Sony VPL-VW85 Projector Review

The Sony VPL-VW85 is the middle projector in Sony’s SXRD (LCoS) home theater projector lineup. There’s a much more expensive VPL-VW200, and the much less expensive VPL-HW15 (which we’ve reviewed).

Specs for Sony VPL-VW85

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MSRP: $7999
Technology: LCoS (SXRD)
Native Resolution: 1080p (1920×1080)
Brightness: 800 lumens claimed, 725 lumens highest we measured
Contrast: 120,000:1
Zoom Lens ratio: 1.6:1
Lens shift: Vertical and horizontal

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Lamp life: Sony does not provide info, we assume 2000 hours at full power, 3000 in low (the industry standard) Weight: 26 lbs. (11.6 Kg) Warranty: 2 Years Parts and Labor

Sony VPL-VW85 Special Features

Sony SXRD panels - (LCoS)

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(This paragraph taken right from the older HW10, HW15 reviews.) The vast majority of home theater projectors use either DLP or 3LCD technology. Sony uses Liquid Crystal on Silicon, a reflective panel, as opposed to the translucent typical LCD panels. Sony calls their LCoS implementation SXRD. In the under $10,000 price range, JVC and Sony are the primary manufacturers of LCoS home theater projectors.

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The advantages of LCoS, these days, are two fold: First, LCoS panels have, for all practical purposes, invisible pixel structures, way below visibility at normal seating distances with a 1080p projector. Only the 3LCD Panasonic PT-AE4000, with its addition of their SmoothScreen technology, has less visible pixels, and it comes with a price, a slightly softer image.

Pixel visibility, and screen door effect are, effectively non-issues, with this Sony, thanks to the LCoS panels.

The second advantage, it seems is in terms of black level performance. Although it seems that JVC’s panel/light engine designs are still slightly superior to Sony’s, Sony has closed the gap dramatically with the VW85, landing the VW85 in the same performance space as the RS25. Even if it still takes the Sony a dynamic iris to get there, it “has arrived.”

Football over HDTV looked great, but more lumens (brighter) would have been better!

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