Sony VPL-HW30ES Home Theater Projector Review

One thing of particular note, is that the HW30ES is actually brighter in 3D than the VW90ES that we reviewed a few months ago. This relates to improvements, including new lamp dimming, which seems to make a real difference. I have yet to fully contemplate Sony’s explanation of how it works, but it is definitely brighter in 3D.

The Sony projector has a nice feature set, including CFI for smoothing motion – which Sony calls MotionFlow, and a dynamic iris (named Auto Iris 3) to help it generate that ultra contrast performance that yields some impressive black levels.

Whether you plan to watch 2D, or 3D, this Sony projector is geared for a home theater, rather than a family room. That said, it has lots of brightness – over 800 lumens in calibrated “best” mode, and an extra couple hundred lumens when you need a little extra for, perhaps, some HDTV content – sports, History HD, etc., with some ambient light.

For those looking for more of a general purpose family room projector, the Sony will work fine, as long as you’ve got some good control of ambient light (also true of most other projectors geared for the “theater”, but some other projectors can bring a lot more brightness to the party, to allow more ambient light). The thing is, most of those, aren’t a match in terms of overall picture quality.

If 3D is part of your thing, the VPL-HW30ES like every other higher quality 3D projector we’ve reviewed so far, could use some extra brightness. While this Sony is as bright, and brighter than almost all of the other 3D 1080p projectors we’ve reviewed – Optoma HD8300, JVC RS60, Mitsubishi HC9000D… note that there are some other new projectors, that will be reviewed soon, which are brighter, although some of those are geared for the family room..

One thing of particular note, is that the HW30ES is actually brighter in 3D than the VW90ES that we reviewed a few months ago. This relates to improvements, including new lamp dimming. I have yet to fully contemplate Sony’s explanation of how it works, but it is definitely brighter in 3D.

Sony VPL-HW30ES Projector Highlights

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  • 3D capable, includes supporting both 720p and 1080i/1080p 3D, including Blu-ray 3D and all DirecTV 3D we tested
  • Medium large, reasonably good looking projector
  • Large backlit remote control
  • Very good color controls – calibrates very well
  • Ultra high contrast projector with very good black performance
  • 1.6:1 zoom lens, plus vertical and horizontal lens shift for flexibility
  • Excellent warranty!
  • Creative Frame Interpolation for smooth motion
  • Sold through authorized local dealers
  • Consider VPL-HW30ES as a rather excellent 2D projector with 3D abilities, relative to the $3700 price point
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Specs for Sony VPL-HW30ES

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MSRP: $3699. (no 3D glasses or emitter included)
MSRP: $3999 (includes 3D glasses and emitter, VPL-HW30AES)
Technology: 3 Panel LCoS (SXRD)
Native Resolution: 1080p (1920×1080)
Brightness: Manufacturer claim: 1300 lumens; Calibrated: 814 lumens, over 1100 maximum
Contrast: 70,000:1
Zoom Lens ratio: 1.6:1 Manual zoom and focus
Lens shift: Vertical and horizontal – manual controls
Lamp life: 2000-3000 hours per Sony, no published spec
Weight: 22.1lbs. (10 Kg)
Warranty: 3 Year Parts and Labor (2 years. on lamp), with Express program

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Sony VPL-HW30ES Special Features

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VPL-HW30ES

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