Review: Sony VPL-HW55ES Home Theater Projector

SONY VPL-HW55ES:  PROS AND CONS

PROs

  • One of the brighter 3D capable projectors under $5000
  • The best “right out of the box” picture I can think of in terms of color accuracy
  • Almost 1000 lumens in “best” mode, can handle 150″ diagonal screens without difficulty
  • Excellent overall color, and especially skin tones
  • Lots of preset image modes
  • Calibrates beautifully for really good color handling, natural look
  • Good shadow detail, really good black levels
  • Very good placement flexibility
  • HDMI 1.4a inputs (2) allows for support for Blu-ray 3D content
  • Wireless HDMI is an option
  • 3D glasses provided (2 pair) These are IR glasses, same as last year’s
  • Very good CFI (motion smoothing) MotionFlow
  • Reality Creation really raises the bar for dynamic sharpening and detail enhancement
  • Get extra brightness in 3D with glasses control (the brighter, the more crosstalk – it’s your call)
  • Excellent 3 year warranty
  • Fairly quiet, even at full power
  • Really good remote control
  • Near black finish works well in dedicated theaters, or if in the EU, choose white finish for lighter rooms
  • Very good menu layout, very good manual
  • A top contender for this year’s “Best In Class” award
  • Very good price performance proposition
Click Image to Enlarge

CONs

  • Lacks lens memory for those who would prefer a 2.35:1 screen instead of the standard 16:9 screens
  • Others offer lamps with longer claimed life (although low power is improved to 5000 hours)
  • I  don’t like the Reset button where it is on the remote control on around the navigation, but a single press won’t get you into trouble
  • Could use a third HDMI input
  • Could offer wireless HDMI… No!  Wait!  That was a CON from last year’s HW50ES. This projector has wireless HDMI, as an option!
  • Projector could be brighter – I’m thinking primarily for 3D, but also for non-theater placement – still it is one of the brightest serious projectors
  • Sony needs new, more comfortable, lighter weight 3D glasses – Hold on!  That’s what I said last year, but we’ve still got them as the standard, provided glasses.  I recommend (but it costs) the new RF emitter.  That way you can buy extremely light weight, 3rd party glasses inexpensively.  Emitter works with Epson glasses, and some very low cost Samsung glasses
  • White finished version not available in the US.  (Most will will want the dark finish)
  • A side by side, or picture in picture mode would be nice (but both are rarely found features)
  • I do not believe you can use the IR glasses and RF glasses at the same time (not able to verify)   Not surpassing, no one else switching from IR to RF has offered that ability to my knowledge

Everyone, that’s a wrap.  The only think left is the  specs page.

Last thoughts:  Will there be videos based on this review?  Yes, by 12/20/13  If Sony does a Permission, the  the videos will both be public.  If not, the full length video will be only for subscribers.  It will include video clips of the projector performing!

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News And Comments

  • mughees

    Where’s the video review? planning to upgrade my projector. This one;s tough with good review good price. Only question now is either to go for this one or JVC’s latest one.

    Thanks for the review.

    • ProjectorReviews.com

      The HW55 video should be done in the next ten days. The video clips are shot, the script is written, but I just couldn’t find the time to the shoot of the script, and of one of the HW55 features, before heading to CES. I’ll probably do the shoots over the weekend, and it usually takes Lisa and the video production guy about a week to come up with a final version. Hang in there. -a