Sony VPL-VW95ES Projector Review

Dynamic Iris

Smooth, and deep, it delivers excellent blacks, but that will be discussed in the image quality page.

The iris of the VPL-VW95ES offers fixed (Manual) or variable (Dynamic) operation. Note: It seems when you engage the iris manually, it starts already closed down about 10%. This is concluded from the fact that with the Iris in Off, or either of the Dynamic modes, the brightness is about 70 lumens more than with it in manual, and at maximum. For smaller screens, the manual iris will allow you to give up 50% of total brightness, in its most closed setting. This would be a good option if you are using the Sony projector with a smaller screen.

 

VPL-VW95ES 3D Abilities

The VW95ES uses active shutter glasses, for 3D. The glasses with this year’s Sony seem reasonably comfortable, and lack the bad reflection that I reported for those wearing last year’s Sony’s glasses over my own.

The 3D performance on the VW95ES has been rather glorious, especially compared to last year’s VW90ES. The big boost in brightness is huge. Only part of that improvement shows up, I believe, in our measurements. I suspect that glasses and other processing improvements have added further to the brightness.

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Earlier this year, I wasn’t really happy with 3D brightness on any of the LCoS projectors tested. This time, though, I’m pretty pleased. Sure, you can give me even more lumens for 3D, but I’m not complaining when watching at a 100″ diagonal size. Please remember, too, the last four home projectors I’ve reviewed are all brighter, (and all 3D capable) so I’m a bit spoiled. I can’t really recommend you go with anything resembling a large screen (over 110″ diagonal) without going with an especially bright screen material (and also going with the trade-offs that come with those very high gain screens.)

Overall color in 3D is pretty good. Everything seems to come out a touch punchy, but then we didn’t attempt t oreally calibrate specifically for a 3D mode, which can be done. I watched the Sony side by side with the Epson 5010 (the Epson was a lot brighter in 3D, but the Sony dominated everything else, from sharpness to blacks), and with the SIM2 Nero 2 projector (our next review), a single chip DLP with a $20K price! I’ll discuss later.

Let's talk 3D active glasses

For 3D, of course, the Sony VW95ES uses active glasses which means if you have a lot of friends, more money for glasses. Sony’s glasses are USB rechargeable. You might want to consider 3rd party glasses for your extra pairs, you can probably save money, buy a universal pair that will work on your friends projector if they bought a different brand (or LCDTV)

I’ve found that Sony’s “Official” PS3 Playstation glasses sell for about $49 to $69, are readily available, and work. They support the multiple glasses brightness modes, etc. Note, that they are a touch lighter than Sony’s glasses for the projector, and I’d give the standard glasses (for the projector) the edge in comfort, at least for those of us who wear regular glasses. The “projector” glasses look nicer, but if you need a whole bunch for the kids…

2D to Simulated 3D on the VPL-VW95ES

Once again, I have to say “so what?” Conversion, as with all the 2D-3D I’ve seen on the projectors to come through here, is flawed. Oh, it definitely looks like 3D, until sometimes small objects seem closer than other objects that are supposed to be closer. I think kids might go for it. Still as an every day glasses wearer, I just can’t rationalize putting on 3D glasses – watching a less bright image, all for the sake of “simulated 3D”, yet I gladly don them for great 3D content.

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I have watched this Sony, and also other projectors with 2D-3D conversion, doing the same content, first in 3D, then in simulated 3D from the 2D version, and then 2D. I’ve got to stick with real 3D content, and leave 2D in 2D. (Note, I’m not talking about 2D to 3D conversion of games, such as nvidia offers. At this time, I’m not aware of any higher end projectors that are nvidia certified to that, regardless.

Editor’s note: Remember, beyond a point, it’s personal taste. I rarely would watch a movie with CFI on, yet many folks don’t mind at all. Perhaps it’s the secret “purist” in me. Now that I think about it, it’s probably that same “purist” that makes me such a big fan of well done 3D content. After all, other than movies, TV, books and computer displays, the rest of the world is in 3D. Go outside, and see for yourself! -art

Last year I also felt the Sony was a little “heavy” on 3D artifacts – be they ghosting, crossover, and other terms many of us are still sorting out. This year the VW95ES seems to be “smoother”. Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of 3D artifacts to go around with all projectors, at least how 3D affects me. The trick is getting rid of the most annoying. Sony’s got much better 3D this year. Kudos! Unfortunately, I still can’t claim to know enough to bea good judge of what’s the cleanest 3D. It seems, like the “rainbow effect” some 3D aspects are more noticeable by some people than others. Let’s just say, I’ve been enjoying the VPL-VW95ES projector in 3D.

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