Projector Reviews

Best in Class – $2500-$5000 Performance Home Theater Runner-Up: Sony VPL-VW285ES


Meet the VW285ES – one of our two Best In Class Runner-Ups this year. And, it is currently the least expensive native 4K projector on the market in the US.

This Sony VPL-VW285ES prices in at $4999.99, the very top of this Class of home theater projectors. In the full review, I believe I, at one point, described it as an elegant projector (or I might have used that about a different Sony?).

Sony VPL-VW285ES Overview

I mention elegant, because that’s how I see it. The projector is one of the larger ones, but has some nice lines in a nice dark cabinet. That’s all great, but more importantly, it has a very natural look to the picture, in part thanks to this being true 4K, not a pixel shifter relying more on image processing. This Sony can do 1:1 pixel mapping – one pixel for each one piece of data.

Oh, there are limits to the lens quality (Sony has 4K projectors up to $60K, and the higher end ones do have better optics), and other aspects, but watching the Sony with 4K content playing it just seems sharp, rather than (as is the case for some other projectors) seems sharpened.

$2500-$5000 Best in Class Best Performance Home Theater Runner-Up Sony VPL-VW285ES

Color right out of the box is about as good as anyone could hope for. This is why we have calibrated few Sony projectors this past year or so. They are pretty accurate looking when I do a side-by-side with another, but calibrated projector. This was the last one we did calibrate.

Lamp variation is probably going to have about as much effect than any improvement our calibrator tweaked out of the VW285ES!

1,500 lumens, today, isn’t a whole lot – I wouldn’t call the VW285ES a real “bright room” projector, but it topped out at 1,638 lumens, and every mode offered at least 1,473 lumens. Even calibrated, in Eco mode – over 1,000 lumens, and at full power, more than 1,400! Sweet. Most 2,200 and 3,000 lumen DLP’s don’t calibrate that bright!

The Sony VPL-VW285ES projecting a scene from Passengers in 4K.

Those 1,400 gorgeous looking color and white lumens produce a great picture that only lacks a bit, in terms of black levels. That really what separates this projector from the more expensive VW385ES (at $7999.99).

Still, the black levels are pretty good, if not up to, say, the Epson 5040UB. That said, the native contrast is higher than the Epson, so blacks on scenes not using the iris, are darker on the Sony. And it does HDR great!  Sony seems to manage to avoid dimness with HDR content, without sacrificing much of the extra “pop” that HDR brings to your senses.

The VW285ES is a minimalist in terms of inputs and connectors, relying primarily on its HDMI, and hardware networking, if you choose.  No problem with that. I like the remote control, too.

Sony VPL-VW285ES Review