Sony VPL-HW30ES: Bottom Line Sharpness
Bottom line: This Sony converged nicely with its pixel controls, creating what is likely a slightly sharper image than the average LCoS projector. You still can't beat a single chip DLP projector combined with good optics. That said, the last 1080p non-single chip DLP projector we did a full review of, that really seemed visibly sharper, was probably the just discontinued, $10,000 JVC RS60 with its hand picked optics!
In other words, no problem here. Sharpness is about as good as one can expect from an under $5000 projector, with the caveat being that a well done single chip DLP should be able to do a touch better - look just a bit crisper!
This Sony projector, like its predecessors (and even more expensive siblings. Likes to leak a very small amount of light through the lens. Some of that lands outside of the image area.
The amount is minimal. If you really want to spot that light leakage, you are probably going to have to pause the image on a black frame. Even so, you aren't likely to be able to spot it, unless your room has a front wall that's fairly light, to show off that faint light when the room is fully dark.
There is no leakage out the vents, or, perhaps I should say, absolutely no noticeable amount escapes the vents.
All considered, the Sony HW30 does great when it comes to light leakage.
I mentioned 3D related noise issues if you set the projector and glasses for the brightest image based on the black frames and glasses opening times. Once again, I recommend the 2 setting, or if you can live with the even lower brightness, the minimum - 1. At the maximum of 4, you get max brightness, but a scene with a distant crowd has that crowd looking sort of over contrasty, not natural.
Note, I've watched many hours of 3D pretty much continuously, without any fatigue, although, I have yet to be fatigued by any newer 3D projector.
2D noise issues are what I expect of a modern quality home projector - none worth discussing. The art of image processing took lots of strides over the last 6-8 years. Today, just about every projector is reasonably clean on image noises, except, perhaps some entry level and crossover projectors.
The Sony did very well on a quick spin through my Silicon Optix test disk.
Sony claims 22db in eco-mode, and that, folks is very quiet. The quietest home theater projectors seem to get down to about 15 or 16 db, but 22 is lower than the vast majority.
At full power, I don't believe Sony publishes a spec, but don't worry about it, this Sony is not only pretty quiet at full power, but the fan pitch is low.
No matter, if I had to guess at a full power audible noise level, I'd probably have to go with 25-27 db, and that's still quiet compared to most projectors at full power.
The Sony is quiet enough that most noise adverse buyers probably won't have any problem with full power, and definitely not eco-mode!