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Sony VPL-VW500ES: 3D and Conclusions

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Sony VW500ES

Summary

Our Score:

9

Sony VPL-VW500ES: 3D Picture Quality

Despite having to upscale 3D Blu-rays and Sky feeds to deliver a 4K active 3D experience, the VW500ES delivers an outstanding 3D performance.

Detail levels are extremely high, and the pixel density of the upscaled image helps the 3D environment look more real and solid. The projector also handles 3D motion quite well, without too much of the judder that’s often seen with 3D displays, and the impressive brightness levels the VW500ES can produce ensure that the picture still looks bright and colour-rich despite the inevitable dimming effect of the shuttering glasses.

Sony VPL-VW500ES

These aren't included

The combination of a good contrast performance and strong shadow detail reproduction helps the VW500ES delineate a superior sense of 3D space too, and finally it’s a real relief to find Sony largely overcoming previous issues with crosstalk ghosting noise. This problem could have seriously detracted from the incredible sharpness of the 4K image, so it’s great to find that it now only appears occasionally over distant objects, where it seldom draws your eye.

Other Things to Consider

While video games look awesome on the VW500ES, there is, alas, a catch. For our measurements recorded an input lag of nearly 100ms from the projector, which is high enough to compromise your gaming performance in reaction-based games like Call of Duty, Battlefied and Guitar Hero. Shame.

Sony VPL-VW500ES

Should I buy a Sony VPL-VW500ES?

While the impact of the VW500ES’s native 4K resolution is stunning – especially with native 4K sources – we should say that ultra high-end HD projectors like the recently tested Sim2 Superlumis can produce incredibly cinematic images despite not having a 4K resolution, thanks to their stunning optics, super-high brightness levels, immaculate colour handling and three-chip DLP systems. However, the Superlumis costs £37,000! So really drawing any sort of comparisons between the Sony and the Sim2 really just underlines the Sony’s appeal!

In terms of projectors in the Sony’s price range, the only models around that warrant mentioning in the same breath are the upcoming JVC X700R and X900R projectors, selling for £7,300 and £10,300 respectively. These accept 4K signals and deliver 4K pixel density via JVC’s e-shift 4K system, which feeds 1080p images through two full HD image chips offset diagonally by half a pixel. However, these chips are still ultimately only HD in nature, so they don’t deliver a true, native 4K image.

From what we’ve seen of these imminent JVC models, though, they do deliver a superior black level response to that of the VW500ES, which will appeal to some serious home cinema fans. For many others, though, the future-proof nature of the VW500ES together with its genuinely spectacular picture quality will make it hard to resist.

Verdict

If you’re serious about films and video quality, the Sony VW500ES is a genuinely significant moment in AV history. It makes truly cinema-sized 4K video playback for the home a tangible, (almost) affordable reality for the very first time -- and incredibly doesn’t significantly compromise picture quality in the process.

Next, read our roundup of the best 4K TVs

Overall Score

9

Scores In Detail

  • 2D Image Quality 10
  • 3D Image Quality 9
  • Design 8
  • Features 9
  • Value 9

charlypittsburgh

November 23, 2013, 2:16 pm

What type of screen for the test?

charlypittsburgh

November 23, 2013, 4:10 pm

what type of screen did you use for the test?

Bugblatter

November 12, 2014, 9:41 pm

From your review of the VPL-VW300ES:

"Turning the new Input Lag Reduction option off sees the measurement rise to as high as 100ms, showing that the feature is far from the gimmick we’d initially suspected it might be."

With it turned on the 300 had a 30ms latency.

Does this more-expensive model not have that feature or did you not turn it on? Pretty important for me as I want a pj I can also use for gaming.

Bugblatter

November 12, 2014, 10:30 pm

Hang on, this review is from a year ago. You've linked the wrong review at the top of the homepage; I think you meant to link to the 300ES review.

carmageddon

September 20, 2016, 2:54 am

at 9/2016 price +-9000€.

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