BenQ W1700 review

4K wonder that doesn’t break the bank

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Setup & Performance

  • Automatic keystone correction helps with image alignment
  • Brightness out of the box can be a bit harsh on colors

Setting up the W1700 (like with most projectors) will take a little bit of time and effort, just to ensure that you have the best image possible when projecting. BenQ has a handy projector calculator on its website which lets you determine the projected screen size based on how far away the projector is. This isn’t a short-throw projector, so you’re going to want to have plenty of space between the W1700 and your projecting surface.  At a distance of 3.25m, we were able to get a projection screen of about 100-inches . According to BenQ, the W1700 is capable of projecting upto 300-inches.

The W1700 has a projection offset of about 110%, which means that the image is projected slightly higher than the lens, so you’ll need to keep this in mind especially if you’re mounting this to the ceiling. While some projectors offer a lens shift or offset that allows you to move the image around to line up the projection properly, such feature is sadly missing from the W1700. 

What it does have however, is an automatic keystone correction, so if your projector is slightly uneven, the W1700 will automatically correct it to align the image properly. While this is a useful feature to have, we found that excessive keystone started to distort the image slightly and introduced a very soft blur to the image. So it’s best that you get your installation down perfectly to avoid any noticeable drops in image quality.

The default brightness level tends to wash out colors a bit, so it's advisable to adjust it for your room lighting

The default brightness level tends to wash out colors a bit, so it's advisable to adjust it for your room lighting

Once it’s set up, you’ll want to spend a bit more time adjusting the W1700’s image settings in order to get the best possible image. We had to turn down the brightness a little bit to avoid washing out images, especially on scenes with a lot of red in them. There are a number of picture modes that you can cycle through, depending on what content you’re watching. We used ‘Vivid TV’ for most content, but there are also ‘Bright’, ‘Cinema’, and ‘Sport’ presets, as well as the option to create a custom User ones.

In a room illuminated just by a floor lamp in the corner, the projected image’s brightness had to be ramped back up to compensate, but when projecting in a darkened room, the image quality is absolutely stunning to look at.

This image was taken with a floor lamp lit at the other side of the room, resulting in a slight loss of color quality

This image was taken with a floor lamp lit at the other side of the room, resulting in a slight loss of color quality

HDR is a big selling point for the W1700, and if you’re watching the right content, it can really look spectacular. Netflix is our go-to choice for any video quality testing, so the first thing we fired up was Chef’s Table. The food looked vibrant and colorful as usual, but when we kicked on the HDR mode, the colors and finer details really shone through. An example was a plated portion of fish – when HDR was turned on, you could clearly see that the fish had been lightly basted with a sauce, which was only barely noticeable before. The accompanying garnishes also stood out better against the white plate, making for a much more visually appealing shot.

There’s also a dedicated “Cinema Master” option with further controls to tweak your image. The “Flesh Tone” feature makes skin tones look more natural, but adjust this carefully or it may add a slightly orange tone to images. Similarly, the “Pixel Enhancer” feature helps to sharpen things up, but if you crank it up too much it will make edges appear a bit blurred and soft. 

Here's a gallery of some sample scenes:

For those that would need it, the W1700 supports displaying 3D content in Full HD resolution only. When paired with the BenQ DGD5 3D Glasses, the projector works perfectly, and correctly detects when a 3D signal is being sent. We didn’t have any 3D content at hand that we could test this feature out on, however we did do a simple 3D rendering test through NVIDIA’s Control Panel, which the W1700 correctly identified as a 3D source, and the glasses were able to sync up to with ease.

The large projection screen makes gaming on the W1700 a truly immersive experience, so naturally we had to see what it would be like to try out our favorite games on it. First up was some console action with Mario Kart on the Nintendo Switch. The playful colors and graphics of the game really benefited from the W1700’s  brightness, while ambling around in Skyrim was another enjoyable feat. 

Things were a little bit shaky when we tried PC gaming – you’ll only be able to go as high as 60Hz on either 4K or Full HD, or 120Hz at 1200x800 resolution. Playing Overwatch at 1200x800 was a bit strange, but even with the projector correctly detecting a 120Hz feed, the gameplay felt just a tad sluggish. With a lag of about 52-56ms, the W1700 is acceptable for most games, but only if you’re  playing non-competitively.

There is however one aspect to the W1700 that might irk you, and that is the faint light border that surrounds the projected image. If you’ve got a projector screen with a blackout border, then you won’t notice it, but if you’re projecting directly onto a wall or other flat surface, you’re going to pick up on it. It’s the result of the projector not turning off unused pixels, and it just looks a little bit weird to have your beautiful image surrounded by a border like that. There’s also a little bit of light spillage on the side of the projector where the vents are – this is only really noticeable when you ceiling mount the unit.

The front and side vents help keep the W1700 cool, and push out a significant amount of hot air

The front and side vents help keep the W1700 cool, and push out a significant amount of hot air

A surprisingly pleasant feature of the W1700 was the audio it produced. Normally projector speakers are quite mediocre, but BenQ seems to have put in a bit more effort with this model. Audio is loud enough to fill a medium-sized room, so if you’re taking this projector around for a quick movie session at a friend’s place, you won’t have to fret if you forget your portable speaker at home. The audio of course won’t compare with a soundbar or Bluetooth speaker, but for a projector to generate this kind of loudness on its own without distorting the audio is a feat in itself.

Heat & Noise levels

  • Generally inaudible fan noise
  • Noticeable heat output when not ceiling-mounted

With an approximate 50-second startup time from a full power off, the W1700 certainly means business once it’s up and running. If you’re setting it up on a flat surface rather than mounting it on the ceiling, then make sure you’re not sitting anywhere near it, as the warm air that’s pumped out of the sides can really make things toasty. As expected, the internal fans do make a gentle hum, but once you’ve got audio playing, they’re pretty easy to ignore – they’re also almost nonexistent if the unit is mounted.


The era of 4K was once only ruled by TVs, with projectors only joining the fold with large and pricey models. The BenQ W1700 is a surprising new addition for the company, and what’s even more surprising is the fact that it puts 4K projectors at a much more accessible price point than ever before. Yes, there may be one or two flaws that projector purists will nag about, but for everyone else they’re hardly sticking points. If you’re looking to finally set up your own private cinema in the comfort of your home, this is the place to start.

Nick Rego

A former IT & Marketing Manager turned full time Editor, Nick enjoys reviewing PC components, 3D Printers, projectors, and anything shiny and expensive. He can also be found baking up a storm in the kitchen, which we are more than happy to encourage.