Sony VPL-VW90ES Review



  • Excellent build quality
  • Superb 2D performance
  • Runs very quietly


  • Crosstalk with 3D
  • Lack of brightness with 3D
  • Looks very expensive vs JVC's X3

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £5278.80
  • Integrated active 3D playback
  • 240Hz SXRD panel
  • MotionFlow processing
  • 2D-3D conversion
  • 150,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio

3D is, by its nature, best when it’s big. After all, the whole idea of it is to create a fantasy world that you engage with as you would the real world. So it follows that the 3D world you create will be that much more effective if it fills as much of your field of vision as possible.

This is why 3D has found such a natural home in the cinema. And it’s also why we at TrustedReviews have been so excited by the prospect of 3D home cinema projectors.

JVC’s DLA-X3 was the first to hit our test rooms, and in many ways it lived up to the hype, only being let down by signs of the double ghosting issue known as crosstalk. Now we have Sony’s VW90ES in our sweaty little palms, and we’re quietly confident that it’s going to blow our socks off.

Why? Four main reasons. First, it’s considerably more expensive than the JVC X3: £5,300 or thereabouts, versus just £3,500 for the X3. Second, whereas the X3’s 3D talents felt slightly ‘added on’, requiring an external 3D transmitter to be attached to the main projector, Sony has built the VW90ES’s 3D transmitter into the main projector chassis – around the lens, to be precise. This suggests that the projector has had 3D from the day of its first conception.

Our third reason for hoping for great 3D things from the VW90ES is its use of a 240Hz SXRD chipset, designed to deliver the sort of ultra-fast response time 3D needs. And finally, we saw a VW90ES demoed at last year’s IFA show and came away feeling very impressed with what we saw. In fact, we haven’t been this excited since we heard Cadburys were bringing Wispa bars back.

The home for the VW90ES’s potentially game-changing tech is a predictably pretty one. It follows the elongated elliptical shaping of previous SXRD projectors, with a large, centrally mounted lens, and sports a satisfyingly glossy dark finish.

It’s up to speed with its connections too, with highlights of two v1.4 HDMI inputs, a D-Sub PC input, an RJ-45 2D sync jack, and a trigger output for powering up a screen, or an external anamorphic zoom rig. The only negative comments we could make would be that the connections are side-mounted when many installers would probably prefer them to be on the projector’s rear, and that while two HDMIs is on a par with most projectors out there, we personally wouldn’t mind more projector brands now offering at least three.

We’ve moaned before about Sony treading its own path too much when it comes to picture calibration tools, and it appears from the VW90ES that the brand is continuing to ignore us! For while you can adjust the gamma curve and white balance settings, and while Sony’s RCP engine delivers a degree of colour management, the non-standard interfaces for some of the calibration tools can be frustrating. Plus the degree of fine-tuning feels a little limited in places.

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