What the VPL-VW695ES, brings to the party, is a new projector, with higher performance and value than either previous model, at a price point much closer to the lower cost of the two earlier home theater projectors. Prior to this new series, that VW375ES for example, was mostly identical to the lower cost VW295ES ($4999.99), except for the addition of Lens Memory, and a Dynamic Iris. With the VW695ES though you got both of those, and a jump in overall performance.
As with all Sony home theater projectors, the VW695ES uses 3 LCoS panels (Liquid Crystal on Silicon). Sony and JVC, the two dominant home theater brands between $5000 and $30,000 both rely on LCoS panels. JVC makes one lower cost DLP (under $4K) - one, that’s partially based on a BenQ projector – and not a core part of their primary lineup, rather the exception, and definitely not competition.
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With a list price point right at $10K, this Sony competes with models from JVC, as well as the new BenQ HT9060, and others. We’ll discuss the competition at various points, but, have a whole section on the competition on our Summary page.
This Sony projector is about as feature laden as they come. Native 4K. HDR support for both HDR10 and HLG, Dynamic iris for better handling of very dark scenes, 3plenty of calibrated brightness to light up large screens in a home theater, 3D (Sony has long done a great job with 3D), an excellent set of controls (including for calibration), and the projector is somewhat sleek looking and mostly black – it will look great hanging from your ceiling or rear shelf.
No question about the performance of Sony’s VPL-695ES. It took about three hours of watching it on 4K (with/without HDR content), and quick analysis of black levels (on both 1080p and 4K with HDR), to determine this projector deserves one of our Hot Product Awards. Upward of 50 hours of viewing later, no reason to think otherwise. Of course our review will cover most aspects and provide the perspective for receiving our highest “regular” award.
Now I normally don’t like to give too many clues about the performance of a projector, before we really get started, but I thought I would share one surprise. Black level performance: I was certainly expecting better blacks than the older models, but they easily exceeded my expectations.
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Will they rival the JVC competition? Black levels have been the JVC’s primary advantage – I’ve long felt Sony provided superior image processing (including 3D).