Sony Laserlite VPL-PHZ10 Affordable Laser Projector – Performance

SONY VPL-PHZ10 PROJECTOR REVIEW – PERFORMANCE:  Brightness, Sharpness, Image Noise, Audible Noise

Again, keep in mind this is an early engineering sample.  If tradition holds, expect production versions to be slightly brighter still.

Maximum brightness measured was in Presentation mode, with the projector lens at full wide angle (the projector placed as close to any give sized screen as is possible). The VPL-PHZ10’s Presentation mode (at full power) measured:  4781 lumens.  That’s pretty close to claim for an engineering sample, so it’s very likely that production units will top 5000 lumens.

 

VPL-PHZ10 Brightness

VPL-PHZ10 Brightness By Mode, Mid-Zoom, in Lumens
Mode Full Power (lumens) Constant (lumens)
Presentation 4641 4139
Dynamic 3626 3233
Standard 3175 2831

This Sony laser projector does very well regarding Constant Brightness, in that it only seems to lose about 15% of brightness when switched into Constant Brightness mode, where it will produce the same brightness for the entire life of the light engine (which for Constant Brightness works out to 14,000 hours!)

Eco mode produces less lumens than Constant, but delivers 20,000 hours life.

VPL-PHZ10 Mid-zoom Brightness by Mode, Full Power vs Eco
Mode Full Power (lumens) Eco (lumens)
Presentation 4641 2757
Dynamic 3626 2154
Standard 3175 1886

Best I can tell from partial specs provided, the VPL-PHZ10 laser engine is rated the full 20,000 hours whether in full power or eco.  That’s not as crazy as it sounds.  Whether lamps or laser engines, projectors dim over time.  What this information tells you, is that since constant mode is 14,000 hours, that at full power, the projector will have dimmed to about 4500 lumens by 14,000 hours, but is good for another 6000 hours.  Running in Eco mode might save some electricity, but it probably doesn’t extend the life of the laser engine.

To you engineers out there, if that doesn’t sound right, let me know!

Effect of Zoom Lens Position on Brightness

As the VPL-PHZ10’s zoom lens is only a 1.45:1 there isn’t a huge difference in brightness depending on the lens position.

To look at one mode, Presentation, zoomed to:

Full wide angle (closest): 4781 lumens

Mid zoom: 4641 lumens

Telephoto: 3704 lumens

All considered, the drop from closest to furthest placement is just over 20%.  The drop from wide angle to mid – less than 5% (barely visually detectable).

Bottom line:  Loss of brightness by mounting the projector further back is not significant enough to be a consideration.  In other words – mount this projector (distance wise) wherever it works out best based on the room design and placement.

No complaints here.  The projector provided good sharpness across the range from center to corner, with only slight softness if the focus is made on the dead center of the image.

The images above consist of two pair where we show full screen, and then a zoomed in look to see how sharp the text and graphics are.  The last two images are of an image gallery with lots of small type, and a typical text only pdf document of the type that might typically be found in collaboration meetings.

Small type down to 8 points is readable (but 8 point is definitely marginal).  The good news:  No one normally uses 8 point type especially when projecting at 1080p.  (Note, 8 point type on a 1080p projection is smaller than 8 point type on 720p projection.)  Spreadsheets and Word type documents are typically 11 or 12 points, Powerpoint body text is usually 24 to 36 points and rarely ever less than 18 points.

Bottom Line – VPL-PHZ10 produces a nicely sharp image for a 1080p resolution projector.  This is a 3 panel device, so there’s some mis-convergence to be expected.  Considering this is an early engineering sample, that mis-convergence was pretty minimal, more typical of what would be expected in full  production.  The Sony has a digital convergence feature to further minimize the perceived mis-convergence.  I did not test it (since this was an engineering sample), but we have found Sony’s implementation to be effective on other business, as well as high end home theater projectors.  (The no mis-convergence at all of single chip DLP projectors is still more precise of course, but, the difference is going to be a non-issue in a presentation/collaboration environment.

Recommendation:  When setting the focus, pick a spot between 1/3 and 1/4 of the way from the center to the corner. That will still provide really sharp focus in the center of the screen, and have the corners looking slightly sharper than if you focused on the center.

Image Noise

This is an area where I wouldn’t be surprised to see differences between early engineering samples and full production, but even with this sample I have little to report.  Projected still images exhibit little mosquito noise, let’s say typical of 3LCD projectors.

Overall video showed a problem with a certain speed of slow pan (found in a scene in the movie RED, and in another scene in the first Transformers movie).  The point is, that panning speed seems pretty rare, and this is a problem we’ve identified with Sony processing, even on their $25K plus home theater projectors.

The chances of encountering a slow pan at that speed for a business or education type presentation would be extremely low, so I would treat it as a non-issue.  If you do encounter it, though there would be a lot more judder than normally expected.

Bottom line:  This Sony has to be considered pretty clean when it comes to image noise, with NO issues that would seem to need fixing between sample and production!

Audible Noise

I haven’t seen a decibel spec for these affordable laser projectors, but for a 5000 lumen projector the Sony running at full power, is going to be a little quieter than most.  If I had to guess, I’d estimate the Sony (based on what other projectors claim) to be no more than the mid-30 db range.  Considering the louder home theater projectors get up into the low 30 db range, that’s pretty good.  There are plenty of 5000 – 8000 lumen projectors in the 39+ db range.  Count the VPL-PHZ10 projector, therefore, as being quieter the most of the similarly bright competition.

Current dealer prices for Sony VPL-PHZ10

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