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.

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Sony VPL-VW85 Projector - Appearance

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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.

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The fully motorized zoom lens, with its 1.6:1 zoom ratio, is recessed. A shutted covers and protects the lens when the power is off.

Below the front of the projector is the air filter. It is located just in front of the mounting holes for a ceiling mount. Some mounts may prevent removing the filter for cleaning, without unmounting, so pay attention.

Sony recommends cleaning the filter every 1500 hours (with mild detergent in water, see the manual for more info).

The control panel is located on the left side (looking from the front), and below it, are the VW85′s inputs and outputs.

The door for the lens is located on the bottom by the back. The good news is that it is located well behind the mounting holes for a ceiling mount. No one really wants to have to unmount their projector to change the lamp. In choosing a ceiling mount, you probably want to pay attention that the mount you select does not prevent changing the lamp without unmounting.

The back of the projector has nothing but intake vents.

There are two screw thread adjustable feet on the bottom below the front of the VW85.

VPL-VW85 Control Panel

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Sony relies on a very small, and basic, control panel located on the side of the projector, right above all the inputs and outputs (left side, if viewing from the front). This is unlike most other projectors, which tend to put the control panel on the top.

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There are a few others though, besides this Sony, including the Sony VPL-HW10 and the Panasonic PT-AE3000. The recessed control panel is opened by a small Push Open button just to the front of the panel.

Looking at the control panel from that side of the projector, you’ll find a small power button, closest to the front (once for on, twice for off). Next to it, is a button for Input selection, then one to bring up the menus. Next is navigation with four arrow keys in a round configuration, with a center enter button. Finally, furthest to the back is the Lens control button which let’s toggles you through power focus, zoom, and lens shift (using the arrow keys to adjust).

I’m not sure if I’m a fan of side mounted control panels and input areas. It may allow you to place the projector a couple inches closer to the back wall, if shelf mounting, but when ceiling mounting, if people enter your theater from the side where the connections are, they will have the best look at all those cables. Not an issue for most of us, but, forewarned, is forearmed, as they say. My own JVC projector also has side inputs, but, fortunately for me, they are on the opposite side from where people enter the room, so no one sees them.

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