Posted on September 3, 2019 By Art Feierman and Nikki Kahl
The Sony VPL-VW995ES is such an amazing projector that it feels like a bargain at its just-below $35,000 price tag. Though the VPL-VW995ES is not technically Sony’s top-of-the-line projector – that title is reserved for their brighter, but noticeably older, $60,000 VPL-VW5000ES – this model is, in several ways, superior to it, although not as bright. This year, the Sony VPL-VW995ES took home our Best In Class Performance Home Theater Award in the $5000+ Projector Class.
The Sony VPL-VW995ES is a native true 4K projector that boasts 2,200 lumens, and a laser light engine. That light engine has dual lasers, making those 2,200 lumens appear much brighter than the same number of lumens would coming from a lamp based projector. It has a Dynamic Iris, and, in addition, uses its laser engine as a second Dynamic Iris for improved black level performance.
Typically, JVC holds the prize for best black level performance in the market. Although we haven’t been able to run the VPL-VW995ES against a JVC side-by-side, I believe this Sony may very well hold its own against most of the JVC projectors. This is something nobody else has been able to do when it comes to black levels.
Naturally, it’s feature-laden. This Sony has a 2.10:1 zoom lens, which is a generous amount of zoom, but the lens is much more significant than its ratio. Sony uses their ARC-F lens (All-Range Crisp Focus), which has a large-aperture, all-glass design, consisting of 18 elements. This lens is so high-end, that it is only used on the $34,999 VPL-VW995ES and the $60,000 VPL-VW5000ES. The bottom line? Superior optics to what other manufacturers provide. The lens has motorized functions for zoom, focus, and lens shift.
Most projectors don’t typically have enough “horsepower” in terms of lumens to fully handle HDR content (HDR has a drastic dimming effect on the image), this is one dynamic-looking projector. We have not seen anything else that pops like the Sony VPL-VW995ES when projecting in HDR. The VW995ES supports both software-based HDR: HDR 10, and HLG (Hybrid Gamma Log for broadcasting). It has Auto Tone Mapping, and produces a beautiful dynamic image.
Speaking of beautiful – let’s talk picture quality, in terms of color. I chose not to calibrate the Sony when it came in, simply because I was able to run it side-by-side against another just-calibrated projector, and they were so close that I considered it a waste of money to pay our calibrator to do what really wasn’t necessary. What you’re going to get it is extremely accurate color across multiple modes – there are even modes for situations where you do not want to fully darkened room. The VPL-VW995ES is even a quality gaming projector, with Sony claiming 27ms input lag, which is generally considered very good by serious gamers. It also has the 18 Gbps required for 4K gaming.
It has other features, such as Auto Calibration. Once the projector is calibrated, even as there is slight color shifting over months and years (this happens to all projectors), the projector can maintain flawless color. When it comes to sharpness, the combination of the lens and Sony’s excellent image processing produce a stunningly sharp, yet natural looking image. Sony 4K projectors can handle IMAX Enhanced content for a truly immersive experience. It also is 3D ready!
A scene from Passengers, projected by the Sony VPL-VW995ES.
A scene from The Fifth Element, projected by the Sony VPL-VW995ES.
A scene from Ghostbusters, projected by the Sony VPL-VW995ES.
An HDTV football game, projected by the Sony VPL-VW995ES.
The Sony VPL-VW995ES is a projector of high-class and high performance. Its minimalistic design makes it an aesthetically pleasing addition to your home theater. Though you’ll probably be all set and ready to place the VW995ES in your dedicated home theater, it has enough power to cut through ambient light in rooms where there’s at least reasonable lighting control. All those extra lumens also makes it a fine projector for handling HDR – something many other projectors fall short of.
It has a very clear, beautiful image. At the time of its review, I said it had produced, hands-down, the best HDR I have ever seen. And, it even achieves the P3 expanded color space – this is a rarity! Almost no projectors hit that mark. The light engine has a lifespan of up to 20,000 hours, and a solid warranty of 3 years. All in all, if you’ve got the budget, consider the Sony VPL-VW995ES to be the best bang for your buck in terms of performance.
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Sony VPL-VW995ES Review
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