In every case, I came away impressed with the level of performance offered for the money. Compact DLPs have become a great way for enthusiasts to have a giant screen in their homes for little more than the price of a decent flat-panel television. Today I have the latest home theater series model in for review, the HT1070 3D DLP Projector. It offers a bright clear image, 3D, built-in audio, and a wireless HDMI option. Let’s take a look.
BenQ HT1070 3D DLP Projector
- Single-chip light engine
- 3D support
- Light output up to 95fL
- Optional wireless HDMI
- Compact chassis
- Built-in speaker
The BenQ HT1070 3D DLP Projector is a compact fixed-lens model with 2000 lumens output, 3D, and a wireless HDMI option. It’s an ideal display for small to medium home theaters and has sufficient light for multi-use media rooms with some ambient light. Gamers will appreciate the low-latency mode for quick response in fast-action titles like shooters or sports simulations. Installers will like its light and compact chassis and the great picture it offers right out of the box. Movie buffs will enjoy the bright, saturated, and detailed image. And as I write this, it’s selling at an incredibly low street price of just $699.
With projectors in several price categories, BenQ has always delivered great performance for the money with its DLPs. Strict adherence to the sRGB (Rec.709) standard means that no matter what, its displays will render accurate color with little need for calibration. And single-chip designs mean top-notch clarity, even when the chassis is small.
BENQ PROJECTOR REVIEW SPECIFICATIONS
RGBRGB, 6x speed
Native Aspect Ratio:
1920 x 1080
Frame-sequential, top/bottom, side-by-side
Anamorphic Lens Support:
Light output (mfr):
2 x HDMI 1.4 (1 w/MHL), 1 x Composite, 1 x VGA
3.5mm in/out, RCA in
1 x 10w
1 x RS-232
Rated Lamp Life:
3000hrs Normal, 4500hrs Eco, 6500hrs SmartEco
13.6” x 4” x 8.5″ (WxHxD)
1 year, 180 days / 500 hours lamp
BenQ HT1070 3D DLP Projector Price:
$699, Wireless HDMI Kit – $299, 3D Glasses – $65
BenQ, HT1070, DLP Projector, 3D Projector, Wireless HDMI, Projector Reviews 2017
Like all BenQ projectors, the HT1070 is a single-chip DLP. It sports a 210-watt bulb and a 6x color wheel with an RGBRGB configuration. This should all but eliminate the rainbow effect unless you’re particularly sensitive to it. I couldn’t see it even when I flicked my eyes back and forth quickly.
The lens is fixed off-center offering only zoom and focus controls. The offset is 115% which means you’ll have to install it 15% of the screen’s height above or below the edge. It’s just right for a typical ceiling mount or you can set it on a table in front of your seating. If you plan to tote it around, there is a built-in 10-watt speaker that eliminates the need for external audio. While it won’t deliver cinema-level quality, it is adequate when there are no alternatives.
Lens controls are on top and feature zoom and focus only. They interact so you’ll have a little back-and-forth to get the image just right. I suspect many users will be throwing the picture onto a wall so sizing isn’t critical. I urge you to take a little extra time with focus though. The picture is extremely sharp from edge-to-edge and therefore worth additional effort. In fact, the HT1070 is one of the clearest projectors I’ve seen at any price and that’s saying something.
The back panel has everything you could possibly need to connect both AV and computer source components. There are two HDMI ports, one of which supports MHL for mobile devices. Older PCs can connect through the VGA input. The on-screen menu has all the adjustments necessary to deal with analog signal formats. If you have a VCR, there’s a composite jack and an RCA stereo input. Also included are 3.5mm in and out plugs for headphones or external speakers. The USB port is used with BenQ’s wireless HDMI kit which was included with my review sample.
Wireless HDMI can be very useful when it’s inconvenient to run a long cable to your projector or when you need a quick setup. The kit sells for $299 which seems steep but it’s no more expensive than similar products from other companies. Epson, for example, charges a premium for its models that have the feature built-in.
BenQ includes a transmitter module with four inputs and a receiver with two outputs. The latter is powered from the HT1070’s USB port. The transmitter can also be powered by USB or a wall wart which comes in the box. Its range is 100 feet if you have line-of-sight, less if you’re going through walls or other obstacles.
The kit includes a metal bracket which you can use to attach the receiver to the side of your HT1070. Since it’s powered by USB, there are no cables to run save the main power feed.
The main remote is a small handset that feels well-made and is fully backlit with a soft red glow. It has discrete keys for many projector functions but I missed separate source buttons. It also includes transport controls for HDMI/CEC-enabled sources. I found the wand to be very reliable whether I pointed it at the projector or bounced commands off the screen. There are IR sensors on the front and back of the chassis so there should be little to no trouble with missed inputs.
The HT1070 syncs its 3D content using DLP-Link so you can use any glasses you wish but I recommend BenQ’s. They are the lightest and most comfortable I’ve ever worn. They cost around $65 online and are well worth the money. They charge up in about two hours via USB. The control button and status LED are on top between the eyepieces.
