Posted on September 9, 2009 By Art Feierman
The VPL-HW15 replaces the HW10, and in doing so, offers up an improved, but every similar projector, for less money. We’ll call that evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. While the MAP pricing on the older Sony was $3499, the VPL-HW15 comes in $500 lower at $2999.
For the most part, the Sony VPL-HW15 home theater projector looks, and cooks, exactly like the HW10. Brightness is about the same. They look virtually identical (I confess – I haven’t taken photos of the HW15, so the product shots you are seeing are actually the HW10).
Even when it comes to the specs, there’s only one noteworthy change (besides the price), and that is the rated contrast. Sony’s contrast spec for the VPL-HW15 is 60,000:1, exactly double the HW10’s 30,000:1.
The doubling of contrast should yield a slight improvement in black levels. Would have been interesting to have both old and new projectors side by side, to see how much improvement. Lacking an HW10, I did put the Sony side by side against several other projectors. More in the image quality page.
The Sony VPL-HW15 is a larger projector, it sports a manual zoom lens, and lens shift. With nice sculpting, it physically is more attractive than most, but it’s the performance that is most appealing.
The Sony VPL-HW15 has a dynamic iris to achieve its best black levels. While I have no confirmation from Sony, it seems to me that the dynamic iris action has been improved. It seems smoother than the older model, one which I noted worked well, but not as smooth (unnoticeable) as with a few other projectors. With the new VPL-HW15, my impression is that it has one of the least noticeable irises.
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