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Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB vs. Sony VPL-VW40

Posted on October 24, 2013 by Art Feierman

When it comes to the physical attributes of these two projectors, they are extremely similar. Both have very flexible zoom lenses (actually, the Sony offers 1.8:1 while the Epson is 2.1:1, but that's not a huge difference). Note, though that the Sony's lens, overall, is slightly shorter throw, so it definitely cannot be as far back as the Epson can get.

If you are shelf mounting, the Epson almost certainly will work, unless your room is very, very deep. The Sony, though, may not quite be able to get as far back in some more "normal" rooms. Both have vertical lens shift, as well, combining for easy placement, although the Epson again, has a bit more range. When it comes to horizontal lens shift, the Epson has the usual significant amount typical of projectors with horizontal lens shift. The Sony, does have horizontal lens shift, but its very minimal, there for people with minor mounting problems. To use the horizontal lens shift, it has to be manually adjusted, by first removing the lens trim ring.

Projector Pricing

Close enough at the moment, that it should have no effect on your purchase decision. Of course prices will change over time.

Projector Value

Almost a tie, with the advantage to Epson, one more reason why Epson received our Best In Class award, and Sony had to settle for a Runner-Up Best In Class award. (No hatemail, please, from Sony fans.)

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Art's Two Cents

Well, I think I said it all, in the Overall Picture Quality section above. If I had to surrender my JVC, and choose one of these, from extensive viewing of both, compared to each other, and the JVC, I choose the Epson.

Beyond that, the Epson has subtle advantages in many areas, including sharpness, black levels, zoom lens ratio, amount of lens shift, remote control, and so on. The Sony, has the advantages of power for their zoom, focus and vertical lens shift, which is nice, but won't affect what you are watching. It also has a very slight edge in shadow detail.

The are bigger differences as well, the Epson has enough extra lumens in best mode for an extra 8-10 inches in screen diagonal, and is far brighter in brightest mode, for watching (especially TV/HDTV/Sports) with more ambient lighting. And don't forget the much better, and longer warranty.

Guess what. Even after all of the above, both are excellent projectors and a cut above the similarly priced competition, with only the BenQ W5000 being closely competitive. The BenQ has many things going for it as well, but we'll save that for another comparison, in this case, against the Sony!

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