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Sony VPL-GTZ380 4K SXRD Laser Projector Review

Posted on November 29, 2021 by Phil Jones
Sony-GTZ380 with award

If you are looking for the ultimate home theater experience, you should definitely take a close look at Sony's flagship projector, the VPL-GTZ380, which is a 10,000 lumen, native 4K SXRD projector that retails for $80,000 (minus lens).

In 2017 when Art reviewed Sony's amazing VW5000ES projector, he said it was easily the best home theater projector he had ever reviewed. Over the next several years, the VW5000ES reigned supreme as the "King of Home Theater Projectors".

However, many professionals and hard-core enthusiasts that loved the picture quality of the VW5000ES and its highly-rated professional twin brother, the VPL-GTZ270, desired an even brighter, higher performance unit.

Enter the VPL-GTZ380. Compared to its predecessors, the GTZ380 delivers much higher brightness and wider color gamut resulting in a massive increase in color volume.  The unit’s X1 Ultimate chip also provides a huge boost in video processing power which further improves both SDR and HDR picture quality.

The GTZ380 can deliver more onscreen brightness than a double-stacked pair of VW5000ES or four VW1025ES which is incredible for a projector of its size.

While some high-end home theater installers prefer professional cinema projectors in their jobs, the size, weight, connectivity, and special placement needs make most of those projectors completely impractical for all but the most expensive home theater spaces.

Many of these projectors require specialized cooling systems and they need to be isolated in a separate room to spare viewers from the huge amount of noise generated. Even if a client or enthusiast can afford one of these professional cinema projectors, they may not want to deal with the hassles associated with their installation.

The GTZ380 can deliver twice the peak brightness of the VW5000ES and the chassis size is nearly identical – it only weighs about 24 more pounds. Sony states that the GTZ380 is nearly 20% smaller than the next smallest 10,000 lumen native 4K projector on the market. Weighing just 112 pounds, it is both the most compact and lightest unit in its class.

It's not only smaller, but it's also less obnoxious. As mentioned previously, a high brightness home theater projector like this typically needs a special room to manage the resulting heat and noise.

The advanced phosphor wheel design features a patented spiral fin that ducts heat away efficiently for impressively cool operation – a frequent issue with other high-brightness projectors. Its liquid SXRD panel cooling system and streamlined airflow design make the GTZ380 supremely quiet for such a bright, professional projector at a minimal 39dB.

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Sony VPL-GTZ380 Specs
Price$80,000 (minus lens)
Native Resolution4K (4096x2160)
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim)10000
Zoom Lens Ratio1.95:1 (VPLL-Z8014 Lens)
Lens ShiftYes
Lamp Life20,000 hours
Warranty3 year

Sony was the first company to introduce a native 4K home theater projector and they still have the most comprehensive model assortment. Sony has seven 4K HDR home theater projectors in their lineup, starting with the VW325ES ($5,500) moving up to the flagship GTZ380 which is $80,000 (minus the ARC-F Lens).

In addition to the GTZ380, the are four additional laser-based 4K HDR models in the Sony lineup, including the VW1025ES ($40,000 SRP) and the VW915ES ($2,000 SRP) There are also two Sony 4K HDR home theater lamp-based projectors, the VW715ES ($10,000 SRP) and the entry level VW325ES ($5,500 SRP).

See below for a summary of the Sony 4K SXRD Home Theater projector lineup.

Sony Projector comparison chart 2021 - Projector Reviews Image

The GTZ380 utilizes a newly designed Z-Phosphor laser light source that incorporates a red laser diode in addition to the two different-wavelength blue laser diodes to achieve the full DCI-P3 color gamut without any loss of brightness. The additional red laser diode dramatically expands color volume, without the loss of brightness common to other high-end models that use a built-in color filter.

The GTZ380 uses three newly developed 0.74" SXRD panels to deliver true 4K resolution (4096 x 2160). The unit's ultra-high quality lens assembly ensures that every ounce of detail reaches the screen.

In addition to a rated brightness of 10,000 lumens, 100% DCI-P3 color coverage, and a 16,000:1 native contrast, the flagship GTZ380 is also equipped with the most powerful video processor that Sony has ever put into a projector, named "X1 Ultimate for projector".

While the X1 Ultimate processor was originally developed for Sony's Master Series LCD and OLED flat-panel televisions, this version has been optimized for projectors with the goal of enhancing the picture quality of projected images.

The GTZ380 is compatible with two motorized Sony ARC-F lenses which include an ultra-high-quality, multi-element, all-glass lens assembly. This ARC-F lens is a significant upgrade in optical quality compared to the very good lenses used on Sony's less expensive native 4K SXRD projectors.