By default, the HT1070 boots up in its Basic menu. This gives you access only to a few functions like picture mode and brightness/contrast. To open up the full suite of adjustments and options, choose the Advanced menu. It will look familiar to users of other BenQ projectors.
There six picture modes, all of which are fully-adjustable. Cinema represents the best starting point for calibration though in the case of my sample, it needed almost no changes. In fact, you can just leave it alone and watch a nearly reference-quality image right out of the box.
Color Temperature offers three presets. Lamp Power defaults to Economic which is fairly bright at around 56fL. Normal delivers 68fL and if you want even more output, choose the Bright mode to see over 95fL. You can also set the bulb to SmartEco which acts like an iris by throttling the lamp according to picture content. It increases contrast by about 50%.
The Advanced menu has all the image controls a tweaker could ask for including gamma presets, two-point grayscale and a full color management system. Brilliant Color should be left on as it delivers greater accuracy in both measurements and subjective evaluations. The Noise Reduction slider also has a positive effect but don’t set it above 7 as it will overclean the image to the point of softness.
The two-point grayscale adjustment is very fine but almost unnecessary. I literally made one change during my calibration. The CMS is also works well. I used it to tweak the color luminance which had a greater effect on my test charts than the actual image. You’ll see later in the benchmarks that almost nothing needs to be done to make the HT1070 look fantastic. Even uncalibrated, it exceeds the image fidelity found in many displays after they’ve been calibrated.
I installed the projector on a small stand in front of my seating to account for the fixed lens offset. It has a fairly short throw so even at eight feet, I had little trouble filling my 92” screen. For the projector calibration, I hooked up my pattern generator with a traditional HDMI cable but for movie-watching, I tried out the wireless HDMI kit. Short version – it worked perfectly carrying both 2D and 3D content without issue.
Watching the BenQ HT1070 3D DLP Projector
After watching clips with in both the Economic and SmartEco bulb modes, I decided that the latter looked best. Some dark scenes showed a tiny bit of black crush and I could occasionally see some brightness pumping but the 50% increase in contrast was welcome and enhanced overall quality significantly. I recommend this mode for all viewing. It also happens to be the mode with the longest lamp life.
There nothing quite like the clarity and rich color of a good single-chip DLP. And its smooth judder-free motion processing is a welcome bonus that enhances resolution in fast-moving content. One of the potential downsides of this is that you can see every flaw in the original content. Grainy films are especially prone to looking extra crawly when the picture is this sharp. Luckily, the HT1070 has a well-engineered noise reduction control. I left it on its default setting of 7 and found Jason Bourne to look exemplary. Many projectors show this film in its super-grainy state and it can sometimes be a nuisance. Here, it looked ideal with just enough grit to enhance the content without overwhelming it.
To check out color accuracy, I queued up the newest Ghostbusters release. This Blu-ray has a bit of red push in addition to some very saturated hues that approach cartoon levels, by design of course. The HT1070 made a bit more of the red than I had seen before. You’ll see in the benchmark section why this is so. It didn’t reduce my enjoyment of the movie but I’d have to say this projector does have a very slight over-emphasis on red in some content. You’ll only see it in the brightest, most colorful films. Most images look natural and normal as you’d expect from a good display.
To test this theory, I watched The Secret Life of Pets. Not only did the color look perfect, the HT1070 rendered an amazingly clear and crisp CGI image. The optics here are way better than one would expect from a sub-$1000 projector, WAY better. And I loved the high motion-resolution in fast-moving scenes. There was no hint of judder or motion blur at any time. I know many enthusiasts are waiting for Ultra HD projector prices to come down but honestly, it’s hard to imagine a better picture than I saw from this amazingly-cheap BenQ.
3D is pretty much dying out in the mainstream flat-panel market with some companies eliminating it from their lines entirely. Projectors however, still embrace the technology. Why? Because too many people like me have said, “3D only looks good on a big screen.” And I still feel that way. It doesn’t have much impact on a 65” screen in the living room but when you can fill your viewing cone with a 92” 3D image, the experience goes to a whole new level. Projectors that do 3D well will always have a place in my theater. That being said, the HT1070 is a little low in output to make my list of top 3D projectors. I measured only about 6fL peak in 3D mode and that isn’t quite enough to knock my socks off.
Hugo has a great scene where Hugo and Isabelle walk through a steam tunnel lined with black pipes. It’s a great 3D demo because the effect can be very deep and the pipes’ textures really pop on better displays. The HT1070 had no trouble with depth, clarity, or detail but I found brightness a little wanting. Scenes shot outdoors or in brightly-lit interiors looked fine but darker material was a little less pleasurable to watch.
I had a similar experience with Avatar but since it so-strongly emphasizes blue and green hues, the night scenes were a little easier on the eyes. Again, detail and depth were exemplary and the 3D effect was perfect with no signs of ghosting or crosstalk. Motion resolution was just as good as in 2D which further preserves the sensation of depth. I wouldn’t call the HT1070 my favorite 3D projector of all time but it does a decent job with properly shot and mastered films.
