Earlier this year I checked out BenQ’s massive W11000 projector, which was the company’s first home-cinema 4k projector. Overall it was a great projector, and despite the ludicrously high price tag, it was a must-have for anyone looking to create that true at-home cinema experience. This week I played around with the second model from BenQ, the X12000. While almost identical in appearance, the X12000 has a few extra bits that differentiates it from the W11000, not to mention the jump in pricing.
Build Quality & Design
The X12000 is a beast of a projector, weighing in at nearly 20kgs. I’m not sure if I’d feel comfortable with this thing hanging above me if it was ceiling mounted, but you can do so if you please or just prop it up on a raised platform of sorts. As with the W11000, there are two rings in the front around the lens to help adjust the focus and size of the image being projected, and there are also two physical knobs at the top to help reposition the image as well. At first glance it would be almost impossible to tell the W11000 and X12000 apart, but once you look at what’s underneath that large body, things become clearer.
Both models tout 4K quality, but while the W11000 comes with THX Certification, the X12000 boasts a DCI-P3 color gamut for even more accurate color reproduction. Two features combine to help with this –Philips ColorSpark HLD LED technology and BenQ’s own CinematicColor, which we’ve seen in the W11000 already.
Connectivity-wise you’ve got two HDMI ports (only one of them supports HDCP 2.2), and one VGA port. Again, I question the inclusion of a VGA port if you’re setting this up at home, as connecting anything up with a resolution less than FullHD is pointless on this projector. In addition to this, the X12000 unfortunately doesn’t have true HDR support, which some die-hard enthusiasts may find a bit disappointing. But it’s not BenQ’s fault – adding true HDR support here would drastically bump up the price tag to compensate for possibly a brighter lamp. The DCI-P3 color gamut supposedly makes up for this lack of HDR support, producing colors that are just as bright as what you’d watching on HDR quality. It’s important to note that the DCI-P3 processing is done by the projector itself, so it’s not native playback. The LED lamp meanwhile means you can switch the projector off and on without worrying about warm-up times, and you’ll also get a ridiculously longer lifespan.
The X12000 does have a number of preset modes to get the best viewing quality as soon as you set it up. There are options to reduce image noise and also alter skin tones, but I recommend turning these off entirely as they seemed to have little or no effect on the actual image. There are a few other modes you can cycle through using the ‘Mode’ button the remote – for me I chose to use Cinema when watching most media, and then using Vivid when playing games. There’s unfortunately no dedicated Game mode here, but I’ll touch upon gaming with the X12000 a bit later on.
For 4K content our first go-to video is the ‘Costa Rica in 4K’ clip, which has some beautiful scenes that are perfect for pushing the X12000 through. Within minutes of the clip starting, there were audible gasps from my friends as the projector effortlessly brought to life the lush tropical forests and colorful wildlife.
Next up was of course Chef’s Table on Netflix, which is really where the X12000 started cranking things up. A beautiful plate of beef slivers shone bright red on screen, while each plated dish made us literally want to go up and lick the wall we were projecting on (we didn’t). We then fired up a 4K Ultra HD copy of ‘Mad Max’, and had to switch from Vivid to DCI-P3 mode as the orange tones of the film needed to be toned down a little bit. Still, the overall movie quality was absolutely incredible, however it did showcase one slightly alarming problem with the X12000. This projector really doesn’t handle motion very well in fast-moving scenes. There’s no motion-processing here that you’d find in most TVs, and while I would normally have this feature turned off, it seems that here it would actually have made an improvement. On certain scenes of Mad Max with fast camera movement, there was definitely a noticeable judder from some characters, which really does hinder your viewing experience. Content that was upscaled to 4K looked fairly good, but some scenes looks a bit softer than the source, making you almost think that the projector is out of focus. Truly 4K content is where the X12000 shines, so it’s best to stick to only this. There’s also a slight rainbow effect that I noticed at certain times on very bright white sections of a picture – this is really something you’ll notice if you’re sitting closer to the image being projected, but from a far enough distance it’s barely noticeable. Still, purists will find this a bit of a disappointment, given the standards that BenQ holds to this particular projector.
As with the W11000, gaming on the X12000 was a mixed bag. Yes, the visuals were gorgeous in games like For Honor and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but there’s an input lag that just doesn’t help when you’re playing more competitive games. If you’d like to play Call of Duty at this resolution, you’re going to have plenty of deaths because you weren’t able to react in time to what’s happening on screen. There’s no Game mode to speak of, so you’ll be left tinkering around with a nice enough setting to make your games look extra pretty.
The X12000’s DCI-P3 mode is an incredible testament to the technology that BenQ has crammed into this projector. No matter what you’re watching, this projector will deliver an outstanding picture with some breathtaking visuals. On the other hand its price tag of AED 25,000 doesn’t justify the issues it faces with fast-moving objects on screen, so it almost makes the cheaper W11000 seem more attractive. The X12000 still delivers an absolutely fantastic image, but these are still early days for BenQ’s 4K dreams.