Check out our interview with Rob Brennan (Sony's Product Technology & Training Manager) from the Fall 2021 Projection Showcase where we discuss the GTZ380 in detail.


  • Price: $80,0000 (minus lens)
  • Z-Phosphor laser light source with red laser diode
  • Technology: SXRD panels (LCoS)
  • Native Resolution: 4K (4096 x 2160)
  • Brightness (Manufacturer Claim): 10,00 lumens
  • Lamp Life: 20,000 hours
  • Contrast Ratio: ∞ (infinity) Dynamic
  • Zoom Lens Ratio: 1.95:1 (VPLL-Z8014 Lens)
  • HDR10/HLG compatible
  • X1 Ultimate Video Processor
  • Frame and Frame HDR Auto Tone Mapping
  • Two 18Gbps HDMI 2.0b (HDCP 2.3) inputs
  • Two DisplayPort (HDCP 2.3) inputs
  • Power Lens Focus/Shift/Zoom: Yes
  • Weight: 112 lb
  • Warranty: 3-year parts & labor

Notable Features

The GTZ380 utilizes many of Sony's popular features and proprietary technologies discussed in great detail in our reviews of other Sony home theater projectors including the VW1025ESVW915ES, and VW715ES. However, let's quickly summarize some unique/upgraded features found on the Sony GTZ380.


The GTZ380 is one of five 4K SXRD home theater models in Sony's lineup that utilize a Z-Phosphor laser light source. However, the GTZ380 upgraded laser light source incorporates a red laser diode along with two different-wavelength blue laser diodes, which gives the projector the ability to reproduce 100% DCI-P3 color gamut without losing any of its 10,000 lumens of brightness.

The GTZ380 uses an RBB laser light source to deliver 10,000 ANSI lumens and 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut

Most home theater projectors require a color filter to display the DCI-P3 color gamut, but that type of filter can reduce the overall brightness by up to 45%. When viewing HDR content on a projector, I believe brightness is more beneficial than a wider color gamut, so I always recommend disengaging the color filter.

Since the GTZ380 utilizes an RBB laser light source, it can easily reproduce the DCI-P3 color space commonly used in HDR content without a color filter so you don't have to make a potentially tough choice between wider color gamut reproduction and brightness. You get all the benefits of exceptional color and outstanding brightness.

The Z-Phosphor light engine has a rated life of 20,000-hours so you will get years of nearly maintenance-free operation. If you watched the GTZ380 for 8 hours a day, five days a week, the laser light engine would last about a decade. There will probably be 8K projectors for sale by the time you’re ready to replace the light source on this unit.

The GTZ380 is only one of the four Sony laser projectors that have both dynamic laser functionality and a mechanical dynamic iris.


First, all Sony 4K Home Theater projectors (including the flagship GTZ380) use Sony's 4K SXRD (4096 x 2160) panels which is Sony's version of LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon). This three-chip 4K SXRD imaging system is very similar to what has been utilized in Sony 4K cinema projectors that are found in the best movie theaters in the world.

Due to its high brightness capability, the GTZ380 utilizes newly developed 0.74" Native 4K SXRD panels to improve stability and durability

While most 4K UHD flat panels have a resolution of 3840x2160, the GTZ380 is a native 4K projector so it delivers the same 4096x2160 resolution as your favorite 4K movie theater projector. Unlike some competitor 2K pixel shifting projectors, it can faithfully reproduce all 8.8 million pixels.

It delivers more native contrast than the standard LCD panels or DLP chips used in most consumer projectors. These three SXRD panels eliminate the possibility of the Rainbow Effect (Color Breakup) seen on many single-chip DLP projectors and it also minimizes the "screen door effect" (blocky image distortions) compared to most 3LCD projectors.

The GTZ380 features a newly developed 0.74" Native 4K SXRD panel which is Sony's proprietary version of LCoS technology to deliver a 16,000:1 contrast ratio and deep blacks. Adopting a new liquid crystal material for the panel dramatically improves light stability and durability while producing a rated 10,000 lumens of brightness.

While the GTZ380 has a native contrast rating of 16,000:1, its dynamic contrast is nearly infinite due to the projector's ability to precisely modulate its laser light source.

These latest and greatest Sony SXRD panels also have a pixel density of about 61,000 pixels per square mm which is a much higher pixel density than imagers found in competing DLP and transmissive LCD projectors.

