Winner – Best in Class ($3500+): Sony VPL-VW600ES
The Sony VPL-VW600ES: Why It Won
In this case our top award goes to a projector that’s actually junior to another projector that we would have included in this group, had we received it in time to review. Wait, let me start again.
Sony’s VPL-VW600ES is a true 4K projector, and that sets it apart, and in a most important way superior to every projector out there but one, and that would be Sony’s own VPL-VW1100ES. The VW600ES though is $14,999 compared to the $27,999 for it’s big brother. We will, I should note, be reviewing the VW1100ES shortly, and we had reviewed the VW1100’s predecessor the VW1000ES which is almost identical.
4K is what home theater enthusiasts should dream about, well, at least those into projectors. 4K may be a waste watching a 50” LCDTV from 14 feet back, but 4K let’s you watch a 125 inch image as close as 6 feet! Wow, massive immersion without the softness of 1080p. Oh, we enthusiasts are greedy, true 8K will be with us in perhaps 6 years (Japan is ramping to do regular 8K broadcast by 2020.)
Let’s get back to the Sony VPL-VW600ES. First, a note about 3D. Unlike the less expensive Sonys, the VW600ES has an RF emitter built in.
If you asked me what really separates the VW600ES from the more expensive Sony, it’s black level performance. The VW600ES offers really good black level performance comparable to with their 1080p HW55ES, which is to say good enough that other things become more important to improve. The higher end Sony is definitely a cut above in black levels, and I should note, that our runner-up in this Class, also does better blacks, but that projector sadly, is merely a 1080p projector. (With price to match).
All considered, though, the black levels are pretty good, at least as good as their HW55ES, but the 4K makes a world of difference. 4K, in this case, makes a lot more difference than further improving black level performance. Or, more simply stated, I loved having the VW600ES here, and could definitely be happy with it as my own projector!
This Sony projector comes with some extras, notably a Sony (android) tablet which controls the included 4K media server, which you can use to download an impressive collection of 4K movies (from Sony Pictures, and other studios) as well as other content. We used the video server to download movies and it worked as expected. There’s more about the experience, in the review.