Compare Projectors-BenQ W6000 vs. LG CF181D Home Projectors Compared

March 14, 2008

/ By Jennifer Stringfellow

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This comparison of the W6000 projector and LG's first US home theater entry, the CF181D home projector, is going to be a fun comparison to write. The best part of it, is that the LG CF181D was one of the very last projectors to arrive for review, and make it into the report. Until I got a good look at the LG, I wasn't sure if there would be two runner-up awards. I can tell you that the LG, as it turns out, knocked out any hope for the Sony VPL-HW15 picking up a runner-up award.

I think it's awesome to have a major new player enter the home projector space in the US. I am aware that LG has marketed home projectors elsewhere for at least a couple of years. OK, let's take a look!

BenQ W6000 vs. LG CF181D Home Projectors - An Overview

Let's start with the LG CF181D home projector (image on the right), since it's brand new, and unfamiliar to a lot more folks than the BenQ W6000 projector. The LG CF181D uses 3 LCoS panels, is a fairly large projector (especially tall, too). The CF181D projector has a manual lens, offers vertical lens shift. One of its key claims to fame is its brightness, which we'll discuss in greater depth, below.

By comparison, the BenQ W6000 is another extremely bright projector, although the W6000 is a single chip DLP projector. In terms of size, it's more of a medium size. At any rate, it is a a good bit smaller and less bulky than the LG projector.

Both projectors have very good, but not exceptional, placement flexibility, and both rely on a dynamic iris to improve black level performance for your movie viewing (and other content with dark scenes).

BenQ intended the W6000 to be one of the brightest home theater projectors on the market. I'm not sure about LG's intent, but it too has a healthy amount of lumens, even if it can't match the BenQ's brightest mode, it actually just barely beat the W6000 in "best" mode, making it the brightest "best mode" projector measured in this $2000 - $3500 class, and 2nd brightest in this report. Impressive.

If one is considering brightest modes, then the BenQ's W6000 is the 3rd brightest in this report, trailing only a near identical pair of low cost "crossover" type projectors, the BenQ W1000 and the Vivitek H1080FD. The LG CF181D, comes in fourth with 1380 measured lumens compared to the W6000's 1750, but the LG has better color. Just to keep things honest, the more expensive InFocus SP8602 has the ability to be brighter than the LG, but only when mounted for optimum brightness.

Let's see how these two bright projectors do head to head. The reviews were done months apart. I never did have the opportunity to run them at the same time, or take side-by-side comparison pictures etc. Of course I have plenty of opportunity to do images comparing each with the Epson 8500UB. In this comparison, the Epson will occasionally get to be our reference.

Physical Attributes

Let's start with the lens. Both projectors lenses are manual. The BenQ has a 1.5:1 ratio zoom lens, while the LG has more range with a 1.8:1 zoom.

The BenQ W6000's zoom, however is longer throw than typical for 1.5:1 zoom lenses, and can sit as far back as 17.7 feet back from that typical100 inch diagonal screen. That should be enough to allow the BenQ to rear shelf mount for most people interested in doing so.

The lens shift of the LG is only vertical, but it has more range than the BenQ. The BenQ has horizontal too, but in terms of vertical it is 0 offset. That means the highest you can place it is even with the top of your screen. For almost everyone, that's not a problem. The LG has more vertical, which is beneficial if you are hanging the projector down from a high ceiling.

I should mention that both projectors have center mounted lenses. Only the BenQ, however, supports using an anamorphic lens.

Click to enlarge. SO close

The BenQ is slightly better equipped when it comes to inputs and connections. Both have the usual: 2 HDMI 1.3 inputs, one component video input, one computer input (that can double as a second component video input), a composite video and an S-video. Both have a USB input. In addition, the BenQ W6000 has a serial port as well, for support, and it has one 12 volt screen trigger. All in all, no real difference unless you must have a 12 volt screen trigger.

The first image below is the BenQ W6000, and below it the input panel of the LG CF181D.

Both have filters. The BenQ however really requires little maintenance. They recommend dealing with the filter only once every 1000 hours of use. I am not sure about the LG, I missed finding it out when I reviewed it, but it is likely more often.

Click Image to Enlarge

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