For comparison, the DLP chips used in professional 10,000 lumen Native 4K DLP projectors are not only up to 75% larger, but they can only have a native contrast ratio of 2,000:1 which is 8x less.

Smaller, denser SXRD panels reduce the size of the optical block and lenses, resulting in a compact projector that can deliver the performance of a larger model. This is one of the reasons why the GTZ380 is the lightest and most compact native 4K projector in its class.


To fully maximize the awesome capabilities of the GTZ380, it is the first Sony projector to utilize the new picture processor called "X1 Ultimate for projector". This video processor is based on the original X1 Ultimate Processor used for Sony's top-of-the-line BRAVIA TVs. While the processor was originally designed for Sony's Master Series LCD and OLED flat-panel televisions, this version has been optimized for projectors with the goal of enhancing the picture quality of projected images.

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The X1 Ultimate is the most powerful video processor ever utilized in a Sony projector

The X1 Ultimate Processor not only improves the detail and resolution of any source, it also provides a noticeable improvement in the HDR performance compared to the VW5000ES / GTZ280. HDR content will be brighter with richer colors, deeper black levels, and bright highlight detail will be more visible.

Of all the benefits of the X1 Ultimate Processor, the most notable is the Dynamic HDR Enhancer feature which dramatically improves the look of HDR content. Thanks to the Dynamic HDR Enhancer, the GTZ380 can analyze HDR content scene by scene for precise dynamic tone mapping of HDR10 content.

Dynamic HDR Enhancer improves scene brightness while maintaining hightail detail

HDR analysis and tone mapping might be a new concept for a lot of projector manufacturers, but Sony began blazing the trail back in 2017 when their 4K TV lineup introduced the X1 Processor. HDR scenes are brighter, with richer colors and a better black level.

In addition, a second feature called Object-based HDR Remaster analyzes and adjusts the colors and contrast of individual objects on the screen. Some projectors can adjust contrast frame-by-frame, this is accomplished along a single contrast curve. The X1 Ultimate adjusts each object in each frame individually of both SDR and HDR content using multiple contrast curves per frame. Because of Object-based HDR Remaster, you will experience results in greater depth, richer textures, and an even more realistic SDR and HDR image.

In the GTZ380, this precision tone mapping is combined with a dynamic laser and a dynamic iris to greatly improve the look of HDR content. In a recent article, we took a deep dive into how the processing of the GTZ380 achieves such stellar results. Check it out!

The GTZ380 is compatible with both HDR10 and HLG content. Since most HDR10+ and Dolby Vision content is either backward compatible with or available in HDR10, you will be able to watch most of the HDR content available on 4K Blu-ray Disc and streaming services. HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) was developed for live broadcast, so you are all set to enjoy sports and award shows when the networks start broadcasting.

While more and more 4K HDR content is available every day, we still watch a lot of HD content. When HD content is projected onto a massive screen, you often see noise and artifacts. For even better 4K upscaling, the X1 Ultimate also includes Dual Database Processing. Two powerful image improvement databases work together, dynamically improving images in real-time. 4K X-Reality PRO™ upscales images to near 4K clarity while a second database cleans the picture and reduces onscreen noise.


The GTZ380 is compatible with two ultra-high quality ARC-F lenses

The GTZ380 is compatible with two ARC-F lenses which are Sony's ultra-high-quality multi-element all-glass lens assemblies. These types of lenses are also used on the VW5000ES and the VW1025ES home theater projectors.

This ARC-F lens is a significant upgrade in optical quality compared to the very good lenses used on Sony's other, less expensive native 4K SXRD projectors.

If you plan on sitting close to a very large screen, you will definitely appreciate the additional sharpness. Currently, I am using a VW915ES as my reference projector and the difference in sharpness was noticeable on my 120" sitting 14 feet away.

As brighter, higher resolution professional and consumer projectors become available, screen sizes continue to get larger and larger. Distortion and lack of detail are far more noticeable when you sit close to a massive screen. With great optics, you can better appreciate all the exceptional detail found in today's 4K content. 

The 18 element all-glass large-aperture lens includes six Extra Low-Dispersion (ELD) elements which significantly reduce chromatic aberration (color fringing). If you are projecting onto a massive screen, high-quality optics are worth the premium to be able to extract every ounce of detail from the native 4K SXRD panels.

It is like looking through an open window. When viewed through the unit's ARC-F lens, things just seem clearer – richer, more real.

The standard lens (VPLL-Z8014) has a throw ratio of 1.40:1 to 2.73:1. For even more installation flexibility, there is also a short-throw ARC-F lens available (VPLL-Z8008) which has a throw ratio of 0.80:1 to 1.02:1.


