BenQ W2710i 4K HDR projector review

It's been quiet on the projector front of late. Brands don't seem to be updating their ranges as often as they used to – or else the updates are so small they're barely worth talking about. Yet while BenQ has taken four years to replace its highly regarded W2700/W2700i home cinema PJ, the new W2710i tested here is definitely not a small upgrade.

First off, it claims more brightness than its predecessor, 2,200 Lumens versus 2,000. Its 'HDR-Pro' system also adds compatibility with the dynamic HDR10+ format to the HDR10 and HLG HDR talents of the W2700, and introduces a Local Contrast Enhancer that constantly analyses and independently tweaks the imaging histogram of more than 1,000 separate picture 'blocks'.

Thanks to this mix of increased brightness and enhanced image processing, the W2710i claims a contrast ratio of 50,000:1 (with the projector's dynamic iris in play) versus the 30,000:1 figure of the W2700i.

Furthermore, BenQ has added a third HDMI input to the connections suite, and provides a new True Cinema 24p option designed to improve playback of 24fps sources. And these significant new improvements are joined, as you'd expect, by all the features that made the W2700i such a hit.

Welcome to the dongle
That 'i' lurking at the end of the PJ's name is BenQ's way of indicating it carries a built-in smart system. Or, at least, it becomes built-in once you've fitted the provided Android TV dongle into a special bay under a detachable section of the W2710i's top edge. The reason this is something you do yourself is because BenQ also sells a non-smart iteration, sans dongle, for £100 less.


A removable panel on the chassis top conceals the bay for the supplied Android TV dongle

The W2710i also joins its predecessor in claiming to cover, via a wide colour gamut mode, 95 per cent of the DCI-P3 colour gamut, as well as full coverage of REC.709 SDR.

Connections beside the now three HDMI inputs again include a USB port for multimedia file playback; a powered USB; 12V trigger and RS-232 control ports; a 3.5mm audio line out; and an optical digital audio output. And the HDMIs continue to handle 4K/60Hz (and 1080p/120Hz) gaming.

It's perhaps disappointing that the HDMI inputs won't play 4K/120Hz video or cope with variable refresh rates, but such functionality is still quite rare on a projector. The W2710i does, however, keep input lag low at 17.9ms with 4K/60Hz games, and the HDMIs offer ARC for passing (lossy) Dolby Atmos soundtracks to compatible audio gear.


An impressive range of connections includes a trio of HDMIs and powered USB for a smart stick

You might choose to do that because BenQ's model is aimed at the 'serious' living room projector market. In other words, it's designed for movie fans who like to watch films in a properly darkened room, but who maybe aren't interested (now, anyway) in a permanent installation in a dedicated home theatre.

As such, it's good to see that it's as impressively easy to set up as the W2700. Three screw-down legs are provided to get the image level and in the right place on your wall or screen, and these are backed up by a vertical optical image shift wheel and simple zoom and focus controls on the top of the lens barrel.

The 1.3x optical zoom is useful for catering to different room sizes (you need around 2.5m of throw distance to get a 100in image), and there's even an auto keystone correction system if you really need it.

As now expected from BenQ, the PJ benefits from the manufacturer's Cinematic Colour system, which combines waveform analysis, bespoke colour wheel coatings and in-factory calibration (a calibration report is included) to deliver a more accurate out-of-the-box picture.

You can still call in an ISF calibrator to optimise the W2710i for your own environment, and calibration tools available include both two- and 11-point white balance adjustment.

Smart features introduced by the Wi-Fi dongle are pretty appealing, not least because the video streaming services it carries can recognise and respond to the PJ's capabilities, rather than just whisking you off to non-optimised, low-quality online apps. The range offered is reasonable, although at the time of writing ITVX generates a 'not compatible with this device' message.

Sharp shooter
The W2710i's pictures make an instantly strong impression on two key grounds. First, they're breathtakingly sharp. With rumours of a sequel to Alita: Battle Angel doing the rounds, I dug out the excellent 4K Blu-ray of the original film to put BenQ's new model through its paces – and the W2710i did arguably the finest justice to its crisp, detailed 4K pictures I've seen from any projector bar Sony and JVC's much more expensive native 4K SXRD and D-ILA models.


The W2710i's off- set lens is protected by a slide-up cover

Some people still refuse to consider DLP projectors like the W2710i, which use multiple 'flashes' per frame of their digital mirrors to create their pictures, as true 4K models. But it's hard to see how anyone could sustain this argument while witnessing the superb detail and clarity on show here. The sharpness remains impressive with Alita's hi-def Blu-ray, too.

