Sony VPL-VW90ES Projector Review

Close up of a computer monitor, from Space Cowboys (Blu-ray), left to right: VPL-VW90ES , InFocus 8602, Vivitek H5080, and Sony VPL-VWPro1.

VPL-VW90ES
InFocus 8602
Vivitek H5080
Sony VPL-VWPro1.

Sony VPL-VW90ES: Bottom Line Sharpness

LCoS projectors, like 3 chip LCD and 3 chip DLP projectors, tend to be a little less razor sharp than good single chip DLPs. As I like to say, most 1080p home theater projectors fit into one of two categories: sharp, including this Sony, and sharper still. On movies, there’s little difference between the two, but you can notice that extra sharpness, often found in good single chip DLP projectors, on HD content. Still, I haven’t used a single chip DLP projector for several years, and have gotten by fine with various 1080p projectors, that are 3 chip devices… If you are coming from a particularly sharp DLP, though, the slight additional softness, will be noticed by some.

Light Leakage

As with previous VW Sony’s, light leakage isn’t a problem. There’s a minimal amount coming out through the lens and hitting outside the image that you can spot on a white or near white wall, on a totally dark scene. It is very minimal, and is most evident if you are using a lot of lens shift. In other words – not to worry.

VPL-VW90ES Image Noise

I’m waiting to hear back regarding an issue I spotted which is actually not noise related – mosquito (background) noise is pretty good, better than a typical DLP, for example. Sony normally uses Silicon Optix HQV processing.

The problem I’m seeing is how the VW90ES handles some panning in movies at 24fps. It’s got more jittering than I expect from a good projector. It is not uncommon for a certain speed of panning to have a real jumpy look on certain projectors. In this case, the slow panning in the movie RED (first couple of minutes of the movie), looks worse than the Epson’s handling of it, and the Runco was even better. I will now pay attention to panning more closely, and update whether this is an issue, or if it’s just on the movie’s really unusual panning speed that might be causing the rough results.

Sony VPL-VW90ES Audible Noise

I wouldn’t worry about the audible noise levels on the VPL-VW90ES. Not only is it quieter than most projectors, but the sound is nice and low pitched. As I sit here with my head two feet from the Sony’s right front, I can’t hear a thing with no audio playing. The reason I can’t hear it at all, is that the Sony PS3 – about 10 feet away, is drowning it out.

Almost certainly, the audible noise is in the mid-20 decibel range. Sony claims, 22 db at low power I believe, and it’s certainly believable. Nicely quiet! Even those really noise adverse can probably live with the Sony VPL-VW90ES.

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