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Sony VPL-HS30ES - 2D Performance and Verdict

John Archer

By John Archer



  • Recommended by TR


Our Score:


Colours in 3D mode look natural too. Also extremely impressive is how stable and fluid 3D pictures look if you engage the projector’s motion processing. Normally, of course, we wouldn’t advise that you use such motion processing, but the system in the HS30ES is remarkably good and sensitive for such an affordable machine, and we genuinely preferred to have it on (at its lowest setting, mind you) during 3D viewing.

Sony’s glasses do, it has to be said, take a fair chunk of brightness out of the picture, despite the efforts of the new dynamic lamp system. But the facility is there to boost the glasses’ brightness if you wish, and this can have quite a brightness-boosting impact at the expense of only a touch more crosstalk.

Otherwise the only negative we can report about what truly is a great return to 3D form by Sony is that there’s a slight bit of flickering over very bright 3D scenes. But you’re generally so engrossed in the mesmerising 3D effect the projector produces that you seldom feel aware of this flicker.

Putting the glasses to one side and switching over to 2D, the HW30ES continues to impress greatly. The picture’s contrast performance is very good, for a start, with surprisingly deep black levels sitting alongside rich colours and reasonably pure whites (aside from the faintest tinge of orange). There’s an excellent amount of shadow detail visible during dark scenes, too, for a projector at this level of the market.


It’s also great to find that the HW30ES’s dynamic iris works startlingly well, at least on its Auto 1 mode. It noticeably improved contrast range without suffering much at all of the flickering brightness levels that have characterised dynamic iris functionality on many previous SXRD projectors.

Personally we still stuck with a manual iris setting, but it’s great to know that if you prefer the dynamic approach, you can now use it without it causing regular distractions.

The amount of detail in the HW30ES’s image is superb as well, yet the crispness on show isn’t accompanied by excessive noise. The only noise you see is what’s there in the source.

Motion handling continues to impress as well - though in 2D, we definitely didn’t feel an urge to use the motion processing any more. You just don’t need it. And if you do call it in, while still surprisingly good at not generating unwanted side effects, it does sometimes deliver a few frames of weird image acceleration during camera pans.

One final aspect of the HW30ES’s performance we definitely need to mention is its running noise. It is practically non-existent. The symmetrical design of the projector is clearly extremely good at dispersing heat from the 1300-lumen lamp.

If you’re wondering if the HW30ES is better than JVC’s X3 projector, the answer is that no, it isn’t. Not quite. For while the Sony is arguably fractionally better at handling 3D crosstalk, the JVC’s contrast range is markedly better, especially during 2D viewing. But the JVC model is, of course, between £300 and £500 dearer than this Sony based on current pricing, which is a significant sum of money in today’s tough financial environment.


Sony has worked wonders with the HW30ES, erasing the disappointments of the VW90ES from our minds with a projector that serves up a classy, hugely watchable and best of all impressively affordable big-screen 3D - and 2D - feast.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • 2D Image Quality 9
  • 3D Image Quality 9
  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Value 9


November 20, 2013, 9:58 pm

I purchased a projector less than a year ago and while great picture for the money, is already giving me problems. It has a terrible flickering that makes it impossible to watch tv/movies. It is still under warranty, however, getting Sony to do anything isn't worth the trouble. Especially with the kind of money involved with projectors.

I had called a month ago to schedule repair as the product is still under warranty, I spoke to a lady who walked me through the tests to try and find out if it was something that could be fixed over the phone and it was determined that the issue was going to require repair by a professional. I was given a Case Number as well as a phone number to a local repair shop that would be doing the repairs. She said that a lot of times they take a while to call and that I may get faster service if I called them myself toschedule the appointment. Long story short, I got tied up and frankly forgot about it, but when I finally remembered and called Sony back to find out why nobody called me to schedule a repair they said that they had no record of anyone telling me that, and that I would have to send the projector in to get fixed that there was no repair shop anywhere in the state of Tennessee. Upon further Google review, I found multiple "Sony Authorized/Certified" repair shops in Tennessee. Basically telling me that I was making this up. When I asked why I was originally told that there was a repair shop locally, and given the number to said repair shop, I was told that they had no record of it. Insane. In no way should I have to pay someone to come out and take apart a theater that I had professionally installed, then mail in a projector possibly further damaging all the delicate parts by our great postal service, and then having to call another installer to come and put it all back together again. When I confronted them about not having anyone in the state to repair they said that the only people that they have repair TV's and not projectors. I know for a fact that the place I purchased it from is a certified Sony dealer and they also have repair men that work on projectors. Even after filing a complaint they are still not willing to stand by what was originally said by the first lady I spoke with and send someone out here. They can't explain to me why I was told that in the first place. Just keep saying that there's no record of that conversation. Then on top of that, the people I spoke to after the original lady wouldn't even let me get a word in edgewise. They kept trying to talk over me. Just completely unprofessional. Especially for a company such as Sony. So even if the product were to last you longer than a year, believe me when I say, you do not want to have to deal with Sony's customer service. They will do NOTHING to try and resolve my problem. All they keep telling me is to mail it in which I refuse to do because of obvious reasons.

I've always been a loyal Sony customer. I have over $10k invested in Sony products in my home. I will never buy another Sony product after this and I suggest no one else does that cares about receiving good customer service or wanting a company to go above and beyond to do whats right. They'res many other companies out there with great customer service. Don't waste your time with Sony.

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