So far we've looked at the two extremes of Sony's current SXRD projector range: the good but over-complicated and expensive high-end VPL-VW200, and the excellent value VPL-VW40. So we thought we'd better complete the ‘set' by checking out the mid-range VPL-VW60 - especially as we have high hopes that it might combine the best features of the two extreme models to make one perfect step-up package.
In price terms, it's nice to find the VW60 sitting considerably nearer the VW40 than the VW200; its £2,900 asking price really doesn't look at all bad for a projector with what we'll soon discover is a pretty fearsome spec sheet.
It's nice to find, too, that the VW60 adopts the same rather cute design concept as its siblings, combining an unusual stretched diamond shape with a high gloss, ‘Dynamic Anthracite' finish to winning effect.
Connectivity is all that you might reasonably expect on such an affordable projector too. And so we find highlights of two v1.3 HDMI inputs, a component video input, a D-Sub PC port, and an RS-232C port for integration into an AV system. It's worth adding, too, that the HDMIs are ‘Bravia Theatre Sync' enabled, for enhanced communication with and control of connected Bravia sources.
Arguably the VW60's most significant feature - if only because it's here that the projector diverges most significantly from the VW40 - is its claimed contrast ratio. At 35,000:1 it's way higher than most projectors in its price range, and more than twice as extensive as that of the VW40. Fingers crossed that the VW60 is going to present us with some truly stunning black levels.
As with most non-DLP projectors, though, it's important to point out that the 35,000:1 figure is not a ‘native' figure, but one that's dependent on the fact that the projector can reduce its lamp output during dark scenes to give an enhanced black level response at the expense of a little brightness. The VW60's native contrast ratio is 7,000:1 - still respectable, certainly, but considerably lower than the 15,000:1 native contrast ratio figure of JVC's actually slightly cheaper DLA-HD1 projector, with its D-ILA technology.
The VW60's maximum brightness is a shade higher than that of the VW40, coming in at 1,000 ANSI Lumens, and as usual with SXRD technology (which is able to cram loads of pixels into a tiny space), the VW60's resolution is a Full HD 1,920 x 1,080. The SXRD pixel density is worth dwelling on a touch more, actually, as by fitting 1,920 x 1,080 pixels into a chip just 0.61in across, the VW60 should be able to do away more or less completely with the so-called ‘chicken wire' effect sometimes seen with panel-based projectors, whereby you can make out the projector's pixel grid structure in the final picture.