Sony VPL-VWPRO1 Projector Review

Sony VPL-VWPRO1 Remote Control

Sony introduced a new remote control last year for the VW85, and I’m pleased to report, they’ve stuck with it, with the new VWPRO1. It t is different than the one provided with the VPL-HW10 and HW15 (which used a remote we’ve previously seen from Sony). This Sony remote control is brightly lit with blue LED light. It’s easy to read, and, as I have mentioned before with other remotes using blue LEDs (like some Optoma projectors), if anything, it’s almost too bright. That’s still better than too dim!

The layout is now, perhaps my all time favorite remote control, at least of all the remotes I’ve worked with while reviewing home theater projectors. Keep in mind that I spend a lot of time using remotes, as I try out different settings. As a result, my usage is a lot different than the typical owner, but I still think everyone should find this to be an excellent remote control.

I should note, this is one large remote – measuring a full 10 inches in length, also of note, a few of the keys do glow dimly so with some difficulty, you can find it in a fully darkened room. That may sound minor, but, I got so frustrated over the last year plus, with my remotes for my two Sony PS3s, when trying to locate them when the lights are off, that I finally put a couple of day-glow stickers on both of them.

Let’s start at the top, and work our way down…

On the top right is a green power switch. Press once to power up, press twice, to power down. Next to it, is the Input button allowing you to toggle through the different sources. To its left, is the Light button, that turns on the blue LED lights that illuminate the buttons..

The next two rows are for the six Picture modes: Cinema, Standard, and Dynamic, pluse User 1, 2, and 3.

Because this Sony remote can control other Sony Bravia devices such as Blu-ray players and camcorders, you will next find a full set of playback controls, such as play, fast forward, next/previous chapter, pause, etc.

Also included in that section are the Sync Menu and Options buttons, to define and select those other Bravia devices. Different options are available depending on the devices. This whole control section only works when the compatible Bravia devices are hooked up via HDMI 1 or HDMI 2.

Next comes the main navigation section. It consists of the usual four arrow keys (in a round configuration), with a center Enter button.

Surrounding the navigation area are three buttons in a larger circle. The one to the upper left brings up the Lens functions (focus, zoom, lens shift). The bottom one is the Menu button to launch the menus, and the top right one is the Reset button. Personally, I find large Reset buttons located near navigation to be scary. Nothing worse than, “oops” I just reset everything.” Still there is a confirm function, but, pay attention!

Below the navigation area are five buttons that provide direct access to some of the more frequently selected controls: Gamma, Black Level settings, Advanced Iris, Color Space, and Color Temp.

Then there’s a decent space, and three more buttons. On the left, is Wide Mode, which lets you toggle through different aspect ratios, RCP, which is Sony’s color management system, and lets you individually tune each primary and secondary color. Note; We do not work with this section as part of our own “basic” grayscale calibration of the VW85. Most likely, if you hire a good professional calibrator, they will adjust the individual colors, as well as the grayscale balance.

That leaves just six more buttons – actually 3 pairs of direct controls. They are Sharpness, Brightness, and Contrast.

Again, an excellent remote. It is logically laid out, the buttons have a good feel. It fits well in your hand (mine is pretty average sized), and has excellent range.

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Sony VPL-VWPRO1 Lens Throw

The lens is a manual, 1.6:1 zoom lens. Per the user manual, if you have a 100 inch diagonal 16:9 screen, the lens allows the projector to be placed as close as 10 feet, 1 inch, or as far back as 16 feet 4 inches. Despite the reasonably good zoom ratio, the PRO1 can not be placed as far back as most projectors that are rear shelf mountable (has lens shift). Most of the non-DLP competition can be placed as far back as 19 – 21 feet, for the same sized screen.

The bottom line, therefore is while you can of course ceiling mount the VPL-PRO1 projector, many will not be able to place the Sony on a rear shelf, unless they are using an unusually large screen for a that room size. Let me restate that – you aren’t likely to be able to rear shelf mount unless your room isn’t very deep – a fairly square room, though should work fine.

Lens Shift

The Sony VPL-PRO1 has vertical and horizontal lens shift. Both functions are manual, and controlled by the adjustment wheels on the top of the projector, just behind the lens.

For a 100″ screen, the center of the lens can be placed as high as approximately 7.5 inches above the top of your screen surface Actually Sony quotes, in their manual a maximum of 31 – 7/8 inches above the center of the screen, which is about 49.5 inches high, so top of the screen is about 24.3 inches above the center of the screen.

Anamorphic Lens

The Sony PRO1 does not inherently support an anamorphic lens and motorized sled, for those wanting to go with a 2.35:1 (Cinemascope) shaped screen. Sony does provide said support on their higher end VW projectors. This is not an unusual marketing decision. Few folks will spend about $4000 for a lens and sled, for an under $3000 projectors. Still, if you want to go anamorphic after you buy an PRO1, it can be done, by adding an outboard processor that can provide the necessary stretch aspect ratio to make it work. As outboard processors typically start around $1000 and go up from there, if you are really serious about going that route, you might want to consider the more expensive Sony VPL-VW70 (or its replacement), as you will be getting a better projector, and the cost differential isn’t great, compared to an PRO1 and external processor.

As an additional note, there is no 12 volt trigger for controlling a lens sled, but the most popular anamorphic lens/sled combination is Panamorph, and they provide what you’ll need to control the sled.

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