Sony VPL-VW40 Home Theater Projector Review

Sony VPL-VW40 vs. Sanyo PLV-Z2000

With the Sanyo PLV-Z2000 selling for roughly $1000 less, the Sanyo is the best lowest cost 1080p projector for those into picture quality. The Sanyo can’t match the black levels of the Sony, but it produces an excellent image for far less money, and comes with a 3 year warranty. If the Sony really sounds great to you, for your serious movie watching, but you can’t find the budget, the Sanyo is definitely worth a serious look.

Sony VPL-VW40 projector, Pros, Cons, andTypical Capabilities

Sony VPL-VW40 Projector: Pros

  • Great color – dynamic and accurate – after proper grayscale calibration
  • Very good at shadow details
  • Better black level performance than most of the competition
  • Very good remote control
  • 1.8:1 zoom lens for very good placement flexibility
  • Supports HDMI 1.3, and 24fps
  • 3 user savable settings
  • Very good color management system
  • Zoom, focus and vertical lens shift are all motorized
  • Very quiet projector

Sony VPL-VW40 Projector: Cons

  • Out of the box color performance, needs serious work requiring a good grayscale calibration, as the default for Cinema, is way too cool (blue)
  • No support for a 3rd party Anamorphic lens for those wanting true Cinemascope aspect ratio 2.35:1
  • Very limited brightness (one of the least bright) in its brighter modes (Standard and Dynamic)
  • Inputs on the side, can be a little more messy looking in some rooms
  • One of the larger units (but that’s not a “con” to most)
  • Only 2 HDMI inputs (although that’s average, a 3rd would be a plus)
  • Based on list price, more expensive than its predecessor
  • Has HDMI 1.3, but no support for Deep Color

Sony VPL-VW40 Projector: Typical Capabilities

  • Average brightness in Cinema mode
  • Average sharpness
  • Typical documentation, a good user manual, but limited descriptions of how to use many features
  • Lamp life
  • Setup

 

Sony VPL-VW40 Summary: The Bottom Line

Definitely a serious contender, the Sony will appeal to those that are “movies first” and less concerned, or not planning to watch a lot of HDTV/TV, or sports.

If you aren’t planning to get the Sony VPL-VW40 tuned – calibrated, at least with a basic calibration disc, or better, by a professional, then the Sony probably is not a good choice. If you are serious though, this Sony belongs on your short list of 1080p projectors selling for less than $3000.

If your room offers fully controlled lighting, and you don’t mind watching things other than movies, in a dark environment, the Sony makes a lot of sense.

Just remember, part of the low price you are getting, is at the expense of a decent length warranty, so I recommend you do something about that.

Certainly, the Sony makes an excellent low cost alternative to the more expensive VW60, as well as JVC’s RS1. Your toughest call, will be choosing between the VPL-VW40, and the current champ of the new 3LCD projectors, the Epson.

Both however, are really excellent projectors, and, I believe a cut above most of the similarly and lower priced competition, from a price performance standpoint. You’ll have to sort out the tradeoffs.

If you decide on the Sony, and get it properly tuned up, you will be hard pressed not to fully enjoy the experience.

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