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Meet Sony’s VPL-VW295ES: The Only True Native 4K Resolution Projector Under $5000!

Posted on November 1, 2018 by Art Feierman
Sony VPL-VW295ES night time in living room

Meet Sony’s VPL-VW295ES: The only true native 4K resolution projector under $5000 MSRP!

Also learn about Sony’s other new 4K projectors and more.

Sony, with the launch of our three new models last month, including the VW295ES, is now on our fifth generation of native 4K resolution projectors.

No one has the experience with 4K that Sony has. When it comes to under $25,000 MSRP native 4K projectors, consider that right now, there’s only one competitor and they just launched their first generation!

This is an Advertorial created jointly by Sony and Projector Reviews!

Sony VPL-VW295ES Home Theater Projector

The VW295ES is Sony’s least expensive 4K projector yet it supports pretty much everything!  HDR (both the HDR10, and HLG [broadcast] versions). And the VW295ES and all the other Sonys support BT.2020/P3 color space, the same superior color standard used in today’s better digital cineplexes.

You could describe the VPL-VW295ES as an entry level native 4K projector. That would be true.  Other than being the least expensive 4K Sony, there’s almost nothing “entry level” about its performance and capabilities. Sporting 1,500 lumens, this Sony projector will put a bright image before your eyes, whether you place it in a dedicated home theater, or pair it with the proper screen and place it in your living room, media room, family room, or spare bedroom. The 2.1:1 lens (zoom, focus and lots of lens shift) are all motorized to offer you world class placement flexibility.

We would be remiss if we didn’t also tell you a little about the rest of our 4K line-up.

Moving up from the VW295ES with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of $9,999 is the new VW695ES. This projector is superior to, and replaces, our just discontinued VW685ES, a $14,999 MSRP projector.

Overall, the VW295ES and VW695ES are very similar. Here’s how they differ: The VW695ES adds additional brightness, and a fast dynamic iris to dramatically improve “black level performance” on those very dark scenes. Another key addition is our Picture Position lens memories. Both projectors have the same motorized lens system, but if you are a movie fanatic first, and want to go “Cinemascope” type wide screen to match most movies, the 695ES lets you resize the image appropriately, at the touch of a button. With the lower budget 295ES you can also go wide screen by adjusting the motorized zoom and lens shift manually in about 30 seconds, using the remote.

The Sony line-up also includes four laser projectors: The new VPL-VW995ES, at $34,999 takes Sony’s smaller laser chassis and adds the famous ARC-F lens to ensure the best 4K sharpness from edge to edge. It also adds an advanced iris on top of the laser modulation to enhance contrast and black levels. It has 2,200 lumens and a new Digital Focus Optimizer to provide crisp images into the ARC-F lens. The other laser projectors include the VW885ES, one of two similarly priced native 4K laser projectors, the other being the VPL-VZ1000ES, which is very different physically.  Yes, it’s the same basic laser-phosphor engine, but the VZ1000ES is an ultra short throw design, so you can put it on a table or credenza right underneath your screen.

The sixth and last Sony projector to mention, is Sony’s flagship VPL-VW5000ES. With 5000 lumens, and built to commercial standards, it has no peers anywhere near its price.

Sony, of course, has long been a major manufacturer of Digital Cinema projectors used in the movie theater industry.  Much of what we learned there has been integrated into our 4K home projectors.

List Price$4,999$9,999$34,999
Dynamic Iris (Y/N)NoYesYes*
ContrastNot Listed350,000:1∞: 1
Motorized Lens Features (Y/N)YesYesYes
Lens Memory (Y/N)NoYesYes
Native 4K ResolutionYesYesYes
Laser Light EngineNoNoYes

*Sony VPL-VW995ES uses the laser light engine as a dynamic iris.

Understanding 4K

Sony VPL-VW295ES Lifestyle

Forget the hype. There’s native 4K, and there’s all the other 4K wannabes – you’ve heard about them: 4K UHD, 4K e-shift, 4K enhanced, etc. All of those are lower resolution projectors that use pixel shifting technology.

Supporting 4K is obviously important in order to match the latest available content. Doing it really well - putting a truly great image up on the screen - has long been Sony’s objective. That’s a key reason why Sony has long pioneered native 4K projectors, shipping their first-generation years (2012) before any of those lower resolution projector manufacturers were even close to supporting 4K content.

In a perfect world of projector sharpness and detail, whether lower resolution, or 4K, the goal has long been what is called 1:1 pixel mapping. That is, one pixel for each piece of data. That means the smallest possible pixels relative to the image size, and no overlapping “pixel shifting.” Today, while there are only a handful of native 4K projectors that cost less than a typically loaded mid-sized car, there are many projectors that can accept some types, or even most types of 4K content. It comes down to the quality of what ends up on your screen.

Sony VPL-VW295ES Lifestyle - ambient light

It’s certainly true that those other 4K capable projectors with larger overlapping pixels, can produce a sharp image. We could get technical and explain all the key differences in detail.

Instead, let’s just put it this way:

All else being at least equal, a native 4K resolution projector will simply provide the sharpest most detailed image possible with 4K content.

Why? Consider: Some of you who have owned projectors for years, may have started with a standard HD (1280x720 resolution) model, but they also let you watch the higher resolution HD – 1080p (1920x1080). Still when you upgraded to a 1080p projector, you definitely noticed everything was sharper. Same idea! You will love native 4K!

It’s not just about projecting the 4K content, it’s about doing it better. Sony, for example, has often been cited for having pretty great color right out of the box, something few competitors can claim.

“As part of our review process, we normally calibrate almost all the over $1,000 home theater projectors we review. The only frequent exception the past few years, has been Sony. After first firing up a new Sony, I am usually sufficiently impressed with the picture quality and color accuracy, in their best preset picture modes, that there’s little need for a calibration. Bottom line: Nothing like starting out with really good color, a great feature set and native, natural looking, 4K sharpness!” – Art Feierman, Editor,

Sony’s Got Game

Sony’s newest home theater projectors are all very competent gaming projectors that have reduced input lag to as fast as 27 milliseconds! For hard core gamers, that’s considered really very good. Great is around 15-18ms. OK is around 55ms. Put on your headset, gather your team. There’s nothing like 4K gaming at 60fps with HDR, on a large screen – be it 100” diagonal, 120.” With native 4K resolution, you can go large screen, yet sit pretty close, to be well immersed in the content. Take your gaming to new heights, whether your thing is League of Legends, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, or Madden Football…

Enjoy Your Investment

Sony VPL-VW295ES Lifestyle

Don’t just watch your favorite movies, sports and other content, take your viewing experience to a whole new level. You can live the experience in a dedicated home theater, or in a media room, or any convenient family room, living room or bonus room.

Immerse yourself with the large screen, feast your eyes on gorgeous rich colors, with exceptionally sharp and detailed imagery, that Sony’s natural looking native 4K projectors deliver.

We invite you to learn even more about our three newest 4K home theater projectors and our full line-up. Join us here.

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