Since many of the common features found in our older special feature section were repetitive, that information can now all be found on the new Sony Feature Explanation page. You also click any of the bolded/highlighted terms in the article to access a more detailed definition.

The GTZ380 uses a motorized lens assembly with Picture Positioning (lens memories). Lens Memories offers the ability to save different motorized lens settings, like one for HDTV and one for widescreen movies. If you want to opt for a 2.35:1 screen to take advantage of the entire screen area when watching widescreen movies, you will find this a very useful feature.

When used with a stationary anamorphic lens, the GTZ380 has several Aspect modes, including V Stretch and Squeeze, which can properly display both widescreen and 16x9 content on a 2.35:1 screen.

The standard lens (VPLL-Z8014) has approximately a 2x zoom range and also has a large amount of horizontal and vertical lens shift which really simplifies installation.

To maximize your gaming experience, the GTZ380 includes a Low Latency Game Mode. When this mode is engaged, the projector switches off most of its video processing to dramatically reduce game lag.

Sony quotes 27ms input lag with 4K content (up to 60fps). According to Sony, with 1080p games, input lag will be a bit longer due to the need to upscale HD to the projector's native resolution, but it is still in the 33-40ms range. We measured 4K/60p at 28ms and 1080/60p at 36ms, which is a good performance for most gamers.

Unlike most flat-panel TVs,  Sony home theater projectors like the GTZ380 still support 3D. The projector's built-in RF transmitter is compatible with third-party Active RF 3D glasses for wider coverage and greater stability.


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While the GTZ380 is twice as bright as its "little brother", the VW5000Es, it looks nearly identical. The chassis measures approximately 22 inches wide, 9" high x 30" deep, and weighs about 112 pounds. Although the GZ380 is much larger and heavier than most standard home theater projectors, it is both the most compact and lightest unit in its class. A larger chassis is worth it for the benefit of incredible brightness, better black levels, a motorized lens with horizontal/vertical shift, and blessedly quieter operation.

Sony claims a very quiet 33-39 dB which is significantly quieter than most competitive high-end home projectors. The unit's cooling intakes are on the front flanking the lens as well as the left side. The projector’s exhaust vents are located along the rear.

Most 10,000 lumen home cinema projectors are typically so noisy you’d have to install them in a quiet box or in an entirely different room. Surprisingly for a projector of this brightness, the GTZ380 is exceptionally quiet, only producing a nicely low-pitched background fan noise that you are very unlikely to even notice.

Sony GTZ380 Control Panel and Connections

When looking at the projector from the front, the inputs are on the lower left side while the small control panel is located n the upper left side of the chassis as well. The XW7000ES also has dual 18Gbps HDMI inputs, which is more than enough bandwidth to support 4K@60P HDR with 10bit color. The power connection is located on the back of the projector on the lower right side.

When looking at the projector from the front, the inputs and control panels are located on the left side. The GTZ380 also has dual 18Gbps HDMI inputs, which is more than enough bandwidth to support 4K@60P HDR with 10bit color. Since the GTZ380 will also be used for professional applications, there are also two DisplayPort connections. The power connection is located on the projector’s left side.

The sample GTZ380 that I reviewed came with the projector remote control that is included with a Sony professional projector. According to Sony, the GTZ380 will ship with their standard backlit home theater remote.

I like the consumer remote better since it is bigger than many projector remotes with large and well-spaced buttons. You can use dedicated buttons to quickly switch between the Calibrated Picture Presets. To make quick, fine adjustments to the image, there are buttons to directly access many of the picture quality settings including MotionFlow, Color Temp, and Gamma Correction.

Having direct access to the HDR Contrast Enhancer via a dedicated button is especially useful when viewing HDR materials. It's quick and easy to switch between the High, Mid, and Low settings to adjust the look of HDR content.

The GTZ380 is often bundled with a 1.95:1 motorized standard throw ARC-F zoom lens (VPLL-Z8014) which is a lot of zoom range compared to most home theater projectors whose zoom lenses usually range between 1.1:1 to 1.6:1, depending on the brand and model.


The bundled lens (VPLL-Z8014) has a throw ratio of 1.49:1 to 2.91:1. It offers +/-80% vertical and +/- 33% horizontal lens shift.

