“Barbenheimer” has undoubtedly brought the cinema experience into the zeitgeist. Getting that full immersion for a blockbuster in the theatre is a unique feeling, and it isn’t any surprise that many want that experience replicated at home. For those looking to create their own home cinema, the BenQ W4000i 4LED 4K Projector is a new option on the market that they may be looking at.
We’re familiar with BenQ’s projectors — namely the TK700STi and X3000i — but those were gaming-centric machines. Meanwhile, the W4000i is primarily a home theatre projector, with special features to elevate the film viewing experience.
While BenQ usually touts the affordability factor of its projector line compared to enthusiast devices, the W4000i still commands quite a hefty price tag; it’s the most expensive projector out of BenQ’s currently available offerings. But is the projector still worth getting? We took it for a try to find out.
Design and Build
Unlike portable projectors, where recent editions have gotten rather intriguing designs, home projectors have largely stayed the same. That is to say, they look unremarkable from an aesthetic standpoint. The BenQ W4000i 4LED 4K Projector is slightly on the sleeker side, opting for a sandwich look with rounded corners. Depending on how your house looks, this may or may not fit your home’s aesthetics, but it otherwise is an easygoing design for a projector.
It is a fairly big device and dense, weighing a hefty 6.6kg; it’s something to note if you intend to carry the projector out often for movie nights. The device is clad in an all-black build that helps blend it into the darkness — it is made with plastic but still feels sturdy.
The top of the projector features lens controls for the focus and the zoom, and BenQ has smartly implemented a cover to ensure that users don’t run into problems with dust being lodged into the components. There are also dials for lens shifting to correct picture positioning.
Meanwhile, the back of the W4000i shows all available ports, and it’s a decent selection. There are two HDMI ports (though unfortunately not the newer HDMI 2.1 version), a LAN port, an RS-232 port, two USB Type-A ports, and a 3.5mm Jack.
There’s a rectangular bulge located at the back. You can unscrew it to install the Android TV dongle that comes with the projector package.
On one side, you’ll be able to find the onboard controls for the projector — basic controls which you can find on most other projectors.
But you’ll likely be using the included remote either way. Wait, I misspoke. It is actually two remotes! One is for general projector control, while the smaller remote navigates through the Android TV UI.
While both remotes work fine, it would have been great if they just had one remote for ease of simplicity. Only the projector remote can change the settings, while the Android TV remote is the only one with dedicated buttons for streaming services. You can imagine how things could get a little tiring during the initial setup, as you would have to switch between remotes continuously.
Features and Performance
One of the highlights of the W4000i projector is its ability to produce 100% DCI-P3 colour space using its CinematicColor technology, the standard used in the film industry. BenQ is so confident and proud of this feature, that they even include a calibration report for your specific unit inside the box.
Needless to say, BenQ has delivered on that aspect. The W4000i projector provides an impressive visual experience. On the HDR mode, vibrant colours show off lots of pop and expression to them, but at the same time, darker tones appear deep. You can certainly see that depth in effect when a scene has both types of colours at play.
This contrast in colour depth is seen by turning on the Wide Colour Gamut option within the Advanced Picture OSD menu, but doing so does reduce the brightness by a considerable amount. Given that this device is recommended for use in darkened rooms, it is best to use this feature in as dark a room as possible to mitigate the brightness loss.
With that all being said, the default brightness is outstanding. The projector is rated at 3,200 ANSI-lumens, allowing an exceptionally bright and sharp image to be projected. 4K movies look crisp when playing, particularly at the suggested 120-inch screen size.
The BenQ W4000i does have a slight issue with whites in its projection — which is the one thing I will level against it. For scenes with lots of white in the background, it sometimes washes out the other colours present. We witnessed this first during one of the scenes in Top Gun: Maverick, when the planes were flying through the snow-filled landscape, which visually overpowered the grey colour of the planes.
The settings can mitigate some of this; luckily, the projector offers a wide range of options to tweak the viewing experience.
In addition to the Wide Colour Gamut mode, other options are available to pick from within the settings menu. Another setting you can toggle is Filmmaker Mode, which supposedly presents the image as how filmmakers intended for the big screen,
It is the best mode to view films — there is great dynamic range in the colours within the image frame, which makes for a truly cinematic experience. But the mode is limited, admittedly. Its performance is not good when used with HDR scenes; it gets so dark that it is hard to make out what is happening. If your catalogue is mainly HDR content, this isn’t the mode you should use.
Beyond movies, you can also hook up a gaming console to play games on the projector, but you won’t get notable gaming features like the higher refresh rate due to the lack of HDMI 2.1 support. Still, gaming on the projector looks great; the varied environments of God of War: Ragnarok shine while being showcased on screen.
Picture quality is excellent on the BenQ W4000i, but the speakers unfortunately, aren’t at the same standard. They are serviceable; it gets loud enough to fill the room, but sound performance is largely flat in profile. If you truly want to mimic the theatre experience, hooking it to a sound system instead is best.
With the included dongle, you do get to have Android TV functionality. All major streaming apps are available here, including Amazon Prime, Disney+, and even Netflix, which was missing when we tested out the BenQ X3000i gaming projector.
Navigation is generally simple to use on the Android TV UI, plus there is Google Assistant voice support to make searches much more convenient. Typically, the projector can detect special content like HDR and automatically switches the image mode, negating the need to fumble around in the settings.
In terms of turning your home into your private movie theatre, the BenQ W4000i 4LED 4K Projector aptly replicates the experience with stunning colour performance and sharp image quality. And there’s the bonus of the Android TV functionality, which you can use for other media,
However, despite its more affordable projector entry point, I still hesitate to recommend it to the general consumer. At its current price of S$4,499, that is still quite a lot of money to part with, plus you would need to already have an appropriate dark room set up ready in your home to get the full potential of the projector’s visual prowess. It isn’t something that everybody has.
Should you have the means to do so though, few projectors can do what the W4000i does for the film-watching experience. It is your very own movie theatre, right at home.
Photos by Marcus Lim of the DANAMIC Team.