Sony VPL-VW85 Projector Review

Nice! The Sony VW85 is a great projector. It’s extremely well balanced. It’s not without minor flaws, but technically, it’s well done and puts a great picture up on the screen. You’ll be spending something approaching $8000 and you have a right to expect an excellent picture, and the Sony VPL-VW85 will deliver. Even the remote control is particularly excellent.

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Sony VPL-VW85 Projector - The Bottom Line

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Nice! The Sony VW85 is a great projector. It’s extremely well balanced. It’s not without minor flaws, but technically, it’s well done and puts a great picture up on the screen. You’ll be spending something approaching $8000 and you have a right to expect an excellent picture, and the Sony VPL-VW85 will deliver. Even the remote control is particularly excellent.

 

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What many really want to know is if Sony this year, can take on the JVC projectors (which have dominated the last few years) and do serious battle. I do wish to save the full direct VW85 vs RS25 commentary for the Competitors page, but let’s say here, that these two projectors are definitely comparable. The question will be which one is best suited for your needs. There’s other serious competition, but the Sony and JVC demand comparison because they are so similar overall, being LCoS, not drastically different in brightness, and sensational black level performance.

Sony VPL-VW85 Brightness

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While there is virtually nothing to fault with the picture quality – color, blacks, and shadow detail, brightness is another matter. The VW85 isn’t an overly bright projector. It’s brighter than last year’s VW70, but still one of the least bright in its brightest mode, which should make all sports fans cringe a little.

 

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At least, when in its best picture mode, the Sony is reasonably bright, in fact brighter than average, though not by much. With only 725 lumens measured (zoom at mid-point), at its brightest, this projector needs a smaller screen to handle the ambient light others can do with larger, or much larger screens. If you are a small screen person – under 100 inches, I’d say don’t even worry about brightness too much, you’ll have tons, for movies, and will handle some reasonable ambient light pretty well. Move up to mid-sized screens – 100″ to 119″ diagonal, and you’ll still be well endowed for movie watching in the dark, but I’ll tell you, I couldn’t watch the Sony on sports without my brain screaming “too dim” any larger than 100″ diagonal with what I consider nicely acceptable (non-cave) lighting – suitable for having friends over, and a party atmosphere. Of course you can also compensate with screen surfaces. If you can live with the downsides of high gain screens, of course you can go up several sizes. That’s up to you. Remember, lamps dim over time, and I try to factor that in to a good degree.

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Placement flexibility is very good, not exceptional. the 1.6:1 zoom may not work if you want to rear shelf mount, in a deep room. Still, it’s better than most DLP projectors if not quite as wide ranged as most other LCoS and LCD projectors.

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