The Sony HW45ES is this year’s Best In Class: Performance, winner in the $1000 to $2000 class.
The Epson HC5040UB is this year’s Best In Class: Best Value Proposition $2000 - $4000.
The HW45ES is a great projector, the HC5040UB, costs more, but offers more. For some, considering both projectors, it will be a question of: "can I afford the extra for the Epson's extra capabilities, for others, it will be "if I go Sony and pocket the difference, can I still be happy" Let the games begin!
This is an interesting comparison, especially in light of the changes by Epson and Sony over the last year. A year ago, it was the previous Sony projector, the HW40ES, that was a couple hundred more expensive than the previous UB – the 5030UB.
Today though, Epson’s all new 5040UB is $2999, while Sony’s HW45ES has dropped in cost to $1999.
That’s a full thousand dollar difference in this comparison, and a shift of $1200 between these competing company's models in one generation. (Note: Sony’s true direct competitor of this Epson is their $3999 HW65ES.) Still, the price changes make this comparison worthwhile for many folks with budgets that can stretch from $2000 to $3000.
Let’s get the basic stuff out of the way:
Brightness: The Sony claims 1800 lumens, the Epson a brighter 2500 lumens (more about this discussed below)
Warranty: Sony’s is longer – a three years parts and labor, while Epson’s is a shorter two years, but offers an overnight replacement program for both years, so people are back up and running in about two days, instead of potentially waiting a week or two, or more for repairs. Epson also pays all freight costs.