The W2710i's other area of instant excellence is its colour performance. Alita contains a pretty wild range of tones, from ultra-vibrant artificial light sources to subtle dark background 'moods' and lots of tricky 'real' and artificial skin tones. BenQ's projector handles almost everything with aplomb, depicting bags of subtlety and nuance with pleasing vibrancy for a 2,200-nit projector. Using the default HDR picture setting can cause some warmer skin tones to look somewhat over-saturated, but nudging down the projector's dedicated skin tone adjustment fixes this pretty well.

Read the room
Looking for other less obvious performance strengths, while black levels are not as deep and convincing with the HDR encode of Alita 4K as they are with the SDR version (inevitably, given projectors' limited localised light control), they're still rather good for this price range.

This is especially true when considered against the washed-out black colours you often get with projectors that have been designed more for bright room use. Conversely, its pictures don't hold up against ambient light as well as those brighter rivals, so just be sure before pulling the trigger on a W2710i that you know what you're getting and that it fits your desired user case.

It's worth adding here that if you want a brighter model for a lighter room, BenQ's new TK860i is intended for precisely that situation, and is also priced at £1,699. Or if you've got deeper pockets, BenQ's £2,999 W4000i claims higher brightness, greater contrast and a significantly wider colour range.

This unit's blend of sharpness, accurate yet voluminous colours, and decent HDR black levels fits its target market to a tee, though. In the low-lit rooms it's designed for, the W2710i's lamp power proves enough to offer both a clear difference in peak and fullscreen brightness between HDR and SDR content, and to bring out shadow detail and dark colour subtleties.

Alita's excellent Motorball sequences confirm the True Cinema 24p setting to be a great addition to BenQ's mid-range projectors, somehow making judder during camera pans and over fast-moving objects feel more natural and cinematic than if you merely turn off the projector's motion processing entirely.

While I personally preferred watching Alita: Battle Angel in the W2710i's default HDR preset, the provided Filmmaker Mode does as you'd hope and delivers a very subtle, balanced and accurate-looking image. This is good news for AV purists, but since HDR isn't really possible in an accurate sense on a projector, the Filmmaker Mode looks a bit flat and soft. The default HDR option gives more of an HDR 'feeling'.

The projector's enthusiasm for providing as impactful an HDR experience as it can from its 2,200 Lumens does cause a problem, though: distracting brightness shifts during cuts between bright and dark shots and, worse, regular 'flickering' within certain shots if they contain light variations significant enough to trigger the projector's dynamic iris system.

Fortunately, switching the Dynamic Iris setting from High to Middle greatly negates this problem at the cost of only a small amount of brightness and contrast.

I noticed some slight rainbow effect over very bright highlights, and in HDR mode the W2710i's fan noise can annoy if the projector's within a metre or so of your seating position. That said, the onboard audio system does a better job than most of drowning out fan noise, and renders Alita: Battle Angel's often monstrous soundtrack with enjoyable volume and detail. The sound also escapes the bodywork to appear as if it's hanging somewhere between the PJ and the onscreen action, so if you're sat behind the W2710i the picture and audio feel at least slightly 'joined up'.

Brilliant beamer
This projector takes the already winning formula of its now aging predecessor and betters it – significantly – in every way. Yes, if you have an existing streaming device, such as Apple TV or a Fire TV stick, you might consider saving £100 and getting the W2710 model. Otherwise, though – and provided its lack of suitability to anything other than a dark viewing environment doesn't bother you – it's hard to see how the W2710i could be any better for its money. Bravo BenQ!

HCC Verdict: 5/5

BenQ W2710i
Price: £1,699

We say: A fantastically accomplished and feature-rich PJ all-rounder for anyone looking to enjoy serious, lights-down movie or gaming nights on a reasonably tight budget.


3D: Yes. Active 4K: Yes. 3,840 x 2,160 (via DLP mirror flashing) HDR: Yes. HLG; HDR10; HDR10+ CONNECTIONS: 3 x HDMI inputs; extra mini HDMI for smart dongle; 12V trigger; RS-232; 3.5mm audio out; digital optical audio out; USB media player port; 5V USB port BRIGHTNESS (CLAIMED): 2,200 Lumens CONTRAST (claimed): 50,000:1 ZOOM: 1.3x DIMENSIONS: 380(w) x 127(h) x 263(d)mm WEIGHT: 4.2kg

FEATURES: Single-chip DLP projector; 2.5W Trevolo audio system; 'i' model ships with Android TV dongle supporting nativised video streaming apps and Google Assistant voice control; 4,000-15,000 hours claimed lamp life; Filmmaker Mode preset; 1.13-1.47:1 throw ratio; True Cinema 24p mode; ARC output; Local Contrast Enhancer feature; fleshtone adjustment; ISF calibration