Sony VPL-VW295ES 4K Home Theater Projector Review – Picture Quality 2

November 21, 2018

/ By Art Feierman

Sony VPL-VW295ES 4K Home Theater Projector Review – Picture Quality 2: HDTV and Sports, 1080p Movies, 4K with HDR and P3, Overall Picture Quality

HDTV and Sports

When it comes to watching sports few folks want to do it in a really dark room.  That said, it's understandable that 2000 lumens with great color would be better than 1500 with great color!   Other than that, my Saturday (Go Penn State) and Sunday NFL football games look excellent.  So do old saved Olympics, X-Games, and my favorite music videos/concerts/festivals.  Also Veep, various Marvel programs on Netflix, etc.  Game of Thrones I own on Blu-ray disc.  It looks great too, although not a movie, it, of course, has excellent production qualities rivaling most great sci-fi and fantasy films:  Lord of the Rings, Avatar, Passengers, Wonder Woman…

Overall, the combination of great color and some pretty respectable brightness, is hard to beat in a projector of this quality (and with 4K capabilities). Also included in, and looking great was some 4K content, such as the first two images in the player above, from Blacklist on Netflix.

With the brightest modes with good color pumping out just shy of 1500 lumens, consider than few competitors can do that good on color that bright, and that many projectors claiming up to 3000 lumens can't produce as good or better color and still be brighter than the VW295ES.  If your room is less than great, that's OK, just pair it with the right type of screen such as a "light absorbing" ALR screen - there are now many manufacturers of them, including Screen Innovations, Elite...

Works for me!

1080p Movies

No surprises.  Great color, plenty of brightness (1200 calibrated lumens is easily enough to meet movie theater brightness on a 150” diagonal screen, with lumens to spare.  Consider this: Prior to 3D becoming popular a number of  years ago (Avatar), most serious home theater projectors topped out at 700 - 1000 lumens.  But 3D requires about 3x the lumens to be as bright as regular 2D.  That inspired today's overall brighter projectors.  And now, those projectors that are 4K capable, are also under pressure for more brightness, to meet the large appetite for lumens needed to satisfy HDR.

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4K with HDR and P3

OK, you already know the basics of sharpness of different types of 4K capable projectors, whether native 4K like this Sony, or 1080p projectors that can accept 4K content…

Here, I’d like to address the HDR performance and P3 color while watching properly equipped 4K content.

First, this Sony cannot achieve P3 color in all primary and secondary colors.

But it comes close.  Per Eric, the Sony achieves 90-95% of P3.  Now understand that P3 has a color gamut that’s 50% larger than the good old REC709 standard that it will eventually replace.  Consider this, Eric reports that not a single lamp based DLP he’s reviewed could exceed REC709 (and most came at least a little short on some colors).  We didn’t calibrate the Optoma UHZ65 or the Dell S718QL, neither of which were really designed primarily for home theater, but the HiSense – another DLP with laser (publishing around Thanksgiving) was really good on some colors, but others were well below REC709!  A good DLP laser projector with a “home theater” type color wheel should be able to do P3 or very close, as should other lasers. The Epson laser – the LS10500 had colors between 95% and 100%, but so did the Epson 5040UB/6040UB (with their Cinema filter in place). The JVC RS440U, like these Epsons, also was 95-100%.

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The VW295ES came in between 90% - 100% not quite up to the JVC and Epsons but very close, and far better than any DLP we’ve measured so far.  Look for our upcoming article on Achieving P3 color which will include comparison CIE charts to show how well various projectors do.

Unlike HDR – or for that matter, 4K sharpness and detail, P3 is a hard thing to “notice.”  What you get is better color able to reproduce a wider range.  As we point out, that’s the standard for Digital Cinema – aka, commercial movie theater projectors.

What I notice is that calibrated – or not, the Sony’s colors look good and “right” oh, some modes have different gammas, dynamic contrast, or other differences, but other than some of them being intentionally cool (better for football than movies), that’s not the point.  I’ve watched scenes from The Hunger Games first on 1080p, then with the 4K HDR version.  It’s hard to say, exactly what the difference is, but it might be a red that’s a bit more intense, or a teal dress looking more real? Even skin tones are slightly different, when both should otherwise look the same (both calibrated).  There is a difference, so enjoy it.

I should say, there’s a difference worth enjoying when a projector gets close. When a projector has say blue that’s 100% of P3, but, Red Green and Cyan are only 70% as is the case with LG’s HU80KA, the least expensive 4K UHD DLP with a laser engine so far.

But because of the differences, that LG, for example never has really great color when handling 4K content with HDR and P3.

This Sony VW295ES is the opposite.  It looks great.  I won’ complain that a couple of “lower resolution” pixel shifters get a touch closer.

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Overall Picture Quality

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