Sony VPL-HW10 – Image Quality5

VPL-HW10 Bottom Line: Shadow details

The VPL-HW10 really does a good job, it manages to reveal lots of very dark details. In addition, the combination of the details and the black levels give the projector more “pop and wow” to the image than those that are just as good on shadow details, but can’t match the black level performance. The image below is another good one for looking at shadow details, and can be found on most recent reviews. Look to the details in the dark area in the upper right, and, if comparing to other projectors, whether that area is more or less vibrant. Sometimes the details may be there, but the area can look pretty flat.

Sony VPL-HW10 Overall Color & Picture Quality

The VPL-HW10 is an extremely well balanced projector, when it comes to overall Picture Quality! With great black levels, very good shadow detail, excellent post calibration color accuracy, and a dynamic looking (pop and wow) image (in part thanks to those black levels), I found the VPL-HW10 one of the most enjoyable projectors to watch. That has been true whether I’m just kicking back and watching content, or when I’m being very critical in my viewing, looking for weaknesses. The point here, is that the VPL-HW10 has no significant weaknesses in any areas directly dealing with color and overall picture. A mix of additional images to show off the VPL-HW10:

Sony VPL-HW10 Projector: Performance, HDTV and Sports

Overall performance on HDTV was most impressive. The most critical weakness has to be the brightness issue. If you have that covered (smaller or high gain screen, great lighting control, etc.), consider the VPL-HW10 projector to be excellent. The rich colors, the dynamic image, and the extremely sharp image really makes the VPL-HW10 shine on HDTV sporting events, and boy, does it look great on all that nature, concerts, and travelog type programming (Discovery HD, History Channel, Palladia HD (the old M-HD MTV music video channel). It really does make you think, for a moment, like you are looking out of a large window. Excellent! If only more lumens.

These football images were taken in the afternoon. When watching during the daytime (shades down, but some light coming in), the image is just a bit washed out. Very watchable, but, oh, for a few hundred more lumens. Dropping the image size down to 110 or better, about 106 inches, and the Sony does much better (with this lighting). When I watch in the evening, with some controlled lighting, the Sony looks really good, even at my full 128 inch screen size. This image shows you the room lighting when these images were taken: Football viewing was excellent, again, within the limitation of the Sony’s brightness. With my room situation, the Sony performs similarly to my JVC RS1, in that it can fill my 128 inch Firehawk screen. Still… a few more lumens would be nice, for a screen as large as mine.

Bottom line: If you like watching HDTV/Sports with some ambient light, consider the Sony’s brightness limitations as a factor, but otherwise the HW10 does just fine. One more note, however. The Sony is about average in sharpness, and looks just great in that regard, but there are even sharper images, including the Mitsubishi HC7000 and the InFocus IN83. You can detect the difference, but it’s a difference between very sharp, and razor sharp. Without a side by side comparison, I doubt anyone would object to the Sony’s nice, sharp image on 1080 resolution digital sources, such as a good football game. The two images below were photographed differently. The first one, of Bon Jovi and Sugarland, was shot in the afternoon, with the same significant ambient light as shown in the room shot above. The lower image, of a Moody Blues concert was photographed in the evening with a very modest amount of intentional ambient light.

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