotating gears displayed a realistic sense of layering. And in the final sequence from The Walk, where Philippe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) crosses the Twin Towers, an overhead shot of the wire-walker dangling far above the city streets managed to convey a serious sense of vertigo.



Looking back at my recent experiences with budget projectors, I can easily say that BenQ’s HT1070 is the best of the bunch. Light output isn’t as high as that of some other models priced under $1,000, but the HT1070 is bright enough to deliver a punchy picture in dark or dim rooms, especially when its BrilliantColor feature is enabled. More important, it provides better contrast than other budget projectors I’ve tried, which is a huge benefit when you’re watching movies. Other factors that favorably affect the BenQ’s performance are its relatively accurate color and linear gamma—two things you don’t always see in a budget model. The HT1070 may be no-frills, but the things it does serve up make it a fine projector for home theater use.


Billy's picture

Damn, to get a 1080P projector for under $700 list! In 2000 I paid 6K for a 720P Sony W10HT, I thought THAT was a bargain! Glad I didn't wait 17 years for the better deal, would have missed out on a lot of great fun. In 2010 upgraded to a Sony 1080P, that was only 3.5K, another great buy, or so I thought. Our kids are just getting out of college and lament no theater sized experience like they grew up with (a 10 foot screen is addictive) Might steer them this way. Of course, when a 4K 65 inch flat screen is only a grand, might be a hard sell. Technology marches on, a'int it grand?!!!! 4K projection calls out my name every night after the lights are out. That siren song is hard to resist, of course it might steer my marriage onto the rocks, too. Think I might hold out for a roll up 10 foot OLED to replace my screen. Don't laugh, the way things are going, by 2020 when I plan to upgrade again, might be fiscally practical.