Projector Reviews

Sony Introduces Two New Models Equipped with their “X1 For Projector” processor for enhanced HDR and SDR image quality: VPL-VW325ES and VPL-VW1025ES

Like the three models introduced last fall, the VPL-VW715ES ($9,999), the VPL-VW915ES ($19,999), and the VPL-GTZ380 ($80,000 excluding lens), the new models are powered by Sony’s latest processor called the “X1™ for projector”.

While the X1 processor was originally designed for Sony’s lineup of OLED and LCD flat panel TVs, this version has been optimized for projectors with the goal of enhancing the picture quality of projected images. It combines innovative technologies for high-precision frame analysis, enabling unique features like Dynamic HDR Enhancer and Reality Creation. We have long believed that dynamic tone mapping is absolutely necessary to extract the maximum image quality from HDR10 content.

The new projectors also include a new Input Lag Reduction Mode which reduces gaming lag to a claimed 27ms when playing video games in [email protected]

Unlike most projector manufacturers, Sony has years of experience with HDR tone mapping since Sony 4K TVs have had the capability since 2017. We had the opportunity to do side-by-side comparison of a couple X1 equipped models, the VW715ES and the VW915ES, with the units they replaced. Whether we were watching broadcast TV or 4K HDR content, the picture quality benefits were obvious.

The new “X1 for Projectors” processor not only improved detail and resolution it also made a noticeable improvement in the Sony HDR performance compared to the previous models. HDR content is brighter, colors are richer, black levels are deeper, and bright highlight detail is more visible.

Sony VW102ES in a killer home theater.

Based on our experience, the VW325ES and VW1025ES should provide noticeable boost in performance compared to the units they are replacing. 

“Sony’s 4K SXRD projectors have led the market for years, and these new models take the viewer’s experience to the next level,” said Neal Manowitz, President and COO, Sony Electronics Inc. “Whether they’re for enjoying the latest movies or playing action-packed games, our newest projectors deliver a dynamic, big screen experience that truly immerses viewers in their favorite content.”

Sony VW325ES in both black and white

The new VPL-VW325ES has a list price of $5499.99 which is $500 more than the previous unit but it will still be is the least expensive, true, native 4K home theater projector. The VPL-VW295ES has a motorized zoom lens but it lacks lens memory, and a dynamic iris. To get those feature you will have to step up to the VW715ES.

Sony VW1025ES

As we mentioned earlier the VPL-VW1025ES replaces the VW995ES and with the exception of the addition of the X1 video processor, it is nearly identical to the previous model. It is a 2,200lm laser unit with a premium All-Range Crisp Focus (ARC-F) lens.

We reviewed the VPL-VW915ES when it was introduced last fall and awarded it a Projector Reviews Hot Product Award because it produced the best looking HDR picture I have ever seen on my screen in my demo room. The VPL-VW915ES uses Sony’s standard lens but it is still impressive, especially when compared to the optics found on many competitive Home Theater projectors. However, Sony does have two quality levels of optics.

The ARC-F (All Range Crisp Focus) lens is Sony’s premium projector lens, and it is used in Sony’s more expensive models like the VW5000ES and the GTZ380. The main reasons why the new VW1025ES retails for $20,000 more than the VW915ES is that ultra-high-quality optics are very expensive, but they do make images much sharper.

Sony VW325ES in a media room

This large-aperture lens adopts an all-glass design for its 18 elements, including six extra low dispersion (ELD) elements. The ARC-F ensures outstanding focus across the entire screen.  It also ensures optimal convergence of the red, green, and blue primaries even at the extreme edges of the screen which significantly reduces chromatic aberration (color fringing). 

If you are projecting on to a massive screen, it is worth the premium to be able to extract every ounce of detail for the 4K SXRD panels.

The VPL-VW1025ES model is available to pre-order today in black for a suggested retail price of $39,999. For product details, please visit: https://www.sony.com/electronics/projector/vpl-vw1025es

The VPL-VW325ES model is available to pre-order today in both black and white for a suggested retail price of $5,499. For product details, please visit: https://www.sony.com/electronics/projector/vpl-vw325es