VPLL-Z8014 Throw Distance for a 16:9 (1.78:1) Screen

Screen Size (Diagonal)Min Screen Distance (in)Max Screen Distance (in)  
100”130 (3290 mm)253 (6430 mm)
120”157 (3970 mm)304 (7730 mm)
150”196 (4980 mm)381 (9680 mm)
200”263 (6670 mm)509 (12930 mm)
300”395 (10040mm)765 (19440mm)

VPLL-Z8014 Throw Distance for a 2.35:1 Screen

Screen Size (Diagonal)Min Screen Distance (in)Max Screen Distance (in)  
100”129 (3260 mm)250 (6360 mm)
120”155 (3930 mm)301 (7650 mm)
150”194 (4930 mm)377 (9580 mm)
200”260 (6600 mm)504 (12800 mm)
300”391 (9930mm)757 (19240mm)

For even more installation flexibility, there is also a short-throw ARC-F lens available (VPLL-Z8008). The throw ratio of this lens is 0.85:1 to 1.09:1. It offers +/-50% vertical and +/- 19% horizontal lens shift.

VPLL-Z8008 Throw Distance for a 16:9 (1.78:1) Screen

Screen Size (Diagonal)Min Screen Distance (in)Max Screen Distance (in)  
100”75 (1890 mm)94 (2400 mm)
12090 (2280 mm)114 (2890 mm)
150”113 (2860 mm)143 (3630 mm)
200”151 (3840 mm)191 (4860 mm)
300”228 (5790mm)288 (7330mm)

VPLL-Z7008 Throw Distance for a 2.35:1 Screen

Screen Size (Diagonal)Min Screen Distance (in)Max Screen Distance (in)  
100”74 (1870 mm)94 (2370 mm)
120”89 (2250 mm)112 (2860 mm)
150”112 (2830 mm)141 (3590 mm)
200’150 (3800 mm)189 (4810 mm)
300”226 (5730mm)285 (7260mm)

Both ARC-F lenses are available for the GTZ380 offer motorized focus and zoom as well as plenty of horizontal and vertical lens shift. Having a large amount of zoom and shift capability makes installation a breeze, especially when you are trying to replace an older unit that was previously fixed mounted.

Sony uses a common menu system across its full lineup of home theater projectors. While Sony has not changed the look and feel of their menus in years, they add extra menu items to control any new features and capabilities as needed.

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Of course, the higher-end model projectors have more menus because of the additional features. For example, the flagship GTZ380 offers menus for Lens Memory which it supports, while the entry-level VW325ES does not. The type is slightly on the smaller side, but you will still be able to easily read them from a normal seating distance. Overall, the menus are well-thought out and organized.



Like all Sony home theater projectors, the GTZ380 delivered an accurate color right out of the box. The REFERENCE and USER picture presets were less than a hundred degrees off my calibrated white balance target of 6500K. I suspect due to the GTZ380 target customers and high price point Sony takes a little extra time to fine-tune each unit at the factory during production.

Even in its most accurate picture modes, the GTZ380 produced a massive amount of light. To combat higher ambient light, you can switch to BRIGHT TV or BRIGHT CINEMA. These picture modes are slightly oversaturated with a cooler color temperature, but they make colors look more vibrant in a bright space.

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Like other Sony home theater projectors, I would be satisfied with the picture quality of the GTZ380 whether it was calibrated or not. However, I took the time to calibrate the projector's USER 2 Mode.

Since your room and screen material has a major impact on the overall picture, I don't recommend using someone else’s calibration adjustments. If your room is brighter/darker or your walls are a different color, copying someone else’s results can actually be detrimental to the picture quality rather than improving it. Just as an example, I am including the before and after results of calibration for my specific room and set up.

To test the projector's color accuracy we use Portrait Displays Calman color calibration software.

Pre-Calibration Color Sweep and Grayscale


The GTZ380 grayscale was also great out of the box. When measured, the color temperature was a few hundred degrees off to my target of 6500K.

Color Tracking before adjustment was also outstanding with an average Color Delta E of just 1.13. Most projectors struggle to deliver that level of accuracy even after calibration

  • Picture Mode: User
  • Color Temperature: 6188K
  • Average Grayscale dE: 4.8
  • Average Color dE: 1.13

Post-Calibration Color Sweep and Grayscale


I left the COLOR TEMP set to D65 and made some quick adjustments to the 2-point RGB balance to produce an outstanding D65 white balance.

To achieve my gamma target of 2.2 in my room, I set the GAMMA CORRECTION to 2.4. The GTZ380 has CMS adjustments available, but the color tracking was excellent so you really don't need to use them. However, I did make a few minor tweaks to Blue, Red, and Cyan

  • Picture Mode: User
  • Color Temperature: 6525K
  • Average Grayscale dE: 0.92
  • Average Color dE: 0.69

Delta E as a measure of grayscale/color accuracy of 3 and under is considered 'Excellent' and imperceptible by the human eye. Even before calibration, the GTZ380 had an average Color dE of around 1.13 which is amazing.

