Sony VPL-HW10 Projector Review

Sony VPL-HW10 vs. Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB and Pro Cinema 7500 UB

With the Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB due in for review in the next two to three weeks. The Pro version, the Pro Cinema 7500 UB, is almost identical to the 6500 UB, but it supports an anamorphic lens and has a longer warranty (three years). The Home version should cost about the same as the Sony, or a few hundred dollars less, while the Pro Cinema 7500 UB, will likely be hundreds more expensive than the Sony. Tere’s no point is speculating too much, about how these two will compare to the Sony, but here are the basic differences:

The Sony is quieter, larger, and definitely brighter in best mode. These Epson projectors have a better warranty, and more placement flexibility. All have completely manual zoom lenses and lens shift, with the Epson projectors having more range.

Black level comparisions should be interesting, as should shadow detail. They should be close. The Epson projectors should produce lots of extra lumens in brightest mode, compared to the VPL-HW10.

VPL-HW10 vs. InFocus IN83

The InFocus is a light canon. As bright as the Sony is in best mode, the InFocus in a notch brighter. When it comes to brightest mode, though, the InFocus is easily twice as bright! The InFocus also produces an extremely sharp image – a step up from the average sharpness of the HW10.

The Sony, on the other hand, wins the black level battle hands down. The IN83 is good, but not up to the better 3LCD and LCoS projectors. The InFocus though, does about as good as it gets, in terms of revealing dark shadow details, beating the VPL-HW10 in this regard.

The InFocus has a typical 1.2:1 zoom lens found on most DLP home theater projectors, and no lens shift. That pretty much limits it to a ceiling mount (or table top), but rear shelf mounting is out of the question.

The InFocus is definitely the more expensive of the two. And it still has about the most natural image of any projector we’ve reviewed recently, and calibrates even better than the Sony.

The Sony and this InFocus models both offer a standard 2 years parts and labor warranty.

VPL-HW10 vs. JVC DLA-RS1x, DLA-RS2 DLA-RS10 and DLA-RS20

Last year we favored the JVC’s slightly over the Sony models, thanks to the JVC RS1(x)having better black levels without any dynamic iris, than the Sony VW40 (the model the HW10 replaces), with its dynamic iris.

This time around, things seem very similar, in that the HW10 is mostly the same as the VW40, but with improvements in features including Deep Color support, that the VW40 lacked. The Sony may offer better color controls, and in terms of brightness is very close to the RS1(x). Still, I favor my RS1 over the HW10. It is more expensive, but, I do believe is the overall better projector.

The real question is, how will this HW10 stack up against the new JVC RS10 (and HD350 version), when they ship before Christmas (08). Should be very interesting. My money is on the RS10, but let’s just wait and see!

The RS10 will have more placement flexibility, should be similar in sharpness, have the black levels advantage, and be every bit as bright. The bright spot for the Sony, lies in that it will be the less expensive of the two projectors. Neither model supports an anamorphic lens.

The RS20 will also be interesting, but the RS20 is technically the direct competitor for the notably more expensive Sony VW70, which will be the next Sony we review. Both VW70 and RS20 are way more expensive than the HW10. The RS20 should match or beat the older RS2 at black levels, and that RS2 is still the black level champ.

Sony VPL-HW10 - Warranty

The Sony VPL-HW10 comes with a two year, parts and labor warranty.

Two year warranties are pretty much the standard for 1080p projectors, with some models offering three.

Three year warranties will be found on the BenQ W20000, the Sanyo PLV-Z700 and PLV-Z3000, and the Epson Pro Cinema 7500 UB and Pro Cinema 7100 (includes replacement program).

There are also a few one year warranties, including the Panasonic PT-AE3000U, although Panasonic is offering a 2nd year warranty, at the moment, as a free mail-in “rebate”. The BenQ W5000 also comes with only one year.

Other 1080p home theater projectors with 2 year warranties include all the Mitsubishi projectors, all the InFocus projectors, the Epson Home Cinema 6100 and 6500 UB (both with replacement programs for both years), and most Optoma projectors.

Bottom line: There are better warranties, and worse ones, but the Sony VPL-VW70 warranty is right there in the middle of the pack, and a typical one for this class of projector.

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