Of course there are other solid state projectors, using LED, or LED/laser hybrids, that do cost less.
Overall the Sony really performed. Although it came up with only 4781 lumens (out of 5000 lumens claimed), remember it's an early sample, so it's pretty likely that production units will be a bit brighter. (They sure aren't very likely to be dimmer!)
Color in "best" modes - Standard and Dynamic was very good. Color was reasonably accurate but not dead on (Sony documentation that was provided warned that the color tables were not finalized). Still they looked pretty good! As a result, I would expect even better out of the box color when the PHZ10 is shipping. Colors seemed very rich and well saturated. This is perhaps due, in part to the laser engine with it's inherently larger color gamut. Placement flexibility is good, but hardly exceptional, with a 1.45:1 zoom lens and lens shift. The PHZ10 is noticeably compact for a 5000 lumen projector. It's also a bit quieter than most, with, I think, only the InFocus being quieter of this group.
The laser light engine is rated up to 20,000 hours. It can maintain constant brightness (about 15% less than maximum) for 14,000 hours, this is excellent for signage and museum applications - and the projector can be mounted at any angle.
When it comes to inputs, the Sony seems almost sparse but has what most setups need. There's a pair of HDMI inputs and a mini BNC connector for component video, an RJ45 connector for wired networking, a pair of USB 2.0 inputs, a computer input but no monitor out, a composite video and an RS232 serial port for "old school" command and control. Lastly, there's a 16 watt speaker.
The combination of long life (laser engine), essentially maintenance free operation, and an "affordable" price make the Sony very tempting, especially when you remember that it will hold brightness steady for a very long time, and also hold color accuracy for far longer than any lamp based projector.
The three year warranty with first year replacement is very respectable.
Cost of operation is not a strength, unfortunately. The Viewsonic Pro8530HDL shares honors with the BenQ SU931 for a lamp life claim at full power of only 2000 hours, and an expensive replacement lamp cost, to make things worse.
That said, it's a good feature set and a lot of lumens for the lowest price of these five. It should be considered particularly attractive in installations where usage is higher to moderate, to keep costs competitive.
The L1100 and the other three L series under the L1505, all have education prices under $8500. They are extremely capable projectors, including advanced features such as multi-projector projection mapping, and edge blending, along with advanced networking including Crestron RoomView support.
These Epson laser projectors are step products in price and capability and may be a good place for you to start looking if you need a laser engine, and interchangeable lenses, and or, edge blending. The L1505 was truly an impressive monster. I expect these less expensive models are similarly impressive if less powerful and less expensive.
Next up, if you stay sequential, is our look at the four UST and Interactive projectors in our next "class."