Sony VPL-HW45ES – 3D Picture Quality
Although the VPL-HW45ES doesn’t come bundled with 3D glasses, Sony provided me a pair for testing. The results weren’t entirely convincing.
The good news is that the projector’s 3D images deliver an effective sense of scale and depth – a result of the projector’s impressive contrast performance, which enables it to achieve the sort of subtle light differences that help your eye perceive distance in the real world.
The projector’s excellent eye for detail continues in the 3D domain, too. It was a relief to find this detail relatively unaffected by the ghosting noise that’s so common with video devices that use the active 3D format in play here.
My issue with 3D is the serious lack of brightness. Active 3D images always look less bright than 2D images, but the extent of this brightness reduction on the VPL-HW45ES is unusually extreme, making the switch from 2D to 3D feel uncomfortably like a performance compromise rather than a gateway to an exciting new dimension.
I’m also not a fan of Sony’s latest 3D glasses. Even if you push them uncomfortably high on your nose, they still let in too much of the outside world around the lenses.
Should I buy a Sony VPL-HW45ES?
As long as you’re able to black out your room and use the VPL-HW45ES on its Low lamp mode, this projector has to be right up there on any projector buyer’s wish list.
The Epson EH-TW7200 costs around the same, but it’s two years old now and the VPL-HW45ES makes it look its age. The new Epson TW7300 might give the Sony more competition – but it isn’t ready for launch yet.
You could consider saving £300 or so with BenQ’s W3000, but that projector doesn’t perform as well, exhibits rainbow-effect striping issues, and suffers with very high input lag.
Looking upwards, Sony’s own VPL-HW65ES certainly provides a boost in performance, especially where contrast is concerned, but that costs £1,000 more.
Sony might have taken its own sweet time updating the VPL-HW40ES, but the VPL-HW45ES proves worth the wait. Its best pictures are even more exceptional than those of its predecessor, and its brilliant new low-latency mode should see it reeling in gamers and home-cinema fans alike.
Score in detail
2D Image Quality 9
3D Image Quality 8