Due to its high brightness capability, when calibrating the projector for SDR viewing in a dark space, I reduced the LAMP POWER setting to 30 to achieve about 120 nits (cd/m2) of onscreen brightness. For viewing SDR in a room with ambient light I increased the LAMP POWER to 60 with minimal impact on color accuracy.

After calibration, the GTZ380 had an average color dE of .069 which is outstanding. Like most Sony Home Theater projectors, once white balance and color are accurately adjusted for SDR, they will look great for HDR as well.

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While there was some improvement to the picture after calibration, the difference was not dramatic. The colors and skin tones looked great the instant I turned the unit on. Unlike many laser-equipped home theaters, I didn't feel the need to fiddle with the unit’s picture adjustments. As I mentioned earlier, I would be satisfied with the picture quality of the GTZ380 whether it was calibrated or not.

Would I still pay to have the GTZ380 professionally calibrated? Of course, if you have already spent $80K on a projector, it would be silly not to spend a few hundred dollars more to fully optimize the unit's image for your particular screen and room.


The Sony GTZ380 has a rated brightness of 10,000 ANSI lumens making it the brightest 4K home theater projector that I have ever tested in my lab.

In a room with ambient light, I left the unit laser power at its default of 80% and delivered 446 cd/m2 (nits) brightness. Unless you are viewing SDR on an absolutely massive screen, the GTZ380 brightness capability is overkill. For example, when viewing SDR in a dark space on my 0.8 gain Elite Pro A/V 133" ALR screen, I reduced the GTZ380's laser power to just 30%.

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I set the projector to REFERENCE mode (the brightest mode) and I took 3-4 readings about 15-20% out from the center of the lens.

Sony GTZ380 Brightness (Reference mode, Lamp Control High): 9471 Lumens

At wide zoom, REFERENCE mode, the GTZ380 measured 9471 lumens which is close to Sony's rated brightness of 10,000 lumens. You will find the GTZ380 more than bright enough for viewing SDR content on even a 300" screen. The ability to produce a huge amount of brightness on a 150" screen makes viewing HDR content in a dark room a jaw-dropping experience.

Picture Mode Brightness (default laser power settings)

Color ModeLumensColor Temperature
Cinema Film 192236282K
Cinema Film 291086247K
Cinema Digital91786123K
Bright Cinema92576226K
Bright TV80227057K
User 1-392236188K
User 1 (calibrated)83936525K

After calibration, the GTZ380 still produces nearly 8400 lumens. This is a truly outstanding brightness. When calibrating many other projectors, you would have to sacrifice half of the projector's rated brightness to produce an accurate image.

Since the unit's Z-Phosphor laser light source includes a red laser diode along with two different wavelength blue laser diodes, the VPL-GTZ380 can reproduce 100% DCI-P3 color gamut without the need for a color filter which would reduce its brightness output.

Most home theater projectors would have to rely on a color filter to achieve the full DCI-P3 color gamut. For example, the VW5000ES has a rated brightness of 5000 ANSI lumens but you lose a lot of that brightness when the white balance and color gamut are set to D65 and DCI-P3.

Therefore, it would take at least three VW5000ES projectors to deliver the same 10,000 lumens of brightness that is produced by one GTZ380 when reproducing DCI-P3 color.

Also when viewing HDR content, the Dynamic HDR Contrast feature did an excellent job maximizing the brightness on the screen. The GTZ380 produced a brighter, more vibrant HDR image than any projector that I have ever seen or reviewed.

BTW, if you are lucky enough to be able to afford an insanely bright projector like the GTZ380 for your home theater, you will never have to worry about an overbright HDR image. Since each pixel in HDR content is assigned a specific brightness if a pixel is accurately reproduced it will have the same brightness on a 10,000 nit projector or a 1,000 nit projector. The difference is the GTZ380 can reproduce more of those pixels accurately before it has to start relying on tone mapping.


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While brightness is important, deep, accurate black levels separate a good home theater from a great one. If you compare two projectors with identical brightness, the one that can produce deeper blacks will deliver a higher perceived contrast.

One of the main reasons to buy a higher-end home theater projector like the GTZ380, is much better black levels, resulting in higher contrast. The GTZ380 utilizes Sony's newly developed 0.74" Native 4K SXRD panels to deal with the projector's enormous brightness capabilities, which results in a native contrast ratio of 16,000:1.

