Is there serious competition?
Yes. The most obvious are the competing JVC and BenQ models. There's not much out there around $10K, or for that matter in this performance range. Some of the high end commercial brands that don't play in the lower consumer space, like Barco and Christie, have projectors priced about here - but we haven't gotten to review any. I believe those will mostly be 4K UHD DLPs, costing at least as much as this Sony, and with less capabilities. We've just recently been able to get Christie review units, and have reviewed two, but both are not home models.
From a day to day practical standpoint, the true 4K competition right now is JVC's competing 1900 lumen DLA-NX7 - click for our review - also sold aas the RS2000 (different cosmetics), which is $1000 less, at $8999. Phil got to review the NX7, so I didn't have a chance for side by sides etc. Based on my previous reviews of other JVCs, and chatting with Phil, I believe that the JVC will best the Sony at black level performance. That's always been JVC's premier strength.
This Sony is really good at blacks, but expect the JVC to be visibly better. I would suspect that the Sony, though, is more in line with JVC's less expensive NX5, in this regard, which isn't far behind. From comparing notes, the Sony has better color out of the box. As to sharpness, again no side by side, but my money is on the Sony, if by only slightly. I am really impressed with the 695's sharpness!
The BenQ HT9060 - a 4K UHD, DLP, can't match the VW695ES's sharpness nor it's black level performance, and it lacks motorized lens features including lens memory. If you want to go wide-screen, you'ld need an anaamorphic lens and sled, making it more money than the Sony. On 4K HDR content, the BenQ didn't really allow calibration, so the Sony's out of the box color with HDR content easily beat the BenQ's best HDR color.
Historically, I have found that Sonys, to me, tend to have the most natural look/feel to their piicture, basiically not looking over the top.
So, what other Sony's VPL-VW695ES competition should be considered? Ultimately OLED TVs, including Sony's own. At this time, however, Anything OLED that approaches 100" has a stratosphic price - six figures. When 110" rollable 4K OLEDs get down to around $10K (they don't exist yet at any price), then igh quality projectors like this Sony will likely have met their match, but that is likely at least 7-10 years out.
Because "size matters" tremendously when it comes to being immersed in the content - so that you can "suspend disbelief," I don't see a real threat to this native 4K Sony VW695ES projector, as a "best solution." for quite some time. I'll mention that I now own a 77" OLED, and it's great. But, this week it gets mounted in my new living room.
And, next week, I'll use it the OLED in the daytime with sunlight pouring in, but later, or with shades down I'll switch to the Optoma P1 UST projector (my next review) and a 120" motorized ALR screen designed for UST projectors. The VideoStorm screen (I'll write about it in the near future) that I'm using is almost 2.5 times the size. Yes Size Does Matter!
As I've long said, great black levels (the OLEDs are the best) are important, but once you have really good black levels (this Sony VW695ES really does), other things become more important - you know -- things like size!
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