On The Bench
To measure the color accuracy of the Home Cinema 3700, I used an i1Pro spectrophotometer, along with an Accupel DVG-5000 signal generator and CalMAN 5.7 to control the instruments and crunch the numbers. Luminance tests were performed with a Spectracal C6 tri-stimulus meter.
Of all the picture modes, Cinema is by far the best. It needs almost no adjustment and I can say with confidence that calibration is not required here. The other modes offer various task-specific enhancements but they aren’t terribly close to Rec.709/D65.
Grayscale and Gamma Tracking
This is a visually-perfect grayscale tracking result. There are no errors over 3dE at all. Only 90 and 100% even surpass 1dE which is extraordinary. Gamma tracking is perfect too and follows the 2.2 power function exactly. If you’re looking for BT.1886, you won’t quite find it but the 2.4 preset comes close. Since the native contrast isn’t super-high though, I recommend sticking with 2.2 for all content. Higher values make the image a little murky.
For ego’s sake, I wanted to get the errors at 90 and 100% below 1dE. I did this with a single click upward of the red and green gain sliders. Gamma is essentially unchanged as expected. All I’ve done here is taken the result from great to slightly more great. Visually, there is no difference; I just wanted a better chart.
Color Gamut and Luminance Accuracy
With nearly every color error below 3dE, there is little need to tweak the CMS. The only things I notice here are slight over-saturations in red (40, 60, and 80%), under-saturation at 100% blue, and a hue error in the green primary. Luminance levels are almost perfect but I thought I’d try and balance them better with the color gain sliders.
In the end, I managed to almost zero out the luminance levels but I introduced a slight red push when I increased the gain control. But more of the color saturations are on-target than before so I consider this result a gain. Yes, I’ve only reduced the average error by .0063dE, and no, you can’t tell the difference visually. But I’ve satisfied my desire to wring every last drop of accuracy out of the HT1070. If you buy this projector, you won’t need to hire a professional calibrator. It just isn’t necessary.
The HT1070 passed all the important video processing tests save the jaggies clip. Here, the ship’s rigging and brightly-color trim showed a bit too much line twitter. There appeared to be no anti-aliasing in use. This has the benefit of eliminating any ringing artifacts but some thin lines will show pixilation. The only other failure was in the 2:2 pulldown test which almost no display can pass. Additionally, I saw rolloff of the 1-pixel burst patterns when viewing 4:2:2 signal formats. Stick with RGB or 4:4:4 for best results.
The HT1070 measured fairly well in my sequential contrast tests. In the Cinema mode, after calibration, with the bulb on Economic, I recorded 56.2942fL peak, .0268fL black, and a contrast ratio of 2100.6:1. In the bulb’s Normal mode, the peak was 68.9105fL, black level was .0328fL and the contrast ratio was 2101.6:1. This is very consistent performance. Many projectors have greater differences in sequential contrast in their various bulb power modes.
SmartEco throttles the lamp to simulate the effects of an auto-iris. You can see it working in some content but it has a positive effect on dynamic range. Here, I measured 67.6008fL peak, .0217fL black, and a contrast ratio of 3115.7:1.
The highest output is found in Bright mode. With the bulb on Normal, the peak white level is 95.0346fL, the black level is .0436fL, and the contrast ratio is 2180.5:1. Again, this is very consistent performance.
3D output was a bit disappointing. With the bulb at its highest setting I recorded 5.7433fL peak, .0044fL black, and a contrast ratio of 1313.4:1. Crosstalk was a super-low .04%.
The BENQ HT1070 3D DLP PROJECTOR is the best sub-$1000 projector I’ve reviewed to-date. Its value is unmatched at this writing.
- Super-sharp picture
- Bright, vivid color
- Excellent motion resolution
- Superb out-of-box accuracy
- Affordable price point
Would Like To See
- Brighter 3D
- Lens shift
Once you realize the BenQ HT1070 3D DLP Projector sells for under $1000, any flaws it might have become meaningless. And it doesn’t really have any flaws to speak of. Yes, lens shift would be nice and its 3D presentation is a little dim. But when you check out its superlative 2D image with rich, saturated color and amazing clarity, you’ll wonder how BenQ can sell it so inexpensively.
I’ve encountered many computer monitors and even a few televisions that didn’t require calibration to look their best. But it’s rare that any projector, at any price, can’t be improved by instrumented adjustments. The HT1070 marks one of the rare times I can say, “Just install it and enjoy.” While I managed a few tiny gains with my efforts, they only served to improve the look of the charts, not the image itself.
I review a lot of compact projectors that perform well, within the parameters of a portable display. There are always concessions to low price and small size, but not this time. You could install the HT1070 in a theater and your viewers would never realize you didn’t spend $3000 or more. It’s that good. Whether you need something lightweight to take on the road or you want to build a budget media room, this projector is more than up to either task. I happily give the BenQ HT1070 3D DLP Projector my highest recommendation.