Review Price £16,799.00
Sony VPL-VW1000ES first look - Summary
With dark and/or motion-packed sequences, though, we found it a little tougher to forget that we were watching an upscaled rather than a native 4k image. With dark scenes you tend to see more dot noise, making you more aware of this common side effect of upscaling, while with motion you can make out some slight blurring over motion.
These sort of issues became apparent too while watching some night-time scenes from The Dark Knight and, especially, a low-lit dance hall sequence from The Tourist. Though it must be stressed that dark scenes also revealed a pretty amazing contrast ratio from the VW1000ES, with gorgeous black colours combining superbly well with high levels of shadow detail and seemingly immaculate levels of brightness stability.
Watching the opening scenes from The Dark Knight revealed that the 4k image is pretty unforgiving of artifacts that might be in a Blu-ray master, such as forced edging. But this, to be fair, isn’t the VW1000ES’s fault; it’s just what can happen when you subject stuff designed for standard or normal HD resolution to higher definition scrutiny.
Not content with not showing us any true 4k video on the VW1000ES, Sony had a further unexpected surprise up its sleeve: no 3D playback. The VW1000ES can actually play back active 3D images in 4k, yet no 3D was available during the demo because the projector we were watching was an engineering sample only delivering 1500 Lumens of brightness rather than the 2000 Lumens promised for the final production models. So Sony was worried we wouldn’t think the VW1000ES’s 3D performance was bright enough based on the current model.
As we left the demo of the VW1000ES, we have to admit to feeling a touch dissatisfied. Not because we had much doubt about the VW1000ES’s potential; on the contrary, it displayed more than enough quality and promise to make it a potent threat to the high-end projector space usually dominated by Sim2. No, rather our frustrations came from the fact that we didn’t feel we’d really seen what the VW1000ES was capable of, on account of there not being any true 4K sources.
As noted earlier, our expectations that we would see a true 4K image during our hands-on with the VW1000E aren’t entirely fair. But we can still imagine enthusiasts - who tend to be suspicious of upscaling processing, however clever it is - feeling a little let down that initially, at least, they’re not going to be able to reproduce the stunning true 4k experience they’ve had in a commercial cinema at home, despite spending 18 grand.
But then, we guess, the key point here is that true 4K sources for the home will come eventually. Even agreeably honest product manager Tak Nakane wouldn’t be drawn on exactly when he thought this might be - “three to four years” was about as accurate a figure as we could get out of him. But they will come, making the VW1000ES a uniquely well-qualified option for people who want an 18 grand projector spend to be future proof.
Scores In Detail
- 2D Image Quality
- 3D Image Quality
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