While I have reviewed several good DLP projectors, none could ever match the black levels and native contrast of a 3 Chip SXRD projector like the Sony GTZ380.

Combining the high native contrast of the SXRD panels with the precisely modulated laser light output and a dynamic iris resulted in nearly infinite contrast and outstanding black levels.

I did most of my viewing with the DYNAMIC CONTROL set to Limited, which engages laser dimming as well as the dynamic iris. Not only were the blacks nice and deep, but subtle details in the shadows were also clearly visible.

The GTZ380 delivered some of the best black levels that I have experienced in my viewing room. The GTZ380 rated brightness of 10,000 lumens combined with a great black level made images pop, especially in a room with some ambient light.


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Due to its native 4K SXRD panels combined with its ARC-F lens, the GTZ380 had no problem delivering sharp, detailed 4K imagery. Most TV shows and live broadcasts are still produced in HD, so good 4K upscaling is still critical. Because Sony has over a decade of experience when it comes to 4K upscaling, the GTZ380 does an excellent job.

Although 4K HDR content can deliver expanded color space with better highlight and shadow detail, most HDR projectors can struggle to reproduce HDR faithfully.

The X1 Ultimate Processor combined with the new Dynamic HDR Enhancer improves HDR reproduction on the GTZ380. This feature utilizes frame-by-frame HDR tone mapping to deliver respectable full-screen brightness while still displaying a large amount of highlight detail.

Even though all Sony's latest 4K Home Theater projectors utilize frame-by-frame tone mapping, brighter highlights might be clipped occasionally. Sony believes this is necessary to keep most of the image on the screen as close to the director's intent as possible.

As the brightness and contrast of home theater projectors increases, more of the clipped highlight information can be restored without making the HDR image look flat.

  • Sony-GTZ380-HDR-1
  • Sony-GTZ380-HDR-3
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  • Sony-GTZ380-HDR-7-1

The X1 Ultimate Processor in a 10,000 lumen Sony GTZ380 will clip fewer bright highlight details than the X1 processor found in the 2,000 lumen VW915ES. In fact, the GTZ380 is nearly bright enough to reproduce HDR content mastered at 1,000 nits on a 100-inch screen with zero tone mapping.

On my 120” Screen Innovation Slate Screen (1.2 gain), the onscreen brightness should easily exceed 800-900 nits (cd/m2), which is brighter than many HDR OLED flat-panel TVs.

The GTZ380, like all Sony 4K Home Theater projectors, also has an "HDR Reference Mode" located under the HDR menu option. When engaged, the GTZ380 will faithfully track the luminance of HDR content (no tone mapping) until the projector hard clips just like an HDR mastering display. This mode works well on content mastered at 1000 nits or below, but content mastered above 1000 nits will have a few more clipped highlights.

Colors look more saturated when they are brighter. Unlike most home theater projectors, the GTZ380 can reproduce 100% of DCI-P3 color space at full brightness. High brightness combined with a wide color gamut results in larger color volume. As a result, the HDR colors appear rich and vibrant similar to what you would see on a professional HDR Mastering display.


Sony-GTZ380 with award

As expected, when it comes to HD and 4K SDR content, the Sony GTZ380 is outstanding. While calibration will improve the picture quality, the GTZ380 delivered an accurate, natural-looking picture right out of the box.

The GTZ380 could produce close to its rated brightness of 10,000 ANSI lumens even in its most accurate picture modes and after calibration! Many projectors deliver significantly less than their rated brightness when placed in their most accurate picture mode. It is not uncommon to see the brightness cut in half.

Once the projector is calibrated, the unit's Auto Calibrate feature combined with its Z-Phosphor light source ensures that the GTZ380 will deliver "calibrated" color accuracy for several years.

For the past several months, I have been using a VW915ES ($20.000) as my reference projector. When viewing HD and 4K SDR content, the main difference between the two projectors is image clarity. While the VW915ES has a good lens, the higher quality ARC-F lens used in the GTZ380 delivered a noticeable increase in clarity and sharpness edge to edge.

  • Sony-XW5000ES-X1-Utilimate - Projector Reviews - Image
  • Dynamic-HDR-Enhancer
  • BenQ-X3100i-HDR-4 - Projector Reviews Images

While most people are amazed at the image produced by the VW915ES when compared to the GTZ380 the difference in HDR picture quality was massive. Since GTZ380 (10,000 lumens) brightness capability is 5X higher than the VW915ES (2000 lumens), less aggressive tone mapping is required. When viewing HDR, the GTZ380 could easily produce highlight details and bright saturated color while still delivering great full-screen brightness.

