Awards

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SONY vpl-vw95es

Summary

Our Score

9/10

User Score

Pros

  • Sublime 2D picture quality
  • Excellent set up flexibility
  • Very watchable 3D

Cons

  • Still some crosstalk with 3D
  • Some settings are a bit complicated
  • Quite a bit of brightness has to be sacrificed to get the best all-round 3D performance

Review Price £4,999.99

Key Features: SXRD projector; Active 3D playback built in; Picture position memory; Dynamic lamp control; 150,000:1 contrast ratio

Manufacturer: Sony

Looking back, the Sony VPL-VW90ES turned out to be one of 2011’s most disappointing products. This high-level 3D projector sounded awesome on paper, and had looked pretty sweet, too, during demos at various technology shows ahead of its final release.

The final product once it hit our test rooms, though, was too prone to crosstalk ghosting noise when watching 3D to really impress - especially given the VW90ES’s £5000 price. Sony appears to have been stung into action by the reaction to the VW90ES’s criticism, though, and assures us that it’s addressed the crosstalk problems when putting together the VPL-VW95ES we’re looking at today. So let’s see if Sony’s claim stands up to some in-depth scrutiny.

As with its predecessor, the VW95ES is an attractive bit of kit - especially if you like your AV gear to be big and serious-looking. Its elliptical (if viewed from the front) shape is unusual but attractive, especially as the centrally mounted lens gives it a pleasing sense of symmetry, and its high-gloss dark finish appears suitably opulent given the VW95ES’s fairly considerable £5000 price point.

SONY vpl-vw95es

Its size, meanwhile, raises hopes of a heavy-duty internal ‘exhaust’ design that might help it deliver bright pictures without drowning out your audio with too much cooling fan noise. Indeed, Sony quotes a running noise of just 20dB - the lowest such figure we’ve seen attached to a 3D projector.

Connections are tucked under a ledge down the projector’s left side. This could complicate the projector’s installation for some people, but certainly not insurmountably. Among the jacks provided are two v1.4 HDMIs, a D-Sub PC port, a 12V trigger output, an RS-232 port for integration into a wider home control system, a hard IR input, and a LAN port. This latter port does not mean that the VW95ES is the first projector to support ‘Smart TV’ functionality, though. Rather it’s there as a means to attach an optional external 3D transmitter should the one built into the projector’s body not work properly within your particular room set up.

The thing that most stands out from the VW95ES’s spec list is its inclusion of the Dynamic Lamp Control system that made such a positive difference to the 3D performance of the entry-level Sony HW30 projector. What this does is adjust the projector’s light output depending on the condition of the active shutter glasses. If their shutter is closed, then the lamp power is reduced. If it’s open, then the lamp output is boosted. This should enable the VW95ES to deliver much brighter 3D images than its predecessor without ramping up the unit’s overall power consumption.

SONY vpl-vw95es

Crosstalk, meanwhile, should benefit from the VW95ES’s 240Hz panel driving system. It’s also worth noting that you can adjust the shuttering speed of the glasses, allowing you to potentially reduce crosstalk at the expense of a little brightness or vice versa. The glasses now used with the VW95ES (two of which are provided with the projector) are apparently nearly 25% brighter than those shipped with Sony’s previous-gen 3D projectors.

Other key VW95ES specs find it boasting an enormously respectable contrast ratio of 150,000:1, as well as a potentially less inspiring 1000 Lumens of brightness. We’ll have to see if this light output proves sufficient to give 3D images plenty of punch once you’ve got 3D goggles (with their darkening effect) perched on your face.

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