The Sony VPL-VW295ES is brand new and shipping! It is the least expensive, true, native 4K home theater projector, with a list price of $4999.99. Replacing the older VW285ES, the VW295ES is now the only native 4K projector available under $5000. Translated: If you want the “real thing” – native 4K, the next two least expensive models announced or shipping are respectively $3000 and $5000 more!
The other basics: 1500 lumens claimed. This Sony came up only about 3% shy of claim at its brightest. But then most projectors – DLPs in particular have a really ugly brightest mode 3LCD and other LCoS are typically way better in this regard). By comparison, Sony’s two brightest modes offer a picture in terms of color accuracy, etc. that is more like a typical 4K UHD projector can do, in their better modes, but producing brightness 30-50% below their claims. What I’m saying is Sony doesn’t serve up a hideous color mode just so they can claim another 20-30-40% more lumens! I’m sure they could, if they wanted to. There’s wired networking built in too, and a whole lot if image enhancement processing.
As I’m sure you have suspected, the VW295ES is even better than its predecessor. In many ways! One relatively unique way is that it is IMAX certified (more on our Special Features pages).
It’s not just about 4K sharpness, as we’ve explained in many reviews. It’s even more about HDR and doing it well, the ability to do a good job on P3 color, and, of course, an impressive and capable feature set, including great placement flexibility.
As to the 4K sharpness, unless you sit pretty close to your screen (say 10 feet or less from a 100” diagonal), you will probably have trouble telling native 4K apart from various lower resolution projectors that are 4K capable.
You are more likely to notice that this Sony projector seems more natural, lacking the slight to not so slight hardness to 4K content that most others display. The point being, that the VW295ES, like its predecessor produces a gorgeous image on both 4K and lower resolution content.
“It’s a Sony!”
If you are a baby boomer – like me, then you almost certainly know that Sony was long known for legendary picture quality. It was almost 50 years ago, that the Sony Trinitron picture tube set the standard for TVs and for professional monitors – we’re going 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 “high quality”! (That was before any major incursions by Japanese car companies – anyone but me remember the early Datsuns?) But I digress. Let’s get back on track.