The Optoma W460’s direct competitor from this year’s report is the Sony VPL-EW435, which is $100 less than the Optoma at $749. Now, that projector doesn’t include a wireless module – you have to buy one separate – and the W460 does. So the $849 price works out the same when you consider that. Both are lamp based projectors, but with very different hours. The Sony has 4,000 to 10,000 hours, while the Optoma has a lamp life of 2,500 to 4,500 hours. Lamps are inexpensive these days, however, so this is barely an issue.
The two projectors have different technology. The Optoma, as you know by now, has DLP technology, which uses a color wheel to produce the colors you see on the screen. The Sony has 3LCD, which uses three panels (red, green, and blue) to produce the full spectrum of color. DLP produces the full spectrum, too, but I find that 3LCD projectors generally have a more beautiful image in terms of color. They’re vibrant, even in the face of ambient light – this is because 3LCD projectors produce as many color lumens as they do white ones, so I favor the Sony in regards to color.
They both have WXGA (1280 x 800) resolution, but that doesn’t mean they have the same level of sharpness. Text on the Sony is sharper than the Optoma, if only by a smidge. Both are portable, with the Optoma W460 being a few pounds lighter and slightly smaller, which makes it ideal for road warriors or those who will be passing the projector from room to room. The Sony VPL-EW435 has slightly more placement flexibility, with a 1.3:1 zoom lens, as opposed to the Optoma W460’s 1.2:1. The Sony also has a louder speaker at 16-watts rather than 10-watts – important if you’ve got a larger classroom or conference room. 10-watts is enough for a medium to small sized classroom.
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The Sony’s special features include PC-Free Presenting, a feature shared by the Optoma W460, a Remote Control App for iOS and Android, and Advanced Networking. The Optoma has both PC-Free Presenting and Advanced Networking, as well as 3D capabilities. Both have excellent warranties, with the Optoma slightly beating out the Sony in this regard. Three years parts and labor on both, with 90 days on the lamp for the Sony, and 1 year on the lamp for the Optoma, with 3 Years of Optoma Express Service. Check out this year’s report to see if either one when it gets published this month.
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