Most projectors struggle when trying to produce the brightness range found in HDR content and can only deliver dull HDR, which is why I usually prefer watching HDR content on an LCD or OLED instead of a projector. However, the GTZ380 looked like a gigantic HDR flat panel, it produced the best-looking HDR picture I have ever seen from a projector in a home theater or professional theater.

Besides amazing brightness capabilities and its ability to deliver 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, another major reason why HDR looked so good on the GTZ380 is Sony's new Dynamic HDR Enhancer feature. Powered by the X1 Ultimate Processor, this feature measures the average and peak brightness of HDR10 content frame by frame for precise dynamic tone mapping to maximize the projector's HDR picture quality.

The new projector's optimized X1 processor combines signal HDR analysis with a dynamic iris and precise laser light modulation to produce a great-looking HDR picture.

  • Sony-GTZ380-HDR-2
  • Sony-GTZ380-Color-1
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  • Sony-GTZ380-HDR-1

Its native 4K resolution SXRD panels delivered a sharp picture. The GTZ380 did an excellent job upscaling HD content. Only a select group of projectors like JVC's lineup of DILA projectors can match a Sony 4K SXRD laser projector equipped with a dynamic iris. It is doubtful that any single-chip DLP home theater projector can even come close.

Lastly, the GTZ380 is packed with "installer-friendly" features, including a motorized lens with tons of zoom and lens shift, including position memories. Picture position memories are great if you have masking screens or if you want to maximize the image size of 16:9 and widescreen on a 2.35:1 screen. In addition, the GTZ380 has a large amount of zoom and horizontal/vertical lens shift capability, which makes installation a breeze, especially when trying to replace an older, previously mounted unit. Also, the GTZ380 is an interchangeable lens projector, so there is even an optional short-throw ARC-F lens available.

While the GTZ380 does command a premium price over most 4K home theater projectors, its outstanding, class-leading SDR/HDR picture quality and installation-focused feature set make it an excellent option for any movie enthusiast who can afford it.


With a retail price of $80,000 (minus the lens), the GTZ380 is an expensive home theater projector, but it delivered the best-projected image I have ever experienced in my room. If you are a video/movie enthusiast looking for the ultimate home theater and you can afford a GTZ380, it is highly recommended.


  • 10,000 ANSI lumens
  • 100% DCI-P3 color reproduction
  • Outstanding ARC-F lens delivers amazing clarity
  • Native 4K resolution (4096x2160)
  • Upgraded Z-Phosphor Laser Light Engine
  • 20,000 hour light source life
  • Frame by Frame Tone Mapping to optimize HDR10 viewing
  • Can maintain most of its rated 10,000 lumens even after calibration
  • Superb black levels
  • Great “out of the box” picture
  • Dual 4K HDMI 2.1 (18Gbps) HDMI inputs
  • Dual 4K DisplayPort inputs
  • Compatible with HDR10 and HLG
  • Excellent 4K upscaling
  • Excellent placement flexibility with motorized lens features, including:
    • 1.95:1 zoom lens (VPLL-Z8014 Lens)
    • Lots of lens shift (vertical and horizontal)
    • Optional short-throw ARC-F lens available (VPLL-Z8008)
  • Low input lag – claimed 27ms on 4K (37ms measured @1080p)
  • 3-year parts/labor warranty



  • Ultra premium price out of the reach of most customers
  • Not the best black levels (but close, very close)
  • Larger and heavier than many home theater projectors


Sony VPL-GTZ380 Specs

Projector ModelVPL-GTZ380
Price$80,000 (minus lens)
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim)10000
Brightness DescriptionLaser
Contrast Ratio∞:1
Native Resolution4K (4096x2160)
Max Resolution4096x2160
Blue RayYes
Ultra Short ThrowNo
Native Aspect Ratio4156
Video Compatiblity720p, 1080i, 1080p, UHD, 4K
HDTV720p, 1080i, 1080p
Lamp Life20,000 hours
Noise Level (-db)33 - 39db
Power Zoom FocusYes
Lens ShiftYes
LAN NetworkingYes
Zoom Lens Ratio1.95:1 (VPLL-Z8014 Lens)
Optional LensYes
Special FeaturesHDR10/HLG compatibility, Dynamic Tone Mapping, Auto Calibration Mode
Wireless NetworkingNo
Dimensions22 1/16" x 8 31/32" x 29 15/16“
Warranty3 year

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