The Sony VPL-VW295ES is completely new and shipping! It’s the most affordable, true, native 4K home entertainment projector, with a list price of $4999.99. Replacing the older VW285ES, the VW295ES is currently the only native 4K projector available under $5000. Translated: If you wish the “real thing” – native 4K, another two most affordable models announced or shipping are respectively $3000 and $5000 more!
The other basics: 1500 lumens claimed. This Sony came up no more than 3% shy of claim at its brightest. But most projectors – DLPs specifically have an extremely ugly brightest mode 3LCD and other LCoS are usually way better in this regard). In comparison, Sony’s two brightest modes give a picture with regards to color accuracy, etc. that’s similar to an average 4K UHD projector can do, within their better modes, but creating brightness 30-50% below their claims. What I’m saying is Sony doesn’t offer a hideous color mode just to allow them to claim another 20-30-40% more lumens! I’m sure they could, if indeed they wished to. There’s wired networking built-in too, and a lot if image enhancement processing.
As I’m sure you have suspected, the VW295ES is better still than its predecessor. In lots of ways! One relatively unique way is that it’s IMAX certified (more on our Special Features pages).
It’s not simply about 4K sharpness, as we’ve explained in lots of reviews. It’s a lot more about HDR and carrying it out well, the opportunity to execute a good job on P3 color, and, of course, an extraordinary and capable feature set, including great placement flexibility.
Regarding the 4K sharpness, if you don’t sit pretty near your screen (say 10 feet or less from a 100” diagonal), you will likely have trouble telling native 4K aside from various lower resolution projectors that are 4K capable.
You will observe that this Sony projector appears more natural, lacking the slight never to so slight hardness to 4K content that a lot of others display. The idea being, that the VW295ES, like its predecessor produces a stunning image on both 4K and lower resolution content.
“It’s a Sony!”
If you’re a baby boomer – like me, you then almost certainly understand that Sony was long known for legendary display quality. It had been almost 50 years back, that the Sony Trinitron picture tube set the typical for TVs and for professional monitors – we’re heading back to Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show! How’s that for dating myself? Many in the know attributed the Trinitron as changing US perceptions of Japanese consumer tech products from “cheap junk” to “top quality”! (That was before any major incursions by Japanese car companies – anyone but me remember the first Datsuns?) But I digress. Let’s reunite on track.
With the VW295ES, once more, Sony gives a display with superior color and picture even “right out of your box” – without adjustment.
We’ll touch on almost all of these points through the entire review. But first, just a little family:
The VPL-VW295ES has a huge brother, the VW695ES, which launched at $9999.99, a complete $5000 below its predecessor and 20% brighter at 1800 lumens. Gone may be the VW385ES that was at $8000. The VW695ES, however, is a genuine intensify from that older one. Possibly the biggest difference is that the more costly Sony includes a dynamic iris for darker blacks on those very dark scenes. For those who have the correct theater or man-cave that one could fully darken, and the budget allows, you should think about it. I won’t go in to the remaining Sony line-up, but Sony’s 4K projectors rise to $60K, including 3 native 4K laser projectors.
Leeloo from The Fifth Element, on 4K Blu-ray UHD disc, HDR, P3 color.
The VPL-VW295ES also offers a motorized contact lens, though it lacks one button lens memory, and in addition lacks a dynamic iris. In comparison the intensify 695ES has Lens Memory and dynamic iris! It relies mostly on its couple of HDMI inputs (with 18Gbps), but also offers wired networking. And yes it can 3D. For all those interested, this projector has game – it’s a good gaming projector that a lot of hard core projectors.
Despite the insufficient a dynamic iris, I was surprised by how good black level performance actually is.
Enough on that for the present time, lots of discussion through the entire review.
What we’ve here, is that the Sony VPL-VW295ES is a significant 4K projector suited to a dedicated home entertainment. It gets the brightness to do an extremely respectable job on 4K HDR content. That’s enough to also get this to projector an excellent choice in other, brighter, room environments, so long as they involve some respectable lighting control (and pairing it with the proper kind of screen for the area.)
Throughout this review, we look at a number of the special features, including their Reality Creation (image detail enhancement), various “expert settings,” gaming input lag and suitability, networking capability, and more.
And we’ll tell you all of the hardware features like the lens capabilities, inputs, and the handy remote control.
Of course, all that stuff is important, but a lot more so is the display quality, which as I’ve already “described”, exceeded my expectations.
We then cover performance, including brightness measurements, and a section on calibrating the Sony for best picture. As usual, we offer the overall settings and grayscale calibration on our first Calibration page, and our subscriber only Advanced Calibration page adds the CMS calibration – calibrating the average person primary and secondary colors, that i often have known as “the last 10%.” Naturally, we’ll finish with a listing of all of the key findings.