Sony VPL-AW15 Bravia Home Theater Projector – Overview
Sony VPL-AW15 Projector: User Memory Settings
As mentioned above, the Sony AW15 has 3 User Savable Settings, these will take into consideration, not just the changes to made to various settings like contrast, but also the Custom RGB settings which can be saved separately, and become part of the overall User setting. Overall, a decent setup, but I prefer projectors to have a few more user savables, especially for those with lots of different sources, and different lighting conditions. Of course the average user, may not even use them at all.
Sony VPL-AW15 Projector: Remote Control
I liked the Sony’s remote control, in general. It puts the backlight button on the top left, easy to find in the dark. Next to it, the Input (source select) and on the top right, the Power button. (One for on, twice for off).
The next row includes controls for Freeze frame (nice), Auto Picture (for computer images). This can be set to automatic in the menus, but the button here, easily allows you to have it redo the settings if less than perfect. Last is the PC muting.
Below that is the main control panel, with the four arrow key layout, and centered Enter button. I didn’t like the Reset button being right there, however, where it is easy enough to hit by mistake. The large blue button is the Menu button.
Immediately below, are what Sony calls RCP – Real Color Processing. It consists of three buttons, from the left, the Wide mode (strangely named) controls the Aspect ratio of the image. the RCP in the center opens up Sony’s sophisticated color control system, which, by the way, is not available on the less expensive AW10 projector.
The RCP allows you to fine tune the color balance of each of the primary and secondary colors (red, green, blue, and cyan, yellow and magenta.
On the right is the Adjust Pic button which allows you to toggle through all the menu items found on the Picture menu, such as brightness contrast, lamp, iris, etc. In each case, it brings up a small menu at the bottom of the screen.
OK, that takes us to the next two rows, which are discreet buttons for each color mode: Cinema, Dynamic, Standard, User 1,2, and 3.
After that there are only two more (larger) buttons one for brightness, and one for contrast.
The Sony remote control is not exceptionally large, but easy to navigate with one hand. Overall, a very good and functional remote.
Sony VPL-AW15 Projector: Lens Throw and Lens Shift
As noted in the Physical Tour, the Sony’s 1.6:1 zoom offers very good placement flexibility. Far better than any of the competing DLP projectors even if it is less than most of the other home theater projectors in its price range. Measured from the front of the lens the Sony AW15 can be as close as 9 feet 8 inches, or as far back as 15 feet 8.25 inches.
The Sony also offers horizontal and vertical lens shift, and, as is typical, one affects the other. If you are using vertical only (as do most people), the range is +/- 65% of the screen height. For example a 100 inch diagonal 16:9 screen has a vertical height of 49″ and change. (we’ll assume 50″ here, for round numbers). This wil allow the projector to be placed as high as 12.5 inches above the top of the screen surface, to as low as 12.5 inches below the bottom.
Sony VPL-AW15 Projector: Screen Door and Rainbow Effects
Since the Sony is an LCD projector, it has no color wheel, and therefore no potential for the rainbow effect that a small percentage of the population can detect.
Screen Door Effect, on the other hand, is typical of 720p LCD projectors. You’ll probably want to sit a good 1.5 times screen width back to minimize pixel visibility to things like credits and other titling, as well as large stationary bright (whitish) areas. Those of you “pixel adverse, will want to sit further back. (Note, this is the advantage of DLP projectors, as you can typically sit at least 25% closer before you see the same sliight pixel visibility.) Most of us, at 1.5x screen width, just won’t notice the pixel structure at all, unless looking for it, and of course, those pesky white credits on a black background so typical at the end of movies, where you will be able to notice it (but who cares).
Sony VPL-AW15 Projector: Light Leakage
I didn’t notice any overt issue, but, as I mentioned at the start of this review, I got to spend far less time doing general viewing than normal. Still, if there was a real problem, I should have noticed it.
Sony VPL-AW15 Projector: Audible Noise Levels
In low power mode Sony claims an exceptionally quiet 20 db. That’s about as close to silent as we have come. Even in full lamp power mode, where the fan ramps up, the Sony remains pretty quiet, although the jump in noise level is, I would guess, a bit more than some other projectors. At worst, though, in full power mode, the Sony is significantly quieter than the typical DLP projector, and about average compared to competing LCD projectors. The bottom line here, is that audible noise is not an issue.
Sony VPL-AW15 Projector: Brightness
Alas! Sony just doesn’t seem to be “into” building bright home theater projectors. The Sony is possibly the least bright 720p projector we have tested in some time. There are projectors out there that are drastically brighter, like the Panasonic PT-AX100U, the Epson Home Cinema 400, and the Optoma HD72. All of which can “blow away” the Sony, in this regard, and therefore work better with larger screens, or a bit more ambient light in the room.
From a numbers standpoint: Best mode – Cinema, the AW15 puts out only 281 lumens in low lamp mode, but a much more respectable 444 lumens with lamp on high (that’s a significantly larger difference between lamp modes, than found on most other projectors. All other lumen measurements below were with the Lamp on High power.
Standard Mode, with Color Temp set to Middle, lamp on full power yields 488 lumens, not exactly what I would call a bright projector.
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