Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Sony VPL-HW30ES

Summary

Our Score

9/10

Review Price £2,995.00

That the HW30ES uses an external transmitter is a shift from the VW90ES, which sported a transmitter built around its lens. The external route is obviously less tidy, but we’re not necessarily against it, for it also gives you more flexibility over where you install the transmitter.

In fact, the HW30ES allows you to connect the transmitter to the projector via CAT5/CAT7 cable, so you can choose your own cable length and put the transmitter pretty much anywhere you want.

The only pity is that the transmitter itself sports a pretty horrible design; so lightweight that the weight of its cable tends to pull it off any flat surface you try to put it on unless you stick it down.

Setting up and using the HW30ES day-to-day are both pleasant experiences. The remote control is outstanding; really meatily-built, brilliantly laid out, and backlit. The onscreen menus are clear and logical too, if a little
stuffy in their presentation. And, even better, they’re stuffed with features and setup tools.

These include a pair of auto iris adjustments plus a manual iris override; High, Low and Off settings for the projector’s Motion Enhancer processing; separate MPEG and normal NR circuits; a variety of Gamma Correction settings; and four colour space settings: one normal, and three wide settings.

In place of a normal colour management system, meanwhile, you get Sony’s Real Colour Processing (RCP) system. This is rather unusual in its approach and as such isn’t particularly helpful for professional installers, but it’s fairly useful for lay users. Especially appreciated is the way it drops out of the picture all the colours you’re not adjusting, so you can focus on the red, green, blue, yellow, magenta or cyan elements individually.
Sony VPL-HW30ES
Other more basic, but still very welcome, adjustments are simple but accurate vertical and horizontal image shifting via two ‘wheels’ on the projector’s top, a healthy amount of zoom, separate high and low lamp settings and, best of all, not just one 3D picture preset but a whole series of 3D presets. Far too few 3D displays include specific 3D picture modes, even though the requirements for colour, contrast and brightness for 3D viewing are radically different to the settings that best serve 2D viewing, on account of the glasses you have to wear.

Eager to find out what, if any, difference Sony’s claimed response time and brightness improvements might make to the HW30ES’s 3D pictures, we popped on the Tangled 3D Blu-ray. And we were seriously impressed with what we saw.

It’s instantly obvious that the excessive crosstalk of the VW90ES has been almost eradicated on the HW30ES. Even Tangled’s lantern release sequence only suffers with the tiniest hint of ghosting around the lanterns floating in the night sky, so that now crosstalk is only distractingly apparent on the very rare occasions where there’s a pretty much pure white object against a black background, such as the shot of the white horse eating apples on the dock in Tangled chapter 8.

The impact of not having your eyes plagued by crosstalk for 99.9% of your viewing time with the HS30ES can’t be overstated, making the 3D experience infinitely more relaxing, natural, crisp, detailed and deep than it was on the VW90ES. In short, by avoiding crosstalk the HW30ES shows up all the advantages of active 3D in impressive fashion.

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