Projector Reviews

2019-2020 Home Theater Projectors Report – Non-Winners $5000+ Class

This page contains comments on projectors that were considered in this year’s Best Home Theater Projectors Report, but did not win awards.

Sony VPL-VW685ES/VPL-VW695ES

VW695ES photo

The Sony VPL-VW695ES, and its predecessor, the VPL-VW685ES, did not win an award in this year’s report – that honor went to the JVC DLA-NX7 for Price Performance, and the Sony VPL-VW995ES for Performance. That said, the Sony VPL-VW695ES is a fantastic projector in its own rite, even though it didn’t take home an award. This is a $10,000 true 4K resolution projector with a lot of great features, and is surely worthy of your home theater – though you may find the winners to be more suitable to your needs (that’s up to you).

Like the VPL-VW295ES we talked about on the previous page, the VW695ES has a 2.0:1 motorized zoom lens. Not only does it have motorized lens shift, powered focus, zoom, etc., it also has Lens Memory. Lens Memory is particularly useful when you will be switching from widescreen movies, which have a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, to HDTV or other 16:9 content. Speaking of Cinema – the Sony VPL-VW695ES has HDR and the HDCP 2.2 HDMIs on each input, meaning both HDMI ports can accept 4K content.

An image projected by the Sony VPL-VW385ES, which was replaced by the Sony VPL-VW695ES.
An image projected by the Sony VPL-VW385ES, which was replaced by the Sony VPL-VW695ES.

It is nicely bright for a home theater projector, with a 1,500 lumen claim. That’s plenty for a home theater, and even enough for living rooms and media rooms with control over ambient light. Though, if you’re spending $10K on a projector, you might as well have a proper home theater environment to go along with it. Sonys tend to have excellent black level performance, so your room should really do the projector justice. Of course, when projecting at night, your room conditions don’t really matter.

The Sony VPL-VW695ES has Reality Creation, which upscales your upscales your 1080p content (and DVDs, but please tell me you don’t have those anymore) to near-4K quality. If you’re a sports fan, you’ll enjoy the Motionflow feature – that’s Sony’s word of CFI (Creative Frame Interpolation) – as your sports will take on a more lifelike appearance. There’s reduced input lag for gamers (YES!), as well as 3D compatibility.

Hisense 100" Laser TV

Hisense-100'-Laser-TV

The Hisense 100” Laser TV is more than just a projector. It’s a home theater system consisting of an ultra short throw, 4K UHD smart laser projector and a 100” 16:9 screen that’s designed for rooms with ambient light. When it first came out, the Hisense 100” Laser TV was $9,999, but has since dropped to $7,999. Not bad for a projector and screen duo! The UST design makes this projector extra practical for a living room environment, as the projector sits just inches away from the screen, making it quite similar to a TV.

The Hisense 100” Laser TV is aptly named, as the projector has a built-in TV tuner. This is a feature missing from most projectors. It’s quite smart – like the LG HU85LA, which won an award in the $5000+ Class this year – the Hisense has all of the usual apps integrated: Netflix, Amazon Prime TV, Hulu, etc. It also has a media player that allows access to files over your home network, so that means easy viewing of vacation photos on the big screen. It also has both wired and wireless networking.

The HiSense Laser TV, projecting a scene from Passengers.

The projector has built-in 50-watt speakers from Harmon Kardon (nice!) and comes with a 60-watt powered Harmon Kardon Bluetooth sub-woofer, as well as extensive audio controls including sync, equalizer, and Digital Audio Out. This is huge – so often, we knock projectors for their on-board speakers because they lack in any real bass to be used for any serious movie-viewing. We always, always recommend a set of external speakers, but in the case of the Hisense 100” Laser TV, that Harmon Kardon speaker system should do just fine!

We reviewed the “D” series, which, until recently, didn’t have support for Alexa voice control. That was reserved for the newer “E” series. Now, you can get it on this projector, too. Only, lots of reviews state that people have had trouble getting the smarts to work, with only a handful of the promised commands working. This is easily fixable in the future, and they probably will, but keep this in mind if you’re considering buying the Hisense. If you don’t care about this feature, then the Hisense 100” Laser TV might just make your short list.