Sony VPL-VW50 “Pearl” 1080p Home Theater Projector Review: Overview

Sony VPL-VW50 Pearl – Home Theater Projector – Pros, Cons, Typical Capabilities:

Sony VW50 Pros

  • An excellent film-like, natural image (after color correction)
  • Very good menus
  • Extremely quiet
  • Large but attractive
  • Excellent black levels and shadow detail
  • Invisible pixels at any distance (beyond two feet)
  • A tremendous amount of image control from the menus
  • Good remote control
  • Good menu layout, easy navigation
  • Good input flexibility (2 HDMI, 1 computer, 1 component, the computer input can be a 2nd component video)
  • Very low image noise
  • Sophisticated 6 color management system
  • Wide range (1.8:1) zoom lens
  • Screen Trigger
  • Very good price/performance
  • Very good price/performance
  • Manual is better than most – actually provides rudimentry explanations of many menu choices!!!

Sony VW50 Cons

  • Out of the box color needs work (definitely at minimum an end user calibration disk, like AVIA)
  • Image is a little soft
  • Not overly bright (like many 1080p projectors), and very “not bright” if the zoom lens is near or at full telephoto)
  • Unmounting projector may be required with some ceiling mounts to change lamp (choose wisely – such as Sony’s own mount)

Typical Capabilities

  • Average lamp life (assumed)
  • Requires filter cleaning
  • Works with anamorphic lenses for 2.35:1 Cinemascope (no letterboxing)
  • User Savable Settings (3 – pretty basic)
  • Warranty (2 years)

Sony VW50 Summary

This is easy. The VW50 is a an excellent projector and at the same time, a very good value (price/performance). It’s natural film-like image is its top strength, and combining that with a moderately aggressive price, it’s tough to beat.

If it was just a bit sharper, and had 30% or 50% more lumens, it would be pretty close to ideal.

I think I’ve mentioned and rehashed just about everything already, so I’ll keep this short.

Whatever you do, if you get the Sony, get the color right, a basic user disk (no, you don’t have to be technical, at all, just be able to follow simple instructions) is really needed. Of course, for a projector in this price range, I would recommend getting it setup and installed, and then bring in a professional – an ISF certified calibrator, and get it as close to perfect as possible (that means it is being calibrated for your room and screen (and ambient light).

After that, kick back and enjoy. it’s all about watching the content, not the Sony…

For decades Sony has enjoyed a fabulous reputation, going back to the days when the Sony Trinitron set new standars for color TV’s and professional monitors. Sony is of course a huge conglomerate, and typically, deserved or not, most people still associate the Sony name with the reputation for superior quality (give or take a cell phone battery or two) established by their TVs.

In this case, as much as I hate to say it: “It’s a Sony!”

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