Sony VPL-VW85 Projector Review

The VW85 is a very good looking projector physically (“wife friendly”), in almost all ways, except that it is one of the largest home theater projectors around, in the under $10K price range. The top of the projector is done in a nice, shiny, black finish with embedded blue speckles. When the room lights are on, that does add just a touch of blue to its look. Most of the other surfaces are a matte very dark gray.

Sony VPL-VW85 Remote Control

Click to enlarge So close

Sony introduced a new remote control last year for the VW70, and I’m pleased to report, they’ve stuck with it, with the new VW85. It t is different than the one provided with the VPL-HW10 and HW15 (which used a remote we’ve previously seen from Sony). This Sony remote control is brightly lit with blue LED light. It’s easy to read, and, as I have mentioned before with other remotes using blue LEDs (like some Optoma projectors), if anything, it’s almost too bright. That’s still better than too dim!

The layout is now, perhaps my all time favorite remote control, at least of all the remotes I’ve worked with while reviewing home theater projectors. Keep in mind that I spend a lot of time using remotes, as I try out different settings. As a result, my usage is a lot different than the typical owner, but I still think everyone should find this to be an excellent remote control.

If the nice bright lighting and layout weren’t enough, the VPL-VW85 remote control also seems to have excellent range.

I should note, this is one large remote – measuring a full 10 inches in length, also of note, a few of the keys do glow dimly so with some difficulty, you can find it in a fully darkened room. That may sound minor, but, I got so frustrated over the last year plus, with my remotes for my two Sony PS3s, when trying to locate them when the lights are off, that I finally put a couple of day-glow stickers on both of them.

Let’s start at the top, and work our way down…

On the top right is a green power switch. Press once to power up, press twice, to power down. Next to it, is the Input button allowing you to toggle through the different sources. To it’s left, is the Light button, that turns on the blue LED lights that illuminate the buttons..

The next two rows are for the six Picture modes: Cinema, Standard, and Dynamic, pluse User 1, 2, and 3.

Because this Sony remote can control other Sony Bravia devices such as Blu-ray players and camcorders, you will next find a full set of playback controls, such as play, fast forward, next/previous chapter, pause, etc.

Also included in that section are the Sync Menu and Options buttons, to define and select those other Bravia devices. Different options are available depending on the devices. This whole control section only works when the compatible Bravia devices are hooked up via HDMI 1 or HDMI 2.

Next comes the main navigation section. It consists of the usual four arrow keys (in a round configuration), with a center Enter button.

Surrounding the navigation area are three buttons in a larger circle. The one to the upper left brings up the Lens functions (focus, zoom, lens shift). The bottom one is the Menu button to launch the menus, and the top right one is the Reset button. Personally, I find large Reset buttons located near navigation to be scary. Nothing worse than, “oops” I just reset everything.” Still there is a confirm function, but, pay attention!

 

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